Campaign Signs

⠀⠀⠀⠀Where our sidewalk ends
⠀⠀⠀⠀campaign signs start.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Each politician takes part
⠀⠀⠀⠀as far as open field extends.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Campaign signs start
⠀⠀⠀⠀where our sidewalk ends.

inspired by Adrien’s notes on prosody of the biolet form


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Deep in Denial

⠀⠀⠀⠀That long-term lease our friend still keeps in force
⠀⠀⠀⠀had given us our week again in Guelph.
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial, so let’s still go.
⠀⠀⠀⠀But the border’s closed by both sides, says the news,
⠀⠀⠀⠀with our business insufficiently essential to get us through.
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial, so let’s say it ain’t so.
⠀⠀⠀⠀This year’s festival has been completely shut down
⠀⠀⠀⠀yet let’s plan to meet up as usual in lower Gore Park.
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial, so we’ll not say no.
⠀⠀⠀⠀The children’re counting on super special times
⠀⠀⠀⠀since school’s closed through April, possibly May.
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial, so they’ll get our status quo.
⠀⠀⠀⠀It’s like quitting a true friend to go with the quick fake cure—
⠀⠀⠀⠀So how’s that working out for you these days?
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial, so we’ll practice the apropos.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Threats never worked before to tear us apart,
⠀⠀⠀⠀nor will this one compel us to keep to our own selves.
⠀⠀⠀⠀We’re deep in denial. Tomorrow will be as though.

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Nuru Trio

Yes, we looked into some nuru gel
to give him private sessions of our own.
Merci monsieur et mademoiselle.

A friend sandwich, pleasure to the bone—
hands up thighs, breasts down backs,
no skin on slippery skin we’d not condone

to match our bodies’ heat to his climax,
and his to each of ours as well. So very well.
What better way for three friends to relax.

in response to maggie’s
Afterthought 1105—Nuru Binge


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Not Knowing

How can we have known?

This shame belongs more to you than it does to us. Your war on us forced us to extremes. You would have done the same. You have done worse and you will do worse again. You are no better than we are.

How can we have known?

Why march us up the hill to parade us past our inhumanity? Why not down the other side to witness your own? Why expect us to peer into our deepest shadows when you lie so much about your own?

How can we have known?

Even if we suspected the worst, what did you expect us to do? Were we supposed to choose treason? Were we to put our own lives at risk, our own families, to threaten our home and our homeland simply to know details better left hidden? Why shove our faces in our ignorance when you excuse yours?

How can we have known?

They never told us where it would all end. They never even told us the next step. Do you know how yours will go?

How can we have known?

Wait until you have such a leader. Wait until you want to be safe. Wait until you want to be as great as you once were. You won’t want to know either.

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Naptime Lullaby

Cuddle-bunny, baby nap,
close your wee blue eyes.
Lie down cozy in my lap
and touch the starry skies.

Cuddle-bunny, baby nap,
rest your wee sweet head.
Lie down cozy in my lap
and make my breast your bed.

Cuddle-bunny, baby nap
to mama’s lullaby.
Lie down cozy in my lap
with moondust in your eye.

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Plagiarism: A Prosaic Contemplation

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. … Bad poets deface what they take.”
— T.S. Eliot, quoted in Word Theft, an article by Ruth Graham about plagiarism in poetry

I watched. For hours I watched. Another day, then another day and another, I watched. Certain I had seen that particular pose before. That exact same bend. The river was copying something I’d seen before. Some poem I’d seen? Rivers are notorious for stealing things, taking them downstream, dumping them beneath the surface. Where had I come across this pattern before? Finally like an illusion it flipped over, and I realized the river’s template: the water’s form is mimicry of the bank. As rigid as any plagiarism might aspire to. Ah, but I waited and watched more, maybe at first hoping to catch the bank striking back in anger at the replication. Long enough to see that it was the bank copying its river, rather than what I’d first surmised. Then after several more days, seeing it switch back and forth, hand to hand to hand, one moment the river matching its bank, the next moment the bank copying the river back. Intrigued, captivated, I watched and waited further, a month, a season, as leaves fell into the water to laugh at the reflection, then as ice formed at the edges to harden the lines between. Finally as spring broke into my contemplations, I saw the variations each made to their mirrors, how the current was swifter or calmer in its flow, how the bank slid into the water here or stood solid against it there. And I felt the bank and its river imitate itself inside my own dreaming, twisting and turning and pausing then racing on, always moving but always still there, exactly echoing this bend I’d found deep in our woods. And at that instant, blushed with shame, wondering if any thought or word of any poet is ever truly original. I am merely a bank meeting a river’s current at its edges. I am merely a river tight against a shore. I can’t make any poem mine any more than the river or bank can lay claim to their copies of each other.

I waited until another year had seen the completion of cycles of light and dark, cycles of rain and sun, cycles of the moon, cycles of the seasons, stretching out into the songs of the stars. I had seen the river and its bank change their ways over and over while holding on to their reflections. And I had seen the wind plagiarize the trees and the sky plagiarize the water and the dusk plagiarize both day and night, and a thousand plagiarisms of life and its own landscape, all fitting as precisely as any exact copy, even as each part held true to its own character.

Deception. That’s what’s missing here, I realized: there’s no deception, neither planned nor unintended. Call these not plagiarism, the river to the bank or the stars to your eyes or the storm to the clouds. Nor my muse to their inspiration. Call these all collaborations, in the most holy sense that two lovers can complement each other. No one part deceptively claims it as their own. No one part claims to possess or control.

But I know why this has been troubling me. Sara. Sara, who openly urged her close friends to continue to collaborate with her, to use her words, to make hers ours, to keep her alive through our own voices. So like my river and its bank did that feel when she held our hands to give us her blessing. But is there any point where our respect and love for her cross over to mere plagiarism?

If I were to ever pretend she were not here with me now, yes, I think it could go sour on me, deceiving me myself, then me deceiving others, friend and stranger alike. Not the same as what it’s meant to forget you as I was ordered to do. Your owner and controller attacked us demanding you be left alone, so alone we leave you, with only the void nothing else can ever fill still there to show what it means that you turned your back on love. This, included: don’t be so vain as to think you’re the only one who’s been mean enough to send someone gunning for me. This doesn’t have to be about you just because you deceive yourself and others into thinking it is.

If I were to ever take her words and use them against her and the ones she loved, yes, I think it would go south on me fast, deceiving me, then deceiving others about me and about her and about them. Not something you’d understand. Trust me, throw enough of the bank into the river or divert enough of the river up against the bank, and integrity disappears. Steal my words to pretend them to be your own against what they were made for, and you’ve fabricated a venal deception to no good end.

If I were to make up my own words and put them into her mouth, as if it were what she had said, yes, it would go irreversibly damaged on me, deceiving me and others worse than ever. Not something that bothers you in the least. But as lethal as the descending airplane’s cockpit instrument saying the border between landing strip and sky is 1000 feet when the actual distance is 100 feet. Put your words into others’ mouths, and people die.

Plagiarism is not an innocent act, whether you use someone else’s words as your own or use your own words as if theirs. Either act is a choice to deceive. The deception knowingly does only harm.

No, Sara, we do not abuse your words, your wishes, your love. For your child, for your friends, for your love and for the life you did not lose, we continue to echo you as the river to its bank.

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Metaphor is the soul of poetry.

Poetry need not have form. But without metaphor, poetry is incoherent babble.

Poetry need not have rhyme. But without metaphor, poetry is dead on its feet.

The great Hebrew leader David spoke of his Lord in metaphor as shepherd and fortress, obviously never having his grip on reality questioned for recognizing forces that were true to life.

One of the greatest civilizations the world has known was built by the Greeks on metaphors of the gods that revealed the basic elements of reality, obviously never actually having held the Golden Fleece itself.

From the earliest eisteddfod, bardoi sang to the moon in metaphor, obviously never envisioning collision with the earth in recognizing the connections that served their harvests.

Just as mathematics is the language of all of science, so is metaphor the language of all art.

The singer who sings without metaphor becomes as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.

The dancer who dances without metaphor is nothing.

The painter who paints without metaphor gains nothing, blesses no one.

Metaphor is love. And love is metaphor.

Metaphor reveals truth.

The face without metaphor hides its own lie.

Any who is ignorant of metaphor is less relevant than a rock, which with the wind and the sun and all of life constantly exchanges the metaphors that give meaning and place to things.

Any who is arrogant of an ignorance of metaphor is emptier than the void of space, which in the light that connects the stars and the gravity that decides the fates of worlds is spun on metaphors that both decide and violate the laws of nature.

And what fool would be proud of living in denial of metaphor?

For good cause were David, the Greeks, the bardoi and so many others so crucial to humanity so deeply immersed in poetic metaphor.

Without metaphor, there is no fire. No wind. No water nor earth.

Without metaphor, there is no meaning.


[margin notes]

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Thanks Giving

—For you

        Thanks for what I know will come
        from the loving touch of your kind hand
        to turn the worst I came here from
        so as to kiss the best you’ve planned,
                thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Moon Mastered

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀An orange waning moon snaps a bitter bite
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀out of her eastern climb through her own broken
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀skies. She can’t believe in a love she can’t master.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀She lies in her master’s lap. He makes the moon
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀see what he wants her to believe, bite by bite
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀of poisoned fruit broken off the shadows’ climb.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀So steep, so sheer a climb is night to master!
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀In a lake of tears, broken and dark, the moon
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ripples on each bite of wind, too hurt to believe.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀”Why bother to believe? Your day’s done. Climb
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀into bed, I won’t bite,” tugs the leash her master
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀has over her mirrored moon, dirty and broken,
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀then having herself broken any vow she’d believe
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀worth keeping, the moon quits her cursed climb,
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀as easy for her to master as an anorexic bite.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀A sip of blood, a bite of innocent skin, a broken
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀word, a lie given her master, a dream to disbelieve
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀— her night must climb into the fall of her moon.

written for Get Listed ~ Of Catnip & Moons
at the imaginary garden with real toads

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This Joke’s On Me

⠀⠀⠀⠀Does this face look like I’m laughing? I’m not
⠀⠀⠀⠀in amused enough a mood to get off making fun
⠀⠀⠀⠀of my friends behind their backs. Snide smirks
⠀⠀⠀⠀backfire. Ridicule ricochets. A cheap potshot
⠀⠀⠀⠀boomerangs with a vengeance back on the one
⠀⠀⠀⠀teasing. Jokes on friends aren’t what works.
⠀⠀⠀⠀What in my reaction has you so perplexed?
⠀⠀⠀⠀What, me give up applause to any ribald pun
⠀⠀⠀⠀merely because I’ve treated them like jerks?
⠀⠀⠀⠀Seriously, your punchlines tell me who’s next…
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Knock knock, hun.

prompted by Daily Prompt: Too Soon? at the Daily Post

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⠀⠀⠀⠀”A friend stands up for a friend,” goes the cliché.
⠀⠀⠀⠀One who isn’t won’t. Your one made sure I’d not
⠀⠀⠀⠀respect you, trust you, believe any word you say.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Like a key suspect being questioned, who forgot
⠀⠀⠀⠀his own story, he hopes who’s fooled’ll buy any lie.
⠀⠀⠀⠀One who isn’t won’t. Your one made sure I’d not.
⠀⠀⠀⠀One who chooses not to live will die
⠀⠀⠀⠀three times over. By his own word he creates
⠀⠀⠀⠀his own story. He hopes who’s fooled’ll buy any lie.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Eventually false friendship deteriorates.
⠀⠀⠀⠀I’m sorry if I hurt you. I repent
⠀⠀⠀⠀three times over. By his own word he creates
⠀⠀⠀⠀his own enemies. He failed to represent
⠀⠀⠀⠀how true a friend you are. I can’t help, but
⠀⠀⠀⠀I’m sorry. If I hurt you, I repent.
⠀⠀⠀⠀You should’nt’ve been trashed no matter what.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”A friend stands up for a friend,” goes the cliché.
⠀⠀⠀⠀How true a friend you are! I can’t help but
⠀⠀⠀⠀respect you, trust you, believe any word you say.

prompted by Daily Prompt: Flip Flop at the Daily Post

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The Algebra of Truth

Say that two plus two equals three
because you can’t remember the answer you were taught,
and all you are is wrong.
You are no liar. But you are still wrong. Not different. Wrong.

Say that two plus two equals three
because that’s what you were taught to believe,
and you should find yourself a new teacher.
You’re still no liar. But belief doesn’t make you any less wrong.

Say that two plus two equals three
as the basis for your art,
and you might have a good future as a fiction writer.
You’re still no liar. But you should learn to distinguish.

Say that two plus two equals three
because that’s the punch line of some riddle or joke,
and you’re not all that funny.
You are no liar. But you are really not all that funny.

Say that two plus two equals three
when you’re the accountant for a company with losses of 2+2=5,
and you’re not just doing your job.
You’re a liar. Because you know the truth.

Say that two plus two equals three
when you’re the engineer building a bridge people will use,
and you’re putting lives at risk.
You’re an irresponsible liar. And you should lose the lawsuit.

Say that two plus two equals three
when you’re the nurse with the needle dispensing lethal drugs,
and you’re choosing to do ill.
You’re a malicious liar. No good will come of your lies.

Say that two plus two equals zero
about someone who has always treated you like more than infinity,
and you will never be able to take it back.
You’re a pathological liar. Even the goddess turns her back.

And then there’s you,
who finds others you can mislead with your version of two plus two
and you know what you’re up to.
You’re worse than any liar. You’re your own lie.

Posted in whatev | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments


She who will not keep her own word
nor stand behind it nor accept responsibility for it
rather uses a word as she would any lap dance move
can hardly be expected to recognize others
true to theirs.

Posted in whatev | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Clarior e Tenebris

I had a father once. Wasn’t all that bad, as fathers go. I’ve had worse. Over there, in that other corner. Where it wants me most.

So back to my father. He was all into family, heritage, and shit. And in painting his family coat of arms over everything he owned.

Which I’ve been. Owned. Not only by him, but he got it running. Ran far enough with it to pass it on, make a profit on the deal.

My ex, he found it all so amusing, my monogram and all the rest. Did he ever take one single thing of me seriously? Ever once?

Always had my answer ready for me without listening in for the question. And always the same one, too, like some damn missionary.

The one friend I had before I went and got myself abandoned, though. She thought it fit what little poetry I had. Obscurity. Light.

It doesn’t work for me outside. She would nod. It only blends in white on white out there. She kissed softly. It doesn’t work. Out.

Unless I am alone. Where I belong. Where it’s dark. Where nobody comes. No windows to tell me the time of day. No doors in or out.

Jesus? I think I know which one. There are so many of them. Mine sat beside me in high school algebra. I copied off his test often.

We all thought he was bright too. Brightest bulb in the class. Didn’t need our dark-witted heads to tell that. He came prepared.

Turns out it was mostly tricks. He knew the shortcuts. That’s all that made him look like a god to all us lower forms of intelligence.

But hell, any light when it’s dark, right? Except I heard he’s taken. Got himself married and kids and pets. All the good ones. Taken.

Next thing you know they’ll be sending him up to stand in for us. To save us all from evil. To Washington, I mean. That’s how it’s done.

These bright types, we think if we get them to represent us, we won’t look as bad as we know we do. We all go along with the con.

So back to my father. He did that. Represented us, I mean. Saved us. Promised us the world and everything coming after that too.

Except I don’t think Jesus voted for him. He was of the other political persuasion. The ones who think they have the inside track.

My ex, he thought I still had a crush on Jesus. It’s true, there was a time I would have married him first. Kids. Pets. And house.

It wouldn’t have worked out for me. The Jesus trip, I mean. That’s how every god ever created has had it turn out. So as not to work.

Yes, I know. My father told me. My ex beat it into me. My one real friend warned me before she left. Even Jesus had a thing to say.

I only want to know one thing. If that light’s so damned crucial without the dark it’s in, then what’s the dark doing here anyway?

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To Hunt the Biolet

      I have been searching for you
      as if you were there to be found.
      I revisited home asking around —
      nobody knew where you’d gone to
      As if you were there to be found,
      I have been searching for you.

inspired by Adrien’s notes on prosody of the biolet form


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Neighborly Limericks

The cops asked, “Cyn, are you aware
you’ve got slashes and blood on your chair?”
       Said I, “My old sabre
       I loaned out to my neighbor.
Check with him as to how that got there.”

10/11/2020 9:39 AM
as prompted by Mad Kane’s Humor Blog

Posted in limerick | Tagged | 2 Comments