Category Archives: Poem

Ode to a Grackle

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Ode to a Grackle

A variation of the crow,
you strut wherever you may go
unless you’re flying post to tree
to get a better look at me.

You stick your chest out, spread your tail
horizontal, you haughty male,
then fold it neatly, like a fan,
to vertical, because you can!

Three toes in front and one behind,
a songbird of the perching kind,
at a moment’s notice, you’re on the wing,
soaring above everything.

No cat that ever stalked a grackle
succeeded in his stealthy tackle.
No quagmire brings about your fall,
for you just glide above them all.

Every grackle that comes along
sings an ever-changing song.
He chirps, he purrs, he clucks, he whirrs,
whistles, squeegees, chatters, chirrs.

No bird save you, my coal-black grackle,
has such variety of cackle.
And when you deign to land en masse,
your music sounds like broken glass.

Though Mexico was your first home,
both south and north you chose to roam.
Like me, you dared to spread your wings
to see what that adventure brings.

And when you perch upon my tree
to share your company with me,
such varied music swells from your chest,
of all loud neighbors, I love you best.


*Grackle feathers were used ceremonially by the Aztecs, who it is speculated, brought them northwards for this purpose. Zanate is the Aztec name for what in the north we call mynah birds or grackles.

Prompts today are save, variation, grackle, quagmire and chest.

Picky Eater

Picky Eater

I can’t stand mushrooms, abhor liver.
To dine on brains just makes me shiver.

Drinking milk’s against my wishes.
Fish is simply for the fishes.

Raw tomatoes? I’d rather die.
And one more mouthful I won’t try?
I have no taste for humble pie!

For the dVerse Poets Quadrille Challenge: Shiver

Pierced Dove

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Pierced Dove

Art historians aver
and modern artists would concur
her paintings are a visual feast
inspired by the dreadful beast
that consumed her from within.
She painted it time and again.
Her sketches were a handbook of
pain of body and of love.
The thorn, the arrow, the pierced heart—
the years together and apart—
her happiness oft on the wing
prompts the cash register’s cha-ching
more than sixty years since she
finally set her spirit free,
leaving part of her unfurled
in paint, on canvas, for the world.

This is the piece I did for an exhibition in Mexico City honoring the 100th year since Frida’s birth. Its title is “Painterminable” (Pain, Painter Interminable.) I was very honored to be one of two non-Mexicans invited to exhibit. It coincided with a retrospective of her work. Sorry that my piece is so much larger than two of hers. I wanted to exhibit all three of her works as a gallery. Click on them to enlarge them. 

Prompt words today are cha-ching, handbook, sketches, aver and feast.

Little Jobs

Little Jobs

Why is it that just as I find a time for resting,
I think of another job life seems to be requesting?

Little jobs pursue me, destroying all my fun.
Life comprises all of them until my day is done.

Dogged and determined, I fulfill all of them,
tolerating constant toil, my life filled to the brim.

I am a proper martyr. I toil with little resting.
I have no time for joyful acts like partying and festing.

Tasks that are debilitating to much lesser folks
are to superior ones like me, merely nature’s pokes

to spur me on towards greatness—to glory and to fame.
In the annals of history, you’re sure to see my name.

So thank God for little jobs, for they add up at last
into that great accomplishment within which fame is cast.


Prompt words today are debilitating, doggedresting, comprise and tolerate. Image by Irena Carpaccio on Unsplash.

Now and Then: A Valediction Forbidding Mourning: Wordle 537

Now and Then

In cracking the present to reveal the past,
it shimmers, triumphant, expansively vast.
I tend to remember the moments most happy—
successful and positive, silly and sappy,
but when I remember it using a filter,
it leans to one side, completely off-kilter.

The same number of memories from days gone by
if remembered at all, are recalled with a sigh.
I reach into my heart and remember again
the more negative moments of days that have been.
Then I quiver with passions, now full of dejection
of the losses and failures  and pains of rejection

It’s the way of the world to give us one day
what in the future it will take away,
but nonetheless, we must live for the present
and accept all it offers—both painful and pleasant.
When we pin all our thoughts on past sadness and fun,
We fasten ourselves to a life that’s undone.

This is my answer to John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.”

The Sunday Whir Wordle 537 prompts are: undone cracking triumph expansive reach quiver shimmering filter way reveal sigh moment

Mismatched Hearts

Mismatched Hearts

She overdosed on tinder, declaring it a bomb.
She’s through with OKCupid and over
In fourteen introductions, not one has turned out kissable.
If she had to rate them, she’d rate every date as missable.
Not one man she’s been linked to has been skookum, smooth or smart.
Not a single one of them has satisfied her heart.
Fatuous or condescending, under or over-dressed—
each one she has been matched to has left her unimpressed.
No plangent love bells have rung out.  No lover has been gettable.
One theme that’s been repetitive is that they’re all forgettable.


Prompt words today are skookum (strong or brave) repetitive, fatuous, plangent and smooth.


Outta Here!

Outta Here!!!

The preponderance of people do not scintillate
when they tell a story wherein they relate
all the various aches and ills of their last operation,
hoping for our sympathy and our cooperation
in asking for each detail about defective parts—
their livers or their hip joints or their kidneys or their hearts.
Of course they know they’ll wow us and turn our knees to jelly
as they relate the drama of the opening of their belly,
never knowing that we’re blocking out all memory of their story
that is boring in recital, though its details may be gory.
All-in-all they need to know they’re in double jeopardy
first of losing bodily organs, and then of losing me!!!

Prompt words today are block, preponderance, jeopardy, scintillate and jelly.

Fun News

Fun News

Litigation is imperative to end this maudlin folly.
We must petition powers that be to make the news more jolly.
Fill it up with cheerful stuff and cover up the crime.
Scrub the whole environment to cover up the grime.
There isn’t any heartache and prejudice is over.
Cover up the poison ivy. Embellish the clover.
Dealing with reality simply isn’t fun,
so let’s whitewash reality until the the world is done.
Reality shows are way more fun than boring old reality.
So let’s cheer up the news again with fictional banality!

Prompt words today are folly, maudlin, petition, imperative and litigation. Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Greatest Story Ever Told: Wordle 536

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Join us in the circle that chronicles the blend
of our different stories that lead to just one end.
Our ceiling is the clouds and one wall is the west
and the north and south and east combine to form the rest.
Raven speaks our history that’s written on the sands
of the mighty ocean that touches all the lands,
pounding at their edges with insistent fists
 gathering the  surfaces that formerly it kissed.
Pulling all the rock slides roughly with its hands,
grinding all the boulders down to powdered sand.
This is one grand story that none of us should miss .
Have you any story more relevant than this?

For The Sunday Whirl the prompt words are: room cloud any fist raven rock slide speak west story blend circle