Tag Archives: your daily word

Tofurky Asafoetida Blues

Tofurky Asafoetida Blues

My brother’s new wife has the whole family curious.
Her allegations seem New-Age and spurious.
With the result  that grandma is furious.

She turns family gatherings into a podium
where she expounds on the dangers of sodium.
Meanwhile, the whole family is on Imodium .

Off to the bathroom, each one in a hurry
after imbibing in her saltless curry.
Will grandpa recover? We all share the worry.

Her  asafoetida and cumin and dahl
have certainly cast an ominous pall.
We hardly enjoy family dinners at all!

She stuffs us with pita and gags us with bulgur
because she thinks regular rice is just vulgar.

But macrobiotic and Christmas don’t mix.
We miss all the old foods she’s certain to nix.

No turkey, no dressing, no cranberry sauce.
And no Christmas pudding, ’cause she is the boss!

For years, family dinners went by with no glitch,
but not so since bro married this tedious bitch.

So Santa. this year it would be very pleasant
if you gave us all just one communal present.

Please, Santa, deliver us from her tofurkey
and restore us to pudding and dressing and turkey!!!


Note: Asafoetida is a strong spice with a pungent smell, often used in Indian cuisine. It has been known to cause burping, farting and swelled lips.

Words of the day are ditch, insist , spurious, vulgar and sodium.


Unruly Behavior

Unruly Behavior

His mat of curly snow-white hair his most distinctive feature,
he wore his pelt upon his head like some lanigerous creature.

A trial to this innocent lamb was that daily battle
with his unruly students who milled around like cattle, 
and because he was a gentle man who never used the belt,
they never knew precisely how horrible he felt.
Still, tongues can drub as lethally as bludgeons or as bats
to destroy  a weak opponent. So, without a doubt, that’s
why he walked out on eighth period, and what he did instead
was to resolve the problem with a bullet through his head.

In the early seventies, with its schools grossly understaffed, the Australian government started recruiting abroad, offering airfare and a “settling in” allowance to any chosen foreign teacher willing to emigrate to Australia. I jumped at the chance and days after my graduation from college, I flew to Sydney for a week-long  orientation session, then went on to Wollongong where I finished out the school year as a supernumerary teacher in a special school for the top students in the area, taking over a few classes from each overburdened teacher until I could be assigned to my own schedule the following semester. What happened, however, was that after a few months, I was reassigned to replace a teacher who had been fired for smoking pot with his students at a school in a government migrant housing district in the middle of the steel mill area.

The classes were not only overfilled, with 38 students per class, but they were also ability-grouped, with top students in the A group and the lowest-performing students in the D through F groups. As a new teacher, I was assigned mainly to these low-performance classes which in truth meant that I was also teaching the classes with disruptive students who displayed the most behavior problems.

So it was with Charles, another teacher recruited from the states—an older man who after flying to Australia and furnishing his apartment,  one day in the middle of an especially confrontational class session with his 3F class, walked out the door, packed his bags and flew back to the states that night, leaving off the keys to his apartment at our apartment on his way to the airport, directing us to dispense with its contents as we saw fit.

I was reminded of this on Facebook today when a fellow-teacher marked the 50th anniversary of that wild year by sending me a photo of kitchen utensils they had culled from Charles’s apartment—which they use to this day. My roommate and I scored his dining room table, a single mattress which we put on the floor in our living room to use as a couch, and a woven tablecloth we hung on the wall above the “couch.”

Although some of the details have been changed to allow the prompts to be used, (our Charles was bald and thankfully figured out a less-violent solution to his problem) this poem was inspired by the memory of his action. I, on the other hand, finished out that year and re-upped for another, completing  that year as well before becoming one of the notorious “Berkeley 14,” who prompted a district-wide walk-out in protest to teaching conditions. But that is a story for another day, another prompt.

Here are the only photos I have of my Australian crew of friends, all of whom taught at the school where I taught as well. You can see Charles’ table, his mattress (floor couch) as well as his bedspread we hung on the wall in our dining room. My friends did not always dress this strangely. This was a Bazza McKenzie party–and guests were to come dressed in the worst possible taste to reflect Bazza’s stereotyped Australian personality. The guy in the “revolutionary” outfit complete with steel-wool beard and pineapple grenade (compiled by us, to reflect his anti-Bazza personality) is Chuck–one of the instigators of the Berkeley 14 protest. Can’t remember how many others in this group were part of it. I think I’ve explained it in another post. If so, I’ll include a link.

Prompts today are lanigerous, belt, innocence, drub and battle. The photo of the sheep is by Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash.

Poetic Reconstruction

Poetic Reconstruction

I’m going to the hospital. I’ve made a reservation,
for I am much in need of a creative restoration.

I need an operation to regain my way of seeing.
I’m going to regain my glow–the fiber of my being.

I suffer from prosaism. Triteness clogs each vein.
My poetic diagnosis? Derivative. Inane.

The abundance of my poems does not refute the fact
of the originality that lately they have lacked.

So, take me to the hospital. I’m ready to be cut.
I’m ready to be lifted from my creative rut.

Unveil my eyes, unblock my brain. Clear pathways to my heart,
but as you improve parts of it, please leave the broken part.

For all the pleasures of the world do not make up a whole.
It also takes some sorrows to feed a poet’s soul.


Prompt words today are abundance, hospital, fiber, prosaism and glow.

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.

Pierced Dove

Click on photos to enlarge.

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.

Mismatched Hearts

Mismatched Hearts

She overdosed on tinder, declaring it a bomb.
She’s through with OKCupid and over Match.com.
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.


Slip of a Man

Slip of a Man

Heredity’s not all it’s made out to be.
Some fall a bit far from the family tree.
Though his father is heavy, he’s a slip of a man
who dines on fine china while dad eats from the pan.

He’s a  Jane Austen reader and a Volkswagen fan
while his old man likes football and drives a Ram Van.
Though the elder’s been known to go off on a binge,
when offered a drink, his son pours just a tinge—
a small drop of rum in a glass full of Coke—
a drink that his dad considers a joke.
Not at all like his father, he walks his own walk.
I guess you could say “a slip off the old block.”

Prompt words today are block, slip, tinge and heavy .Image by Ricky Grigore on Unsplash

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.

Soliloquy of a Nut

Soliloquy of a Nut

I’m ready to be sassy. I’m tired of being dull.
This toothsome nut within the shell is set to leave her hull.
My shape is callipygian. I’m hippest of them all,
and when I’ve reached maturity, you’re sure to see me fall.

When the air turns algid and its cold air cuts,
you might want to console yourself with some roasted nuts.
When you need to feed your hunger, come crack me from my shell,
for to satisfy your appetite’s exactly why I fell.

Prompts today are ready, sassy, callipygian, algid and feed.