24 | Septinarius Octonarius

Seven-foot line, especially trochaic tetrameter catalectic, as in

Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet t’is early morn

which, however, should more properly be called an octonarius

but, technically, who’s counting or scanning or caring.

. . . . .



23 | eagle

eagle shows us how

keen eyes and exquisite skill

swoop down from on high

. . . . .


Miriam Made Her Dollhouse in 1972

An artist makes a house and fills it with herself. She chooses walnut and warm pine floors, a cherry-wood peak. Six shutters stand open, pulled back, the house’s insides exposed. No stairs, doors. No obvious means of connection can be seen: just simultaneous parallels.

It’s five past nine in the kitchen. The cat licks a small bowl set on linoleum. A blue willow plate lives above the stove midst wallpaper roses and thorns. The shelves are not bare; and there is fruit on top of the fridge. By the window over the sink, soldiers stand in rows — and wait.

In the living room, eight lights dance behind two lace drapes with four medallions each. Roses on the walls again, but paler this time. A plant, a basket, an African mask. Who knows what else hides within these walls? Nothing through sliding-glass doors: only darkness shows.

Above, a fine-feathered prima donna leans against pearl-studded, white-satin walls. Peach silk brocade covers her bed. Jewels abound — but she is bald. A coiffed-blonde younger-self peers out of a glittering gold frame. No window in this room. Soft lambs-wool lies underfoot.

Next door, lush-red patterns, redolent of velvet luxury and oriental ease. Rugs, pillows, curtains, a bed – three still birds: lost pheasants, lonely peacocks, or robins building a nest. Here, unusual fullness and heaviness beckon, beseech us to be moved – or simply to move on.

Above, a studio space: slanted skylight, clear view of a church spire. Geometric painting on an easel reproduces patterns of window-lights. A naked, stuffed mannequin stands on a dais in his boots. A cork-tower rises beside him. Behind him a kiln-glazed earthenware pitcher.

In the uppermost, left-hand-corner room of the dollhouse, strange combinations create consternation and wonder. A full-sized brown bear stands on hind legs outside the third-floor window. Yellow elephants lumber across old walls. There are books, a rug, and an electric lamp.

A rocking-horse shares the shelf with an over-sized snow-globe. In front of the bear-window, a ruffled-blue bassinet sits empty. On the floor, a large marble egg breaks open: a baby lies inside the hollow well of one half; a black spider sits atop the milky-white dome of the other.

Thus, solid rectangular base: three floors, four windows, no doors. Cat, woman, spider, child, birds, bear, man. Kitchen, parlor, boudoir, kasbah, nursery. Mini-imaginations and golden grains of wood. Tiny shutters protect each window. Select textures keep mysteries alive.

. . . . .


21 | All Adds to the Nonsensical

Assyrians celebrate their new year by
listening to poets recite creation stories.

Abbess Æbbe and her sister nuns greet
their untimely deaths at Coldingham.

Agape, Chionia, and Irene: ancient sisters
who, of course, became Christian martyrs.

Atlantic day shelters meet only the most
basic needs of lost women and children.

American mothers reminisce about old
gendered pink & blue safety diaper pins.

Another quiet contemplative nun on the
run takes refuge in Italy’s mountains.

Alcohol screening in the Andes results
in the most boring Peruvian data yet.

Angolan youth still experience war &
conflict amid their own rising hopes.

Amateur radio announcers soon plan
new adult autism awareness series.

Animal crackers jump off the shelves
after they get to know their customers.

Atheists are also scheduled to re-make
pizza pies after they break the pinatas.

Amaretto and garlic-fried rice balls will
be served before Good Friday espresso.

Agnes and her casual friends count out
the cost of all their empty wine bottles.

Auctioneers make Vermont cheddar fries
& plan on pineapple-upside-down cakes.

All nonsense seems to create its own mix:
mysterious, synchronous juxtapositions.

. . . . .


20 | Senior Circulars

So, who do you think did it?
Well, I don’t think — I know.
So, who was it then that did it?
Well, I know — but I can’t tell.

Hey, it was Shrove Monday yesterday.
No, today is Shrove Tuesday — all day.
Yes, but yesterday was Shrove Monday.
No, up here we only do Shrove Tuesday.

Okay, but why do you serve pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
What? Why we serve pancakes because it’s Shrove Tuesday!
But what’s the tradition based on? Where’d it come from?
Honestly! We serve pancakes because it’s Shrove Tuesday!

I have a lot of canned cat food I’d like to give away. Want it?
Sorry, my cat’s very picky. Doesn’t like that kind. Won’t eat it.
But, if you don’t find anyone, you can take it to the food shelf.
What? They’re giving cats away for free at the food shelf now?

Oh, you look nice today — all spiffed up!
Yep, sure is a lovely day today, isn’t it?

. . . . .


Alpha Bets, Omega Wins

Apples are sold at autumn faires, though
Blockheads don’t go, or buy them there.

Cauliflowers grow white as curds, but
Ducks have colors, like other birds.

Eagles soar high in the sky above, while
Farmers work the land far below.

Gentlemen, void of care, hunt with their
Hounds — to run down the hare.

Innocents may look dark, but only when
Keys lock them out of the park.

Larks flit about in the air, but most
Mammals will never get there.

No one’s ever at fault — it’s just that
Otters are so fast, they can’t get caught.

Plums so often get drippy, especially when
Quaking aspens shimmer in the wind.

Roses grow on bushes, not on trees, and
Sailors still plough the deep-blue seas.

Tops look like turnips as they spin and fall
Underneath the kitchen table.

Virgins ignore whatever they are told —
Wealthy in virtue, if not silver and gold.

Xerxes’ boys want to wax strong, like
yews — fulsome, and forever green.

Zena’s girls dream the same dream.

. . . . .