Sunday, May 17, 2015

zero hour

illustrations by pete palomine

zero hour had come and gone
the all clear was sounded
billy opened the window and looked out
a cat ran down the street

a dog ran across the lawn
education had not proved to be the answer
maybe frankie would come back now
from beyond the grave

how do you know?
that was the insistent question
just then the phone rang
billy drew a picture of a kangaroo

louise answered the phone
maybe, billy heard her say
now he was in for it
outside in the distance sirens started up

perhaps the world was ending after all
it couldn’t end quick enough
maybe they would get it right this time
suddenly it all came back to him

he remembered the tiger
under the front porch
in the old homestead in old virginia
where the wisteria ran wild

excuse me, louise interrupted
the call is for you
zeros are beyond counting
all the family will be here tomorrow for the reading of the will

Friday, May 15, 2015


illustrations by pete palomine

yeti came by again last night
he had nothing new to say
he told all the old stories
i don’t want to say he was boring

we told him we were charmed
but politely declined his invitation
exquisitely phrased as it was
to follow him to hell and back

vanessa got up and scratched her neck
but held yeti’s importunate gaze
roger was not interested
and kept murmuring, just so… just so

vanessa disappeared into the kitchen
we heard laughter outside the window
meaning is not always clear
the night is a more gracious host

than we odious and imperfect humans
programmed as we are to snickers and rude remarks
roger quietly reminded our guest
that vanessa always remembered everything

say what you will
i always thought there was something more
unless you have something to add
i would very much like to go to bed

when yeti put down his cup
and began making his excuses
roger yawned without apology
and the ritual of civilized behavior was concluded yet again

Thursday, May 14, 2015

exhalation at dusk

illustrations by konrad kraus

euphemia exhaled softly
her youth was over
nothing could bring it back now
alfred was carefully knotting his cravat

beyond the green lawn the sun had set
contrary to the gypsy’s prediction
demons had not erupted from the earth
and the encyclopedia remained on the shelves

alfred’s followers were expected shortly
and he would gratify them
with a heroic excorication of the current government

in which no room would be left for incomprehension

the juniper bush was still in bloom
due to the kind ministrations of the old gardener
who had served the household since lady lucretia’s time
and the moonlight showed them to advantage

no such advantage would accrue to mr noakes
the oldest member of alfred’s party
and the most persistent
in his impertinent questions to euphemia

of which she had repeatedly complained
to the implacably sanguine alfred
tonight would be no different
unless there was an unexpected invasion

of those very demonic forces
that euphemia devoutly wished
would exponentially devour the countryside
and the yet to be born new world of which she was already heartily tired

kiss the screws goodbye

illustrations by konrad kraus

my delicacy, perhaps my vanity
followed kick after kick in quick succession
made clear to all who and what she was

i don't like nosey people

"she should have thought of that before confronting me"

"this conversation is over"

cold indeed must be the hearts
frisking him for the loot
followed kick after kick in quick succession

dying out in this fatal atmosphere
frisking him for the loot
one of the beautiful, the most beautiful things

goaded him into greater brutishness
sprawled across the sidewalk
died out in this fatal atmosphere

o my delicacy, perhaps to my vanity
i don't like nosey people
i am one of the beautiful, the most beautiful things

following kick after kick in quick succession
to my delicacy, perhaps to my vanity
i lost much of my ancient consequence and grandeur

yes, much of my ancient consequence and grandeur
to make clear to all who and what she was
cold indeed must be the hearts

i goaded him into greater brutishness
sprawled across the sidewalk
sprawled helplessly across the sidewalk

sources: the heroic slave, by frederick douglas;
clotel, by william wells brown;
our nig, by harriet e wilson;
ten nights in a bar-room, by t s arthur;
the turn of the screw, by henry james;
the golden bowl, by henry james;
sister carrie, by theodore dreiser;
the wedding, by dorothy west;
kiss tomorrow goodbye, by horace mccoy;
my gun is quick, by mickey spillane;
the big kill, by mickey spillane

part 2

Monday, May 4, 2015

the vampire

illustrations by eddie el greco

the vampire’s house was dark
whenever veronica walked past
except on tuesdays when a yellow light shone in the upstairs window

nobody believed in the vampire any more
after the hard-hitting expose in the weekly gazette
boys had stopped throwing stones at the house and change was in the air

a few despondent acolytes remained
but their energy was at a low ebb
father bill, the fighting exorcist, had left town
on a gray afternoon just before thanksgiving

however veronica was not daunted
she had a burning intensity all her own
her juvenile record would remained unrevealed
by the kindly record keeper at the courthouse

a lady who herself had known ostracism
and had memories of vanished millennia
when necromancers ruled the earth and skies
and the orphans of baal and moloch walked the roads

the shadow of pluto has never left the town
the role of queen of darkness has yet to be filled
those who remember still hope for reward
in the snowy silence of the unbaptized winter

tomorrow is forever
to the initiated and the uninitiated alike
victory is just a word
but the wine of eternal death ages in the cellar of eternity

Saturday, May 2, 2015


illustrations by eddie el greco

understanding is crucial
very soon they will arrive
with their waistcoats and questionnaires
they will accept no excuses

not even for youth and comeliness
or the yawning void
king arthur himself can not save us
barricaded as he is behind his walls

we must be courteous
and evince no sudden outbursts of despair
after all we are not elephants
and look forward to no tigers on the


greatness has surely eluded us
and happiness is not even a dream
we can not plead ignorance
just when the train is arriving

keep a copy of the proceedings
but do not let them see you secretly smile
many documents are yet to be released
and no one - not even ajax - will read them all

outside a bird is singing
inside a parrot is listening - or a panther
who may already have reached his quota
but be keeping a gazelle in reserve

so that is the way of it
it is troublesome to be sure
uncle jonathan would never have understood
dedicated as he was to the concept of total victory