An experimental poem for #clmooc

the American

Who are we? And how dare we evolve!
“For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain.”
A bully on the world’s playground.

We are narcissistic to a fault:
calling ourselves the future’s last, best hope –
a white picket fence, a nuclear family,
Daddy wearing a coat and tie to work,
a spare bedroom for travelling guests.

A false sense of elitism
cancels out our everyman-ship.
They say a fish can’t survive
in water that’s too pure – so let’s
just have a cupcake and call it a day.


At sudden death
We rest out cleats
From all the teams –
No more offense,
No more defense,
No more kickoff
Or receiving teams
Calling on us to take the field.

We rest on the sidelines,
We grace the bench,
Our stats-making done.
And all we can do
Is observe and acquiesce.

Sailor, rest your oars.
Your work is done here,
You answered every bell.
We have the watch.



a memory of mess decks, and sailing, and ports (#clmooc inspired)

An odd selection, perhaps,
For a fast-attack submarine mess deck,
But “Sailing” was the most oft requested music
By the chiefs and the crew (it was 1981)
And by the mess decks staff
During a long Indian Ocean deployment
(Of which, I am not ashamed to say, I was a part).

The Senior Chief advised me
To change my rating to Supply,
Complete my tour, and move on
To contracting. But at that point
Engineering was my love, the source
Of my new swagger, and changing
Was not in the picture I’d imagined.

We got prolonged on station –
Bad guys patrolling above us,
Bad guys beneath. Much to observe.
I missed the rendez-vous I planned
With a special sailor friend on the sub tender
In Diego Garcia – missed the tender altogether.
Got there later, in time for “Double Fantasy.”
Mess deck duty ended. The music remained.

a poem made from words first introduced in my birth year, 1955

Jan 27

#tdc2937 #ds106

A Rastafarian and a Sovietologist
got together to discuss microminiaturization
& deinstitutionalization of Euclidean algorithms.

In the end, both had hidden agendas:
Both free agents, technophiles, interested solely in
information science & artificial intelligence.

On Robert Burns Night, 2020

Everything’s autobiographical. I’m 12% Scot –
I take my single malt with soda water
And my dark chocolate with hazelnuts.
Lift your glasses high – we recognize
Our absentee Scottish fathers, sneaking
Out to the quarters at the midnight hour
To rape our enslaved mothers.
A special toast for our stepfathers –
who did their best to raise us anyway.
They stepped into the breach again
and again, overlooking our mothers’ pain
And their own. We are forever in their debt.
Still, the blood runs deep – in dreams
and nightmares we hear our mothers’ screams.

From a previous collection, Bissau Verses

empire sunset

at the end of time
sunset will seem to last
forever –
a thin red strip
on the horizon,
thinning, flickering
in its futile attempt
to stay, to widen
to reverse time –

but we all know
that time only reverses
itself in poetry –

and in Superman movies
when Lois Lane dies

and the Man of Steel
reverses Earth’s rotation
to forestall, reverse
her death’s circumstance.

At the very end one might
even be persuaded
that that sunset is itself
a beginning –
a dawn, not a dusk –
but that would be
a deception.

A sonnet attempt for 2020

Twenty-twenty has an ominous zing
To it. Excitement on the horizon,
Or even better, just beyond the break.
A simple thing of wonder, this passage
Around the sun that marks another year:
We cite resolutions for health and love
And pray for the resolve to see them through.
A plot meanders – it takes a few weeks
To learn its language, the syntax and all
With which to tell the story, a fable
Of a circumambulation – a curse,
Perhaps, masquerading as a blessing.
Beyond ritual, it IS truth we seek, 
A truth that’s not always in the middle.