In search of story


The wimp who would be writer

I’ve been immersed
in the worst

kind of writing.

The kind
that mazes mind.

Forced to dredge,
lean over the edge.
No net,
no ledge
but cowardice,
my oft-times savior.

I waiver.

It is too big,
I am too small.
Words are too short,
life is too tall.

Why try?
I cry.

taunts the muse.
the writer dies
a thousand deaths,
singing revision blues.

Re-, re-, re-



my pen,

Look to spring,
the muse sings.
If crocus can arise
from dark place
so can you.

It snows,
stupid muse!
No crocus I
Just coward
barely mettled,
words in pieces,
thoughts unsettled.

— a stirring underground —
wanting courage,
perhaps stubbornness
will do.


Roundelay for March

‘Tis wondrous fair
how I swerve and swear
in a seamless arc
as I weave and snark
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
around the potholes.

I amaze myself
with my grace and stealth
with jaws clenched tight
as I curse their blight
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
oh, the potholes.

It’s a lurch and a sway
and a moan and a bray
a zag and a zig
an impossible jig
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
amid the potholes.

A screech and a gasp
a white-knuckled grasp
a brake-slam dance
a murderous glance
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
it’s dodgems
edging on the potholes.

Of patience bereft
mine axles cleft,
with a bang and a twist
imprecation and a fist
a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
I rage in vain
against the potholes.

The snow is black
there’s a wrench in my back
it’s cold and bleak
as I jolt and squeak
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
and an inch to spare
beside the potholes.

Ah, misery me,
It’s a dreary dance
around the potholes.
My car doesn’t fly
and neither do I
so we take our chance
around the potholes
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
we take our chance
and dance
around the potholes.



Should ugly birds be fed? I’ve been asking myself that question as I grumpily watch the descent of the feathered mobs on the birdseed in the back yard. The grackles come in hordes like Visigoths, strong in number, and, worse, ugly! The finch feeder heaves and pitches under the weight of their assault, and their iridescent black feathers glow like an oil slick under the maple. My birdseed is for cute birds, pretty birds, not for ugly birds!

I’ve been thinking about my thinking. Where do I get this notion that birdseed is just for the cute, pretty birds? What are the corollaries of that?

Am I overthinking? Perhaps.

But more likely it is another memory pushing its way up.

There was a time in my married life when I lost weight because there wasn’t enough to eat. I didn’t know how I was going to feed my sons the next week. Make no mistake: I do not compare myself to those who starve in famine and drought and devastating poverty. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t affected.

Scarlett O’Hara yanked a wild onion out of the ground and ate it, dirt and all, then shook her fist at the sky with the vow AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN. It was a deeply human moment. I made a different vow: I would never trust anyone again — not on the level at which people trust each other in marriage. I didn’t know until years later that I’d made that vow, but now I know.

What god of irony appointed me the arbiter of worthiness for food? Bon appetit, grackles!