Thursday, December 11, 2014

That which I've learned

Never place your trust
In a man who wears pointy toed shoes
Or a dog whose prick ears go back
In the position that means fear
When coyotes howl on PBS

Keep several grains of salt
In a little bag in your pocket
For when you go to church
The car dealership
Anywhere near candidates for office

Know that the human heart is a hotel
People check in, people check out
One leaves a five spot on the pillow
One steals the coffee carafe

Believe that if you lay your palm
On a tree and say "Good morning"
If you wait quietly a few moments
You will hear the tree say "The same to you"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Dog Writes Poems About Rain

All of his poems have titles like
Evil Water Falls Promiscuously
From the Sky the Gods Must Be Dead

In the park he stands under a tree
muttering phrases and counting out meter
until I give up and go back to the car
for the glove-compartment umbrella

Your mother's people herded Belgian sheep
And your father's fathers were from Labrador
I tell him
There's no earthly reason why you should
be so Evelyn-Genevieve-Priscilla about rain

Water is for drinking purposes only
He states in the voice of a narrator
of health department PSAs
And hold that umbrella right
A damp collar one moment is pneumonia the next

Monday, October 20, 2014

This I Believe

When a shaft of sunlight
shines down on
the most comfortable
armchair in the house
and the dog has curved
his spine just right
into the space
where the chair back
meets the chair seat
do not shift him
so you can take his place
sit nearby

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Case Family Can Be Found

Always scanning the faces
of people in queues
in case family can be found
at the Dairy Queen
on dollar Blizzard day
or at Target
in the returns lane

Always saying Lovely green beans
Cute dog
Ah, Margaret Fuller!
to people
behind tables at the farmers market
on the trail
in case family can be found
behind tables at the farmers market
on the trail

Always stopping to read the bulletin board
in the foyer of the library
in hopes family can be found
between the minutes of the last
city council meeting
and the poster
on the safe disposal of sharps

Friday, October 3, 2014


I said Wrap your arms around my neck
to a wolf
and he did
and I staggered backwards
and he lurched forwards
and then he was free from the quicksand
that protects the east entrance
to the elephants' graveyard
and a monkey screeched on a birch branch up above
and a lion roared
and a Jack Russell Terrier
in a jingle dress
danced in the falling snow

Wolf, I said
it was a dumbass thing
to fall into quicksand
anyone with your knowledge of the Paris subway system
should know that
Girl, he said
I had a hunger deep inside
and the marrow from the thigh bone
of a she elephant
is so filling
as long as she didn't die
of a broken heart
so I took a calculated risk
Besides, you shouldn't talk
everyone knows you go out in your jim-jams
to score Oreos at 24-hour convenience store prices

Wolf, I said
you see right through me
Girl, he said
you are a Pyrex measuring cup to me

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Zinnia Buffet

The straight row of thumbelina zinnias
is zig-zaggy and not very thumbelina
unless thumbelina means tall and taller
and over there as high as the fence
it wouldn't make a cover shot for
The English Garden magazine

But two swallowtails
a monarch
and a bumblebee as big as a big man's thumb
are tasting one flower and then the next
a little zig-zagginess no impediment
to moving methodically through
what's on offer at the zinnia buffet

Friday, June 6, 2014

Four Deer at the Oakdale Trail

Four deer in the clearing
Papa, Mama, their son,
and a cousin who is living
with them while attending
community college
to get her certificate
in phlebotomy
She’s getting
her head together
after finally admitting
that her mother was right
taking up with a married man
is just getting on the freeway
to East Heartache, Minnesota
population too many stupid
people to count
That story going round
about the meth
the Woodbury police department
the rehab on the taxpayer’s dime?
There's not a word of truth in it

It's true she looks a little rough
But that’s because she
spends all her free time
slapping herself into the middle
of next week when she thinks
of all the dumb-ass
moves she's made

Four deer in the clearing
Papa, Mama, their son,
and a cousin who wonders
if she should have waited
to give up Diet Pepsi
until things were more settled
in her life

Monday, February 24, 2014

What does a writer for health care quality improvement write about?

Feel the peace of mind only regular
colonoscopies can give

Use this piece of foam
because an early pressure ulcer
is just a red spot but the smell
of stage four will make you want to lose
your daily food intake
which should include less than 100 calories
from sugar per day

For years we've been stifling your mother
with enough seroquel
to sedate a Clydesdale
and now don't worry
she'll do fine on aromatherapy alone

Experts cost money so click on the link
to take this self-directed learning module
so you can become activated
to take charge of your own health care

Here's this free wallet card
with the signs of a stroke
call 911 if you have any

Everything is a result of the epidemic
of obesity.