Thursday, June 30, 2016


I took a chunk out of the pad of my thumb yesterday.
I am reminded by the event
Of the finger condom
The cut-out from a latex glove
Or vinyl
Meant to keep holes in things
From impregnating food and such
With something not desired
But it occurs to me
That it does not stop the spread of disease by hand
At least not the disease most pernicious that hands can spread
The smallest germs that have the biggest effects
When they find purchase
Infecting brains and altering behavior

I will not say there is no prophylactic
The politics of 2016 show that there is
And widespread
Showing up in Brexit and thoughts of
Frexit and Texit and Departugal
And other cunning portmanteaus that could be imagined
But it is not a simple shred of material strapped over something
That serves as the barrier involved

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The headline reads
What Happens When the Glitterati Leave?
And I thought it
A good question

It is not the kind of thing
With which I have to contend
Is not a place the glitterati go
They seldom pass through it
Only to fill their tanks
And sneer at the backwards provinciality

The same is true for where I was

Where I was before that
Is not a place the glitterati will ever leave
It is one of their homelands
Where herds of them
Coruscating in flickering light
Are ushered along
To some uncertain end

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Sudden spikes surge out
Such a thing would be
It is not a bad thing
Not at all
Rather the opposite

Perhaps others might benefit
From the undesirable
Becoming acceptable
Or even encouraged

Such shifts are the stuff of
Ongoing debate
Although some of them
Should not be

Monday, June 27, 2016


Every so often
A bit of verse appears
In a place unexpected
(This is not it)
When it does
Because it is unexpected
It commands attention
Breaks in patterns always do
And I will be giving the piece attention
I have done such things
But it seems that another place
Fits better
So I have something to do today
To be sure

Sunday, June 26, 2016


More of the same
Seems to be all
That is available
So insert your sameness here
And see it reproduced
Read yourself here
As it is written
In your head
By your pen
And pretend that it is mine
Pretend hard
Hell, sign off to that effect
I have
More than once
And been paid for it
Maybe I will get paid
If you do it
This time

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Only six months
Only six months
Only six months
'Til Christmas Day
'Til Christmas Day
'Til Christmas Day
So post displays
So post displays
So post displays
Of folks who say
Happy Holidays
As you buy and buy

Friday, June 24, 2016


John Bull has left the dance
Marianne is still twirling
Her partner in black and red and yellow
And the harper looks on sadly
While the others shake their heads

One of Bull's kids
Everybody's uncle, somehow
And THAT uncle
(You know the kind
You have one
Or you are one
Or both)
Is either sniggering in the corner
Or has just realized something about his wallet
Even though John Bull's problems
Leave his wallet looking smaller
Pound for pound

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I wore polyester
As I had not in a while

It functioned as advertised
Keeping my pale
Flesh away from the sun
Drying quickly after being

I am happy to be back in cotton
The polyester does not breathe
And air that does not move

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I majored in English
Got graduate degrees in it
I think it ought to be clear
I like to read
And so I read
Even though I know
I can never read enough
But I try
And sometimes that takes a bit more time than
I realize

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A popular game
Among my people
Could be called
Spot the Problems
Because what we invest in
Is used
And misused
And the misuses attract attention

Some folks' investments
Are not misused
People get the details right
But they do not care
So much
About mine

If we want the real
If we want the authentic
Why do we not attend more to
Small things
From which the bigger things emerge?

Monday, June 20, 2016


The song says in the summertime
The livin's easy
(And one singer I've heard
Had to add the G
It should not be there)
With fish jumpin'
And cotton grown high
But where the cotton's not planted
And the river-fish aren't fit for eatin'
There ain't no easy livin' in any season
I wonder what the song would say of that

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I have a father
I am a father
And I understand better
Why my father acts as he does

Some of it will always be
A mystery
Because I do not have me as a child
And I know I was a little shit
In ways my child
Is not

But I have fears he never had to have
Just as he had fears
And has fears
No doubt
That I will not have to have

I am grateful that he faced them
Faces them
As he has and does

I hope to do so well

Saturday, June 18, 2016


It is happening
As it always seems to do
And I
Have no idea
What to do about it

I am supposed to be
A good student
I have the documentation
From outside sources
Independent sources
To support the assertion

Can I not learn the lesson I need to
And figure out a way
To handle it better?

Friday, June 17, 2016


Be short
Get to the point
Don't drag things out
Why are you taking so long?

There is more to be said
Even if you do not want to hear it
And what you want
May not be what you need

You benefit from the practice
Of untangling things

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The stuff of nightmares
Natural occurrences
Although nobody's fault
And unnatural ones
Where much blame is to be found
Although none of it does any

She is two
She is fearless
She is wonderful
She is precious to me
And I am afraid
For her

The normal means
Of comfort
Offer none
Although I realize
My discomfort
Is only that

I do not look to feel pain

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Every so often, I recall or put together some story about things my family and I have owned. One of them came back to me recently for reasons I only dimly see and am not entirely willing to discuss, but the story itself--insofar as I recall it--might be good, so...

My daughter, the resplendent Ms. 8, is like many children in that she had pacifiers in her early life. She is like many in that she had one or two that she favored. One of them was a green plastic thing, the side-pieces that prevent it going all the way into the child's mouth open, the button behind the nipple depicting a smiling cartoon face--not a specific character, just an abstract representation of a narrow-eyed or closed-eyed smile. However often her mother or I would put the thing in her mouth in the "correct" position--with the button positioned such that the eyes sat above the smiling mouth--she would invert it, although the resulting inverted smile was far from a representation of her mood. (Ms. 8 is generally happy. I am unsure where she gets so pleasant a disposition. I suppose it must be her mother.)

Because it was one of Ms. 8's favorites, when she, her mother, her father and stepmother, and I went to the City of Thunder on a day-trip one time, we took it along with us. Because she was young, she had it in her mouth as we went about the small, near-stagnant canal with which the City of Thunder seeks to emulate the Alamo City's famous and ever-growing Riverwalk. Because she was and still is a vigorous child, prone to expressing her excitement, she squealed in delight at getting to see new things with her Papa and Granny, her Mama and Daddy, and she flung her arms about in the throes of her joy.

You can, perhaps, see where this is going.

In one such spasm, her favored pacifier went flying from her mouth and hands into the slow-flowing water of the near-stagnant canal, doing so as we sat in a small craft on a guided tour through the lower reaches of the City of Thunder, trolling about the exposed appendix of the place. She flung, it flopped, it plopped, and it was lost in the wake behind us and the dozen others on the boat, who soon found themselves annoyed at the baby crying in their midst.

We disembarked soon after, of course, and continued to look around the area while afoot, stopping in at one shop or another. Ice cream was had, for the sun was bright and the day was hot. And as we continued to walk, looking at the thick green water, we saw something floating along in it, a nephrite against the malachite swirl, a leaf of grass against the algae scum. It was the pacifier, buoyed up and carried slowly by the faint current stirring the nearly still water in the heart of the City of Thunder--carried slowly away from where we were. I, being both jealous of property and desirous of a happy daughter, soon retrieved it, wetting only my hand in the event. (All the better, since I swim like a stone--and that stone is not pumice.)

Ms. 8 did not receive the pacifier back just then, of course. But she did receive it back, in time, only to later have to give it up--but that, of course, is another story...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Work has resumed
The vacation is over
Although it was not restful
And there are jobs to do


I have been too long
Too idle
And I need to do better

Monday, June 13, 2016


As ever
I have nothing to add to
The conversation going on

The events are beyond me

The events are beyond us

The events point to something that needs to be addressed
Once again
Has not been handled
And I am the wrong kind of doctor
To treat the symptoms

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I had thought
I had written something
Something worth reading as a snippet of verse
In another place

When I went to look for it
It was gone
Or perhaps I looked in the wrong place

The idea that the words can move
Away from where I saw them
Or thought I did

What would we make
Of a string of ink
Tracings of mindblood
Making their way through the world
Would we even notice?

Saturday, June 11, 2016


It is not all topical
It is not all a direct response to events of the day
Although it is always an expression of how things are
Manifestations of the events of the day
Perhaps at some remove

That does not mean it is not
Even often

But it does not have to be

It would be of no value were it always only

As it is
Some say it is of no value
Even when it speaks to something
Beyond the events of the day

Friday, June 10, 2016


I am staying out of the way
I know I do not loom large enough to effect change
To turn the juggernauts from their paths
And I would rather not be
The small detritus
Crushed and driven into the ground
If I can avoid it
Although I know
If I am seen to get out of the way
I become a target
More points accrue for felling the fleeing

Thursday, June 9, 2016


The hills of oak and cedar are unusually green
The recent rains' effect on them thus easily seen
Yet the undergirding limestone structures of the land
Are not so easy to discern from where onlookers stand
We know that under soils thin the white chalk-stone is found
And porous stone that powders, breaks, makes for uneasy ground
If ever tremor shakes it. Though it has not happened yet
That it will never do so--I will never take that bet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


I always mean to do better
It seems I keep doing worse
What am I doing wrong so damned much of the time?

I clearly do not see it

Did I
I would do better
Or I like to think I would

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I had meant to get up at what had been my regular workday time today. I had meant to take the quiet time before my daughter wakes to get some work done on the freelance piece that awaits me. (My current office arrangement is not conducive to my working while keeping an eye on Ms. 8, and the latter is of more urgency than the former.) But that did not happen; my alarm went off at the appointed time, and my hand slapped the snooze button thereupon before I could rouse enough to recall the plan. It happened twice more; I hauled myself out of bed before it could happen a third. So I began the day behind myself. I have some time to spend on the freelance piece, to be sure, and when I am done writing in this webspace, I will return to working on it; I have research to do, but it should be easily done. Still, it is not a good thing that I start off behind schedule. I need the money much more than I need the delay.

Aside from the small flub, however, things have gone well. I have been quite domestic of late, cooking dinner day after day and doing what I can to keep the house clean. If nothing else, the floors are getting swept daily, and the lawn is freshly mown. Things seem somehow easier at the moment, likely because I am under somewhat less stress than I have previously been. The move does not loom as it did, for one, and there is some assurance of income through my freelance efforts--which are increasing. Too, more support is coming available; among others, I will be picking up my parents as they return from their trip today, and they are pleased to keep an eye on their granddaughter. As such, I will have a bit more room to attend to some of the work that awaits me, including the current freelance piece and the large proofreading job that is coming my way this weekend. (I think I also have a teaching demonstration coming up, which will be helpful. I think I will be talking about citation. It is a good topic for me to cover.)

Ms. 8 still revels in being in the Hill Country. She has been enjoying being around her grandparents' dog, a Dachshund/Chihuahua rescue puppy that joined the family while I was an undergraduate. She has also been enjoying their backyard and the local park--both of which she has gotten to use more often than she had at Sherwood Cottage. (Since I cannot work and keep an eye on her, I keep an eye on her, and that means more play time.) Today, then, between my getting back to work and my getting in the car to pick up her grandparents--and I think Ms. 8 will go with me on that trip--I will make a point of taking her to a place or two to see what all she can see. There will be plenty of time for me to work afterwards, just as there will continue to be plenty of work for me to do. There always is, after all...

Monday, June 6, 2016


Today marks thirty-five years that my parents have been married. I have marked their anniversary before (here, here, and here), as well as the coincidence of that anniversary with the anniversary of the D-Day assault on Normandy. I remain happy about it, even if I was not able to fund their trip this time--they are enjoying themselves on the East Coast--as I was five years ago, on their thirtieth anniversary. Then, of course, my Mrs. and I had them up in The City and in the best of its boroughs (Brooklyn, just so we're clear), owing to my then-greater access to resources of all sorts. Now, they have my Mrs. and I in their home, as well as their granddaughter, and matters are somewhat changed. But that does not mean I do not wish them well today, as well as on their return trip to the Hill Country, with which I will be helping somewhat. Someone has to get them back from the airport, after all...

Ms. 8 will be glad to see them, I think. She delights in her grandparents, and they in her. She is also adjusting well to life in the Hill Country. Her mother and I are working to that end. Yesterday, for example, we took her to the main local park, where a splash pad and improved playground equipment were installed relatively recently (well after I would have been of an age to use them...). She spent a fair bit of time laughing--shrieking with laughter, really--as she ran around the facilities, even when the footing betrayed her and she fell on the sunlit, water-drenched concrete. When she fell, though, she quickly picked herself up and began to run again; I am pleased to see her resilience, and I think she must have gotten it from her mother. Whatever its source, though, I think it will serve her well in her life to come--not because I wish hardships upon my daughter, but because I know the time will come that she will have to face them, and there is nothing I can do to prevent it.

I can work to ease those hardships, however. Encouraging her resilience is one way. Attending to additional work is another, and there has been some fortunate development to that end. I took on a freelance piece yesterday; it will involve a bit of research for me, but it is the kind of thing at which I excel, so while I expect there will be some investment of time, it is not the kind of time that will pass badly for me. Additionally, I have at least one phone interview today, and I have every intention of going out to fill out another one. Yet others might find their way from me out into the world. One or another of them will, with luck, result in something like a regular job offer so that the Mrs., Ms. 8, and I can return to having an independent home of our own. We are not doing poorly at the moment, to be sure, and I am grateful that we have had the cushion we have had, but it is not the kind of thing that does well to be a long-term arrangement...

Sunday, June 5, 2016


I threaded through the hills of oak and cedar
Crossed rain-swollen creeks and rivers
That rarely show themselves as such
Stood upon ranch-lands
Looked on cattle
Worked with animals
Not because I am any kind of cowboy
But because the in-laws have been
In times past
And they still live where they did then

Saturday, June 4, 2016


I'm sorry, folks,
But this is the kind of thing
I said
Would happen
Because the cats cannot be watched
All hours of the day
We have to sleep
And most of us do so
As one
But the cats do not
And I did not
Not after the one cat
You know which one
Got up on the stand
And knocked over the glass
Onto the tile floor
Backed with concrete.

I cleaned it up
But shattered glass does not respond well to my hands
As we have long known

Like I said,
I am sorry, folks.

Friday, June 3, 2016


She found a job after little looking
I have any number of applications out
Only one offers promise
And its vow is perhaps not the best
I can have such a job closer to home
If the locals will let me

Thursday, June 2, 2016


April showers may be sweet
And bring May flowers, oh, so neat,
But hail has come with storms in June
That show no sign of ending soon,
And while we welcome water here
The creek-beds growing all too near
Give pause.

            Despite the rain we need,
And hail we don't, we must proceed
About the business of the day.
At least, that is the thing to say.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


As flowers and their month recede
And the summer approaches
I find myself like a bird
Scratching after the rain has gone
But what worm it is that hides from me
What worm it is I seek to feed to others
Regurgitating what I take in
I do not know