Tuesday, April 18, 2017

 The Silent Cooperative

An alien invasion,
The ships incommunicado
Beyond the stratosphere,
Passionless and precise,
Destroying with impunity.

The minds of Earth puzzled
As they headed underground,
What could they possibly want?
A committee was formed to discuss
The forming of two more committees.

The Internet hummed with eyewitness
Accounts of tragic, slow motion demise.
Twenty-four hour news channels
Foamed with rabid enthusiasm
Everyone had a story to sell.

The destruction continued until
The Earth lay in smoking ruin.
Agents fielded movies-of-the-week
From sumptuous bunkers, curious
As to which stars remained alive.

The blogs and twitter and v-casts
Boiled up like fragrant sewage
To choke the survivors--
An orgy of over-sharing, over-emoting
Martyred, in their digital fortresses

As they departed, the visitors
Delivered a final message to the
Survivors wallowing in misery.
The repeated message said simply:

Be quiet.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Serious Inquiries Only

For Sale, Cheap:

One overflowing gallon of restless ennui

Two pseudo-scientific treatises on the instinctive urge to bite and bite again

A half-full pail of spiraling, foaming, black-eyed jealousy

Ten thousand junk food oblivions and their attendant self-loathings

A six pack of 'at this point, I'd fuck anything' regrets

A baker's dozen of smug eye-rolls from the younger, the cuter, 

The better-dressed

A smothering wave of relentless, unhinged, big-C Capitalism


A red-ringed, tear-stained, Xbox--
One-time heaven, always a friend

Reluctantly parted

Serious inquiries only (I mean it!)
Finally moving on
Need all of this junk gone yesterday...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Mousewife and the Saboteurs

The saboteurs arrived via sampan and slipped into Yangon Port under cover of darkness. Together, they carried enough explosives to end, once and for all, the hundred-year reign of the Konbaung dynasty.
The pink fingers of dawn hadn't yet appeared at the corners of the sky as the men set about placing the first charges against the foundation of the Celestial Palace. At that very moment, a family of field mice happened to be making its way from its burrow beneath the walls of the palace to a nearby stream in the trees below. Noticing the skulking men, the observant Mousewife--using her loudest and most confident voice--asked their intention.
‘We intend to kill the emperor and his family,’ the largest of the saboteurs said.
‘Hah,’ the Mousewife exclaimed, herding her pups away. ‘Best save a bit of that mess for whichever of you next becomes king!’
The saboteurs eyed each other warily. While none would admit it aloud, each harbored fantasies of becoming the next emperor. Once the current regime was dealt with, their reasoning went, a new emperor would naturally arise from amongst them.
They set to work.
Once out of the men's sight, the Mousewife sent her swiftest child to the palace with a warning.
The mouse pup attempted to warn the Commander of the Palace Guard, but found the man snoring, drunk in his bed. The guardsmen were drunk as well, one nearly stepping on him as the man stumbled to the privy. Discouraged, but not wanting to disappoint his mother, the canny creature finally managed to enlist the aid of a lowly washing-up boy. That boy now hung his shaggy head out a window situated directly above the toiling plotters.
‘You’d not want to live here; the privies are icy, and the walls seep smelly green water!’ the boy shouted, hoping to dissuade them from their mission.
The saboteurs ignored him.
‘There are mice in the walls, and bats in the towers. The emperor has gout from bad food, and his concubines make light of his endowment behind his back!’
The saboteurs continued to wind their fuses.
Increasingly alarmed, the washing-up boy ran off and told the assistant cook, who, after some convincing, came down for a look and now hung from the selfsame window.
 ‘I spit in the emperor’s soup,’ he yelled grimly. ‘We all do!’
No reply.
‘The larders are full of black mold!’ he shouted in frustration.
The Mousewife and her family had returned from the stream. Noticing the men still laboring at the base of the wall, she decided a more direct method of intervention was required. Using her loudest, most confident voice, she addressed the closest of the saboteurs.
‘Pardon me. I am small, sir, but I am quick. I’ve seen everything there is to see within the palace. I can show you where to place your charges so that the emperor and his family will be instantly killed by the explosion.’
The largest saboteur stroked his mustache, narrowing his eyes.
‘Show us,’ he said.
The Mousewife led the saboteurs to a nondescript spot on the vast wall. ‘Here,’ she said. ‘The emperor's dining room is just on the other side. The explosion will kill him, and the throne will be yours.’
The largest saboteur still appeared skeptical. ‘What do you gain from helping us, little one?’
The Mousewife rose to her furry haunches. ‘Gain?’ she replied, ‘I wish only to preserve my home and the lives of my children. What care I who sits the throne, so long as I can live below it?’
The saboteurs nodded, each in their turn, apparently satisfied with her answer.
‘However,’ she continued. ‘I will ask one small token for my aid. May I have one of your fine hats?  I will use the straw to line my burrow, so that in the winter months my family stays warm and dry.’
The saboteurs smiled at such a small request, and after some squabbling, handed over the most worn and shabby of their hats.
Soon, all the explosive charges were moved to the single spot the mouse had indicated. Anxious as they were to complete the job thoroughly, the saboteurs had piled up every ounce of explosive in their possession.
The explosion was deafening. A great hole appeared in the thick wall, and through that hole rushed a raging torrent of green water, first engulfing the saboteurs, and then drowning them in the roots of the trees below. It seems that they, in their haste to blow up the Imperial Family, had instead breached the Celestial Palace’s immense and ancient underground river cisterns.
When the water came, the Mousewife jumped nimbly into the straw hat at her feet, and hanging on for dear life, rode out the flood in relative safety.
For his valorous efforts in thwarting the assassination attempt, the assistant cook now holds the title of Exalted Chef to his Celestial Majesty. At the base of the now-repaired wall, a copy of the Celestial Palace, in miniature, has been erected on the shore of the recently created millpond. And in front of that miniature palace, pups wrestling at her feet, a Mousewife sits, weaving warm straw mats for the winter.
The washing-up boy is still, however, despite being awarded a lovely new set of rags, the washing-up boy.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Dogs of Fort Tryon

The dogs of Fort Tryon
Sup mince from a bowl,
They drink from fine china
On carpets they loll

They bound down the hillsides
With vigor unmatched,
They paw and they pout
Until butts are scratched

There's Ruby the robot
She'll twitch and she'll stare,
She walks on her tiptoes
Pretends you're not there

There's Barkley the pug
Who waddles so fat,
Eyes left and rightly
With ears like a bat

Chaz is a whippet
He leaps and he jumps,
He's known as a rogue
Who smells lots of rumps

Libah is frightened
She's just skin and bones,
Preferring the company
Of toys that she owns

Bella and Lilly
From Boston and France,
Will fight like the devil
If given the chance

See Bubba in harness
He snorts and he pulls,
His legs short and stocky
His chest like a bull's

Old Garbo is grumpy
Her hips get so sore,
Outside for mere seconds
She paws at the door

As hawks keen above them
They sniff and they bark,
Their goal for this evening
Chase woodchucks in the park

The dogs of Fort Tryon
Neurotic yet sweet,
Guaranteed to exhaust
Any Walker they meet
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