Friday, August 23, 2019

The Mulberry Tree on Jasper Drive

Edward wanted to cut down
the mulberry tree in the front yard
but found unexpected resistance
in the form of a crying six-year-old daughter.
Hiccuping sobs,
snot running down her nose
into her open mouth
on her tragedy mask face.
“Those berries stain the driveway,”
Edward accused.
“But I eat them every year,
and I never will agaiiiiiin!”
Molly wailed.
“Why do you even want to?
They taste terrible!”
“No, I love them!”
she countered.
“Nonsense!” Edward huffed.
“No one likes eating mulberries.”
“If you cut down the tree,”
she posited between gasps,
“you’ll kill all the squirrels
and baby birds
and their mommies
and daddies will cry forever!”
“Oh for Pete’s sake,”
her father sighed.
“Fine. We’ll keep the damn tree.
But I’m cutting back some of
the branches.”
Catastrophe and murder averted,
Molly wiped the tears and mucus
away from her face,
red with the exertion of her outburst,
and smeared these fluids
all over her father’s shirt.
“Can I have a snack?” she asked him.
“Go eat some mulberries,” he replied.

One Pot Meal

My favorite perfume
is diced ginger root,
green onions,
and minced garlic
with a hint of jasmine rice
bubbling away in the cooker.
When the aromas
linger on my hands,
I hold them close to my face
and deeply inhale,
and it’s what love smells like
because I’m cooking you
my favorite dinner.
Nothing fancy,
takes me about 15 minutes
once everything is chopped,
but it’s what I’d request
on Death Row, I think.
Just one last taste of
a good day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Broad Street

Silver dimes and quarters
carried in a chubby fist,
metal ridges rubbing against my palm.
Maybe Mom gave them to me for cleaning my room,
or she handed them to me to get me out of her hair
or I found a coin glittering on the sidewalk,
the child’s version of a lottery win.
I walked four blocks to the pharmacy,
all by myself because it was the ‘80s.
I was only interested in the candy aisle, of course.
The rows of chocolate bars—krispies and caramel
and nougat and almonds—
too expensive for my allowance.
The candy cigarettes, with their aura of sin,
but not much flavor.
Bubblegum with jokes printed on the wrappers,
only a fleeting pleasure.
So I would choose the Jolly Ranchers,
sour, long-lasting, just a quarter for the long sticks,
a dime for the smaller pieces.
Cherry, watermelon, grape,
but I’d always choose the green apple,
if I could get it.
It would dissolve into nothing in my mouth,
and I drank down the sugary acidic juice with pleasure,
even as the candy itself
sharpened itself into a point
that scraped against my tongue.

Otherworldly Haikus

I woke up in an
alien world yesterday.
Wow, what a surprise!

This new world looks a
lot like our own, but there are
subtle differences.

The language is strange,
and I live thirty seconds
faster than others.

Their foods taste odd, and
there are new, rich aromas
I cannot describe.

People access the
Internet through implants in
their eyeballs and brain.

People’s cars hover
just above the road’s surface
but still emit smog.

Coca-Cola tastes
spicier here, but Starbucks
remains just the same.


There’s a banana-shaped planet
somewhere out in space.
It’s out there because I say so.
It orbits an oval-shaped sun,
a green striped watermelon, if you will,
and is orbited itself by fifteen
tiny clementine moons.
Its nearest neighbor is flattened at its poles,
like a tomato from the garden.

The ends of the banana
are very, very cold,
icy and dark.
The middle of the banana is a tropical rainforest.
Other parts of the banana are arid deserts,
and some are temperate zones with all four seasons.
It rotates around as it orbits its sun,
So it’s not like there’s one dark part of the banana
that never sees light and warmth.
All the creatures on this planet are well-suited
to the part of the banana on which they live,
whether they are themselves banana-shaped or not.

It’s not more ridiculous
than planets that rain diamonds
(which is true!)
or magnetar stars
that could dissolve your molecular structure.
So somewhere out there
in the vastness of space,
there’s a banana-shaped planet
because I say so.