Nero 2019

The violin wasn’t invented until 800 years later
So he could not have actually fiddled
While Rome burned—
But that doesn’t make it fake news either,
For metaphorically speaking
He giggled his way through the destruction
Of his own civilization
And we will not forget.

Besides
We already know that history is replete
With omissions and additions
Misrepresentation and lies
But we’re fully capable
To use our own eyes
To report just the facts:

Who—
A racist, a bigot
A bully steeped
In his own debauchery
Who divides his own people
To multiply hate
Who fiddles and plays
With his words
And who gleefully laughs
As he lashes and smashes
Every right we have won

What—
The fire of our anger
The blaze of our rage
The smoldering ashes
That will either propel us to act and arise
Or to still us with smoke and more lies.

When—
Now

Where—
Here

Ode to White Zin

(Dedicated to my ex-husband’s cousin whom I’ll never have to see again for the rest of my life, thank goodness)

When I offered him a glass of wine
He hesitated and asked what kind
White Zinfandel, said I
How pedestrian, he replied
And rolled his eyes

As soon as he left, I searched online—
What exactly is a pedestrian wine?
The first result was
White Zinfandel,
That sweet, cheap wine for those who’ve finally graduated
From Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill
That pink drink whose sweetness sometimes masks
Low quality grapes among those too simple and
Unsophisticated to know any better.

I’m surprised that article—and he—didn’t mention
My penchant for dollar store finds,
Gingham cloth,
Sun catchers at the kitchen window
And Pachelbel’s Canon in D,
And though he’d roll his eyes again,
They speak to me.

Just think: All it took was a glass of White Zin
To know that I never wanted
To see him again.

Writer’s Block

It’s not because there aren’t stories to tell
In fact, there are too many
Tightly packed in an airtight sack
And tendered with the admonition to

Never

          spill 

                   the 

                          beans

For beans may sprout
And grow and grow
If I drag them through the mud
And I sense that when the Giant wakes
She will smell my blood

Her fury and her wrath
Are things I somewhat fear
But most of all, I dread to write
What will cause the Giant’s tears

Found Treasures

Look down
For found treasures:
The fallen feather
The melee of mushrooms
A stone unturned
A leaf –
Tiny tokens of a bigger world
That carry voices of the growling earth
And the high pitched hum of sky
The keening of the clouds and the
Singsong chatter of grass

The greatest gifts are almost hidden
Grounded in earth tones and symbiotic notes
Inviting us to  listen
To the purest of the voices,
The voices of the wise,
The voices of the multitudes
Who know  the ancient melodies
Of simple truth

Look down for
Found treasures
For they speak in perfect measure
And make sense 
Of wildest dissonance,
Of untamed spirits, 
And troubled minds

Russian Dressing

Russian dressing topped our salads
During the same years
We hid under school desks,
Arms protecting our heads,
Tensing until the blaring alarm subsided,
During the same years we took cover from low-flying planes
Unsure if they were dropping bombs
Or mosquito repellent—
Or just buzzing the corn fields because it was fun.

Tangy and dark orange,
It urged us to double dare you,
To flirt with the enemy by adding
A little intrigue to our lives
And to our lettuce.

When the walls came down–disassembled
We replaced our Russian dressing
With Thousand Island—that paler, thicker, pastel substitute,
A comfort food for those hungry years–
But not before we laughed in relief,
The same way when you get the news
That the spot was benign—
Until the next time.