Hour 14–Evening Steam

I’m hereby speculating about those

peculating children, I tell you what

My psychic elbow clued me in

to their raincoat shenanigans

They’re smuggling tomatoes in jars

sending bullfrogs to Mars

I’m telling you officer, mystery solved

Hour 13–Prognostication

If cats were on leashes and chased after dogs

If doggies roamed freely and chased after hogs

and mice had a heyday, had no enemies then

they’d have babies and rabies and live where we’d been

they’d take over houses and condos and schools

and hold us all hostage–irresponsible fools!

We’d eek at our folly our insufferable woes

and weakly and meekly cry “Damn GMO’s!”



Hour 12–Clandestine

We were secret agents

Napoleon Solo and James Bond

on bikes

cousin Bob and I hunkered down

the New York and Pittsburgh joint forces

we scribbled in notebooks

diagrams of ballpoint pens with retractable poison needles

cameras tied to helium balloons for surveillance

we roamed on foot the neighborhood

in Zelienople, Pennsylvania

late evening shadows

brimming with threat

cutting through yards

avoiding contact

when an assassin’s car

approached we’d dive

with abandon behind hedges

when lights came on in houses

we’d race away with renewed


do not be alarmed ma’am

protecting the free world

we hadn’t planned on

the cops



Hour 11–Jiggety

I thought I had a bunch of Irish in my veins

I swore I did

until the DNA test

So now only a pipsqueak possibility

way less than 1%

But that doesn’t stop me from telling that

I once saw a man smoking his pipe

upside down in the rain

(the pipe not the man)

and that seemed very Irish

so I’m sticking with that

Hour 10–Envy

Maybe the grass is always greener, but at least it stays green

White and yellow are another story

White envies yellow

and yellow white

A sheet of white paper yellows with time

Yellow paper bleaches white in the sun

Case closed

Hour 9–Why the Moon Works

How could it be otherwise?

Tender of night

She rules the softer shadows

delicate as a luminaria

deepening calm and quiet

coaxing sighs and swoon

one is naturally horizontal

or wishing to be

when the moon gazes

when words come fewer

with still fewer needed

when eyes take over

the task of communicating

and lips surrender

to other use



Hour 6–Church Lessons

The millionaire who had donated his estate to the church

had made money from whatever war was underway

and the sanctuary was filled with furs on Sunday morning

The Women’s Guild officiated in the mansion next door

in burgundy carpeted dining room with dark wood paneling and

oil painting of peacocks bowing gracefully

The smell of strong coffee meant the service was about to end

and social hour about to commence

and the millionaire’s grandfather clock in the foyer

showed the phases of the moon

Coffee was their drug of choice

The women dealt it with solemn dignity from

a silver service

carefully maintained

My earliest Sunday school lesson:

finding out that Jesus loves me

My next to last lesson:

finding out that my Sunday school teacher wanted to molest me

and that Jesus was not on his mind

Hour 5–Soot

The smell I remember:

It smelled like what it was

a burned down bowling alley

hauled to our end of town

dumped at the edge of the swamp

behind our grade school

blackened possibilities

bursting in all directions

We scavenged like hungry avengers

amazed at these abandoned treasures

ours for the snatching

Oh Fortune!

Oh Providence!

A crumpled candy machine

full of melted goo

yielded coins

Bowling pins


Black balls

valiant casualties

Wonders unimaginable

plastic in fantastic shapes

A drinking fountain!

We pulled out its electric motor and hauled it home

It ran

and once again

a smidgen of

Post Bowling alley

came back to life