Constraint & Complaint

Outrageous is the way the parent raved
when Grandma’s offering was overheard.
The father sought to rule how all behaved
while abdicating care – it was absurd.
Preposterous and futile his attempt
to dictate from a couch or easy chair.
He had no interest how his children dreamt,
and no priority for acting fair.

If he’s to offload hours with each kid,
depositing onto another lap
while timing out himself, then he must rid
his brain of the idea that he can trap
their talk, restrict their games, or govern rest.
It’s no excuse he’s anxious or depressed.

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Mayor of My Phone

The first three letters of my name are “Mar.”
In New York it’s pronounced like Apple’s “A.”
But California made it rhyme with “care”
(and though I’m no old horse, it stayed that way).
When voicemail’s left for me by cell, what’s there
addressing me, amuses me each day.
No programmer was influenced or bribed,
but “Mayor” is the way my name’s transcribed.

(Ottava Rima)

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Ant Skunk Opossum

So far the winter here is crazy wet.
Reports about La Niña have gone mute.
Like seasons of my youth I don’t forget,
the storms arrive in waves from a commute
Alaska sent, Hawaii made. The threat
of parked high pressure’s this month destitute.
It’s likely nests and dens now overflow,
for neither ants nor skunks will stay below.

(Ottava Rima)

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They Seem Too Scared (Millennials)

They seem too scared to me to be content,
too anxious to be thoroughly prepared
for all contingencies and each event.
They seem too scared.

Did parents over-hover? Were they cared
for to ridiculous and ill extent?
What caused their nervousness to be so bared?

Perhaps it was the Internet. What’s meant
to be informative’s too grossly blared?
They’re half-alive avoiding accident.
They seem too scared.


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Yellow Press

I think I was in junior high or less,
when we were taught about the 4th estate.
We learned then that the vile “Yellow Press”
existed to twist truth, to propagate
fake news that grabs attention, to address
the weakest minds. By 1898
the term was used. Now cable and the ‘net
make yellow press an ever-present threat.

(Ottava Rima)

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The Present

I future-focused when I was a kid.
I didn’t prosper in the here-and-now
in college in the 60’s, when we bid
farewell to past and future, trying how
for better presents – change that would allow
a shot to every group our culture missed.
(We mostly failed to honor that old vow).
At last I’m here, and have no bucket list.


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Rain Check (A Curtal Sonnet)

My brother’s Covid means we must postpone
the dinner reservation that we made
to celebrate completion of each speck
of year-end office work. We’ll use the phone
instead of seeing Mom for brunch, and trade
good words for food, and peace for pain in neck
(induced by any time with her these days).
A storm will make me happy that I stayed
at home, and watched the torrents on my deck.
This week supplies full meaning to the phrase:
“rain check.”

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Poor Baby

On Tuesdays I commute, to lend a hand
with work I’ve done for half a century.
My brain’s still functional – I understand
the guts of a consulting industry.
But he whom I support has got to be
at home in isolation (Covid’s way).
So I will put my mind to poetry,
and see how many puzzles I can play.


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Minute Invasions (A Pushkin Sonnet)

For several years my gutters were untested.
I didn’t have to check the bricks for wet.
The drains out front were never storm-congested.
But New Year’s weekend was the dampest yet.
They call the wave an atmospheric river.
The forecasters have managed to deliver
an accurate prediction for the storm,
and lucky I was home and dry and warm.

Elsewhere the weather wreaked fantastic flooding.
Some levees failed, and mudslides covered roads.
Municipalities bore overloads.
My only woe is ant invasion budding.
The tiny pests are breaching doors and cracks –
their scurries evidence minute attacks.

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Slow Down

Presented with assorted bombs to add
when I immerse to bathe, I chose Slow Down.
I wasn’t feeling agitated, mad,
or any shade of blue. I’d be around
my home for days – I wanted to relax.
It couldn’t hurt to let a bomb remind
me that I face no threat from life’s attacks
today. By choice and weather I’m confined
exactly how I wish. The bomb fizzed blue,
and like a fortune cookie, it contained
within its core suggestion maybe true.
I saved the message as the water drained.
And now my bathroom counter illustrates
four lines of verse I like, by Mr. Yeats.

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