Quicksilver Mess, At Your Service

Once, when I was young and hot–
I was, too, once! That time I caught
The flu when I was five or six–
I whacked one of those fever sticks
Against the bedpost shaking it
To clear the reading, breaking it,
And all the mercury ran out.
The silver beads convulsed about
Atop my Snoopy bedsheets ’til
I herded them into a pill
That nestled nicely in my palm.
I loved the way it sat there, calm
As heavy-metal fruit could be–
That’s a cucumber reference, see?–
Until I poked it. Then it shattered
And the shiny liquid spattered
All across my open hand
And then, when I gave the command
(And cupped my palm), it coalesced
Once more into the biggest, best,
Most toxic toy I’d ever had!
And no, it didn’t taste that bad.
(Just kidding! Don’t forget than when you
Have the flu, there is no menu.)
Scarlet-tinted alcohol
Replaced my little Hg ball
In later years for safety’s sake,
And digitals are hard to break,
So kids today may never learn
That though their heads may pound and burn,
Some lucky, clumsy girls and boys
Find brief relief in fever toys.

RTL Hell

Reading left-to-right’s my habit.
I read rightward like a rabbit
Who can read that way, and quickly.
Right-to-left, I read less slickly.
I’ll concede one cause may be
My unfamiliarity
With alphabets (or stebahpla)
Where leftward words are written law,
But even when the characters all
Look familiar, reversal
Makes it hard to comprehend
Where sentences begin and end
Especially where punctuation
Lapses in transliteration.
I’ll keep practicing, however,
Though enlightenment may never
Be a thing I rightly claim.
I’ll be deft leftly all the same,
Unless the stress infects my eye,
In which case, Dyslexics, Untie!

Eight-Legged Race

Chapeau, as they say, to the feisty webcaster
Who lives on my porch. Every time I walk past her
I wipe out her web. Does she yield to disaster?
Mais non! She weaves more! Higher! Wider! And faster!
I truly admire her…but I’ll outlast her.


When sometimes I stay up too late
I don’t leave waking up to Fate
Or happenstance. I set alarms
And place the clocks out where my arms
Can’t reach them when I flail and slap
To mute what interrupts my nap.
My Android phone keeps two or three;
My Timex watches out for me;
My hungry cat, requesting feeding,
Taps my cheek and leaves me bleeding;
Pots of water drain and fill
Successively until the spill
Lands damply on my bloodstained face.
If none of them my dreams erase,
There’s one thing guaranteed to work:
My upstairs neighbor is a jerk.
Suffice to say, I’m rarely late
From oversleeping. Don’t trust Fate.

My SoCal Weekend

A thousand miles ago, we three–
A spider and my wife and me–
Left Salem in a minivan
And headed south. We had a plan–
My wife and I; we hadn’t polled
The spider, who’d, in turn, not told
Us we’d be having company–
Accommodating two, not three,
So when our major chord was filled
My wife was, let’s say, less than thrilled,
But probably her shock was matched
By little Charlotte, who was snatched
Abruptly from her rumbled seat
And lowered gently to the street
A climate change away from home.
When restless spiders pine to roam
And scuttle over foreign flora
Like a polylegged Dora
Do they know that they’ll alight
Just halfway through a roundtrip flight?
Charlotte’s in La Mesa now,
Regaling flies with tales of how
She left her home in Oregon,
In which she’ll nevermore again
Set foot-foot-foot-foot-foot-foot-feet,
And hit the California street
With only fearsome fangs and moxie–
Plus a buttload of epoxy–
And now look at her! Oh, wait,
They can’t: The head’s what Charlotte ate
Right off the bat, which then ate Charlotte.
FADE OUT on a sunset scarlet
And a flying mammal’s squeak and
Tiny belch: My SoCal weekend.