Saturday, October 24, 2009



How could I eat under the gaze
of an orange sphere, the black hands
telling me when I could become a cat!

I squirmed in the circle of humanity
and watched the pale thin lips
that would soon speak to set me free.

Outside, the wind was calling to me,
and the dogwood scratched my name
on the side of the house for all to hear.

It’s time!
Down the long hall to the mirrored
room we marched, as if cats already.
One by one, our arms stretched out
into black cat arms, as we flexed
our claws, hunched our backs,
unfurled our tails, and put on our
feline faces – and MEOWWWed.

The mama cat was the last to show,
with laughing eyes, and a proud grin.
She loved her family of cats.
She had chosen well for this night.

With faces all same,
we stair stepped down into the town.
The people all turned out
to see the family of black cats
and called out their approval,
as we walked proud and mysterious -
just as our mama cat had taught us to do.

I loved being a cat!
I smelled rats in the air
mixed with the pungent smell of smoke.
I lurched forward at the bark of a dog,
who was fortunate to have a family
of cats come to call at his front doorstep.

I hissed and spewed and swung my
claws at all the monsters who traveled
to and fro on the ribbon of white -
under a huge milky moon.

…and now…

The faces that were all the same
are gone – given away long ago,
ruined in floods, burned in fires,
forgotten in some trunk,
– turned to dust.
Who knows? Only the
memory of the masks remains.

But - we were a family
of cats one October night –
a proud and mysterious lot.
We laughed and meowed
under a huge Halloween moon,
in the cool evening air,
sweet with the smell of leaves.
Yes, once…we were cats!

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Under an ashy moon,
we walked between
twin oaks – where just
as the street brightened
with the most delicate
of lavender lights,
we caught a face,
ghastly and ghostly,
in an upstairs window
of the old academy.

No paler skin had we
ever seen, nor eyes
like liquid coal – a
skeletal face looking out
upon us, as we shuddered
in the autumnal cold.

In that elegant space of fright,
words stuck in our throats
and our candles hissed
in the shadowy night,
burning down to nubs
in a matter of seconds,
as we stared in disbelief
at the gruesome phantom.

The black wax of
our burned down candles
dripped and hardened
on the cobbled streets -
where countless crushed
and mangled men lie
tangled through eternity.

In the shadows,
pages of prayer turned
in alabaster hands
like flames in wind,
as demons rested their
putrid chins on our
shoulders and licked
our cheeks with their
searing hot tongues.

Screams tore out
from deep within us,
but the night swallowed
up the sound, and no one
looked around toward us,
as if nothing unusual
was happening on those
scary streets in town.

And from somewhere
far, and from somewhere
near, an army started
to march – and we fell
in among the bloodied ranks
of the rebels and yanks,
who never went home,
in body or soul, from
the Battle of Gettysburg.

Was our fate sealed,
we wondered, as we
stumbled along with
the soldiers marching
through the streets.
Had we been caught up
in a eddy of eternity -
with the ghost soldiers
of the war between
the states?

Just then, a hand reached
through the marching men -
a hand of lavender light,
and set us free and on
our way through the
streets filled with tourists
laughing in the night –
all hoping for just one glimpse
of a vaporous apparition –
just one long look at a
ghostly, ghastly ghoul!

Dazed and mystified,
we walked lead-footed,
away from Seminary Ridge -
never once looking back
at the marching ghosts or
the face in the window –
of the old haunted school.

Friday, October 9, 2009




Over on the banks of the river
where the townsfolk divided their time,
there lived a man whose hands
were made of wood - polished
to a deep, rich gleam. They were
walnut stained, for no other reason than
he was as poor as a piper.
(Walnut stain was free for the indigent
and no one pays a piper.)

The hands were grainy, with intricate
one-of-a-kind patterns, figures, and whorls.
Dark wooden hands - do dark wooden deeds.
(Didn’t he beat Elaine to death?)
Ended up in some archaic prison.

His hands were his undoing.
He died fairly young. Asbestos Poisoning.
His wooden fingers wouldn’t let the pipe
cover alone during those years spent in
the prison’s machine shop. (Pick, pick - Chink, chink.)
Lethal white dust.
(Jesus, didn’t he write his name in that stuff?)

He was laid out in his mother’s parlor.
(Slicked down black hair - red lips,
pink circled cheeks, eel’s skin suit.)
But, where were the wooden hands?
The dark, grainy, walnut hands that made
him who he was and who he was not?
His mother’s teeth clicked as she said,
“Oh, I could never get rid of them.
They’re in a shoebox, under his bed.