Incomplete, Unauthorized Episode Guide to The Love Boat

Captain Stubing awakes on the deck of a cruise ship.
How did he get here? What has he become?

Guest star Charo eats some bad salmon, is forced
into close quarters with Doc Bricker. ¡Ay, dios mio!

Hour-long closeup of Isaac, staring into
the middle distance while wiping a martini glass.

Vicki wonders what life is all about.
Ah, well. Time to hit the disco.

Certain promises are made
by guest star Betty White.

Julie, having no other activity ideas, directs
the passengers—including guest star Charo—
in a production of No Exit on the Lido Deck.

Some ugly lady and some ugly dude almost break up,
but then they look up at the stars together and decide
that’s a whole lot of empty space up there.

Gopher. We haven’t seen much of him yet.
He’s been living deep in the ship’s hold,
lining his nest with cast-off cocktail dresses.

Chlamydia sweeps through the Pacific Princess.
No one is spared. (You knew this was coming.)

Guest star Art Carney, clearly confused, keeps
delivering lines to some imaginary waitress character
named Alice. The regular cast rolls with it.

What is this all about? Nobody knows anymore.

The ship runs aground, and this bunch
must somehow form a family.
Various things are made from coconuts.

I suppose you could call it that.
A version of love, sure.

Two people die while dismantling the Princess,
overcome, at last, by her toxic gases.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Today’s PAD Challenge prompt: Love poem/anti-love poem. (I think this is the latter.)





I’m sorry about your saddest moment.
I’ll send you a cake with an accordion on it.
Do you want some dead roses, too?
I’ve trained these bottle-fed kittens
to mew your name in chorus.

I don’t know what else to do.
I don’t know what more you want
from me. This is not a contest
of suffering. (Your face puffs up
when you cry. Did you know that?

It’s not very attractive.) Well, I’d really
rather be going now. I have places to be,
and clothes of yours to borrow, a life
of yours to go out and live
to the fullest, dear—




So, I’m doing the PAD Challenge, but I was really not feeling today’s prompt, which was to write about your happiest or saddest moment. I feel like I’ve done both of those to death — or, I guess, one of them to death and the other to birth. But anyway, I’ve done them — and didn’t feel like doing them again. So I invented this horrible, horrible persona. Like, the worst friend you could ever have.

Hey, if it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. There’s probably a lot of genuine happy or sad stuff there today.




in which you never see the thing
in which the thing is a shark

or a shadow of a shark
a shadow of its former self

ocean floors have a way of concealing
as if it’s all so much light and shadow

to say nothing of fins
to say nothing of




Using one of today’s prompts from Robert Brewer’s PAD Challenge. If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.


A Pretty Nice Way of Living

Pooky girl slurps her hot chocolate
with marshmallows. An apple and
some orange juice took too long
yesterday, she says; hot chocolate
and marshmallows are quicker,
and then she can pretend
she’s drinking coffee.

At the garden, she helped me
unkink the hose while telling me
how she told everyone in her class
that her mom writes poems and just
got some published, and one kid said
maybe his mom had read my poems,
and she said, Well, has she ever heard
of Marilyn Cavicchia? And the kid
said, That sounds familiar.

There’s fiction is this somewhere,
but it all feels true.

The Algonquin Indians have
a pretty nice way of living,
she says. I probably have
more than a thousand
hairs on my head.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., which it is here now, be sure to check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.



Death is a preventable fiction. I am blooming now
like never before, standing tall and so healthy that
surely I will be passed over. Only someone truly
cruel would look at my orange petals, the mosaic
I have made out of sun, to represent the sun,
and say I should not live to see December, then
another spring, another summer. I will be the first
of my kind, in our portion of earth, to make it
through to the other side—because I have
made myself beautiful. I have been useful.
The bee came again yesterday, but she was
slower, less hungry. Still, she whispered her plan
to me, how she will fly so fast, up into the cold sky,
that no one can catch her. I told her I will be here
when it’s safe to come back. I will feed her then.



Check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets every Tuesday p.m.



My best attribute is that I’m wearing a green sweater today,
and in it, I never tell lies. It’s my truth-telling sweater, and I
have one in every color, only some of them are T-shirts—
when I’m wearing short sleeves, all you get are half-truths.
But that’s better than what most people give you. Whatever
they have on, you’re only getting tank top-level honesty,
or a bra, or pasties. Or bare chest. But maybe I have this
all wrong—maybe the only truth is in flesh, in which case,
I have things completely reversed. In which case, I
apologize. In which case, I have been lying to myself.
Put the kettle on, someone—it’s a chilly night,
and I have a lot of new truths to tell.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.



Try to force a rabbit into
this tiny paper bag. I will
wait while you do it.

Sometimes the rabbit bites.
Be careful. It only wants
what it feels it is owed.

What do you owe to each
rabbit you know of? Please
count the ones you’ve

run over in your auto
when you were motoring
much too fast. Entirely

too fast. Some roads
were not meant to be
driven; these include

the ones with rabbits
on or beside them. I am
not telling you anything

you don’t know already.
I am only acting as your
particular friend, the one

who knows where all
your rabbits are, and
at what time they leap.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.



Algebra of Eating

Inside, I am as wide as a
cruller, but only half as sweet.
It’s best not to eat pigeon
until you’ve eaten crow.

What’s eating you? Can you
name it, your particular octopus?
What separates edible from non?
Is it all just a trick of the light?

It’s necessary, some type of order,
so we stop eating once we hit plate,
or at least table; we would hurt
our mouths on the crust of the Earth.

It’s exhausting, though, the sorting:
Eat a Baby Ruth but not its wrapper,
and eschew actual babies. If you must,
you can lightly chew their toes. This is

acceptable. It is acceptable, also,
to eat a cow, but not a dog.
I spend my days working on this
algebra of eating, this formula

that keeps me upright, somewhat
in the world’s good graces, though
my jaws don’t know the difference—
they’re just looking for the next bite.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Also, a programming note: I’ll be writing every day in October (no specific theme) but will go back to posting only on Tuesdays. I have limited firepower, here — September was fun, but now it’s time to rebuild my bank of submittables and not previously publish them each and every day.


Jeremiah, the King of the World

Joy to you and me,
boys and girls.
Joy to you and me,
and rainbows.

Joy and sweet love.
And wine.

In the deep blue sea,
there are no cars,
but we get around
mighty fine,

the bullfrogs,
the boys and girls,
the wine—

and me.



Probably obvious, but this one’s based on “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. If it’s Tuesday, 3 p.m. Eastern or later, check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. And if you’re feeling the joy, please feel free to leave me a song request in the comments!


It’s a Simple Song

Sometimes, I sing out loud
on the telephone wire.
Sometimes, I clap my hands.

I had a place somewhere
among the bullfrogs once;
it was low there, and I sang

low. When I’m with the
little birds, I sing high. If you
need to know your place,

ask the porcupine. He knows
your name; he mutters it
to himself, just like mine.



After “A Place in the Choir” by Bill Staines. Another great request from my friend Jud! The song begins at 4:20, but the intro is pretty funny. His impression of a porcupine is not to be missed.

Also, if it’s still Tuesday p.m./wee hours of Wednesday, check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.