My Mother the Car: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 20

That’s one clunker show
that I have never seen.
Can you imagine?
(Maybe you were a fan.)
Did the dead mother/
decrepit car talk to the guy,
or just honk? Was it all
a series of terrible car puns?
Did she ever just floor herself,
drive her son right off a cliff?
Did he ever push her into a
murky brown lake, watch
the fish invade her leatherette
interior? Was there ever
a time when kittens nested
in her carburetor and
the studio audience said,
“Awwwww”? Is there
My Mother the Car
merchandise? Is there
fan fiction? And if so,
is it dirty? Do I even
have to ask?


Several Words from an Authority on Milkweed: April 2015 PAD Challenge, Day 19

Look, man, if you really want
the most successful butterfly puddle
possible, you really gotta pee on it —
that’s in addition to the cow manure.
Cow manure, human pee: Got it?

(But if you do this, don’t tell anyone.)

Hairy balls milkweed comes from Africa
and is perennial in Zone 8, can be grown
elsewhere as an annual, for laughs
and because caterpillars love crawling
all over those green testicles.

Please form a strong opinion now,
on the subject of tropical milkweed.
Be prepared to defend your choice
against link attack. You are either
destroying monarchs or saving them,
depending on the day or on who is
firing off which set of links.

Have you heard the story of the person
who got milkweed sap in her eye? Consider
wearing safety goggles in the garden.

Do you have enough milkweed?
Can you ever have enough milkweed?
Should you order more milkweed?

These are the questions I ask myself
at night — and then I wake up screaming.


Maybe on a Quiet Shelf: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 16

If you were one of the elements,
I’d be among the stars.
If you were a Bunsen burner,
I’d live in a drawer
with the other pipettes.

If you held forth on
xylem and phloem,
I’d be in the lecture on
thermodynamics or
nuclear fission.

Maybe we’ll meet
in a textbook somewhere,
maybe on a quiet shelf,
breathe the papery air
and feel complete.


Bent: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 15

So down the road I went,
bent over my walking stick,
my whacking stick, for
striking the kneecaps of
impertinent little imps
who dare to drink my
saucers of milk, which
I put out for the elves,
as everyone should know.
When elves get angry,
you don’t want to see
their whacking sticks —
tiny, yes, but heavy
as apples, capable
of a crippling blow.
Elves have no scruples.
Nor do I. But I do have
a door that’s painted
periwinkle, a long,
straight road, two feet
and my back, bent
to see the sparkle
in the stones.


A Rivulet, a Seam: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 14

There’s nothing dishonest in saying
that your eyeballs are burning
and that you hope for sleep
to wash over you like a rivulet
of milk, a dusty sweet sourness
of dreams as they really are, not
as they are written down, analyzed.
It’s honest to say that you don’t
know everything, but you hope
to retain what you do know
at least a while longer.
Everything unravels, but
everything refills, re-knits
so that eventually, you can’t
see the seam. That’s the
hope, anyway. The dream.


Small Objects, Small Acts: PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 13

Once, while wandering around
a college campus at night,
in a locker room for med students,
I took a bunch of magnets
off a bunch of lockers

and threw them onto other lockers.
Some landed on the top — the roof,
we might as well call it; it was
that inaccessible. I don’t know why
I did that. At the time, I thought

it was all OK — I wasn’t
stealing them, and it would be
easy enough to find them later,
plus a med student is what, 22?

An adult, so it’s not like
anyone would be sad over
a stupid thing like magnets.

Then I saw how high the
locker roof was, how futile
it would be to search for
many of the lost. I was

ashamed. A few years later,
I learned that an adult
can indeed be very sad over
small objects, small acts.


Eggnog in April: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 8

Do you dare drink the expired eggnog?
I dare you to enjoy sparkle nightmare
holiday visions of treats gone by,
gone bad. I dare you to embrace
listeria, E.coli, any of the other
suberbads that will trouble your
sleep, make you regret that you
ever heard of baby Jesus or whatever
pagan tradition brought us eggnog
in the first place. Eggnog in April
is well ripened and fizzy — at least
that’s what I’m guessing. The darer
need not take the dare. I didn’t
make that up. The usual rules
apply here, the ones you learned
at the back of the school bus or
in dark corners of the playground
where such deals are made. This
expired eggnog will take you back
to those halcyon days of youth,
when dares were all that mattered
and consequences were nothing.
That’s right. Let it take you
on that journey, divide you
from everything but this.


Little Pings and Pops: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 9

We worked it out by
plugging my circuits
into his circuits
and then everything
was fine. Was OK.


It’s a couple of years
later now, and there are
little pings and pops

here and there,
nothing serious,

but I begin to wonder if
we need some kind of reset
or if any of this was right,
from the very beginning,

and also whether
the best thing to do
on the day of that
first problem

was not to interlock
our circuits but to
disconnect our hoses,
reprogram our CPUs
to ignore each other,

and roll our separate ways.