Unmerited Finery

Unmerited Finery

She said, “Open wide.”
i did.
she said, “Close down.”
i did.

even though i’m barely
a commoner, 
more the 
peasant or serf,

she treated me as 

placing a crown on
an exhausted molar.

“thank you,” i said, 

and hurried home

Buckinghorse Palace
i be found out.

Waste Not, Want Not

Waste Not, Want Not

One of my biggest


in life is

my inability to

stuff left-over


back in its tube.

I can insert key to lock,

throw pill to mouth,

squeeze foot to sock,

slide letter to mailbox,

transfer love to heart—

but forget 

cram toothpaste to tube.


I’ve handicapped 


I didn’t earn a 

Harvard Law degree,

or Stanford PhD—

I’m not a Rhodes scholar, 

or Oxford Fellow—

Cal Tech Engineer,

or win Summa Cum Laude honor.

Coupling those discrepancies 

with my less than

a kindergartener’s

store of

common sense,

makes life a constant 


No wonder 

the toothpaste debacle. 



Though I've thought about it muchly,

I have no idea what Heaven is like,
or if I will be welcome there.

I've had hunches before,
but many of them proved wrong.

In my place of childhood,
a narrow village next a sluggish river,

there is a reassuring sign
kept near its doorway:

Bothell Welcomes You
For A Day Or A Lifetime.

Life carried me away
from there some time ago,

but I still wonder if,
when my turn comes,

despite my faithless life and multitude of sin,
Eternity might be edited in.
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Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

If the only

his daughter

could share about his life

for the obituary


"He still had most of his teeth,"

we can be quite certain he had


at least one woman,


his children,

and didn't much like dogs.

But still,
some credit is due because, 


he managed to brush
three times a day.
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Lady Coetzee Travels Abroad

 Lady Coetzee Travels Abroad
At the checkpoint, Doortje Coetzee, a native geranium, 
pottered along until she reached the front of the line.   
The officer glanced through her South Africa passport, 
then squeezed out a cordial greeting. 
“Good morning, Ms. Coetzee. Where are you off to this fine day?”
Doortje offered up a hopeful smile.
“I have an auntie living in America. A small corner called Seattle. 
Time I got round to seeing her.”
A pink blush flooded her petals.
“I’ll turn seven come spring.” She sighed. “Life is much too short.”
“Will Seattle be your final destination then?”
“No. Auntie winters in Arizona. We’ll fly there with her keeper in October.”
“I’ve heard Seattle is a bit rainy, but a lovely place,” the man said. 
“Never been.”
“Love the rain,” Doortje replied. "If I avoid the frost I’ll be safe enough.”
The officer studied the document. “I take it you’re a perennial?”
Doortje giggled. “Depends. We’re all perennials at birth, of course. 
Crane Bill cuttings on Mother’s side. My auntie is almost forty years old.”
“How nice,” he said. “Mine never last more than a season.
Suicidal little buggers.”
Dortje frowned. A tinge of anger crept into her voice.
“We can only live our life according to the affection we are given. 
We need to avoid frost at all costs. It murders us straightaway.
 Intense summer sun is difficult too. We crave afternoon shade.” 
He handed her document back. “Sorry. Meant no harm.”
“None taken. If you’ll love those buggers of yours, they’ll love you back. 
Fare-thee-well, she called, "I've a plane to catch.”
“Next,” he said.

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Deny It Not

Deny It Not

We are of the sea

and of the caves,



has rinsed us clean

of these dim 


And yet we still long

to splash about, 

ride the tumultuous waves,


explore dark spaces.

Yes, we have

forgotten whence 

we came,


our desperate thirst for water— 

our voracious appetite for meat—


our hideous capacity for violence—

abate not.

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