Friday, August 18, 2017


Father Brown
why doesn't he fire
that church secretary?


Take them bowling

"Why not take them bowling?"

"What? Grant, why would they want to go bowling? They can barely stand!"

"Everybody I know likes bowling."

"Everybody you know, except me, is in your bowling league. Of course they like bowling." She kissed him and ruffled his hair.


The Kush looked like stereotypical representations of aliens from before Contact. Big heads, big eyes, little bodies. They came from a low-gravity planet. With new alien visitors arriving every week or two, escorting them had gone from enthralling to boring, and then to a chore avoided whenever possible. As the lowest on the totem pole at the Missouri Tourism Board, it was Melinda's job.


"Museums. Have seen."

"But there are all kinds of museums. Art museums, natural history museums, museums of antique cars..."

"All kinds. Have seen. What else?"

It turned out that her visitors had seen or had no interest in plays, 3D theatrical recordings, natural wonders, rivers, the Arch, shopping malls, performance art, and NASCAR. Melinda rolled her eyes.

"What about bowling?"


Samson tottered forward and dropped the ball. It rumbled slowly down the lane, veered to the right, and dropped into the gutter. The rest of the Kush cheered wildly, clapping and whistling.  She realized why when the next alien struggled up to the lane, clinging to a motorized walker.  Samson put a ball in its hands and it rolled the ball off the top of the walker.  The ball rolled past the end of the gutter and into the next lane.  The clapping and cheering was a little less vigorous this time.  60 minutes later, Samson was up for the last time.  The Kush had yet to knock over a pin, but they really seemed to be enjoying themselves.  They ate hotdogs and nachos, cheered themselves hoarse, and got high on Mountain Dew.  They quieted down when Samson reached the lane. He took aim, slung his arm back, then forward, and released the ball. It rolled down the lane, dead center. Closer to the pins. Closer. It started turning to the right. It kissed the last pin as it disappeared over the lip. One, no, two pins were down. The crowd went wild.


The Kush signed the trade deal. A few weeks later Melinda got a package in the mail. Inside, a miniature gold bowling pin, a photo of two small Kush, and a note. "We enjoy native mating ritual."

Publ. Daily Cabal 2008

Thursday, August 17, 2017


I won poetry nook's 144th weekly contest. Which, by the way, is free to enter.


When the giant ants moved in, the survivors were so hungry they didn't even cook them before setting to.


save all the spaces
cash that all in
end up with nothing


Take it on the lime

I had yet to sell our giant fruit anywhere. Of course the distributors were all in bed with Big Agra or frightened by anti-GM loons. In desperation, I'd taken this road trip. I'd naively expected a warmer reception from these prosaic midwesterners. The old man shook his head, scowling. He took his hand from the pocket of his frayed and patched overalls to point a thick finger at my sample stock.

"It ain't natural," he said, "for fruit t'be that big. No telling what kinda poison GM bugs are runnin' around inside 'em. Besides, how could I USE a lime that big?" I didn't try to argue.

Kumquats the size of grapefruit, limes the size of melons, etc., and tasty as could be. But I couldn't sell them. I took myself back to the truck. I was about out of options. Prolonging this road trip seemed pointless, but I headed east towards North Snyder. The type face on the map suggested no great population center, but since selling my fruit was like trying to sell gold-plated dog poop, what did it matter?

To keep my mind off my troubles I watched for old stone fence posts, my truck trailing a plume of dust like an activist's middle finger. After about 30 minutes I emerged from a small stream valley. About to shift gears, I noticed a party in full swing in front of a large farmhouse up ahead on the right. ZZ Top's "Cheap sunglasses" was being covered reasonably well by a live band, and as I drew closer I could see plenty of beverages being put to good use. What did I have to lose? I swung sharp right and pulled into the driveway. A heavyset man with a huge mustache and white cowboy hat strolled over to the truck, holding a bottle of Corona.

"You lost, stranger?" There must have been close to a hundred people partying in his front yard. A couple of cows watched from the other side of the fence.

"No sir," I said "I don't think I am." I nodded at his beer. "Could you use some limes? Free samples." By this time, a small weatherbeaten woman had joined us, smiling broadly.

"What's up, Al?" she asked. The farmer looked at me, then at my truckload of melon-sized limes. He nodded.

"Seems this nice young man thought our get-together was potluck."

This low-tech viral marketing might work yet, I thought, muscling a lime out of the truck. It was party time.

Publ. Daily Cabal 2009

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


somewhere in here
a flower pot pumps out this vine
sustenance from where
I shudder to think
roots dig deep
vines tap my shoulder