Tuesday, August 23, 2016


will the ants reach their Everest
in the dining room?

Monday, August 22, 2016


Homage to Space Opera

Supersonic Rocketeers

Under the crust of the next planet
we found an entire civilization that was
utterly unaware of the outer world.
The Dashing Captain struck a pose,
and romanced a Virgin Queen with his
hard, tanned, body.
He pressed his raygun to her chest,
threatened incineration unless his guards
released the Young Ensign.
She gave a subtle sign and the adamantine pikes
ground their butts into the same floor
that received hers later that night.

The Young Ensign went exploring,
beating off albino cave girls,
found the secret laboratory in which The Evil Dr.
was vivisecting the First Mate.
Alarm! Alarm! Intergalactic horror!
We put a stop to this, by dam,
muttered the Crotchety Engineer, and he
and the ensign wrecked havoc in the Doomed Citadel,
exterminating a race that was composing rhymed
and metered poetry when our ancestors
were eating their own feces and
each other in dank, lightless caves.

They rescued the Dashing Captain from the alarming
clutches of the Virgin Queen
and beat a hasty retreat,
while the Second Engineer was firing up
the fusion thrusters.
As soon as they were aboard she
flung the ship into the sky.

The Wounded Captain was indisposed,
and the Second Mate took the conn.
It was her chance to shine, and she
did some pretty fine navigating out of the
Hymenopterous Cluster her very first try.
We were all so proud,
And even the Wilted Captain felt better.

Alas, when the eggs hatched,
the Dashing Captain was irretrievably spoiled,
and the Second Mate
had to carry on without him.

END of poem

Previously published, Strange Horizons, 2004; Luminous Worlds, 2013 (https://www.amazon.com/Luminous-Worlds-David-C-Kopaska-Merkel-ebook/dp/B00G799OF0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471788492&sr=8-1&keywords=kopaska-merkel+luminous#nav-subnav)


the trip

should've been more careful
with his shoelaces
next to the escalator to hell

Sunday, August 21, 2016


A poem from about 15 years ago...

Year Three of the Drought

Outside my window,
forked water courses splay across the plains
like the spoor of giant birds.
The tree-toed trails are stalking big game:
maybe the Snake River
is their prey,
or the shrunken farm ponds,
fallen on desiccated times,
forgotten spawn of a dead aquarian god.

A diminished reservoir sprawls,
gator-like, in the sandy wallow,
its delta tail submerged in emerald grass
in this, the third year of the drought.

Our Lord has breathed his fiery breath into the sky—
The sacrifices begged to be spared—their hot young wine
watered our dusty throats in challenge
to the rain that does not come.

Farther west,
the lakes wear hot halos of yellow sand,
trees don’t line the watercourses here:
only sand where cacti cannot grow.
Roads coil, sidewindery,
through fields of desolation.
Each town huddles around its dam,
its lake, its theft from downstream neighbors.
Misers of water—drink deep,
the collector is coming.

Mud women settled here,
built schools and theatres,
now the land bares its bones to the sky,
and small creatures hide from the sun.

Nested lines of dusty olive
are shorelines of a subterranean kind,
the aquifers are sinking out of mind,
leaving behind the mummies of springs.

Once, we stood and could not see the distant shore.
Now, withered grasses shake their fingers at the sun.
Weeds tumble in this,
the third year of the drought.

First published: Mythic Delirium 5, 2001; reprinted in Brushfires: http://store.albanlake.com/product/brushfires-by-david-c-kopaska-merkel/

I was flying across the arid SW US, and saw the most beautiful landscape out the window. I scribbled the first draft in a notebook in the sky.


worry, my old friend

thought I kicked you out
changed the locks

but I wasn't sure
unbolted, unlocked, unlatched
peeked out: nobody

but here you are:
will the car make it to the funeral
will the check stretch till I get back
should I have gotten gas
at that last, high priced, place
did I pack enough medical supplies
are these directions really adequate

did I bring them?

Saturday, August 20, 2016


tube people, timid, snug,
flower when things quiet down,
or when drink flows,
they stretch their looooong necks,
flare particolored fingers
snagging whoever comes their way

Friday, August 19, 2016


Gonna Need a Very Big Pitcher for This One

Jackie noticed right away, when the sun rose above the line of oaks on the ridge to the east. A hot wind was blowing and it smelled… lemony.

"Ma! Sun's done turned into a lemon!"

Her mother came out the front door, wiping her hands on her apron. "You sure, baby? It was supposed to be a grapefruit today." Mrs. Johnson shaded her eyes against the glare. The sky did indeed have a distinctly yellow cast, and the sun was shaped like a football with a fat nubbin on one end.

"Least it ain't a potato, like last Wednesday. Like to never got the smell of rancid grease out of my clothes."

"Yeah. When life gives you lemons…."