CAT’S GAME

The cat is sleeping on the lanai, on the plant table among the bromeliads. The cat spends hours sleeping on the lanai when she isn’t walking on tables. There are tables on the lanai she walks on regularly. Walking on tables is forbidden we repeatedly tell her and we know she understands, but the cat reminds us that forbidden in a transitory term when you are a cat. Cats, she says, must go where they want, consequences be damned. And, she adds, I know you will always forgive me.

WE WANT, AGAIN

We want to cry out,
but we have no words.

We want to scream
but all we give is silence.

We want to curse the invader
but cannot be heard
over the tanks, bombs
and rockets.

We want to mourn
but there are so many
innocents, where
do we begin?

We want to act,
but we are incapable
and can offer
only silent prayer.

EXTINCT

You want us to believe
you are small, kind creatures
sucking hungrily on the teat
of democracy.

We see you for who
you really are, parasites
who would suck the teat
dry until democracy
withered and died.

Some believe you,
accept you blindly
but what will they do
if you succeed, for like
any invasive species
when the host is gone
there is only mourning.

SOPHIE

She maintained an aura of what she
imagined was elegance, a carefully
constructed persona carried out
in the most careful details.

Her furniture had slipcovers, lest
someone spill and mar the fabric,
a tea cart always at the ready
although I never saw her serve tea.

She spoke with carefully chosen
words, certainly not the vernacular
of the city, perhaps of London
where she had been born.

Those she met would never guess
that this was the same woman, who
on the death of her husband, wielded
a baseball bat in the liquor store
she operated in the heart of downtown,
one she had used on one occasion
once enough that the word got out.

NO CLICHES HERE

The birds in this part of Florida
have found a way around the cliche
and we are thankful they have done so.

As we saw last week when
the neighbor’s yard was regraded,
and before the new sod arrived,
the “soil” was mostly sand
and there was not a worm
to be found anywhere.

Yet the birds, early and late
got all they wanted to eat,
for their meals are insects
so from now on I shall have
no alternative but to work
to death the phrase, “the early
bird catches a few insects.”

Do you think it will get any traction?

ABSURD, FL

The utter and complete absurdity
of living in Florida can
be ever so easily illustrated.

Last evening the neighbor’s
dog decided it needed
to express itself and did so
in clear and loud terms.

The limpkins and gallinules
in the wetland behind
both our homes shouted back
and based on my admittedly
limited vocabulary of bird
there were several four
letter words and at least one
upraised middle claw,
for that language is universal.

And all of this was once
Native American land and I
am certain they would not be
pleased at what we have created
and the birds would agree.

UNANSWERED

There are so many questions for which I have never gotten an answer. What, for instance, does one who is lactose intolerant cry over? If the rest is history, can’t we just stop now and read it later? And if every cloud has that silver lining, it has been well seeded, so why isn’t it raining? If you sleep on the left side of the bed, do you always get up on the wrong side? And when I answer your next question, I will start by saying “to be dishonest with you.” What will you do with that, Epimenides?

AFOOT, A CITY

As you walk the streets
of a city like New York,
you hear a polyglot of languages,
and closing your eyes you
might have no idea where you were.

Listen carefully, eavesdrop
on conversations, imagine the stories
they are telling, the joys
and heartbreak laid bare before you,
half heard, half filled in
to make the story palatable to you.

Life in the city is life in a wholly
parallel universe, one in which
the characters speak only sound bites
and all meaning is transient
in the ear of the beholder.

EXPECTATION

They came this afternoon. They were not expected. They tend to show up when thet are not expected. We expect that of them. They did not tell us they were coming. If they had, we would expect them. They do not want to be expected. We expect that of them. They did not do what we expected. They do not like doing with people expect. We expect that of them. They left in the middle of the visit. We did not expect that. We expect that they will come back. But they are not expected.