Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

spring haiku 1

sunsplash on her face 

silent footsteps in the crowd

I looked up -- and froze

Saturday, March 26, 2016

distracted walking

New Jersey wants to fine people for "distracted walking." Kudos. But what about distracted talking, listening, watching, working, sleeping, loving, hating, ad infinitum?

unread deleted

Unread deleted. It made me laugh. Imagine in the world of online dating that someone to whom you ventured -- dared, risked -- a message deemed it so unworthy of attention or curiosity as to delete it unread. That amuses me. Talk about honesty or open-mindedness or willingness! Um, I guess it wouldn't have worked out, right? Grateful to laugh over it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

when in doubt haiku

Feeling dull, listless, uninspired, possibly because I am sitting at a mall. The perfect antidote to this malaise? Haiku. here goes.

pale fire cloud skyscape

metallic flatness dreaming 

sparrows fly away

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Welcome to Happyland

People forget, or do not know, that Thomas More's 1516 book titled Utopia comes from a Greek word coined by the author that means "nowhere" or "no-place." The book is a satire. That's what I was taught in college decades ago. Happyland doesn't exist, not in any perfect form.

Nevertheless, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network measures happiness and ranks countries. A mythical Dystopia anchors the bottom of the list.

Denmark was judged the happiest country in the latest findings. The indices of 157 countries are compared and ranked in the organization's report. The publication coincides with the United Nations' World Happiness Day on March 20. Hey, wait! That's today! Phew. Almost missed it. Happy Happiness Day!

The top 10 countries of happiness are Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden. I'm glad Iceland made the top 10, ever more justifying my trip there in January.

I have one tiny, rather unscientific observation. Of the top 10, how many are in hot, tropical locations? Two. Of the top 10, how many are in cold zones, or at least not hot-weather regions? Eight.

So much for those paradisiacal fantasies of blazing beaches and hot sands. 

Brrrrrrrrring on ice-cold happiness.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


the deliciousness of pluvial abundance pouring down no other direction for it 'cept sideways 'round through trickling rivulets sky to yawning earth running rushing to unseen fate and transport pure wanton freedom of rain its indiscriminate blanketing biblical in scale and equality "rain" one of The Beatles' most underrated songs celebratory simple childlike in delight if you will rain in my memory a clear vision the Eighties Times Square walking to my desk at Random House driving torrents rain inverting umbrellas into skeletal art cascading splashes from tires of Yellow Cabs arrested by the sight of a pedestrian inundated by a curtain of rain's results splashdown no splashup her own miniature tsunami personal impersonal and I swear she stopped and smiled even laughed as if what are you going to do might as well exult in it and here I was lamenting my soaked feet she never knew what I witnessed never will never can this benediction this rainworthy anointing

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

in a world with no editors . . .

Headline, March 6, 2016, The (Syracuse) Post-Standard:






Granted, the story was in the Auto section, but in this day and age one could argue that the writer of the "hed" should have been sensitive to, um, alternative meanings.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016


The priest quizzed the congregation as he was giving his homily. "How many of you know what 'prodigal' means, raise your hand." One, two hands went up. He gently and half comically chided people for not reading the Bible, as he had urged them to do as a Lenten practice, though one might argue that his question posed a vocabulary issue, not a theological one. I didn't raise my hand. That was because I just didn't feel like it. I was sitting in back with my mom. She can't hear well. If I had gotten called on, it might have confused her or scared her. "What's my son yelling about in church?!" The other reason I didn't raise my hand is because, I am ashamed to admit as a wordsmith, on a Sunday morning I was not fully confident I knew what "prodigal" meant. Sure, I knew the parable, from Luke. I love it. Who doesn't? I believe it may be the most frequently quoted story in the New Testament. (It is such a human drama; we sympathize with the Prodigal Son, but aren't all of us sometime the grouchy, law-abiding Good Son who does not understand the extravagance of mercy?) I was going to blurt out that it means "lost." A so-called verbal artisan should know better. It's a great word, prodigal, ain't it? Extravagantly wasteful, rashly wasteful. (Maybe I was conflating "prodigal" with "profligate," but the two words are roughly synonymous; so, I don't know where lostness entered in. This is where a reader chimes in silently to herself or himself and editorializes on the measure of my evident lostness articulated in these spaces.) There's also a denotation for prodigal that is positive: lush, profuse, abundant. Charles Darwin, on the sea of the tropics, wrote: " prodigal of life." Prodigal. Work it into conversation over by the coffee machine today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

excuse me? excuse me

A young man (late teens or early twenties) was walking a bicycle, on the other side of the street, against traffic. I was walking toward him and then veered left to go up a sharp hill, to get some cardio exercise (second day in a row!). As I walked uphill, my back turned toward him and the street we were on, I heard, "Excuse me? Excuse me!" And then a third time, louder and with impatience and anger thrown in, "Excuse me!" For good measure, he threw in a whistle, as you would toward a dog. It was all meant for me. No one else was around. I continued my march up the incline, never breaking stride or looking back. (In my experience, a person who greets you with this sort of "excuse me" is bent on a) panhandling b) hustling) c) robbing or d) all of the preceding.) After reaching the top, I surveyed the surrounding village, the lake beyond, and the mall on its shores. No sign of Excuse Me Hustler Bicycle Dude.