The Most Important Quality


I like how you can plug a cell phone into a socket

and charge it up within minutes to 100%.

By gum, I wish I could do that as the punch-line

to a well-known joke goes, you know the one

about the dog licking his balls in the corner of the pub

to the amazement of an envious spectator.


you wouldn’t need to sleep six to eight hours to recharge;

it’d be almost instantaneous. There’d be nothing

holding you back; you’d be crackling with energy,


endless energy, the quality Joyce Carol Oates judged

to be the most important for a writer.

Not Persistence.

Not Research but Energy.

You’d write a book of poems in a day, a novel in a week.

You’d be prolific as Simenon.


Don’t show me the money. Show me the socket. The plug-in

is the money!!


*what do you think the most important quality of a writer is?

do you think Energy plays an important part?

The Serenity of Sloths


I know I should be reading Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year

or Mann’s Death in Venice to prepare me for what’s ahead

but I don’t want to be infected any more than I am with the virus

of Fear and Dread. I need something light to calm my farm,

something like If I Had A Sleepy Sloth or that old perennial Possum Magic

to put a skip in my step, a lilt in my heart.

The Cubby House Remembers



[ for Cathy ]


It used to be good here .

Had plenty of company .

I doubled as a fort ,

the deck of a pirate ship ,

the keep of a medieval castle ,

always the last refuge where they

fought off the enemy .

Things got pretty noisy at times .

But when the dust settled ,

they’d settle down to a meal

of cookies and rasberry cordial .


In winter , though , things got quiet .

I’d hardly ever see them .

They were like bears hibernating

in the cave of the house .

Then spring would come

the sun bursting through the clouds

and they’d race outside

and it’d start all over again .



But then one day  —-

though it must have taken longer ,

they stopped coming at all  .

I guess they though I was too babyish

for them .

For years I sat out there all alone

with just memories for company .


But then one day a sound

that made the sun rise in my wooden heart .

A baby’s cry .

It wouldn’t be long , I thought . Less than a year .

And I was right .

I had company all over again .

It was a girl baby so the games

were a little different .

Less noisy . Less rambunctious .


But I was getting older anyway

so I didn’t mind .

Now we keep each other company .

Sometimes her friends come over .

It’s like the old days .

It’s good .