Your poems are standoffish, he says.

You put fences around them to keep

People out,

‘Trespassers Prosecuted’ signs to keep

Your poems secure,

Guard dogs patrolling the perimeter

Snarly with menace.

Call off the dogs, he says

Open up your poems.

What are you afraid of?

People got to walk around.

Let the sunshine in.

You’re supposed to listen to your writing coach, right?

Okay, okay, I say

As I take down the tall palings

One by one.

Put up a Welcome sign.

It’s a little scary for me too.


Why I Stopped



Only when I noticed

The rusty red rat rubbing its rump

Against the end of the bed


Did I cut down on

The painkillers; though the pterodactyl

With the one jaundiced eye


thrashing its wings

Against the latticed windows didn’t

Help much either.

Three Thugs and a Mugging


They came at me when I was at my most vulnerable.

I had just got up

And gone outside to pee

and was crunching on a few cheese crackers.

“Give us yer loot!” the big one intimated

With hard, implacable eyes,

Big bony dagger drawn.

So I did

Throwing the crackers at them.

They grabbed it in their beaks and flew off

Black cloaks drawn around them

Into the big blue sky.

An Open Door is Not an Invitation


He was getting too familiar, planting himself on the chair next to us without being asked. But it didn’t seem to bother her. If anything she was amused.


“Make yourself at home, why don’t you?” I sneered.


But he just ignored me, fixing us with his stony stare, as if he were waiting for something and we were to provide it.


Then she went indoors and the inevitable happened.


He got up and followed.


“Hey!” I called out, “Hey!”


But he went in anyway, asserting his territory. Then pandemonium broke loose.


She panicked and he panicked, blindly bumping against doors and windows. Finally he found his way out through the open door.


“Okay,” she said. “Okay. I won’t feed Scruffy anymore.”


Scruffy was a big, beefy Murray magpie with a sense of entitlement.