n life there are periods of calm punctuated by phases of unrest when things become hectic. And then there are times when You-Know-Where breaks loose and we are thrust into a state of absolute havoc. But that isn’t what I wish to discuss. It’s simply an observation. We all have those sudden cliffhangers when the tension is cranked beyond our limit. When we’re dangling by a scrawny filament or skating on a brittle sheet of ice. We may even feel disoriented, like our life is not our life. Picture if you will a cuckoo bird landing on a crab-apple tree, surrounded by grumpy fruit. A rooster whose inner alarm-clock was reset from A.M. to P.M. You know what I’m talking about. The fowl playbook of Drama when the world is fine one minute and the next goes bat-doodoo bonkers. It happens all of the time in Fiction, because it can happen in real life. Fiction often holds a mirror up to Reality and says, “Ah-ha!” It might holler “Shazam!” while you step through The Looking-Glass into a world turned upside-down or on its ear, and whether a Red Queen or an ugly dude with blades for fingers is there to greet you, that’s when you know you’re in trouble and you’d better pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming.

The thing you need to remember as your world veers askew is that it will probably regain its balance soon. Or a semblance of normality. Life will go on. It may not be the same. The universe is in flux. Things change, however much we would like to keep them in a jar. On a shelf. In the basement. You will get through this. The cuckoo bird will find its clock, the rooster will crow at dawn, and the sun will come up tomorrow so . . . hang on, hang in there, hang ten, hang up the phone and talk to people face to face!

But that’s not what I’m trying to say here. I’m trying to remember what I’m trying to say. Something about, oh right, havoc. (Good thing I wrote it down at the top of the page. I’m a little, shall we say, absent-minded.) Well, one thing I could say (whether it is what I intended to say or isn’t) is that it has made me who I am and am not. It brought me to where I stand today, on this very spot in time in fact, and here we both are. Whatever beacon drew us into a similar trajectory, whatever forces led you to this momentous occasional instance of tomfoolery, raise a fist toward the sky and declare “Huzzah!” If you think about it, the odds were against it, and being here together is phenomenal. I tip my hat; nay, I take my hat off to you for the miracle of your presence in my stream of unconsciousness, the happenstance of my humboggery. (Okay, this sounds more like something I might say. Now we’re getting somewhere! I think. I can’t say for sure. I had an idea and it flitted away like a butterfly with an appointment; zoom, it was gone! Or more like pffft. That happens to me a lot. Dratted butterflies!)

The difference between humbug and a humbog, by the way — or by the by, if you prefer — is less than the doodle of a dumb bunny’s left ear. I just thought I should mention that to clear things up a hare.

Getting back to my pointlessness, and by that I mean there is no point to the pencil as I’ve forgotten to sharpen it again, I should be saying (hopefully not spraying) that I am very glad you’re back. You’ve been gone awhile, whoever you are, and I’ve missed you. Dreadfully. Drearily. I hope you’ve missed me too in the absence of stupendous drivel — of which one can never have enough, for there is never too much senseless babble in my opinion, not that my opinion matters more than a bump on a twig. It is nice to see you (I think), and you should really stop by this spot more often. Not too often. Monthly might be nice. Yes, I’ll see you next month.

Oh, um, this is awkward. You’re still here. Well then, I guess I’ll have to wrack my bean for something else to ponderously maunder on about . . .

Sorry, I’ve got nothing. Except a flash of déjà vu. As you must know if you’ve been here before (I really can’t be sure), I’m always afraid that I’ve already said something. Whatever I’ve just said. Oh dear, I’m afraid I’ve said that too! My head does get pretty foggy. And when that clears away, it is basically stuffed with cotton fluff — betwixt the clutter of utter nonsense and pseudo-coherent details in countless piles of projects. There isn’t a lot of space to think or remember or keep things straight. I need my own personal lighthouse, or a blinking lightbulb bouncing above my hat on a spring. Yes, that might help. I’m apt to forget what I had in mind or on the tip of my tongue, unless I write it down. Then I forget to check the notes or lose track of the lists. There are too many, stacked everywhere in precarious towers of hoardish jumble! It’s confusing. At least, I think it is. Other than the bursts of inspiration when my brain springs a leak and the stuffing pours out. When I manage to scribble a verse, tell a tale, or step up onto my podium, which makes me incredibly tall, and deliver some statement or other to the world. I tend to do that now and then. It’s like a twitch, a compulsion, one of those incessant facial tics. I get those, actually. They’re like the annoying habits that latch on like an alien lifeform clutching your face. (I get that also.) Like an amoeba swimming across the pool of your unfocused vision. (Yep, that too.) Like a hairy growth on the end of your nose. (Oh my, I’m afraid to look in the mirror.) Like a furry spider staring you in the eye. (Howdy, little fella!) Like an attitude that’s in your face. (I try to avoid those whenever possible — running is good . . .)

Excuse me. I have to wheeze. Even figurative exertion is so tiring. I’m a desk tomato. It’s like a couch potato. Some would argue it doesn’t qualify as a vegetable. I disagree. Some pronounce tomato and potato differently. Whatever. It isn’t important! I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I’m a private person and seldom speak to just anyone. Oh right, you’re not anyone. You’re whoever you are. And not that there’s anything much to speak of in my mind, or off the top of my head even, besides food for thought and the fodder of my imaginings. It’s pretty obvious my brain is as vacant of idle chatter as a footless shoe, a fingerless sandwich, a lifeless boat, a book without a mark, a needle wearing an eyepatch after its eye fell out and rolled away. There are many comparisons to how empty-headed I am of smallish talk and insignificance. Anything of substance is tucked away in files or spills out onto the page, and the muck that remains evaporates into the atmosphere (of my writing, not the sky) . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now that I’ve managed to bore you to tears (you can empty the buckets over there), I would like to add that I do not have anything else to add. You can shuffle off to Buffalo or Hippo or Elephant or any other large mammal. Just don’t stick around here. I insist. There’s nothing to see, aside from an idiotic verse or two. Or three. Or four. Maybe more. Duck under the Caution Tape and flee, that is my advice. Do not say I didn’t warn you. Or try to get rid of you. I tried my best. Or perhaps it was my worst. I’m not sure. There isn’t much difference.

I fear I’m being redundant. That’s one of my phobias. I wish I could remember what I’ve said and haven’t said. It would really be useful. Please forgive me if I repeat myself. It is not on my agenda. But it’s bound to happen. There are only so many letters! I’m bound to run out of ways to rearrange and contort them. It’s why I make up words! There just aren’t enough to say everything. And to not say anything again.

So there you have it. Another perfect example of what I wasn’t attempting to express, or hint at, or allude to, or simply babble. I hope you can sympathize with my plight. It’s havoc to be me. I wouldn’t wish it on a squirrel. Or a nut. Or a speck of dust cartwheeling through the cosmos. Not that I’m complaining. It isn’t so bad. I’m kind of used to it. (Not really. I’m just being polite.) Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ll be in my Rumpus Room playing with my toys. In other words . . . with words. Get it? I made a funny.

Wow. This indeed should illustrate the havoc of my ways. I’m afraid it’s too late for pity. Just throw raspberries. Lots and lots of raspberries. I like raspberries. They’re squishy.

Oops. Was that my brain? It doesn’t matter. Look, it’s squishy too. And pink. I hate pink. I thought it would be grayer.

Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here fingerpainting the walls. Read some poems. Go ahead. What have you got to lose? Only a little sanity . . .


They say it is sheer but I see it as dense

Less gauzy than a rumplish stiltskinned flense

Once possessed of great beauty to an appreciative eye

Somersaulted with delinquence like bittersweet pie

The mere sound of havoc can split my eardrums

With Metal-band clamor and racing gear hums

I am swept in a frenzy of topsy-turve woes

That can rack me to ruin or trample my toes

Through the course of a hurricane’s tempestuous smither

Such will rattle my bones and cast me adither

Havoc thrills me then spills me in a heap of frazzle

A bewildering flurry of scurrilous dazzle

Upending my views and unsettling the peace

An electroshock therapy of lightsocket grease

To whimmy my whams and stir up my jams

In tremendous exacerbated breathless slams

Of dunked donuthole dips into harborless lips

That guzzle the drink of a bay without ships

Till I’m bound in snug knots that cannot be undone

A wayward direction erratically spun

Taking tumbleweed strides that skip past the loo

Into Tweedledee footsteps gummier than glue

That adhere to the ceiling instead of the floor

I can walk on the walls, no rules anymore

Once life hits the fan blades, confetti will fly

In a dance-number odyssey across the sky

When my life is a havoc of impulsive surges

That sing with the pallor of funereal dirges

Contradictive, rollercoasting, an abrupt downslide

My bobblehead of marbles clattering inside

To the tenor of a band with an unsteady beat

That jumps like a heart without any feet

Driving me crazy, chauffeured by grim Charon

Black-robed gondolier, on his shoulder a heron

Ferrying dreamers but I am starkly awake

To endure the madness, to tremor and quake

An insomniac in a boat of narcolepts

As he rigidly steers the undermost depths

Bucking the current of the Stygian abyss

Like a Disneyland ride with something amiss

Frighthouse ghoulies pop up here and there

River monsters lend oomph to the scare

And we sail into Havoc, let come what may

Though we are not quite ready for Judgement Day

With safety in numbers, we can feel less alone

And the devil may take us to his dark brimstone

We will find a way out, I am confident

From this journey through Hell, neath the firmament

Lest these sinking spirits be dragged to the base

By the dismal tide of this ghastly place

Where all traces of joy must be wiped clean off

And nothing remains of hope but a cough

For, you see, at our lowest if belief runs thin

The havoc will devour us from within.


“Poor thing,” they said as they locked me up tight.

“There’s no hope for a crazy lady. Have a good night!”

I was left to rot in a narrow cell

Made of wicker like a basket weaved in Hell

By demons with a terribly dark sense of humor

Walls barbed and deadly, poison-tipped was the rumor

I must sit very still and not move one inch

If I have a cramp, I cannot even flinch

And the worst part is, I committed no crime

I had fought no war, yet am doing hard time

I’ve searched my brain for a possible reason

My thoughts are hollow, there had been no treason

I was not even batty before being confined

Yet experience can reshape and contort the mind

Now I’m guilty as accused, no chance of release

I can’t even call for help, the police . . .

I’ve been trying to think outside of the box

It’s like dancing for rain, being pelted by rocks

Fate can be callous and cruel without luck

You might as well be a fish in a duck

Send a postcard or flowers, I’ll be here for a while

With nothing to do but wear a weird smile.


Pale emeralds shower in a suspended binge

Of torn-paper hopes and jagged fringe

The tears of a crocodile polka-dotting the floor

As wind claps its hands with a flapping door


An array of gem fragments that dance midair

Bejewel a window but marginally there

Until sun-whisked away in the twink of an eye

And again the croc is compelled to cry


An endless cycle of vaporous emotion

Like the rise and fall of a fathomless ocean

Its meaning evaporates then appears in the mist

Playing clueless games that end with a twist


Life can be tumult, yet meander in a rut

As uneasy as the feeling we get in our gut

Or the war of bacteria called intestinal fortitude . . .

Which side are we on for the cavorting brood?


And what flag will be raised at the end of the fight —

Skull-And-Crossbones or Smiley Face, wrong or right?

Is it good to be bad or bad to be good now?

It is rather confusing what the times allow


Chance rides a pony, Fate straddles a bull

Neither can swim once the torrent is full

And nothing is certain but the undertow

That will yank us all down where lost things go


Balloons and souls, odd trinkets and minds

On the opposite end of discoveries and finds

While seasons unhinge and the weather worsens

Giving more to discuss between semi-strange persons


This world is in chaos, though it’s nothing new

The reports increase, as statistics will do

And we’re caught in the crossfire of the nuts and the stars

That determine the future as we pen our memoirs


Shedding crocodile tears in a deluge of remorse

At the end of the day like a rocking horse

Merely riding in place, never reaching the sunset

Where endings are happy and all twains have been met.

Falling Star

To Earth it fell, wistful as a breath of sound

Or the thin strand of a shed eyelash

That blinked in a shining stellar moment

A man cast a net to the darkened sky

Baffled, perhaps, his directions reversed

Believing it would capture a dream

Collect wishes like a glass jar

As a cobweb catches the dust

Or he might have glimpsed its path

The burning arc of steep descent

Flaring against night’s velvet backdrop

When one of the stars came loose

And gently cascaded to the ground.


She tossed an engagement ring afar

From the balcony of deep despair

Flinging sorrow into the black expanse

Of a turbulent dusken sea

That merged its edge with the high heavens

And held a coffer of mysteries embraced

Within the distance unfolding from sight

Trailed by a stream of desires spilled

Like sparkling tears out of a broken heart

To waft on the breeze with fayent wings

And carry her wishes through the night

Across the void that was solitude

By the glimmer of a shooting star.


It traveled a curved trajectory

Vibrant as a ball of heat

Surrounded with unnatural radiance

And a glorious flaming aura

Slowing toward land by convulsive shudders

The crew of voyagers recited a prayer

In a foreign tongue of bleeps and clicks

Uncommon features rapt with fear

Hands drifted to meet before the crash

That disintegrated their visitation

The brightest glow touching both horizons

Beckoning a star-struck pair

Who ventured toward the pyre.


They are a strange peculiar sort

Existing underneath

A huge deserted wasteland once

Believed to be of import

But like most truly precious things

Its worth was not appreciated

While lesser values were exalted —

From such disaster springs


There loomed great madness in the brains

Of those who tinkered with sheer folly

And tempted Fate by risking all

Imperiling the sanes

Who never asked for poison pies

When pattycaking mud

Or birds to line the earth feet up

Upon a bed of flies


Smart folk dug deep anticipating

The sure and only outcome

To building monuments of peril

The survivors are awaiting

Their chance to pick up pieces left

By the waves and cannonballs of fire

Amidst the bones of desecration

That remain of the bereft


A smarter race would have aligned

And halted such pure madness

Or never let the few control

The fate of every kind

Common sense should have decreed

That craziness should not dictate

The consequences all must face

From the hazards born of greed


For days are short and lives too dear

To be wasted with harsh lessons

These bottom-dwellers paid the price

Now their future is severe.

the fuddy duddy

His days are spent recalling a moment

When everything changed, spinning out of order

In a haywire flash of screeching metal

And his careful life crossed a directionless border

Where a free-for-all zone led to Havoc’s doorstep

An unholy mess of bedlam and dismay

The playpen of despicable measures

That would take his breath, his composure away

And transform him into a fuddy duddy

By turning his hair to a stark white shade

Adding wrinkles from woes and a hunched-over posture

From the Greek tragedies of pandemonious parade

A trail of torments, large puppethead terrors

A line-up of grueling ordeals and travails

That beat him down to the pulp of a person

Raining fisticuffs in a chorus of wails

Reducing his spirit to a tattered sheet

Like an impoverished ghost without a tailor

To stitch his seams and redeem his soul

Or patch his canvas like a waterlogged sailor

Now resigned to perching on a lonely porch

Railing at dogs and children as sport

His mind in reverie, a shallow remnant

Of the man behind the worrywart

Dressed in age, wearing a sun-speckled veneer

Disguised as a crotchety cantanker

Who had once been young and optimistic

Before rusting to an anchor.


Here then screams

The woes of generations

That huddle amassed

In the crevices of Time

Unseen by mere eyes

Without X-Ray Vision

To look between the lines

And think below the surface

What hides within

The darkest smallest places

Where deep inside these nooks

Fester and froth

Abeyant secrets

Unable to be shared



Like beasts that yearn to squeeze and slither

Through the cracks

Of a society

That looks the other way

With an all-seeing glass eye

To view what isn’t there

And contemplate the unknowable

Cherishing silence, brilliance, hyperbole

Instead of the grim chaotic theory

That all alive are but random meals

And hungry mouths

Nourishing the worms and germs

Of this earth

Caught in a great web

A grand design

Existing simply to feed.


It is common knowledge

That there is much we do not know

And things most sinistre in fact exist

Unseen by naked scrutiny below

They sneak around us, flitting just beyond

The senses we most often use

At times in life when we are out of

Luck or time, or haven’t paid our dues

The worst can happen to the least of us

With nothing favorable to glean

Just negatives, the hard cold spaces

We may find ourselves between . . .


And so it was that late one night

In the very early morning hours

When the sleepless stir and shuffle

Swilling java for supposed powers

Came the scratching, came the clawing

Of a larcenistic childhood thief

Who trolled the dark for innocents

To rob the young of their belief

For he thrived on spoiling dreams of hope

Bursting fantasies spoon-fed to babies

The pabulum he had never tasted

And with the voraciousness of rabies

A sleek and glistrous tentacle

Lashed with a nasty surge of dread

Black and eelish, grasping feelish

To snatch a girl from her warm soft bed

And steal off in elastic speed

Recoiling straight to its behemoth source

A roiling nest of viper activity

Replete with devilry, of course

The lair of a wicked mustached villain

Unrenowned, an uncouth guy

Who lurked in stealth abomination

And called himself Sylvester Slye


His suit of pinstripes, needle-nosed

A wealth of glitter on ears and digits

Like a gangster pirate with a black fedora

A crew of swarmy moppets and smidgets

As he ruled the churning Sea Of Sorrows

Mounted between a Kraken’s eyes

Named Barnabus, the villain leered

Reeling in his latest prize

He invited her, sweet Serabel

To join his Circus Of The Deep

A briny spiny extravaganza

Where kids could romp but never sleep

Sera watched as Clown Fish capered

And killer-diller Tuxedo Whales breached

In aerial leaps and bounds of glory

While Tiger Sharks roared, Octo-Pusses reached

Stung by Electric Eels and Jellyfish

Crabs juggling Clams, Sea Ponies prancing

Manta Rays gliding with Guppy-Kids aloft

Lobsters castanetting, Walruses dancing

The wild spectacle of an ocean-tamer

Herded by Sea Dogs riding turtleback

The mastermind had an odd legion of toadies

To carry out his covert attack


The girl was stubborn, a dauntless dreamer

Sera held her breath, swimming with the fishes

And figured out a superior scheme

To undo the wretched Sylvester’s wishes

Still a child, she knew anything was possible

Fairies and magic, Sea Unicorns and Monkeys

The world contained wonders beyond belief

That could defeat Sylvester and free his flunkies

The girl clapped her hands; she winked three times

Recited a Nursery Rhyme, solemnly smiled

Then whistled for the nearest Sea Lion

To give her a lift as the water grew riled

The performers spun in a bubbling whirlpool

Sylvester Slye cracked the Kraken’s whips

His monster snarled in a flurry of constrictors

Master and beast both curled their lips

And bellowed in one voice, an awful howl

But the current toppled Sylvester from his throne

The jaws of a Great White swallowed him whole

And the circus scattered, each to its own

The Fish-Kids floated up and bobbed

Where they reverted from gill and tail

The girl was delivered — a bit soggy yet fine —

To bed where she hugged her Teddy-Whale.

~ Published ~
January 28, 2014

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