hat if, instead of holy, cows were holey? If the black spots on the average dairy breed were empty spaces rather than splotches? Where might the rest of the cow be? Would these pieces just pop out like donut holes and roll away? Or would they sprout into new cows once they hit the ground? Perhaps they would remain that size, a herd of Mini-Holsteins grazing at the hooves of the normal ones. Maybe they’d scuttle off in search of greener pastures to avoid being trampled and squashed by accident to cow pies, then sizzled and slapped between the halves of buns. Or to evade getting rounded up for sale in curio shoppes, as trinket cows and purse pets for wealthy ladies. I can just imagine it. Yes, my mind does ponder the strangest things.

Might it be that a holey cow is a metaphor? The embodiment of optimism and pessimism, like a half-filled cup of milk? Could it symbolize the positive and negative aspects of our perspective? Could it even represent some deeper significance, an esoteric principle reserved for those wearing a special type of glasses? Yes, I believe it has something to do with signocology or reading the map of the stars. Oh snap, I’ve figured it out! Of course, it’s so obvious! A holey cow would produce Swiss Cheese. There you go.

Now that I have practically solved the mysteries of the universe, I must contemplate a topic for this column. It has to be about something. I’ve already done one or two about nothing. Soooooo then, hmmmm, what to do, what to do . . . . . . .?

Yep. Waiting for an answer.

Still waiting.

Waiting here.

Uh-huh, you guessed it. Waiting.

What? You’re waiting for me to quit waiting and answer the question of what to do? How should I know? I was asking you!

Have you ever wondered how someone can draw a blank? I wonder that a lot.

The silence is echoing, you just can’t hear it. I think it has made you deaf. But don’t mind me. I am not myself. I’m not sure who I am except that it’s not me. It could be anyone else, I suppose. That can happen. Especially to me.

I also think I may have injured my sacroliliac, a part I’m told most people do not have. I happen to have one, which makes me pretty special. It is very useful too — keeping my sangfroidity in balance, my larnyx in tune, for bowing and scraping to my temple lobes. It enables me to fold at the waist, which comes in handy when burying your head in sand or counting on one’s toes. But it is tricky to write or maintain coherence aforethought without distraction. I tried putting a bandaid on it, but that keeps coming off. I have even attempted to X-ray the part but was informed they couldn’t find it. So next I will smear gooseberry jam on the thing and make a toast to the moon before the cow jumps over it and a pack of greedy blind mice start gobbling the cheese. If that doesn’t work, I will be at my wit’s end and hopefully not have to worry about it anymore. If you’ve ever stubbed your toe, I’m sure you can sympathize. Not that this is like that, but I’m sure the experience has made you a more sympathetic person.

We are all shaped by our course through life, just as the rock walls of a canyon are shaped by the river that carves through it or the Silly Putty is molded by the fey fickle fingers and thumbs of Fate. Even as a holey cow might be perforated by a cosmic hole-punch.

There, now that I have waned and waxed profound, on with the poems! I have no idea what they will be about, and that is your fault. Tisk, tisk . . .

Holey cow!

Maybe, just maybe, on the whim of a breeze

Cows could be cratered like a moon made of Swiss Cheese

Perhaps an illusion, a touch of the surreal —

What other quirks might a lark’s flight reveal?


There is magic in the waft of a fanciful notion

Like the somersault of waves on a tumbling ocean

The catapult of dreams upon a fusillade of stars

Our vague yearnings flung to sprays of flickerent quasars


But desires we hold most dear shoot for meteoric showers

Sometimes the greatest strength is holding on a few more hours

We can see one way at present and another in the past

While tomorrow may bring hope from dire wishes that were cast


Glib caprices swept by gusts of an imaginary kind

Whisked by calliope refrains of Time’s galloping unwind

Through dorsal-finick crests of enraptly textured hills

Where buzzards buzz, turtle doves are shelled, and goats have beaks or bills


In which rows of holey cows click their tongues like metric-gnomes

With measured disapproval at homing-pigeons without homes

As greenhouse bottom-feeders root for veggies that bite back

And oranges are purple, grapes a pleasant shade of black


Where peepers grow on trees and flutter limb to limb

Unblinking as they sightsee until the morn grows dim

And the crane will crow to slumber as flamingo-salmon yawn

We are never far from madness as we go to sleep at dawn


Skinny dogs chew their own bones with a dislocated air

Trash is sold again as retail to consumers who don’t care

Slender walruses work out, forming Water Polo crews

There are five-ring flea hotels that double up as zoos


I am living in this world that is almost make-believe

Were it not for a grain of truth between the threads of tales I weave

And dyslexic inattention to fresh-cement details that pour

Like figless pudding from outside the recess of my core


In the turning of its pages flows line-dancing clandestiny

A font of confusion penciled in to erase Reality

Thus huddle the vagarent holey cows, the spectral boldface types . . .

If you can’t handle the consequences, then just udder wow or cripes!


One crackly autumnal stroke of dawn

As trees held their leaves like bated breath

For a moment of sinister apprehension

In silence as still as death

A bleak and swirling atmosphere

Impended off to the distance

A vaporal gathering of enmity

With a stark gray stern insistence

That slowly crept into a burg

Until it hovered to brood above

A roiling mass of suspended malice

In which portended no drop of love

A storm, a storm had come to pass

Rife with dazzlings and zigzag darts

Ripples of luminant venomous tongues

Like jagged soldiers playing their parts

A war of emotions, commotions and passion

A turbulent stockpile of natural volition

With the promise to rail and rant in fury

Until it should run out of ammunition

A dark day ahead, a negative omen

A dismal fever of tempestuous rage

The rabid distemper of a howling fiend

An ill wind blowing a surly rampage

Then broke the thunder, deluge released

Crashing, slashing, a tremendous downpour

Out of sorts and spite, a derisive torrent

A mere appetizer of what lay in store

“It’s raining cows, by golly!” a man cried

Ere flattened beneath the weight of the clouds

Further words were drowned by thuds and splashes

Of a vertical flood spilling watery shrouds

The sins of the town were washed away

And all they could do was scream

Stepping to the ground with a snarly grimace

The storm was a walking bad dream

Its voice emerged garbled, an echoing bellow

That shook the buildings with each mega-stride

A cyclone regaled in static-charged glory

Its virulence tore chimneys and roofs aside

Then came a dame gripping a black and white umbrella

Who impatiently answered that it was “Enough!”

To send the brute packing, its wallop backtracking

“Be gone with this damp and wretched stuff!”

Shaking her fist at the colossal nerve

She swerved to stomp a puddled terrain

Disgruntled and soggy, her footfalls boggy

Drenched, fists clenched, not one to complain

But this was too much so here she was

The only brave soul to raise her voice

And disapprove of the storm’s behavior

As if it were a matter of choice

The storm was astonished and fled to blubber

Soundly scolded by a grouchy maid

Reduced to tears, suspending its rancor

That wicked wind’s bluster did swiftly fade.

bovine wrath

You never want to get

On the wrong side of a cow

It’s a little like declaring

A zombie apocalypse now

Such a foolhardy action

Could kick you in the teeth

Or the cow might tip and crush you

Upon a grassen heath

And there you’ll lie to wither

A casualty of war

Except there’d be no motive

It would leave you feeling sore

Which probably won’t kill you

Until the ants arrive

They’ll sip your blood and nip your flesh

And eat you up alive

If you ever cross a pasture

Beware the bovine wrath

For you don’t wish to experience

The calamitous aftermath

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

To hike cow fields with haste

’Tis a risk you should avoid

Like swallowing toothpaste.

the sprung sprock

Be careful if you’ve sprung a sprock

You may find it will leave you never

Whatever it is (I can’t be sure)

It could cause your head to sever

It might also eat your slippers

By swallowing the canine gnawing them

No closet is safe from being organized

Into bits or pieces of rubbish and phlegm

Once it’s in your house you’re doomed

It will mop your floors as well

By licking with a bumpy tongue

To leave a coat of slime and smell

No, I don’t advise springing that sprock

Should you encounter one coiled on your doorstep

Whether free to a good home in a wicker basket

Or curled in an alley with a sign saying YEP!

Just do your best to ignore it

And hope it didn’t grow attached

To your ankle while you glanced away

Rather like being alien-snatched

In fact, I wonder if it’s from Outer Space

And hit Earth by accident or something

A splurge of complicated common nonsense

The sort of lunacy a full-moon can bring

If you’ve ever sprung a sprock you’d know

When your ping-pong balls began to vanish

All your lightbulbs were crunched like candy

Bowling pins and needles made you think in Spanish

The doors were locked from the inside out

Rugs replaced by carpets of hair

The phone rang and rang unanswered

Then your ears would ring with nobody there

I can’t stress enough the need to giggle

At the absurdity of the situation

A sprock could turn your life upside down

Be your biggest source of agitation

Or lift your spirits like a contagious yawn

No, wait, I mean an infectious grin

Unless you were allergic, then you would sneeze

And the sprung sprock would do you in.

the old woman who had a cow

Near a village called Norwester was a woman name of Mag

Who resided alone in a shabby hut, its thatched top all asag

Nobody came to visit, no other shared her blood

She had risen from the dirt and would soon rejoin the mud


One day a knobby fellow tapped a weather-roughened door

“How do, good madam?” greeted he, nigh bending to the floor

Unused to guests yet starved for contact, the lady bid him enter

He removed his brim and took a seat, then spoke a little gentler


“My lady, what I offer thee is a chance to compensate,

For I see you’ve no companions, neither child nor household mate.

Simply swallow these and your grief will ease, I guarantee you that.

You will have a friend to the very end, or I shall eat my hat.”


The stranger’s palm held a pair of seeds: one black, the other white

Though her garden grew abundant, these were not a familiar sight

Mag accepted the gent’s kind offer and did as he suggested

Her stomach lurched, her eyes went wide; a wistful face protested


What had the scoundrel done to her? A look of dread replaced her need

But the cad assured she would be fine, then left with all due speed

As if an evil spell were cast, the old woman writhed in pain

And collapsed to the bed, her belly enlarged, thinking this would be tough to explain


Instead of a babe, something else was born inside that humble cottage

To the mother’s shame and amazement both, a figment of her dottage

The critter rose on shaky limbs and gave a bleat of greeting

As inexplicable as extraordinary, it was quite the peculiar meeting


Nuzzling her neck and licking her cheek, the calf melted the woman’s heart

Mag now had a cow who called her Moom, and they’d never be apart

Sharing pints of milk with the four-legged creature, she raised a healthy daughter

Who eventually repaid the gesture, cream gushing like a stream of water


Delilah wore a shiny bell and followed the woman around

They were close as could be until poor Mag was laid into the ground

The lonesome orphan would be adopted by the village of selfish crabs

Fighting over milk so rich and sweet, like the cow was up for grabs


Unable to agree, they roasted Delilah and feasted on her whole

Clawing and snatching, savagely dining, till there only remained her soul

And a soot-stained cowbell lying forlorn, charred in the fire’s pit . . .

Clangs are still heard upon the wind, faint laughter trailing it.

~ Published ~
August 30, 2012

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