April 28, 2018


what if
the earth is dreaming us
and we have become a nightmare

what if
the land rejoices
in the feet of wild creatures
that run for love of running,
hooves drumming life
into the soil

what if
the wind sings of emptiness,
of movement
and freshness
reminding all things
of change

what if
the sea loves the little boats
that sail on her breast
and wishes them well,
and also mourns with the dwindling whales

what if
the moon sees us
as we see it most nights
and if it calls us sisters

what if
the sun shines with love
only sometimes she forgets
her own strength

what if
stones wish to be picked up
and held in the hand,
pressed to the heart,

what if
the stars wish us well
and when they twinkle,
they are waving at us

what if
birds sing for the fun of it
flinging sound around
like coins into a fountain

what if
bees take pleasure
in pollen and nectar,
and in the alchemy
of honey-making

what if
trees please the earth
and sky, linking one to the other
in a dance
we cannot see

what if
a leaping tiger
delights in his own grace

what if
the cows in the field
the sheep, the goats in the fold,
have stories of their own
to share, but
they write only
in freely-given milk

what if
the dog curled by your feet
remembers his ancestors
and how they frightened us

what if
the butterfly knows
its own improbable journeying
and its magical cocoon-birth
and that is what makes it
so light

what if
plants speak to us
all the time
just very, very quietly,
the way they move
very, very slowly

what if
we stopped
the long turning away
and began again
as equals

what if
we came home
and the earth,
shifting in uneasy sleep,
might dream
us sweeter

April 18, 2018

Eye-Candied Apple

Apple will soon unveil their exciting new product, the I-man...Building on their innovative personal electronics line, the I-man is a life-sized, fully-customizable gentleman. It's likely to be very expensive, though; Apple hasn't released a suggested retail price, but it will most likely be very cost-competitive compared to marriage, or even to long-term dating. Company reps envision I-man replacing traditional dating to a large degree within a few years after launch of product. Described as "Tinder without the trouble, and Grindr without the grit", they confidently expect consumer reception to be robust.

The product line will be available in a huge variety of finishes---eye, skin, and hair color are configured in many different combinations with custom options available at additional cost. There are five different heights available in standard models, with four basic body configurations to choose from. The product comes with what company spokespeople refer to as "demographic standard genitalia", but there is a mail-in form for further customization to ensure complete customer satisfaction and optimal performance. The preferences menu will allow the happy owner to set parameters for all kinds of data storage, security features, and sexual preferences, although the latter are still in development as of this writing. You can create a randomizable menu of daily routine playlists and "lock out" other users. The software for managing the I-man is said to be quite similar to the I-tunes program: but instead of music or video playlists, the user can compile personality traits, mental abilities, and linguistic preferences. Some pre-programmed options, for example, include "Artist/Musician"; "Academic"; "Hipster"; "Fortune 500" model (said to be boring, but possibly useful for social occasions by test subjects); "Boy Next Door" (highly customisable); "Redneck" (available on base model and North American markets only); and a "Meet-the-Parents" model, which is still in development. "Gamer Geek", "Fundamentalist", and "Politico" models were test-marketed, but rejected during the research and development trials by most users. Trial users praised the I-man's reliability, ease of use and maintenance, versatility, sweet temperament, and near-psychic ability to infer and play what the user would like to hear and do at any moment. Even the base model will come with a broad range of supplemental practical skills, including housework, home and auto repairs, cooking (may be customized to accommodate dietary needs), and tech support for most household electronics. Apple regrets that for the foreseeable future, child care is not an option, stating that the potential for legal liability was too great. Likewise, all models will be completely sterile, which most users actually rated as a huge plus.

The company anticipates a possible sell-out upon release, but states that they are confident they will be able to meet demand subsequently, although pre-ordering will be necessary. I-man is being manufactured in an undisclosed location, but industry insiders speculate that the majority of components are from Japan and Germany, making it reliable but expensive to repair. I-man will work for up to seven days on one full charge, and can be recharged on-the-fly via the included charging kit with cables for wall socket or car lighter use. I-man is unique among electronic devices in requiring a weekly recharge with cheap beer; Apple developers indicate that they are working on this, but believable replication of male behavior was mysteriously inseparable from the beer. As I-man has shown no other objectionable traits like aggression or dominance, their success rate is still most impressive.

When queried as to a forthcoming I-woman, Apple admitted that their original prototype brief was for a female model, but stated that they have no plans to market an I-woman at this time, saying: "Our research and development teams found that female minds and bodies were not readily susceptible to technological simulacra, and the functions needed were too unpredictable and multifarious... All trial models failed to perform to expectation." Apparently they were unable to create a product that had the necessary complexity and flexibility to imitate women; an unidentified Apple employee stated that all test models were disappointingly lacking in multi-tasking ability, and unconvincing in emotional range execution. Battery life was reported to be low, and even regular proximity to wine and/or chocolate showed no improvement. However, they are expected to keep working on the "Stepford" prototype, as demand for it, despite its limitations, would be huge. The porn industry is rumoured to be interested in a more rudimentary version, even in beta, but Apple executives had no comment on that.


i have known rageful men
and bottled up women
who live with them,
and sometimes
die of it
years later---
a long death,
a death by inches.

i have know such women
suddenly soar free,
spirits bright as sparks,
offering their old lives
to the flames of a new day.

i keep my heart in a jar
these days,
the jar in a box
the box in a cupboard
that locks, in a house
abandoned on a mountain-top
at the ends of the earth...

i'll not be a moth
beating against a lighted pane
coveting a cold comfort flame
flickering deceitfully
in those houses,
anything but safe
no matter what they say.

April 16, 2018

skull light

baba yaga's home
is the place you go
when everything else
has fallen apart
tucked in twisty trees
fenced with stacks of bones
bones that speak to us
saying what we most
fear and need to hear.
women leave the wood
holding flaming skulls
the baba gave us
witch-light, hot and bright
saying, take it home
to find what was lost.
we have done our time
in the endless dark
performed in silence
impossible tasks
helped by mother love
we have found our strength
in the witch's house.
we have returned now
pockets full of change
carrying the light
of ancient fires
no longer silent
no longer afraid
father's house will burn
we will leave the ash
smoking behind us
and set our faces
toward something new.
we will build a house
warmed by ancestral
memory of joy
and fenced with justice
wolves and whales and all
the wild things will sing
our children will go
back to the forest
and leave roses there
for baba yaga
with our fiercest love.

Vasilisa - Rotten Fantom

April 15, 2018

rhymes with ump...

hey, i’m talking to you, yes, you, donald trump,
whose mission in life has just been to scrump,
you’re as useless to me as a dead camel’s hump,
with that arrogant face i so wish to thump,
with your brain like the shell of a long-rotten stump,
with that mad puff of hair like an orangutan’s rump,
with your virulent soul like a toxic waste dump,
with your over-priced wardrobe, you asinine frump,
with your hate-filled campaign with which you pump
a poisonous muck to our political sump,
your heart is as empty as your wallet is plump,
you’re such a mean spirited, miserable grump,
i bet you wouldn’t cry if you watched “forest gump”,
even your surgically-bolstered women must slump
when they see you each morning, you pustulant bump
on the face of the nation, you weed-ridden tump,
you vile and vindictive, perfidious chump,
you self-centered, fork-tongued, lying mugwump,
you graveyard of ethics, where all foul things clump,
you morally bankrupt, pompous great lump,
get out of the spotlight---go away, donald trump.

i want to live in a house like a shell...one with rooms that make much of light, spaciously giving it play across pale expanses of wall, themselves shell-coloured, glimmering. i want furniture in soft, driftwood tones, and unvarnished wooden floors, and textiles woven of un-tinted fibres, and smooth stone-like tiles. i want closets that have space in them around each simple garment, and a row of shoes that do not hurt. i want pearls and opals and other stones that hold all colours and none at once in their hearts. i want banks of white and ivory and all soft-hued flowers, and a slate path to the door, which is washed in many shades of grey and palest violet and soft pale gold.

that's the house i want today. but i also want many other houses, sometimes all in the same day...

i want to live in a house like a witch ball...one with rooms that soften the light, straining it through prism-edged leaded glass diamond windows, with dark purple shutters. walls are painted in a dozen deep colours, hellebore and amber, smoke and twilight, crimson and bottle green. the old wood furniture is simple and dark, or glazed in ebony and nightshade, painted with twining vines and magical patterns. the closet is filled with black and grey and rust-coloured dresses, dried blood-coloured woollen shawls, black boots, and bowls of amulets and deep-hued stone beads to wear. the garden is tangled with herbs and dangerous things, night-blooming pale flowers, mottled mushrooms and hex plants, with a toad croaking near the door painted plummy-black.

i want to live in a fairy tale house...something betwixt the beast's castle, camelot, and rivendell. one with great, arched windows that break the light into filigree shapes and jewel-like stained glass colour-puddles, playing across high stone walls, wide stone floors, and heavy velvet-covered furnishings that glint here and there with old gilding. there are tapestries, and wrought-iron and crystal lights, and thick, plush, intricate rugs. there is a hearth big enough to walk into, and a large library, and wonderful music plays in the evenings. in the bedchamber are armoires filled with glorious silks and brocades. there are jewel boxes holding bright rich gems and tiaras; and peacock feathers, roses and lilies in every room. peacocks stroll in expansive gardens with clipped green hedges, acres of rosebushes, trellised wisteria, wide paths to ride or stroll, a veritable forest of ancient trees; a swan-tenanted river winds through it, and a courtly circle of green lies inside the drive that curves before the massive carved stone lintel and high wooden doors of the entrance.

i want to live in a house like a desert palace...one with beautifully pierced screens and heavy shutters to make a dim refuge inside, walls glazed in colours both murky and bright, mottled with age. reed mats and rugs and tiles make the floors a patchwork of texture and hue, and long rug-covered couches line the walls. cedar wood tables hold tea trays. hanging lanterns give a flickery light, sheepskins soften beds and chairs, incense fills the rooms with balsam scents. clothes are an array of long, voluminous robes in linen or silk or wool, un-dyed or vividly coloured, laid in painted cupboards and carved chests; and shoes are a pile of embroidered leather slippers, soft as petals. the garden is hidden in a courtyard, jasmine and rose scented, with a central fountain softly plashing. the door is large, mihrab-shaped, with a smaller door within it, and ornamented with shining brass nails and an ancient hamsa over its myriad flaking layers of paint.

i want to live in a house like a daimyo lord's...one with glass-walled polished wood corridors surrounding rooms with fragrant tatami floors and paper wall-doors that slide aside to let the garden merge with the interior. furniture is minimal; elegant wood chests or lacquered tables and cushions, fine pottery, painted screens, provide utility and ornament without clutter, and allow the natural beauty of the house materials to shine. there are tansu chests with carefully folded and wrapped kimono, more precious than jewels, exquisitely dyed, embroidered, couched, and created to be worn for a few weeks each year in perfect harmony with the turning seasons with carefully chosen accessories. a small box holds a few antique obi ornaments, and another larger box contains hair ornaments in shell-inlaid lacquer, jade, coral, and pearl. the gardens are green, finely maintained, with old trees and stepping stone paths to the iris-edged stream or to the small, mossy-tiled tea-house.

i want to live in a child-welcoming hobbit house...a spacious but human-scaled place with softly colour-washed walls and clear large windows gently arched, perhaps constructed of wavy-walled cob, centred on a fine hearth and great room. low seating runs along the window walls, scattered with comforting colourful cushions, and rainbow silk scarves drape a play area with baskets of simple, gentle toys and shelves of beautiful books. beeswax candles twinkle on the old wood table, and copper pans, wooden utensils, and robust pottery welcome little helpers in the kitchen. our clothing is hand-made, finely stitched or knitted, and worn in colours chosen to match the days of the week; it hangs in orderly closets that keep also a large array of dress-up clothes for little knights and fair folk. painting supplies, clay for modelling and potting, yarn and fabric for textile work, and musical instruments are handy in tidy baskets and boxes. the partly-walled gardens are bright with every sort of flower, fragrant with savoury herbs, and contain beehives, vegetables, fruit trees, and a safe little poultry house and yard towards the back end. willow-withe fencing lines the sandy or brick paths back to the kitchen door, and the soft green lawn and flowers in front march up to a cheery folkloric floral painted door.

how can i choose?

April 2, 2018


maybe today
i am dusted with shed feathers
and spitting out bones.
maybe i have seen
another mother
disheveled, red-eyed,
clothes wrinkled from long hours
curled in a hard chair
by the bed
of one dying too young,
too suddenly,
and needlessly.
maybe my own eyes
are red with anger
and grief
and it makes you
turn away
don't dare.
you need to see.
if you have not seen
a loved child
in a forest of tubes
and pulsing lights
slowly leaving
that watching woman,
if you have not stood
coffin-side with those
saying farewell to a girl,
looking hard at her folded hands
and not--oh, god, not--
at her shattered skull,
if you haven't seen this
you should
so you can know
just what the unthinking, lie-fed,
worship of guns,
of phrases,
of money,
really costs.
i can tell you
what any mother knows,
that a child's life,
any child's life,
is worth more
than anything you set
in the balance against it.
don't turn away.
don't dare to look away.
there are bones in my throat
and there should be bones
sharp as claws,
in yours.

midwifing the future

lately there has been much discussion about eco-despair, and the unavoidable degradation of everything, and the urgency of action to fight-...