March-May 2017

The poems, “Fitting Passage” and “Reel to Real,” were originally posted in three by 3, June-August 2016. Since then, the former was published in the online literary journal The Sacred Cow Magazine, Winter issue ( and the latter is forthcoming in Bitchin’ Kitsch, Vol. 8 issue 6 (

The three by 3 posting can be accessed by scrolling down or selecting the June-August 2016 entry in the archive box.

“A Self Guided Tour of Pompeii” was inspired by a trip taken to Southern Italy and Sicily in October of 2015. Besides the plaques, a field guide acquired at the Pompeii gift shop was useful in resourcing the poem.

A Self Guided Tour of Pompeii


The citizens of Pompeii worshipped lots of gods–
publicly in temples, privately at home.
Jove, Jupiter, Minerva, Apollo, topped the rosters.
Thanks to them fortune fared good or bad.
More, but of lesser stature, meddled in household affairs.
The Lares enshrined within atriums look human,
dress alike, carry buckets laden with wine,
big and small horns for serving.


Tourists visiting the City view Vesuvius
to the north, weather permitting.
Its dark side hides within a deep crater
that can erupt at any time.
The latest, in 1944, lasted a week,
razed an allied air base, neighboring towns,
buckled the strada to Naples.


On display among the ruins
lie mummies from all walks of life.
Cooling lava cast them, by chance,
in their final moments.
They remain mute while plaques
in French, Italian, English,
cite facts and figures
incapable of explaining why.



December 2016-February 2017

The poems, “Seasonal Unemployment,” “How to Succeed in Apiculture,”  and “The Industrialization of Silk,” were originally posted with an audio file in three by 3, September-November 2014.

Recently I submitted them for publication in miller’s pond, an online poetry journal. Consequently, they have been accepted for the Winter 2017 edition. Their excellent website is:

The September-November 2014 posting on three by 3 can be accessed either by scrolling down or selecting that date on the archives box.



September-November 2016

Scruples 12 is an old/new poem. The first line comes from a work written in the mid 1980’s entitled Mirage.  Reading that poem several months ago inspired a revision, leaving only the first line intact. The rewrite became another Scruples.

By All Appearances and Taking a Hunch To Task were begun last year and recently completed.  As a writing practice, I rarely work on more than one poem at a time. These are an exception, with the former finished in February and Taking a Hunch to Task in May.


   By All Appearances


Today, at the peak
of my morning walk
along the beach,
I spotted a bottle
which, more than likely,
was marooned by a wave
in league with the tide.

There it lay, lost
and found, glass glittering
in the bright of day,
shifting from green to gold
the closer I came…


What I held up, against
the horizon, was skinned
with moss, nothing
inside beside shells
and sand.

Soon enough I cast
the bottle into
an outgoing current.
Adrift, it looked
like a floating ray
of sunshine.


  Taking a Hunch To Task


In the midst of this late shift
        he wonders along at a pace
                   of step and stop.
While listening, the watchman suspects
        termites’ re nibbling, more
                    than likely on the roof…

Which rafters…how many moonbeams
ready to splinter, go for broke…?

Guess turns into groundwork
    as he lugs a ladder up,
       against the wall.
It’s high time to climb
   and seek, look down
      on them, warily.





Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder?

How much depends
on the way it’s concocted—
in a half filled glass, with
or without water, one
to three lumps of sugar.

As for when, anise tastes
bitter from the first sip…
After a few more, spirits
fresh out of the bottle 
serve memories right, stir up
mixed feelings.







June-August 2016

This posting has no Scruples,  these poems stand alone!

While living in Brazil, I would visit my parents during the Christmas holidays. They lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tyrone Mall. a local shopping center, is the setting for Reel to Real.  At the turn of the 21st century I retired. Most retirees make a speech for the occasion. I wrote a poem —A Farewell email.  Fitting Passage is a recent poem,  begun in 2013 and finished in 2014.


   Fitting Passage


What cargo awaits
                   the train shunted
                          into this kind of siding
                                in the middle of the night?
A lone locomotive
              coupled with odd
                        numbered cars
                               chugs ahead.
Clear signals keep it on track,
               right from wrong
                          seen as red or green.


The master in charge of the yard
                works long, late hours
                           making haul choices.
Loading starts at whistle stop,
                 ends in time
                            for the likes of dawn.
On his darkest watch,
                  no train can come
                             and go, empty.


      A Farewell email



Ladies and Gentlemen,

         Our Qatar tour went well. To begin with, we performed
at select locations—only those along trade routes. Besides the locals,
nomads, pilgrims, even sheiks with harems came from near and far.
         As for attendance, they came in droves. By mid trip, matinees were
always sold out. The same nightly. Then I added late, late sessions.
         Today the show goes on—finally for the last time. After that, as
soon as the troupe´s packed, a caravan´ll take us to the airport. Everyone´s
flying back except yours truly. Our fortune teller saw me living in Spain
for years, writing my memoirs.
         And how´s the head hunt going? At our spring meeting
we talked about my retirement. When was clear. That left the question
of succession.
         Your choice was Jimmy, the lion tamer. Mine was to hire an outsider.
Someone with an MBA, years of experience, used to travelling on business.
         My sister matches like stripes on a tent. Remember her, the exec
from Tusks & Us that bought our white elephants? Since then she´s been
looking for a job. Months ago I sent you her resume with photos.


                                          With kind regards,



      Reel to Real


She’s waiting in a small cafe,
sitting near the bar.
He’s late. Behind her a Cinzano
logoed clock comes into focus.
Now she looks more worried
than angry…on weekends the curfew
begins in half an hour.

They´re lovers. He´s also a spy
for the allies.
She doesn´t know that;
nor what´s going on
and on, under orders.

Two men in trench coats
had dragged him off a trolley,
into an idling car.
Tires squealed. An armed guard
raised a gate.

The interrogation scenes were
too painful to watch.
Close ups showed the agents
beating him–with their fists,
then truncheons.
They wanted names, dates,
not bon mots about the weather


It´s Sunday. After the matinee
we always stroll around
the mall, window shopping,
looking for bargains.
All aisles cross the food court.
Anyone on our trail would see
us stepping into Hollywood,
where fast food
is named after movie stars.





March-May 2016

This posting comprises another trio of Scruples (#’s 9, 10, 11).  The previous eight and their posted dates are: #’s 1-3/ December, 2013; #’s 4-6/ March 2014; #’s 7-8/ September 2015.

All share the same leitmotif : “The idea of scruples has to do with ethics and morality: what is right and wrong. Scruples are a kind of moral compass that lets you know what’s right.”  ( )

Written with the best of intentions, may they be well worth reading.




Too bad for the jar
of jellybeans
as a cat
with a sweet tooth
shows up, all
at once, out
of curiosity, on
the top shelf…
Worse comes soon
after, when
he starts pawing
around, by
and large, closer,

Their worst off
would be
if, in due time,
he devours
the strawberries,
key limes,
every cherry,
a whole lot
of tutti fruttis.



Today was meant for me
                     to find a starfish
with seven arms, another
                          map stowed
in a bottle, a mixed bag
                                of old coins…

The best beachcombing comes
                        after a storm;
as soon as the tide lies low,
                            more and more
flotsam shows up…

Whatever does can make
                        any day’s luck
good or bad, sometimes
                               in a streak.




Honey—a bunch of Huns
                   is heading this way—
                           astride the mountain road,
                                                  raging at full gallop.

While I fetch the wagon,
                    take a last, fast look
                             around—make the load
                                                    good and light.

Those fiends won’t find
                    a soul to greet them,
                              much less do their bidding.
If all goes well, we’ll ferry
                         the river by dark,
                                    hide on the safe side…
Elsewhere, only a miracle
                   can save our home,
                             sweet home, from
                                                  the likes of them.


December 2015-February 2016

The Middle East was geographically far removed from South America, my home ground. What, then, inspired me to write the poems of this posting?

Aladdin on a Divan Overshadowed by Herr Doktor Freud  was written in 1988 soon after I moved to Brazil. It was my first published poem. A decade later, without any before thoughts, I wrote Arabic Numbers.  The most recent of the trio, The Main Attraction in Marrakesh, was written in 2014.


Aladdin on a Divan Overshadowed
by Herr Doktor Freud

Spot the lamp.
Ogle it.
Then ease into
the tent’s roomy gloom…

Now try your memory.

Start where the oasis
stands at the foot
of the horizon,
highlighted by half a sun
going under
while you’re bent on
sipping spring water
well before darkness.
When it comes
fallen palm fronds
make a mattress
soft enough
for slumbering
under a sheet of stars.

Later, a dream shows up.
It looks like an empty tent
with only a lamp
dangling from the ceiling.
You’re told to enter
through a voice
without a head or tail.
It’s a genie’s,
openly spouting off
about what’s his rub,
and why he wants a stroking.

That’s where you come in,
a child of the desert
with sand in your ears,
armed with a helping hand.
So far, are we in sync, Mr. Aladdin?
Furthermore, was backtracking
the right way
to run today’s session?

Once upon a time
you were gifted with granted wishes
which, in this case,
paired your youth
into before and after.
As such, the latter’s become
a no lad’s land.
Until you’re man enough
to tell the difference,
I’ll sit in for the genie–
grow a grey goatee.

First published in  Poetry Magazine


Arabic Numbers


At the back
               of the patio
I pat the concubine
        with such a light touch
that her skirt neither
        wrinkles nor rustles.
Then I vanish
                behind a curtain,
reappearing in a lamp-lit parlor
where, on the floor,
                there´re pillows for visitors,
                a sofa for the host.
A eunuch ushers me to mine. This time
             it’s lying
                beside the musicians.

The guests’ re friends,
neighbors, merchants from his oasis,
drinking tea, eating sweets, waiting
for the sand to fill an hourglass.

Our sheik´s the richest in Tunis.
Every month he gives away
                        a girl from his harem
                        and two gold rings
to whoever she chooses.
But before that her dancing must make
            his heart beat like a tambourine,
                  ours like hyenas in heat.
Tonight he´s promised to unveil
                                            an Egyptian.

I see a face in the hourglass,
       hear her whisper my name,
               and in the same breath, seven.


The Main Attraction In Marrakesh


On weekdays, as a rule,
the market opens
after morning prayers,
closes before evening call…                          

The old wall looks like a floor
covered with rugs in a range
of sizes, shapes, magic colors.
Whenever the wind blows,
they wave for attention.

Perfume vendors mind booths
lined with shelves.
They sell by scent, amount,
choice of bottle.
Each promises more
than he can deliver.

The spice stalls make
breathing a pleasure.
Deep draughts, one
after another, bring out
their best and worst.

In a tent armed with guards,
there’s much to see,
but not touch.
Glass counters, aisle
by aisle, showcase rare gems,
jewels fit for a sheik.

Tourists are always welcome,
even those who only
browse, complain about
the dust and heat.
Shoppers with hard currency
can buy whatever they want
without haggling.

September-November 2015

Time for another posting of Scruples? Numbers 4 thru 6 were posted in March of 2014. This time, it’s 7 and 8, the latter with an audio file. (Clicking on the triangle initiates playback).As for timeliness, both were written since the previous posting. They are the most recent poems published in Three by 3. The third poem, What’s in the Attic?, was written as recently as the Scruples entries. A first version from 2013 was revised in 2014, which is the work posted.

Scruples 8



Bigfoot is back in season, should
      show up the more it snows,
              leaving fresh tracks
                   there and then.
After a while, trails will
       appear, clear cut
               enough to follow.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Mounting a search party
         takes some choosing.
Members must be as brave
          as savvy, able bodied, get
                along well, willing to bear
                      the burden of proof.

Once mustered, our mission
        is to make contact           
               with this man,
                     beast, or both.
If it looks harmless and
        waves a white flag,
                 so much the better.



After a while the fountain appears,
as moving as ever, water galore
from the mouths of cherubs
streaming into a pool.
The coins come from elsewhere,
airborne, toss ups
that started out as small change.

They lie, by chance, scattered
about, some sparkling
like new, others mistaken
for moss.
Those down the drain, sight
unseen, might
be twinkling in the dark.


 What’s in the Attic?


One small, bare window
above the rafters,
under the roof,
lets all the light in.
During the day it comes
from sunbeams. At night,
star bright and moon glow.     

Boxes, stacks, piles
of something or another
have their place.
So does a door
the size of a hatch,
which opens up, shuts down.

Now you appear with more to store.
Not much room left– 
shelves are full, space is tight,
air cluttered with ghost dust.
Time to clean out the attic?
It´s long overdue.



June-August 2015


Water related images appear in three by 3  postings of July and December 2014, March and September 2013, June 2012.

This posting includes two poems with water imagery. Noah’s Notions was written in 1999 and published the same year. Skimming All the Way, from 2008, is one of my first poems written in the US,  post retirement.

Timely Observations has nothing to do with water! It shares with Noah’s Notions the year written and publication by the same journal.

CorrectionIn the March-May 2015 posting, the first line, last paragraph of Windfall   incorrectly read Could the crows change sides… The corrected line is Could the wind change sides…


Noah’s Notions


At first, ancillaries change.
Now it rains too often.
The birds have skipped chirping.
The rainbows are washed up.
Yes, this must be Mesopotamia.
My sympathy should sync in.
It’s pointless to long
after a rosy sky.
For one that went elsewhere.
Besides, I can’t backtrack
with both rivers bridgeless.
Their waters are taking
over my last memory bank.

Suddenly, like airborne flotsam,
I’m hearing even worse tidings.
Their drift’s coming clearer:
some day the sun’ll rise again,
but, meanwhile, there’s
more flooding to be forded.

As I’m lacking a lifesaver
any waterproof solution
needs nailing down—now.
Even ark work which,
though highly spoken of
by the world builder,
still sounds screwy.


First published in Kimera


Skimming  Along the Way


He can always find
at low tide, stone
after stone along this beach;
though only a few
land in his bucket,
each as round, smooth,
flat as a coin.

Besides choosing wisely,
he knows how to throw
far, so hard
that, on a calm day,
they skip on and on,
right for the horizon.

By mid morning,
his lot is cast
along with theirs.
He sent them soaring,
above and beyond
the sea’s reach.
They leave him standing
by the shore, holding
an empty bucket.


Timely Observations


Time out has no due date,
though it could show up
should someone stumble,
without waterwings,
into a whirl pool.

There’s no watch in the world
which works so well
as to tell when a will
will be needed for a reading.

The sand thins down, ad nauseam.
The middle ground undergoes
a shakeout…

…as an hour glass’ horizon sifts,
from top to bottom,
from one end to another,
adding both halves together.

So, a clock’s always unwinding,
with quartz hands
counting on pulses.

Then, when a busy body
runs late an alarm rings.
This time without stopping.


First published in Kimera

March-May 2015

Critters have shown up in the three by 3  postings of December 2012,  March 2013, December 2014. This trio might be the last of their lot.

As for time and place, Windfall was written in 2002,  A Widow’s Diary in 2005,  both while I was residing in Brazil. Style vs. Content is the earliest of any of the posted three by 3 poems. It was written in 1985, my last year living in Mexico.



A bonafide bluffer, the chameleon can lie
flat out on a rock—even when
the sun stares into his eyes,
the wind rubs him the wrong way—
from the front, down his snout.
Still—he doesn’t blink or twitch,
appear to breathe, turn tail
as the crows approach. 

Early risers, they’re ready to eat
anything—from the ground up—
that happens to be there.
By dawn the flock’s airborne, soaring,
some on top, the rest circling
lower, around his whereabouts.
In a few more loops, they’ll be
within swooping distance,                                                                                                                                                cawing for blood.

Could the wind change sides,
blow the crows black into the sky,
give him a chance?
There isn’t a chameleon born
whose camouflage hasn’t fooled
scores of high flyers;
nor one alive
that hasn’t been lucky—once
in a while. 


   A Widow’s Diary


Web…web…what did I expect
        from a spider stuck
               for months in a closet?
She’s accomplished a lot—
          strung her’s up and down,
                netted one..two..shelves.

Spring’s arrived. I’ve brought a taste
          from my garden, seasonably
                 sweetened by nectar.
Won’t the spider be pleased?
          She’ll have a butterfly
                   for company, bluer
                         than the sky outside.


  Style vs. Content


“Yoicks,” you sputter
as the hounds bound off,
brindle through the dust,
and the flushed fox
hithers across fields,
under fences.
Helter skelter we trollop
on our high horses
to where
four quarters land us.
And ho to the hunt!
Tally towards the bloody beast!

Sods on the spot:
the last hedgerow
is overrun
by an uphill onslaught,
as our straight away
wins out.
Now victory runs right.
The fox, too tired
for further feeling,
sulks tight.
The hounds badger him
at bay,
until we muzzle in.
Up close
he’s nothing but
poor sport.











December 2014-February 2015

The September-November 2012 entry included poems based on my travelling, be it for business or pleasure. Origins on Galapagos, Out of Close Range, and On Andean Time are a continuation. Location wise, the first relates to the Ecuadorian islands, the second to a wildlife photo safari in Kenya, Africa, the third to springtime fishing in the Andes mountains of Chile.

 Origins on Galapagos


Lucky ducks, though they’re terns,
that can always bank on
a cornucopia surfacing around them—
marooned onshore pools
with kelp, eelgrass, crabs
clinging to the bottom…

Their ancestors also fared well,
as per my post mortem memory.
Enough to establish a flock of birds
with blood lines tied to flowing tides.
My kind died out long ago,
overcome by an unstable volcano.
Had our wings been bigger
we’d have flown off the island;
or swam away if we’d known how.

Likewise, I can recall when
the first newcomber was spotted
poking around one sunrise.
He appeared alone, but as the sky shined
others showed up, mouthing sounds
like “right here” and “Dr. Darwin.”
Each day they arrived early, left
after hovering over scores of nests.

Naturally, they never saw a feather
nor heard us chirping.
We were no more than a body of ashes
left behind like lava—the darkest part
of the sand they stepped on
while doing their legwork
up and down dunes.
They came close, though,
those curious creatures
that ran around
after every tern.

Out of Close Range


The cheetahs parched, hyenas hoarse,
plodding pods of antelopes,
as a two o’clock sun smelts the veldt.
Between them and the river, men with rifles,
lots of bullets, time on their side, hide
behind a blind made from mud, woven reeds.

Not far off, nor much later, a zebra appears.
He’s all white with a black mane
that looks like wings.
The hunters‘ll shoot high
if he flies by, low if he trods.
One way or another they can’t miss,
unless it’s a mirage.


On Andean Time


By degrees, the lower slopes turn
into a kaleidoscope—
on one side, blue mingles with white—
a split image of the sky.
On the other, yellow flashes—
as bright as sunlight…

In winter these slopes look like
the rest of the mountain—
no flowers blooming out
of season, only near and far
the cold glow of snow.