March-May 2019

“By Design and On Purpose” was posted in three by 3, September-November 2013. Since then, it was submitted to several journals for publication and accepted by Verse-Virtual. Their website is The volume date is April 2019.

I spent my end of year holidays in Brazil. “Last Laugh In the Funhouse” was begun before, worked on during, completed after returning home.  Like its predecessors, Scruples #15 deals with moral concerns. In this case, how time puts them in perspective.

By Design and On Purpose

   For Leslie Kingston

Lighthouses are put there to stay.
In no way should they
at any time, go off fishing,
out for lunch, look forward
to holidays—none on the horizon.
If they did, who’d warn boats
about local currents,
which ones spit shoals
which  braid channels?

Likewise, lighthouses are put there to last.
Above all, they’re trussworthy spines
of steel rolled in concrete—
tons of each—raised to face
sunstroke one day, wind bites another,
no turning away
from whatever the weather wants.
How long should they soar?
As big and bright as possible
without much upkeep:
between seasons
a change of lenses,
lamps nightly,
after blackouts, new fuses.

On paper—technically blueprints—
lighthouses are rendered
with reliability in mind.
From top down, they’re designed
to hold their ground,
stand fast on a cliff
or bluff, be seen
for miles, over and over.


Last Laugh In the Funhouse


Among the attractions
there’s always a back room
haunted by mirrors.
Above the entrance—
intruders are welcome
flashes off and on,
along with a green neon
arrow pointing forward.


Within appears deserted,
dim as a dungeon;
but before long, one after
another, reflections show up
on both sides, back and forth…
What poses for fun is figuring
out who looks like who,
whether they match a good
or bad impression?




Let’s sing Happy Birthday together.
Those who can remember
the words, still carry a tune,
please gather around the table.

Someone should lower the curtains…
another bring in the cake…

How many candles are lit?
Our lot awaits with baited breath
until the time comes to blow
them out, while we’re able.

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