The Rules of Engagement


We played chicken,

Until the plot thickened,

There was some kicking,

And I was stricken,

And honestly sickened.

Then came the blowback,

And backlash,

Followed by attacks,

Without tact.

We acted,

Like brash asses,

In the pool,

But that’s no place for cruel fools,

Only honorable duels,

Which follow the rules.

Only with conviction

To consistent conventions,

Can Chicken be played.

It demands surgeon-like steady hands,

A strong stance,

And some symmetry,


And good ground game.

Without those pieces,

The game ceases,

Animosity increases,

For no good reason.



The spider in the corner,

Of my dorm,



With web in disorder.

If I were shorter,

I’d steer clear,

And try not to vear,

Into his hunting gear.

He’s well-equipped,

Works from home,

And quite strict,

When prey roams,

Toward his crypt.

The monster,


A stone’s throw away,


On silken-strands,

He’d be easy to slay,

With a magazine,

But that’s mean,

And I’d have to clean,


He keeps,

His heaps,


And tiny,

So I’ll let him stay,




Diamond-plated steps,

peeling paint,

and a cardboard ruler

demonstrating the height requirement.

Pewter pistons,

hidden hinges

standing cushions,

eroded by time

and centrifugal force.

Blinking lights all around the ridges

and a long line of patrons

brandishing bracelets

soft drinks,

plush prizes

and crumpled tickets.

The ride spins,

blinking like a UFO,

ready to launch

and fly faster than light,

but it never gets off the ground.

You stumble around,

pretty dizzy,

ready for the next thrill.

“One more time?”

she says.

Your hair is mussed,

from the last six times,

she asked.

“Why not,”

you say,

while turning about face,

to stand single-file

once more.



Selfish is the radiance-hoarder,

Unbounded bouncing element resonates,

Through the sphere of the sunshine recorder,

Upon its crux the particle detonates.

Lucid luminescence has primal appeal,

In a world of constant flux,

Like an old zoetrope, spinning like a pinwheel,

Unfettered, unfocused, a coliseum of lux.

A balance must be struck between the two reciprocals,

A cavalcade of color that leaves an impression,

A spectral speckle spectacle; a rainbow flicker-festival,

A kaleidoscope held up to your eye for another session.

Wear and Tear


I slouched on the couch, as she rose and fell on my chest with my breath.

We were groggy in the dim den. The switched-off cable box read “11:27″ in white hyphens.

I ran my thumb over the hole in my pant leg, when she grabbed my arm and stopped me,

“Do you have any coffee?”

“Yeah I do, want me to make some?”

“Yes please.”

I stood and stretched. She sat up, then lie flat and relaxed like a napping cat.

She wore gray sweatpants and a tank top, her hair was in a tidy samurai bun and she wore no makeup.

“Wake up!” I said in jest, her eyebrows jerked and perked.

She stood and followed me forward.

“You know the wallpaper’s peeling over there” she said, pointing at the seam where the wood-paneling ended in the foyer. It curled in some places and bubbled in others.

“This isn’t my house, I just live here.”

“It looks bad,” she said.

I shrugged.

We walked into the kitchen; I loaded the ground grains into the french press and boiled some water.

She slid her chair out from under the table, and ignored the wobble it made until it settled back into equilibrium.

I pressed firmly on the piston.

“How do you like yours?”

“Can I have a little milk and like two spoonfuls of sugar, please?”

“Of course,” I said pulling a mug from the cupboard. It was glossy white and boxlike, with a square-shaped handle on its flank.

I let the mixture steep.

“Why two sugars particularly?”

“One isn’t enough, three is too many.”

The Colombian roast had a strong, robust smell. The kind that reminds you why people drink coffee in the first place.

The stream of hot liquid from the jug made a prolonged plopping noise as it occupied the mug.

Once more I reached into the cupboard.

“Isn’t that broken,” she asked as my hand emerged.

“That’s news to me,” I said examining the cup. Sure enough, it had a chip on its side the size of a dime.

I turned and filled it with black coffee.

None sloshed onto my hand. None spilled onto the floor.

“It’s not that broken.”

I joined her at the table.

“I could easily get you a new one you know,” she said leaning foward.

“I’d love that!”

She shot to attention, back straight up against the chair, owl eyes fixed forward.


“I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth,” I said.

The chair tipped and bumped the ground with its lopsided leg, then slid back and to the left. She ran to grab her coat and scarf

“I’d still use this one anyway,” I announced over her mad dash.

“Why,” she asked, bundled up and out of breath.

“Because it’s okay.”

Small Things


The periwinkle patina on a past-it’s-prime pretty penny that smells of pungent pecuniary petrichor,

The swing-set that squeaks and squeals due to shear-force in the sanguine summer schoolyard,

The oscillating fan that is ostensibly an orbiting oasis in the warm weather,

The trills and triads the trickle plays when traipsing through its trapeze act to tap on a rock face.

These are minutiae, minute moments made of monuments to each momentous minute.