Monday, December 21, 2015



A truffle is a truffle because it looks like a truffle; a trifle is a rifle gone south.

The sky makes so much sense. The hunter chases the girls; the big dog trails behind; a bull stands at the gate. And the great bear, ready to dig his claws into the burberry and spin you away like a retreating galaxy.

Even on Valentine’s day, the kid with the arrows should not wake the slumbering Ursa. He is truth on four legs and not to be trifled with.

The prisoner queen sits crookedly on her throne and I am Cygnus, craning my neck into the cosmic wind. Take away the belief and astrology begets astronomy, dry telescoppery, no longer engaged in the business of seduction.

Even the serious stars are not much more than our best guesses.

Notes: I didn't initially think much of this poem, but then I made it into a shape poem (using the California flag's bear as my template), took a photo of it, posted it on this blog and was shocked two years later when it had received 4,000 pageviews! (Some website referenced it as a good example of a shape poem, and from there it got into the search engines.) The first line is a signature device: I often begin a poem by indulging in nonsense that somehow leads to sense. I have been a fan of constellation stories ever since I wrote an amateur astronomer character in my novel Courting the Seventh Sister. The last line could be my favorite last line ever; it even contains a subterranean pun referring to the dog star, Sirius. 

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