August 2, 2010


Never believe the lies of war, and the orders
That seem to make sense –
Whether Hitler or Bush, no one storms over borders
“In self defence”.

“Leading the Free World” by having the biggest gun
Has always chilled
Those on whom the guns are turned, on everyone
Free to be killed.

Published, Ambit No. 200, UK, April 2010

July 22, 2010


America gives many ways to drown:
Unsupervised motel pools trap stray tots
Who can’t reverse their tiptoe down the slope;
Kids who can swim explore the same pool’s drain,
Get suctioned to it, have their guts ripped out;
Teens play in creeks in flood, or riptide beach;
A flooding river sweeps cars off the road;
New Orleans’ levees break and thousands die.
For all of these, poor government shares blame –
Loose laws, weak education, lack of funds,
All driven by those tax breaks for the rich.
(Oh - add rendition’s waterboarding deaths.)
But I drown in girls’ large-eyed innocence,
Pools of enchantment and primordial depth.

Published, Ambit No. 200, UK, April 2010

July 12, 2010


The Swastika, that ancient Vedic sign,
The lightning wheels with which the Aryan bands
In lightning war overrun other lands,
Wheeled juggernauts that crush, self-claimed divine.

Hammer and Sickle, commoners’ work-tools;
Weapons for rising up, and tearing down
The castle of the rich, the bourgeois town;
Fake honor to the poor the Party rules.

A flag with Stripes, memorial for flogged slaves,
Striped jail clothes for resulting underclass;
And Stars like bullets through the windshield’s glass
For leaders by the CIA shot down,
Star earned for each election overthrown,
Star for each land the flag invades, or ‘saves’.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

July 2, 2010


Women I’ve failed or wronged or left behind
Approach my thoughts like zombies for the kill;
I’ve literary walled defences – still
Given the chance, they’ll eat my brains, my mind.

Through forest, orchard, farmyard in decay,
A shadow of a wolf slips greyly in,
My thoughts of death, grim, wasted, ill, rib-thin,
Tracking my weak resolve, hungry to slay.

Mountaintops blown apart, forests clear-cut,
Where’s there to hide? Nature doesn’t exist;
Her landscapes crushed in patriarchal fist.
This former farmland hides my ruined hut.

Impotent, I still write, thus giving birth
To future wolves and zombies of the earth.

Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009

June 22, 2010


Once every few years (maybe every year?)
There comes a humid summer of desire:
Kids flaunt uncovering clothes and rip a beer,
Younger teens test their part-discovered fire;
Then sun and sweat break like waves on a reef,
Hands brush, eyes laugh, lips smirk -
A roll of thunder, and the pool is closed…
The kids pair off with interchanging clothes
And who the hell can concentrate on work!

Published online: Snakeskin, UK, October 2009

June 12, 2010

Join Me at Agent Query Connect!


Golden girl on a sunset beach
With a dog and a horse,
Golden boy spears a silver shark
Under the sea;

Is such a dream forever in reach
Or forever false?
We stumble, emotional, through the warm dark
Back to the sea.

Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009

June 2, 2010


Under our armored mirrors of the mind
Where eyes watch eyes, trying to pierce disguise,
An ape, incapable of doubt, looks out,
Insists this world he sees is trees, and tries
To find the scenes his genes have predefined.

This ape I am
Who counts “One, two, more, more”
Has lived three million years in empty lands
Where all the members of the roving bands
He’s ever met have totaled some ten score;
So all these hundred thousands in the street
With voided eyes and quick avoiding feet
Must be the mere two hundred known before.

This ape I am
Believes they know me too.
I’m free to stare, smile, challenge, talk to you.

This ape I am
Thinks every female mine,
At least as much as any other male’s;
If she’s with someone else, she can defect –
Her choice, and she becomes mine to protect;
Just as each child must be kept safe and hale
For no one knows but that it could be mine.

This ape I am
Feels drugged, ecstatic, doped,
Hallucination-torn, kaleidoscoped,
That Earth’s two hundred people includes swirls
Of limitless and ever-varied girls.

This ape I am
Does not look at myself
Doesn’t know about mirrors, lack of health,
Doesn’t know fear of death, only of cold;
Mirrorless, can’t be ugly, can’t be old.

Published: Ambit No. 200, UK, April 2010

May 22, 2010


In the garden that is sweeter than the water,
In the sea that beats the beach with playful wave,
In the sunrise like a moon,
In the blinding sun at noon,
In the sunset turning sky to fire-lit cave,

Using sweet bush scents that vary through the hours,
Using thrumming, trilling sounds both dark and bright,
There’s impressed upon my eye -
On my brain as on the sky -
The after-image of a girl in blinding light.

And I sacrifice my life upon her altar
In my alternating focus and despair
At parental altercation
And my glacial alteration
As I lose ambition, wisdom, strength, and hair.

But the thrashers sing so sweet, so sweet,
And I soak in sun so warm
With that soft sea breeze,
Those whispering trees -
That I fade with no sense of alarm.

Bring back, O bring back, O bring back my sweet one to me…

Published: Candelabrum, UK, October 2009

May 12, 2010


We only study History
To find out more on who we are,
We only study Chemistry
So we can brew a drink;
If we didn’t study Cooking, then
Our food would all be gooier,
If we had no Religion, why,
Instead we’d have to think!

So Learning makes life easier
And that is why we coddle it;
We study what applies to us,
That’s only common sense;
You only like Biology
Because you’ve got a body; let
Me help you with your studies, I’ve
Got more experience!

Published online: Snakeskin, UK, October 2009

May 3, 2010

Congratulations to Martin Bax and Ambit

The 200th quarterly edition of Ambit is out, with a front-cover kiss and proud boast "Still at it after all these years".
Ambit was founded by Martin Bax in 1959, and he has edited it ever since. This in addition to a career as a pediatrician, being the editor of 'Developmental and Child Neurology', publishing a couple of novels...
Congratulations on turning 50, Ambit, and thank you Martin Bax!

May 2, 2010


Like a wasp making a nest under your chair
Like a lizard, watching from ceiling and wall
Like a spider living in a crack in the floor
I am closer than you know, I am here.

One day I was not there, and the next, like the pink and yellow lilies after the rain,
I am all around you, underfoot wherever you go.

You will be moving like a golden butterfly from flower to flower in a poinciana
And, coming upon you as a blackbilled cuckoo, snap!, I will have you.

Your parents may blow like a storm - like a coconut palm I bend and recover;
They, hurricanes, blow all my fronds off - and I sprout new;
They can uproot me and knock me flat - I bend my new growth up, I rise up again.

Like the sea at the rocks, I will lap against you day and night;
Like the waves on the sand I run up, and when I go down, I come up again.

Consider the fish in the sea:
I come back with the tide, with the night, with the dawn, with the moon, through all seasons and years.

Like a singing cicada by day in the bush, like a singing mosquito at night in your room,
Know: I am there with you, whether you see me or not.

Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009

April 22, 2010


God saw how Religion had deadened
And said to His host, “Armageddon’d
“Look good on this lot”
For His plans were all shot
And His angels teased Him till He reddened.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

April 12, 2010


God, blessed with what one must call humour,
Decided to start up a rumour
That Himself as a dove
Came to Mary with love
And begat an Immaculate Tumour.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

April 2, 2010


A recent New York Times article called "The Next Big Thing in English" reviews what makes fiction interesting to us from an evolutionary psychology perspective. I especially like the comments of Lisa Zunshine, a professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

"Ms. Zunshine is particularly interested in what cognitive scientists call the theory of mind, which involves one person’s ability to interpret another person’s mental state and to pinpoint the source of a particular piece of information in order to assess its validity. (...)
"Humans can comfortably keep track of three different mental states at a time, Ms. Zunshine said. For example, the proposition “Peter said that Paul believed that Mary liked chocolate” is not too hard to follow. (...)
"Perhaps the human facility with three levels is related to the intrigues of sexual mating, Ms. Zunshine suggested. Do I think he is attracted to her or me? Whatever the root cause, Ms. Zunshine argues, people find the interaction of three minds compelling. “If I have some ideological agenda,” she said, “I would try to construct a narrative that involved a triangularization of minds, because that is something we find particularly satisfying.”

In other words, my story will be inherently more interesting to the reader if, rather than just a conflict between two characters A and B, I have the interplay of a third, C. Filtering the conflict between A and B through the opinions of C will not only enrich the situation, it will make it more interesting to the reader because we have evolved to be absorbed by events involving different people's perceptions.

That A says B is a jerk, and B says A is naive, is made more interesting by each expressing their views to C (somewhat differently from the way they express their opinions to each other, which interests us because it helps us assess their credibility).

C's replies are also interesting, because C's prior involvement with each will also color the responses, and again force us to think of issues of credibility and personal histories.

This is not just a richer description of the conflict in an objective way. It draws our attention like a flashing light, because we have evolved to be interested in - especially - the interaction of three minds.

Hence the Eternal Triangle. But it applies to all conflicts in all stories, whether romance is involved or not. It appears to be fundamental to human thinking and to what interests us.


God looked out a Heavenly portal
And what He saw made Him just chortle:
Some dude, on a cross,
Claiming he was the Boss!
For his hubris, God made him immortal.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

March 24, 2010


My historical novel, "The Gospel According to the Romans" has made the Quarterfinal cut of ABNA, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Meaning that of the 5,000 adult novels, only 250 of us remain. there's still a long way to go!
You can read the first 5,000 words as a free download in Amazon's Kindle Store at
And if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle-for-PCs download at the same place.
All reviews and comments greatly appreciated. Warning: it is not a Christian view of Jesus, but a skeptical pagan view.

March 22, 2010


God made Heaven, earth, plants, people, fleas
In six days, and then rested at ease;
Then He thought: “In those stones
“I’ll hide dinosaur bones!”
(He was always a bit of a tease.)

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

March 12, 2010


When dreams dry up—
When dead dolls dance in rags—
Children are grown—
The full tit, withered, sags—
In memory and wish
The wrinkled penis rises, not in flesh—
Gardens are left to weeds—
Taps drip unfixed—
Dishes reused unwashed—
The music skips—
When there’s no love, not tenderness or lust—
Then let the decades crumble, and the dust
Of marriage not be swept up, but blow away

Published online: Snakeskin, UK, September 2009

March 2, 2010


Hitler, son of a half-Jewish bastard
Dreamed of occult power; Europe, aghast, heard
Race-hate psychodrama;
His unending trauma
Destroyed the whole state that he’d mastered.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

February 22, 2010


A second-rate father, Karl Marx
Let his kids die while writing remarks
On Struggle and Might
And the duty to fight
For state-owned newspapers and parks.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

February 12, 2010


A radical rabbi called Jesus
Assumed if he loved us he’d please us;
Though he loved Mary Magdalene,
John, and small children,
His power was no match for Caesar’s.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

February 2, 2010


A wealthy young prince called Gautama
Loathed worship of Krishna and Rama;
“It’s inside you,” he said
But, once he was dead,
He was worshipped.... That’s interesting karma!

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

January 22, 2010


Dog-skinny, winter’s mangy sun
Slinks between clouds.
A Caribbean dog – there are none such here in the UK …
Nor, there, such mangy suns.

Published: Candelabrum, UK, October 2009

January 12, 2010


From under low clouds spreading from the south
The red sun drops slow to night’s waiting mouth.
Rush lamps are lit; the guards changed on the walls;
Supper will not be served in the Great Halls
With Arthur still away. Each in their room,
The members of the Court leave books or loom
To say their Vespers in the encroaching gloom.

Lancelot, up in his tower,
Sees the sunset storm clouds glower,
Feels his blood’s full tidal power,
Knows he has to go.
In her bower, Gwenivere
Puts a ruby to her ear,
Brushes firelight through her hair,
Feels her heartbeat grow.

Guard, guard, watch well:
For the daylight thickens
And the low cloud blackens
And the hot heart quickens
To rebel.

From his tower, caring not
For consequences, Lancelot
Crosses courts of Camelot,
Pitying his King.
In her bower, Gwenivere
Feels his presence coming near,
Waits for footfalls on the stair,
Lets her will take wing.

Guard, guard, watch well:
If attention slackens
When the deep bond beckons,
Evil knows Pendragon’s
In its spell.

And as the storm clouds, rubbing out the stars,
Deafened the castle and carved lightning scars,
Drenched Arthur rode for flash-lit Camelot
Where he, by Queen and Knight, was all forgot.
Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009

January 1, 2010


Sometimes you’d sell your soul just to get warm! –
Your clothes are rags in the wind, your skin goes blue,
You doubt your mouth can ever smile again;
The lonely world grows dark before the storm
Whose icy rain’s a mile away… and then,
The sun breaks through!

Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009