Small Conceits

Musings. Stories. Poems.

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Breathing In




one leg tucked beneath her,

chin resting on the bent knee of the other.

Her hands rest, one palm up

     to receive,

one palm down

     to give.

From her fingers flow



               of calm.

Knowing is not all.

Understanding is not enough.



woman sitting cross-legged

photo courtesy of Imani Clovis via Unsplash

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crab apple

1.  any of various wild or cultivated trees (genus Malus) that are cultivars or relatives of the cultivated apple and that produce small sour fruit


Having characteristically not thought it
all the way through,
we had a house full of guests
and nowhere to be alone
the day we sprang our wedding
on our families.

Because we were living on my stipend
and whatever you bashfully collected
from carpentry and guitar repairs,
a few sympathetic dears
took up a collection
and sent us to a hotel for the night.

As we crossed the lawn to our rented room,
almost shyly holding hands,
you paused and cocked your head.
“It’s our wedding night,”
you murmured,”you should have flowers.”
And you reached up and broke a branch
from a flowering tree, laying it
tenderly in my hands
as your offering.

It was May
and the blooms were still sweet.

crabapple blossom

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Will’s First Search (Engine)

I was just talking with a former boss about how people I work with like to play with me. There was a period of time during which, when I got too intensely focused on client work, my management would post writing challenges on my whiteboard. So, this poem is for Bill Dawson, who gave me the “assignment” of writing a Shakespearean sonnet addressing the uncomfortable fact that the word “Google” can be broken down into “Go ogle.”

Whilst pond’ring rhymes to use as subtle seductions,
a loutish lad with clothes and accent strange
produced a “tool” he said would speed eduction.
His malevolous mallecho has left me quite deranged.

What ho! In light revealed to wand’ring eyes
but wench upon wench in shocking ruttish pose
with lily stomachs, buttocks, necks, and thighs
all lacy-draped – they left me uncomposed!

Forsooth, Victoria’s secrets there laid bare
and rendered me a fustilarian thrill’d.
Their ivory breasts! Their shameless curves! So fair
I soon forgot what I’d set out to quill.

E’er after do they haunt my roguish dreams,
since now I know what this “Go ogle it” means.

Magnifying glass with book by @joaosilaas

Photo courtesy of @joaosilaas


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the moon changes tides,
feeds vampire energy —
hot tongue on bare skin
raw, frantic, panting crush of power
delirious, moaning blood wisdom

inverted black & white looking up through trees



For the love of a past life.

I can’t find my way back

the only trail is a broken path
of things half-said or unsaid
with outcroppings of silence
hanging darkly over it

for a while,
I saw you in the distance —
a glimpse of your shirt
a flash of your hair in the sun —
as you receded from me

don’t judge me too harshly
I never knew what to do
with a love like that
how was I supposed to carry it?
where did it fit?
where do you put something that big
and frightening and heavy?

so I shrugged it off and set out
feeling lighter for a while

but that’s not the way it works
you don’t just set those things down
wipe your hands on your jeans
and stride off, the road suddenly straighter

eventually, the weight of its absence hits you
and you realize it contained essentials:
a compass

the other half of your soul

and now I’m wandering
my direction muddled
my feet stumbling
no stars for steering

and no Home in sight

A forest path

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Lost Time

Oh, we have such big ideas

for such a little space of hours!

We plan and scheme

and debate how best

to spend this cache of a day

in industrious (virtuous!)


We make lists

and organize and map

and architect.

We get lost in our own

deliberative webs.

And the day lazily unravels…

…until we are holding

only the frayed tail end of it

in our idle fingers,

wondering how to knit it up again

into something to show

for all we haven’t done.

lying in a hammock in the woods

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I’ve watered
and staked
and pruned
and pulled
and mulched

and still
I can’t stop
the relentless spread
of August

flowers under hot sun