On The Day

On the day…

On the day the whole sky was filled with rainbow light,
someone said “I don’t like the color red,”
another said “I don’t like the color green,”
another said “I don’t like all these colors lighting up the sky,”
and another said “I wish rainbows came in more natural colors,”
but most people just stayed quiet and smiled
at the beautiful sky full of rainbows
and wished for another day
as beautiful as this.

On the day it rained honey in glimmering drops while the sky shone,
someone said “this is sticky! I need a bath!”
another said “this is too sweet! It should be in a jar for later!”
another said “if this stuff is so good, why do bees let us have it?”
and another said “I like my sugar in tiny parcels I can open as I need them,”
but most people opened wide and
let the golden dew fall into their hearts,
course through their blood, infusing them with
the essence of flowers and sunlight.

On the day the air smelled of jasmine and roses in all its parts,
someone said “what happened to the smoke from burning forests?”
another said “I liked the air better when it reeked of oil,”
another said “I want that stench of cattle farms back!”
and another said “nothing smells better than that new car smell,”
but most people just filled their lungs and let it out,
and did it again and again, relishing the way their chests,
filled up with all the invisibility of delicate scents,
then emptied to prepare for another gulp of what the day had in store.

On the day the earth had mountains and valleys and rivers and oceans,
someone said “what are these lumps? They are too high to climb!”
another said “if I walk into this valley, I have to walk back out!”
another said “the water in this river is cold and the fish bite!”
and another said “the ocean is not a good color and the waves are too large!”
but most people saw the beauty around them
and were astonished that they found themselves alive in such a place
with eyes to accept light and mouths that could gape in wonder
and a brain that kept impressions and memories when the wonders weren’t there.


Featured image: Sam Valadi Rainbow uploaded to Flick April 2, 2015

Distant Freedom

She was just a girl,…

She was just a girl,
just like any other
but in the second class
of the day—English—
we sat at the back wall
in a room like many others,
desks pulled together,
whispering with the
whole class hearing
what we said or
how we said
whatever it was
we deemed so central
to our learning.

“We can hear everything,
young man” said our teacher,
and that stopped us
for the second it took
to realize our volume
needed adjustment
but our focus was just
where it belonged,
learning from each other
what it meant to be young
and yearning to be free
in a world that would not
allow it to be.


Featured Image: Empty Classroom (Max Klingensmith, 2008, some rights reserved)

Solitary Minds

A crisp automatic fire…

A crisp automatic fire,
the quick wick smell of metals stressed by heat,
click on, click off,
the persistent smell of
lighter fluid, fuel oil, natural gas, silver polish,
some meant to burn, some meant to gleam.

Nocturnal breathing, stifled breath,
stopping at each scent,
lingering quotes on a random night
dreaming for sleep and silent dreams.

Light paper leaves turned in tinctured fingers,
a lighter flashed alive, solvent smell,
acrid smoke, twitching noses,
withered smoke, a choking cough.

Sweat-stained khaki gloves, knitted fingers spread,
a tam o’ shanter, brown, lopsided, a bulging crown,
too new to throw away, too old to save,
the chain-link leash, a tooth-marked leather loop,
past and future teeth begging the mistress
to come out for a walk and again for another.

A deep oak sea of grain,
whorls still and shifting,
captured in an oval dining room,
four chairs, four arms, four cushions,
two young, two old, too strained, too trapped,
amber would capture the motion in this room,
sticky, hot, frozen, lucent,
cracks and clotted spots obscuring the view.

Two polished silver trivets, one with a missing screw,
one with a blemish that will not polish out,
one with a bowl of rice,
one with a gravy boat, the brown drowning
in the boat, pulling it to the bottom of the night.

A cat curled in muslin sleep,
mocha light shines from her calico back.
Earlier, she crept toward conflict, bristling danger,
a bird perched outside didn’t know the death coil
fixing it from the window sill, a serpent’s slitted eyes.

Eyes do not exist now, fur lies still, flies not;
windows watch when the light pours through
and change the shapes as night comes,
the cat moves through, a dark soundless slink
to check for mice and other scuttling sounds.

White light, afternoon sun killing shadows on the run,
mote lines contrasting with the shaded shapes
an oak cupboard, sideboard, chest.
A Spanish queen portrayed, stiffened in canvas,
cracks cluttering her face, once a beauty,
now another lost note to a history no one knows.

A large copper boiling pot with a handle
ready for the fireplace from a distant time,
once stocked with turnips and broth,
carrots and thyme, cabbages and cloves,
no contents now but a crust not cleaned,
a cauldron for a manor house.
No longer. Never again.

An oval control where circles cannot go,
a circle confines where lines are all that holds,
the oak is oval, breaking twice at the gate-leg,
leaves in place, falling to rest in gravity’s embrace.
The brown table, centered, bright and old
in light and dark, supplies a place where spirits
draw near, each to each, an oval coaxing pulses
to pump as one, a space with four distinct fates,
four hearts alive until they pump no more.


Something is Going Well Around Here!

The 1,000 “like” road marker disappearing in the rear view mirror…

The WP auto-post function just told me that I have accumulated 1,000 “likes,” which are all because the imaginary “you” have been appreciating what I’ve been pouring forth since June 22nd. It hasn’t been four months yet and I have so many “likes!” Who knew?!?

I’ve logged 87 posts (one was a repeat, so doesn’t really count and one was a reblog in respect for a new WordPress-induced friend) in 111 days, meaning that I’ve hit about 78% of the days between start and present. Not bad. Could be better. Let’s see if I can pick up the slack.

Thank you, everyone!


The Seasonal Song

Five triplet trills…

Five triplet trills
sound out from the trees
and a similar song
responds from the shade.

In the spring and the fall
the finch sounds its song,
a merrier music
than the other bird calls.

Sometimes it hides high
in the branches above,
in a flutter of wings
it rests inches away.

When it warms, it moves on,
when it freezes, it goes
but it’s back for the best parts
of the seasonal show.

Featured image


A Thousand Swallows

What is it like?

What is it like
to start each night
with a sip, then another,
then a glass, and one more?

What does it say
when we pour a wee hair
when we rise, or at noon
to rescue the day?

When does the pretense
that we seek the truth
convert to a tale, a lie,
a rationale?

What is this stuff
that boggles our brains
when our families
wait for our love?

Why do we drink
our minds into dark
when life provides such
a beautiful feast?

When does a pastime
become an addiction,
a lifestyle, a refuge,
a death by immersion?

Who can love us
when we can’t love ourselves
enough to stop killing
our very own cells?

How do we stop
Consuming ourselves?
A step at a time
For the rest of our lives.


I don’t usually provide any explanatory note following a post. I feel that I should in this instance. I have watched too many friends start their adulthood – or leave their adolescence – with a “celebratory beverage” in hand and succumb to this dreadful addiction as they matured. It is a story that applied to both of my parents, who were intelligent, successful, driven people with full lives behind them when I entered the picture, yet they were less than they could have been for my brother and me due to their retreat into the bottle at various times of the day for various unexplained reasons. It was more common in their generation than, I guess, in mine. That does not make watching it happen any less awful. I was lucky. I always drank too fast and was sick before I knew it. This set up a helpful aversion reaction that I finally recognized when I was 25. I stopped but I had never really gotten started. The patient load-in of ethanol is the mechanism that creates tolerance and, if not attended, addiction. Please be careful. There are many ways to have fun; find a bunch of them that don’t involve self-harm.

Featured image from Pixabay, no attribution required

I Was Nominated (and Accept)

Confabler nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award!

My distant, yet close friend Confabler has nominated me for the Shiny Shiny Sunshine Award. I love her imagination and sense of whimsy; she lets her muse du jour lead and she follows. There’s a wonderful freedom to that which is (1) difficult to allow in the rational process of “writing” and (2) enjoyable to find.

1. If you were to choose an insect that would take over the world after human extinction, who would that be?

It sort of depends on our route to extinction. If it involved an epidemic, the population of flies might see a giant uptick. This would be a good one:

Gauromydas heros

If it is a slow process, then I nominate the Japanese Rhinoceros beetle because it would be awesome if creatures  with such improbably fashioned protuberances were to be the alpha species (Megasoma and Titan beetles would be acceptable alternatives):

Allomyrina dichotoma

 If our extinction took all other terrestrial life along for the ride, I would like to see this enormous isopod (a relative of our terrestrial roly-polies) rule the seas (note inclusion of actual human hands for sense of scale):

The underside of a male Bathynomus giganteus, a species of giant isopod captured in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2002.

2. How old were you when you first read Harry Potter? And your favorite author of course?

I was pretty old when I read my only Harry Potter book (the first one). I didn’t enjoy it enough to complete the series, although I’ve seen all the films and enjoyed them well enough. In the period I read that first one, I was typically reading a lot of history and didn’t find that it was a good use of my time. When I was really young, I read the Classics Illustrated versions of novels, which were quite good at introducing a curious young mind to the wonders of literature without having to do the work (sort of illustrated CliffsNotes (I didn’t use these in school though), if you will). When I was a little older, I read Robert E. Howard, Sax Rohmer, John Carter of Mars, H. Rider Haggard, Stanley Weinbaum, George McDonald fantasies, etc.

My favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez for One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. His writing is so rich, amusing, full of simple wisdom and abundant humanity it is hard to believe he was just a human being writing about the lives he saw playing out around him. I literally would read some passages and have to put the book down as if I had just sipped the richest chocolate elixir in the world and needed to savor it until I sipped again. His Spanish-to-English translators did a good job in getting it right; Gregory Rabassa (OHYoS translator) was even praised by Garcia Marques himself!

3. If you were invisible what is the craziest thing that you would do?

Here’s an odd one: Go and hang around bigots, transcribe their conversations, and publish them for the world to see how terrible people speak when they think no one is listening (but, oh yeah, we have the internet so this already happens). If I could walk through things, which seems fair since I’m invisible, I would go around seeing what it felt like to do that—see if there were different textures to different things on the inside than on their surface.

4.what food makes you feel like a hungry hyena?

This has changed so much over time! These days, I don’t get this kind of urge anymore. In my early adult (late teen?) years… ICE CREAM!!!!

5. A song that makes you dream?

Gymnopedie #1 by Erik Satie

6. Have you ever planted a tree?

Yes. Unasked but answered: quite a few!

7. Choose your man: superman/ Spiderman/ iron man and if he was your best friend one thing that you would make him do?

Can I choose Supergirl? If I can, I would have her take me around to various places in the world, build shelters so I could stay there and visit free, then whisk me off to the next place on “our” list (she would be enjoying the sight-seeing with me, of course! What kind of boor do you think I am?!?!).

8.How much time do you spend in front of the mirror everyday?

As little as possible, which involves shaving and brushing my teeth. I find that shaving my teeth first helps with the brushing.

9.why you started blogging and tell us about the post enjoyed the most making.

I was having a bunch of conversations with people who did not seem to understand the wonderful humility of learning and doing science and wanted to see how well I could write about how science is a discipline that can assist us all in not leaning out too far over our skis (getting ahead of ourselves and pretending we know stuff we don’t). Blogging has become so much more than that since my first post on June 22, 2016, and I have had so much fun writing fiction and revisiting some poetry I wrote several decades ago (and finding them easier to “fix” than I remembered).

I’m not sure which of my posts I enjoyed the most. They’re all my children so I like them all? I probably like the odd bits of fiction that I had no idea were inside me when I woke up and then found them on the page looking up at me. I like The Big Day of these. Of the science posts, I like The Mess: Parts 1 & 2 and the Appendix 1 items best (maybe). Of the historical pieces, I like Risk Management. Of the life pieces, I like Building Blocks the best. Anyone who reads this is encouraged to make up their own mind; I am hopelessly biased.

10. Which social media platform are you addicted to (including WordPress)?

I don’t do much social media except WordPress. I don’t like Facebook at all and deleted my account. WordPress is addicting but in a very healthy way! You get to create something and share it with new friends from all over the world. That’s a great addiction have.

Now the rules:

1.thank the person that nominated you.

Thank you, Confabler. You are a true virtual friend, and I don’t mean that in any Pokemon way either!

2. Answer the questions from your nominator.


3. Nominate fellow bloggers you follow.

Hereinafter lie the following nominees in no particular order (order, of course, being an illusion):

Confabler – it would be completely wrong not to boomerang this thing back at her; how could I like what she writes and like that she nominated me but ignore why we share interests at all?

November_child –  in her poetry, every word is judiciously considered for its various meanings and the images they stir and she makes great short stories that are deep and playful and serious all at the same time

anonymouslyautistic – for doing an AMAZING job of writing about this misunderstood spectrum of living – and for inviting others who share her interest to contribute

English Lit Geek – because she searches the web and her library for poems that communicate her inner soul to us all out here in the ‘sphere and I appreciate this!

Wiser Daily – because this guy writes REALLY well about every single subject he wraps his mind around, because he is not a scientist but writes extremely clearly about science, because he is just a damned good writer!

Breathmath – because they are doing an astonishingly serious job of trying to get the world to see the beauty in mathematics

Sheryl – because she’s written a book, is working on others, has great tips for doing the same, and kindly visits my offerings fairly often

The Nexus – because he writes REALLY well about physics and does a great job of doing what I set out to do, whether I’m doing it on any given day or not

The Biology Yak – because she is passionate about biology and shares her passion in every word on every topic she chooses

afternoonifiedlady – even though I have no idea what it is to be an afternoonifiedlady, I love her rants about living with and without her ex and trying to wrestle with notions of romance – she is very witty and amusingly pissed off!

Yaskhan – for her lovely, succinct way with words

urbanagscientist – because she is at least as worried about the misunderstanding of science as I am

Luke Atkins – because he writes really well about difficult subjects and he writes like the stuff matters a lot, which it absolutely does!

And there are more in my list of 119 writers that I am following but this is enough for now.

4. Give them 10 questions to answer.

If you wish (and I clearly cannot impose this on any of you, please respond to confabler’s funny questions. I enjoyed them, maybe you will too!

Kind regards, MSOC


It was Generous of confabler to choose me. Now I have to Jump off and do other stuff!