Saturday, April 30, 2022

The COVIDteen (Easter) Rabbit

It was bound to happen. By day, Dan works with electrical contractors and plays in a band at night. Rich teaches tiny little Petrie Dishes karate. I’m not out much but I’m kissy-huggy. So, Rich on Ash Wednesday, me and Dan on Good Friday. Anticipating my own fall, I did all my Easter shopping on Thursday, including spending a small fortune on chocolate. COVID time is different, it’s slower and the illness has its own feeling-shitty-feeling-good-feeling shitty again cadence. It’s perpetually 2:00 P.M. and I’m in this guilt free cycle of Read-Knit-Snooze-Pee. But I won’t die. Because science. Because vaccines.

Inspired by We’ll always have Downsview. Image “Easter Surprize” by L. Leclair.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The All-In Simulation

We used to live in the Base Case. Our birthright was peace, prosperity, and sanity in governance and public discourse. Now I wonder if someone’s running what-if scenarios. “Let’s see how they react to a cascade of catastrophic ‘natural’ events.” “Let’s make a sociopathic narcissist their most powerful leader.” “Let’s see how they deal with a pandemic.” “Let’s have a nuclear-armed megalomaniac go batshit rogue and launch a war.” 
     “Now let’s combine them all.” 
     Maybe we’re characters in a simulated reality, where real people run worse case scenarios on us virtuals. Hopefully they’ll get things right by watching us fail.

Inspired by 2022. Image from a poster for 20th Century Studios’s 2021 film Free Guy.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


Somewhere a child skips in a field of sunflowers, 
Beneath blue sky, with yellow sun.
Somewhere a child twirls a sunflower
Toward a blue butterfly.
Somewhere a woman bakes bread,
From the wheat growing beside sunflowers,
And makes jam from blue berries.
Somewhere a man joins friends in a cafe,
With yellow curtains and blue napkins.
Somewhere lovers embrace beside blue water,
And beneath yellow sun.
Somewhere a teacher shows students
The twirls of petals in a sunflower.
Somewhere a boy looks up at blue sky,
While letting his fishing rod lie still.
Somewhere, but not in Kyiv. 
Not today.

Inspired by Nyet Nyet, Mad Putin. Photo by alain01789 on Flickr.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Last Shopping Trip

We need bread and eggs. Mom won’t wait in the car, but drags herself with her walker across the parking lot. Inside she stops to catch her breath—pneumonic tendrils even then claiming her lungs, though we don’t know it. In Baked Goods she tosses in our cart cinnamon swirls, lemon tarts and pecan coffee cake—diabetes be damned. I lose her, like a kindergartener, to the dollar-store aisle, where she emerges smiling, with pink paper streamers, four green-checkered placemats, batteries and a hand mixer. The cashier rings us up—$350. “That’s with the seniors’ discount,” I scold. She giggles.

Slightly inspired by We’ll always have Downsview. Photo of Mom (left) and me goofing around, about a month before she died.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

We’ll always have Downsview…

Toronto’s been through this all before: Spring 2003, when SARS-Cov-1 appeared out of nowhere and started killing people. Almost entirely in hospitals, granted, but I had a friend who worked in one and told me of the morning screenings and the mandatory masks. He was appalled by the fearmongering he’d heard on the news, and he laughed at the minuscule chance the average person had of catching this new disease.
     I told him I agreed with him, but I told him through the glass of my front door, and I pointed to where I’d left his stuff on the lawn.

The story was inspired by One Copes; the title by this. The image is from the CDC.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Nyet Nyet, Mad Putin

There is a crooked man, holding sway in Rus today
He’s a hate-filled snake, and he wants Ukraine to pay
World leaders look at him with fear and outright shock
But to Moscow oligarchs he has such a giant [CENSORED]

Da-da, Vlad Putin
Tyrant on the Russian scene
Nobody dared to tangle with him

So he figured he would win
With his Spetsnaz and his tanks
But he didn’t factor in
The corruption in his ranks

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, oops

F-you, Vlad Putin
Little man and would-be Czar
You’ll rue the day you started a [CENSORED-IN-RUSSIA]
Sung to the tune of Bony M’s 1978 hit Rasputin. Inspired by Black Swans and 2012’s Dead Dictator, half of my “World Dictators in Poetry” series. It is illegal in Russia to call Putin’s war in Ukraine a “war.” Image from the President of Russia website press service.

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