A Folly Series Primer

   Now that the folly series is into its third story arc, I think it might be helpful to those who are seeing these poems for the first time, to get some background. The folly is one of those Victorian-era architectural fancies that landowners built to amuse themselves and their guests. The year is 1933, […]

Hammersmith (twelve)

Her father hadn’t seen the host of faults, communicated in his offhand errand, the one he’d promised Mossbunker he would do himself. “Stage name, that’s the phrase you want. Ask her if it’s one.” Minnie Leybourne, Mossbunker the patriot would like to know whether you’re Jewish or Catholic…Lebanese or Sicilian, possibly. She’d said this to herself. […]

Petal and Perfume

At their tables, they waited She had made them see, by knotted strings That flared white, and danced, and left their Interweavings on the eye’s lens Against the contrast of brown limbs A bower of surpassing craft Decked in petal and perfume All that was prelude The trespasser spoke at length *** They were sleeping, […]


We thought they were not men They, beardless, most, but for their slaves Vaunted trophies keeping costumed show That in all weathers tell their vanquished homes Came by war-engine attended Came regaliaed steed, foreguard of chariot Wheeled cage of sacrificial beast Gentled by their magic; all these mounted ones, Their faces red-scorched by their foreign […]

The Bride

All that promised love The slaughtering of her house perfection Of its kind His knowing her this way, exclusion, even language Only famine, or delirium…newly colored Then promise was this sheer ravine That forbade crossing But by inches It must be Toe by toe *** One moved or died Still in shocked faces Icicles, leaves […]

Hammersmith (eleven)

There were two types of men women fell for. Her weeding partner was of the third. Ralph had been. Inclined on their honeymoon to sit by the window, read the newspaper, and tell his new wife, “Go off, look at the stores, if that’s what women like to do. I’ll be fine.” Aimee recalled having […]

The Impresario: Epilogue

His showman’s eye, a gift—he’d called it that Boasted how poignancy might mix with horror This he’d known to parse and measure What string to pluck for piety; then touch a purse for charity Urge strong men condescend Stare and dig in pockets Give sop to concupiscence He’d weighed her like an alchemist, this girl […]

She Foundered

So it may have been, that the sinking of the Bowfin Reported late, this news carried home By the merchantman Ceylon, in ’87, the year of the hurricane— Some said the men were mostly saved Taken up By the hundred boats of the pearl fleet— Ended Mr. Samuels’s part, no guilt attaching Unable to find […]


A 2013 Telegraph (UK) headline, based on US reporting, read in part: “…deadly pets murder nearly 4 billion birds a year.” Cats, they meant. For one thing, murder is an inflammatory word. By the same token, human beings murder thousands of chickens every year…except that we employ low paid workers to do the job for […]

Hammersmith (ten)

“Mr. Hogben, the parlor sofa…” Less sticky about being accommodating than she’d feared, he’d done her the favor of saying, “I might head down with Shaw, when he goes after that salve, and see about a room at the hotel.” Of course, by that, she’d probably lost him. Why had she ever said it to […]