Ode to October

There’s something to be said for each of the months. Even February. But October! Chill morning air makes the simple act of breathing seem new again. Black labs jump and twirl and, if they take a notion, careen. Acorns crackle underfoot. A few trees, and then more and more, take up their autumn palettes. Pumpkins congregate near the doors of supermarkets, awaiting mutely the judgment of young carvers and their moms. Candy corn and creepy costumes reappear, harbingers of the sweetly scary rituals of the season. And Christmas shimmers on the horizon, still far enough away to be relished in the abstract. Shall we raise our mugs to October?

The Money Chute

Tumbled down the money chute
In top-drawer genes and oh so cute.
Learned “Goodnight Moon” in my fluffy bed,
Found Waldo first (with a wink and a nod of nanny’s head).
Flew through school, a reading thoroughbred.
Made the Ivy League (with a wink and a wad of Daddy’s bread).
Scored a corner office and a Beamer to boot.
Did it all on my own, and so can you.

Childhood’s End

When we learned to see small things
We hadn’t imagined were there;
When we reached beyond our eyes
And touched distant things
And laid their spectral secrets bare;
When we tamed time,
Making hours of eons,
And could read the bones a different way,
And see our story in the Cambrian clay;
The cord of innocence then was cut from us,
Marking childhood’s end.


I’ve heard the word “sin.” What is it, this “sin”? Shall I tell you what I think? I think it’s a word for things you wouldn’t think were wrong if some churchman hadn’t told you. I don’t mean murder or the rest. We really don’t need the word “sin” for them, do we, and it’s hardly used that way today, if it ever was. We’re clear on them. I mean the other things. Drink. And weed. And the dice. But also things more weighty. A woman’s decision to end a pregnancy. Yes, we’ve come round to that. There’s what a woman’s heart says, and what the science shows, and then there’s the sanctimonious bishop who’s never been pregnant, but has the ear, he’ll tell you, of the divine. I, for one, have heard enough from bishops, arch and otherwise, and priests and cardinals and even the pope, bless his heart, who seems to be trying to get things right. By all means, if you’ve cast your lot with them, go and “sin” no more. But leave the rest of us to figure out for ourselves what conscience requires or permits in these matters of so-called “sin.”

Dragon Cats

Is there such a thing as a dragon cat? Shall I Google that? No. At least, not yet. First I want to say that the espresso machine always a couple meters to my left as I sit in my usual spot at the back of the coffee shop exhales with a hiss that I’ve thought the roar of a dragon cat. A full-grown dragon cat, its mouth over-open. Perhaps we could rename the espresso machines all over the world, referring to them hereafter as dragon cats. Wouldn’t that be a grand way to add a bit of romance to what’s become of us?