Slipsliding Away

The swing snapped free –
we flew up and out across the Hudson
into the sky over Manhattan
like a helicopter on tour
where people hang out the doors
by a strap for fun, take selfies,
whirling blades spinning,
chop chop merry-go-round
we're getting dizzy –
a playground in the sky,
people in the streets yelling
"be the cow jumping over the moon!"
but just the Chrysler building, no moon
and not actually a cow just
you and me, never really "swingers"
now coming down in the East river
wondering what just happened
wondering if breaking into song
broke the tethers and we

Miz Quickly

Trilobite Love, Two Years Later

The Trilobite says Hey Hey Babycakes 
horseshoe isn't a game for sissies
you tossed your luck from across the room
and love is a ringer – a shell game after all 
I return to the sea Dear John Dear John
Davey Jones wakes up in your bed
with a wink and a nod from his patched eye
a soft goodbye is a soft-shelled crab
rolled out on newspaper,
a soft shoe dance down the beach
where dawn is the howl of a lobster
red and ready to roll with mayo and a pickle –
Evolve baby baby
or crawl the ocean floor
for millennia
looking for love
in the darkest places
beneath the sea. 

Miz Quickly

What’s My Line

The last time I was a stick figure
things didn't go well –
I took a hard line.
Toed the line.
Never crossed the line.

And then some kid folded us all up
into a paper airplane
which was sort of great at first,
until he made us into a toy boat
and floated us in the gutter.

Don’t tell me
there is a silver line(ing).
just throw me
a life-

Miz Quickly

Rabbit Hole

X marks the spot where the sky’s wounds
were sewn closed with stitches –

Needing heavy rope, hawsers really,
leaving scars angrier than dawn,

The sun trying to squint through sutures
of dead-eye x's,

His surgeon says "You’ll never walk again."
and Apollo just shrugs, never saw it coming,

The bagel-bike riding voodoo rabbit, who knew?
would tear open the space-time continuum –

Angels ripped from their seats, holes blown in the side 
of their flight from Tallahassee to Akron,

Darkness, that lubricant of dreams, a blot
leaking like the Exxon Valdez into bright day,

Distant heartbeats heard like furious bongos, 
from dead and dying gods in the ICU.
World leaders demanding to know
how did this happen?

“Words, Ma’am.” “Words they shout? Words did this?”
"Poetry, Ma'am. Crazy language and such."

Yet nobody believed that, no-one could imagine that words
could create and destroy worlds.

Had to be aliens, or the Russians, or the Clintons, 
or Troglodytes from under the earth.

But while the hole was open, 
the flow went both ways –

I saw birds loosed into heaven,
I heard singing that went up to the sky

Then beyond, I saw a rainbow on stilts
step over the river, then walk up a mountain

To the promised land. I held your hand
as we watched out the window, 

you read Mary Oliver's Wild Geese to me,
and we saw a flight of them wing on, heading home.

Miz Quickly


Crikey, I wake up and I’m b-flat!
I mean I’m actually the note, 466.164 Hz,
it’s Kafka’s Metamorphosis except I’m a tone
instead of a cockroach.
Holy crap, here come the arpeggios
and plink! Blam! Down come the keys! 
Argh! No! No! Now the bow saws strings across me,
Now I’m flapping like a warbler
in the throat of this singer.
Where, oh where is harmony?
I beg musica universalis, music of the spheres
to release me,
yet here I stay, imprisoned
behind bars, banging my little tin cup
on the iron staves.

Miz Quickly

At Least I’m Not a Rhombus

Rectangles always look so miserable
there on the page
In their boxy squareness

In danger of breaking –
they can't sleep standing up
like triangles

Can't play soccer
like circles 
kicked into spheres

Always the bridesmaid,
framing gowns in shop windows,
but never the bride 

But there is always worse –
they could be a rhombus
on a math test

Miz Quickly

Life Is…

A bowl of cherries.
And a bowl of cherries is

a mouthful of red,
tiny fruit bombs,

yes! cherry bombs!
exploding between our teeth,

skins and stains on our fingers
held up to the light,

juice running down our wrists
like stigmata,

like some liquor of the true cross –
thus I contemplate crucifixion,

the Roman soldier with his red cape
spitting unlucky dice,

only stones now
in the bowl,

nothing left, the bones 
of fruit, dead seed –

so by the transitive property
you learned in High School,

"if a = b, and b = c,
then a = c"

life is...
the pits?

Miz Quickly

Stitching & Unstitching

I find WB Yeats at his labors
right under the collar of my shirt.
I say “WB, what have you there?”

He’s toiling at my seams, like lice,
slowly working his way around my neck,
stitching and unstitching.

I ask the obvious: "But why?" 
"To save you from a hanging
that’s why."

"Or beheading. Your 
thoughtlessness, heedlessness
a capital crime."

I understand from this
how verbosity is a mortal ring
around the collar.

Yellow stains 
of over-sweated
words. I thank him.

It has been said
A poem’s worth 
a thousand words.

Miz Quickly


I am but a crumb
at the base of a mountain
of my wife's freshly baked granola

Praise? You want praise?
I prostrate myself –
one small oat

Before the redolent brown sugar valleys,
the winding coconut paths,
the orange juice infused groves

Yogurt glacier peaks tower –
spoon, oh spoon,
take me to new heights!

I carry my alms bowl
before me, without shame,
a beggar.

Miz Quickly