A.N. Dedicated to the victims of the California wildfires.

A thousand tonnes of ash descend

Upon us in a curse hell-sent

What wrong we did, none can be sure

The weeks, months past are but a blur

All we can see is ash and smoke

It coats our lungs, and makes us choke

The air is thick; each breath is dear,

Smoldered in grief, anguish, and fear

An empty hand is all we have

They say muster hope, but I’m not sure we can

The flames have devoured every last dream

The parks where we played, the schools and the streets,

The trees which we climbed, and the fields where we roamed,

And that small pile of ashes I called my home

Everything is gone, and nothing remains

Yet we struggle to move forward, at the end of each day

The sky is aflame with burnt-out dreams

The patchwork of lifetimes, undone at the seams


Puffball Lewis, or How to Trick-or-Treat

A.N. Falls off towards the end, sorry.

’twas a crisp autumn eve when the demons arrived

Defiling the air as they rushed to their prize

Releasing their stench while the good folks around

Cowered and trembled as they fell to the ground

But, to their cemetery spot, the demons all sped

Where they feasted on corpses of flesh freshly-dead

What a horrible sight it was to behold!

The corpses unearthed, both young and old

But who would stop them? Would a hero arise?

Would he come a-flying through the dark, foggy skies?

Or would he jump in, leaping straight off a roof,

Vanquishing the demons in a moment of truth?

Of all the scenarios, the hero least likely

Was the one who emerged, righteous and mighty

He was a small ball of fluff, a tiny, cute thing,

Screaming his outrage while flapping his wings

Bright beady eyes condemned those who dared

Interfere with his peace, catch his people unawares

Though his wee chirps were tiny, his messages were strong,

And, one by one, the other people joined along

The foul demons froze, dropped their deplorable deeds,

And, overwhelmed by this courage, began their retreat

The people moved to followed, bearing rakes and knives,

Ready to draw blood, to bring justice alive

But the Puffball only chirped, though now to bring calm,

For there are other ways than violence to right these types of wrongs

And the people dropped their weapons, for they saw the demons’ fear,

Beings whose hunger drove them to feast but once per year

That’s when the Puffball Lewis brought his best idea to light

He gave a bowl of candies to these demons of the night

And helped them to discover a brand-new type of treat

The first trick-or-treaters, from this generous Halloween feat

A Stitch in Time

It was quarter past two, the crescent moon dim,

When I was called by the nurses to look after him

Both my legs were aching as I stood by his bed

Tears filled his eyes as he looked up, and said

Words I couldn’t hear, lost in the time

He had run out of, despite his efforts, and mine

We knew it was coming, naught left to do

Though he’d business unfinished, his time here was through

But I went through the motions, the masks and the meds,

Took all his vitals, and raised the head of the bed

Ordered the bloodwork, the x-rays, and scans

So automatic, I forgot he was a man

I called him a number, as I yelled through the phone,

Dialed specialists and his wife, who was still back at home

Asked for permission, for guidance, for help

Tried every type of BiPap mask on the shelf

But it wasn’t enough, and he grew worse,

I was trying to help, but seemed to have done the reverse

By the time help arrived, he no longer was breathing

And his wife stood beside, quietly weeping,

I guess that’s one way for a person to die

Is this blood on my hands? Whose fault is this? Mine?

Was there something else to do? Even now I don’t know

I found no comfort when they told me, “It was his time to go.”

It still somehow feels wrong, like I’ve committed a crime

It’s funny how things can change in one small stitch in time

Wayward Devil

Another wayward Devil strikes

Hits his targets in the night

Preys on them while they are sleeping

Especially when they are freshly grieving

He finds his pleasure in others’ pain

He sees his joy where they see rain

He delights to hear them scream

He lurks in shadows, not what he seems

He wears his disguise unusually well

So that, who he is, you cannot tell

Just beware of all whom you meet

Lest you find yourself struck at the Devil’s feet

Autumn Leaves

An orchard-ful of ancient trees

Set on fire by their leaves

Flames on stems, the crimson golds

Burn brilliantly, despite the cold

And flaming leaves crunch on the ground

Leaving fires burning around

An evening chill is drawing near

Autumn-time at last is here

Lesson Number One

A.N. Apologies. This took far too long for far too poor a result. 

Lesson number one is clear

Don’t let anyone see your fear

Head up high and straightened back

Keep vigilant, lest they attack

Lesson number two is a little bit harder

It’s keeping your wits when the storm turns calmer

You can’t relax; no, you must recoup

Build up your strength. You know they’ll regroup.

Lesson number three is a bit of a twist

Stay light on your feet, and their hits will miss

Dodge their attacks, and you’ll rise on top

But lesson number one is the only way they’ll stop


I found Hope one Friday, shiny and smooth,

As it reflected sunlight in its shallow tide pool

I picked it up gently, and turned it around

Brushed off sand it had gathered on the ground

The low tide was rising, and the boats were coming in

Leaving behind my old life, suffocated with sin

Everything I found here was brand-new and strange

Just what I needed — a clean slate, a change

Away from the shadows where demons roam free

Away from the nightmares which keep haunting me

Here in the sunlight which shines off the sea

I see a new life, where maybe I can be free

And check off my checklist of things to forget

Leave the past in the past. It’s no longer a threat.

Climbing out of this hole is a slippery slope

But it helps when your handholds are made out of Hope

Ways to Say Goodbye

Eighty-five ways to tell you goodbye

Arranged in a list, all of them lies

How I love you and miss you, and wish you were here

When reality is that I can’t stand you near

I hate everything you do, and all that you are

Wherever you go, it can’t be too far

Your lies and your games make a terrible truth

And the mess that I’m in, it’s because of you

You never were good; I was just blind

And innocence led me to think you were kind

And supportive and loyal and devoted and true

But you weren’t in love; I was a plaything to you

Something to pet and keep tied up in chains

Something to mess with when you wanted a game

Something with no heart to be thought of at all

You let me fly high, and then watched me fall

So I don’t feel bad, now, saying goodbye

Watch how I go — I won’t even cry

I’ll stamp out your memory and erase all your texts

I’m moving on to whatever life offers next

Everything’s beautiful and happy and new

Now that I’ve finally bid you adieu

1950’s Honey

One day I woke up and thought I could be

Something incredible, uniquely me

I thought I’d move mountains and change the world

But I’d forgotten, of course, that I was a girl

And girls can look pretty, and girls can smile big

And girls can wear makeup and dresses and wigs

And girls can be daughters, and sisters, and wives

But girls don’t have freedom to live their own lives

At least, so they tell me, wherever I turn

How many slammed doors before I finally learn?

The things that they say are strange and insane

But they laugh at me like I’m playing some game

They call me a ‘darling’ and push me away

But I’ll show them all, I’ll show them, one day

I’ll show them exactly what it means to be me

Not bound by chains, but entirely free

I’ll dance in the sun, and I’ll ride high in style,

Not keeping my thoughts hidden in exile

But until that day comes, I’ll stay pretty and prim

Keep my smile empty, and keep my tongue trimmed

Keep getting pushed around, never fighting back

Until the Apocalypse arrives, and I can finally attack

Hell at My Heels

I’ve seen Hell, seen it through their eyes,

That empty abyss, a clever disguise,

Hell wears it well, makes you think nothing’s there

But I’ve seen too much for it to catch me unawares

I’ve seen Hell, I’ve seen it face-to-face,

The way you sweat; it makes your heart race

It’s a sight to behold, yet impossible to describe,

You might try to forget, but it’s forever inscribed

Yes, I know Hell well; you could say we’re old friends,

Unfortunate companions until the bitter end

I know no life outside it, it’s what makes me feel at home

With misfortune on my shoulder, I know I’m never alone