ashes for helen

I want to rub ashes
pull my hair to wild tufts
rip my mourning clothes and
howl at the emptiness

I want a black door wreath
so I don’t have to speak
to tell each passerby
from this tear-swollen throat

but there’s not much allowed
just whispers or silence
electronic notice
with an old photograph

two weeks and then all grief
de facto evidence
imbalanced chemicals
medical courts of law

move on nothing to see
life is for the living
wear white smiles so no one
catches you in sadness

my mouth tastes like ashes
no hair left to tear out
I already wear black
how can I wear more black

things are known in absence
more than by their presence
explore the empty shape
hole the tooth left behind

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greased by aliens

320px-Ugao-Miraballes,_graffiti_05Last night I attended my first UFO meet-up.

The group was led by a fellow who says he was abducted by aliens who wore silver space suits back in 1971. When he was returned home three days later, he had a tan and was covered in oil and something like honey. After that, he locked himself in his room for three months because he couldn’t come to terms with what had happened to him. He’d been greased by aliens.

He’s written two books about his experiences. He gives talks and is an MC at UFO conferences. He’s the “famous” guy in this local group of alien aficionados.

This group has been meeting regularly for years. I was the new kid. For my benefit, we had a round of introductions. We exchanged first names and told about ourselves. Each introduction spawned a fresh cascade of conversation. Aliens had made them into chatty old friends.

There was an alien research amateur and a former alien research professional. One person was named after my favorite constellation. Another spelled an ordinary-sounding name with an “X” in the middle.

“I’m Alice and I make hula hoops,” I said.

This was enough about me. Everyone knew something about hula hoops.

“Art Linkletter went to an island and invented the hula hoop,” someone said.

“They’re difficult to make,” another asserted. “They have to be perfectly round. They must be injection molded.”

“They’re not injection molded. And they’re easy to make,” I told him. “Drop by. I’d be glad to show you.”

“You make them at home?”


“Do you sell a lot?”

“No. Just enough to support my hula hoop habit.”

DEATH HOOPS (8x10 acylic on canvas Alice Keys (c) 2014)This information left a round empty hole in the air.

I invited everyone to come spin my hula hoops with me and my family on Sunday mornings. Although no one seemed interested in doing this, people talked more about hula hoops. I felt welcomed and included.

But we weren’t talking about aliens. And this was a UFO and alien meetup. So I asked what hula hoops have to do with aliens.

“Hula hoops spin like alien spaceships spin,” one person said.

“And the planets all go around like that,” said another.

“Yes,” I added. “And spinning hoops keeps the cosmos turning.”

This made another round empty hole in the air.

Conversation switched to the legalization of marijuana, funny experiences visiting inside a marijuana dispensary, cute names for special varieties of marijuana (like “world war three”) and something called four-twenty.

“Who would smoke marijuana called world war three?” someone asked.

I nodded and shrugged. I could see this happening.

I assumed that 420 was a ballot measure relating to the legalization of marijuana. But it turned out to be the name of a pot-smoking get together in a field on the UCSC college campus. Since Monday’s date was April 20th (4/20), crowds gathered to smoke dope there. Santa Cruz cops were in attendance. They gave out 160 parking violations.

We passed around one fellow’s alien magazines. They were illustrated with glossy pictures of astronomic phenomenon. There were stories about visitations by creatures from other worlds and devastating galactic collisions scheduled thousands of years from now. They advertised alien products and services.

People got to talking about alien radio implants (rather like pet micro-chips with a radio transmitter) and mysterious alien temporary tattoos that are only visible under black lights.

“Why would we be marked with invisible temporary tattoos?” I asked.

“We brand cattle,” someone replied.

Then I was told that aliens use implants and invisible tattoos plus all of our own technological devices to track and record everything we do.

Aliens know I’m writing about them right now.  And they know you’re reading this.

One person in the group admitted to having alien implants. Another knew a person who had alien implants. Yet another told a story of a couple who broke up because he didn’t want to be with someone who had alien implants in her arms. If you want to discover your alien implant status, you can pay fifty bucks at a UFO convention to be scanned for them by an expert using a Geiger counter.

“That’s a lot of tracking,” I said. “Why would aliens care?”

This question set off a round of lively conversation.

Someone explained that the tracking is done because alien overlords are running our planet from above the level of our corporate-banker overlords. Like our corporate-bank overlords, aliens want to take over the earth and rob us of its natural resources.

Someone else expressed concern about global climate changes and thought that global climate change could be caused by aliens who live underground.

“They could be re-making the atmosphere so they can live on the surface.”

Someone else explained that aliens have rules of contact in place to protect us from seeing and meeting them.

“If there were obvious contacts, people would panic. People would take their money out of the market and it would cause the stock market to collapse.”

320px-Leprechaun_ill_artlibre_jnlThis is why little green aliens are as difficult to meet as little green leprechauns and their pots of gold. Aliens are protecting our stock market bubble from untoward and precipitous alien influences.

Another person explained that, because of their contact protection rules,  aliens must either be invited to earth (like vampires?) or wait till we collapse human civilization on our own. In either case, they can move in and take over.

 It’s our duty to get the word out to the rest of those who don’t believe this is happening.

“Let’s go out and save the world,” said the man who’d been greased by aliens back in 1971. “Is anyone going out afterwards tonight?”

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insomnia bread

the refrigerator hums
and my ear’s mosquito whines

I make insomnia bread

all the wakeful nights I’ve had
I could have been a baker
and fed the world’s hungry poor

one single loaf at a time

white candles bloom bright flowers
how does this darkness differ
from all those others I’ve wept?

her heart silent forever

the woman who gave me life
now I’m a motherless child
my eyes drip hot sea water

me and my smooth dough alone

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on the night after my mother’s death

my email: I’m sorry for your loss.

his reply: we were together all day every day since june 15 1946. nuff said

my email: That’s a long time, Sweetie.

his reply:  yep with that kind of time, you kinda get used to the other person. sure miss her. good night. wy dont you make s pome out of that?

because this IS the poem

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good and gold

GOLD AND GOOD (wikimedia commons)good and gold
love hate and desire
all things pass

all things pass
thunder hurricanes

fortune tellers know
what you want

what you want
happiness and love
good and gold

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This haiku cascade poem was inspired by the Haiku Horizons word prompt “pass”.


Thanks for reading.