Roscoe and the Seagulls

The blur of fur
across the sand
rises the colony
into air’s safety

Golden retriever’s joyous bark
contrasts
the angry cry of seagulls

Roscoe realizes the birds
won’t play,
so he surges off

The gulls fly to a safer part
of the beach
to continue their debate
over which novel about
seafaring is the best


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Book Review: ‘Swinging Sanity’

Front cover of Swinging Sanity, on which there is an illustration of a woman's face with various colors on her cheeks and forehead

Swinging Sanity by N. F. Mirza 

Many people may not feel the urge to have an outlet that helps them process life’s struggles. Others feel that urge. And some of them use poetry to try to convey the landscape within themselves.

In the first stanza of the first poem (“Anything but Sane”), N.F. Mirza likens herself to a “restless lioness.” A powerful image. And the description comes through the poems in this book, particularly in the restlessness of emotions and thoughts.

Some of these poems are difficult to read — “Celebrating the Curse” describes self-harm behavior. I can only begin to imagine the difficulty of writing them. Not only that, but drawing the portraits in the book. Each section of poems begins with a drawing and a quotation. The drawing for “Anything but Sane” shows a face with wide, expressive eyes — perhaps filled with anxiety.

Through the poems and drawings comes a vulnerability of Ms. Mirza being open about her feelings. And with that vulnerability, a courage of making them available to the public. That courage creates the possibility of readers realizing they are not alone in experiencing similar emotions.

Some poems include contemplations with touching descriptions. Like the poet blending with water in “Ocean and I Become One.” Then her soul sitting on a bench, its back positioned toward the world, in “The Day I Sat by My Soul.” These descriptions are moving. Also, they offer inspirations for having our own contemplations about where we might find a bit of understanding and moments of peace.

The book is available on Amazon.

You can read more of the poet’s writings on her blog.

Is a Poem about Grains of Sand on a Beach too Pretentious?

I was wondering that question,
lying on a floral beach towel,
a speck in a crowd
of swimsuited people—
all of us lumps of cookie dough
glazed with sunscreen and coconut oil
baking in this oven.

I lift a handful of sand,
watch the grains
cascade in the spaces
between my fingers,
thinking there’s
got to be metaphors
for time, uniqueness, perseverance—
maybe insignificance
if you’re in that kind of mood.

But above the ocean,
a small plane flies before us,
towing a banner
advertising a restaurant’s
all-you-can-eat buffet,
and the sand falls from my hand,
forgotten.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Bike Flights

We took turns
pedaling our bikes
to the boardwalk’s edge
jumped off
too-brief moment of flight
two boys without wings

The goal was to let go
of your bike in the air,
so you’d land separately
on the beach

One time I failed,
to land entangled
with my bike,
but the pain was worth
the flying and memories

Mediterranean Philosopher (‘Ulysses’ pages 671-732)

Photo of a sailboat on the sea, with a storm approaching.
by Boba Jovanovic/Unsplash

This is the last poem in the project, as we’ve reached the last page of the Dover edition of Joyce’s Ulysses. As luck would have it, the words lent themselves to come up with a poem about Odysseus and his journey home. Well, very roughly about the journey. And, who knows, maybe one of the sailors on the ship was named Raymond.


Mediterranean philosopher
bearing formidable years:
migrations on windy sea.

Land leavetaking,
recurrent snakespiral movement
with smellow course,
everchanging travelled.

Wonder somewhere,
he lost the ways,
madly crossing where
tattarrattat music
(like breathing)
brought trouble,
snapped careless men.

Shake possessed sailors:
awokwokawok!

Captain, winds going crookeding miles,
whistling badtempered.
“Sweet horror!” said Raymond.

Castoffs sing moon heart.
Fish dances,
telling of universe deepdown.

Imperfect, the Spoonseat (‘Ulysses’ pages 620-670)

Photo of a school of fish
by Lance Anderson/Unsplash

Imperfect, the spoonseat:
wooden profundity,
metamorphoses to inverted basket.

Possible amusement:
fish on bicycles
excelled in world’s wheels games.
Power race!

Theoretical catastrophe:
Harry cut time,
making hour suppressed.

Turningpoint of nightblue atmosphere:
luminous constellations rendered unstable.
space furled, unfolded in design.
Inverted days!
Unhooked minutes!

Parrot countrybound:
course to discovery.

Soapsuddy Mind (‘Ulysses’ pages 569-619)

Photo of many soap bubbles floating in the air.
by Drew Beamer/Unsplash

Soapsuddy mind
blissfully was suggestive
without inquisitive.

Narcotic bamboozled specimen just sits.
Eggsniping scheme to study
habitually becalmed personage.

Authority was Sherlockholmesing people.
Enhances consumption
of uncertain information:
pseudo “truth.”
Brain vagaries, mind change.

Though insuppressible folk
upsetting the course:
doubt questioned propaganda.
“Utopian” society
possessed peril
to muchneeded upright life.


Note: This poem doesn’t immediately follow the previous poem’s page numbering because before this poem are a couple of blank pages and the start of Part III.

Onions Ramble, Squabbling (‘Ulysses’ pages 517-565)

A person dressed all in black and masked is holding a golden crown
by Lians Jadan/Unsplash

Onions ramble, squabbling,
carries wise dog
that thought,
I smells peaches. Yumyum!

Whokilla the laughing king?
Onions?
Noise?
Jauntyhatted cavaliers?
Groangrousegurgling sailor from Dalkey?

Sending police:
the ickylickysticky mystery,
thick afraid for country,
provokes gallows.
Deathflower for king.

Police revealing townsmen
towards witness.
Muttering citizen:
“Virag looms, tinkling secret.”