Otherwise

Prompted by the image I’m using as a header for my online book, Spoil.

Up to my ears
in accidents &
old weather,
the no-news
that rarely manages
to be good,
I begin to feel
a little like one
of those tablets
from Moses’
first trip into
the clouds —
fragmented,
impossible —

while overhead,
the pink Sinai
of a crabapple tree
abuzz with every
kind of hornet,
bee, & model-
thin ichneumon
plays host
to a scat-
singing catbird
who pauses just
long enough
to snatch another
stingered morsel
out of the air.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

13 Comments


  1. I love that image… and your words. Fragmented and stingered morsel are especially powerful to me.

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  2. I liked your “model-thin ichneumon” and “stingered morsel”. I saw an ichneumon the other day and they do tend to get your attention!

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  3. Yeah, it took me a couple of readings to catch “model-thin ichneumon” and it’s terrific. Lots of neat sounds throughout the poem. I particularly like how “old weather” echoes “Otherwise.” And no-news rarely managing to be good: that captures a mood, all right.

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  4. Thanks, y’all. This kind of feedback, hearing what works, is really helpful (though if something doesn’t work, I don’t mind hearing that, too). I’m still not sure why i gave it that title…

    Marja-Leena, you just need to remember to close your tags with a backslash – i.e.< /i > (without the spaces) at the end of your italicized phrase, < /b > at the end of a bolded phrase, etc.

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  5. Wow. Thanks for that respite.

    And as I was reading, I saw, in my mind’s eye, the head sinking deeper, and deeper…up until that poem, it always seemed to be emerging.

    No good close read out of me tonight, I’ve been up to my ears and eyeballs in a different kind of organic matter. Heading home late Thursday, and am looking forward to sleep and something approaching coherence…

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  6. Lori – So you thought it was emerging, eh? I suppose next you’ll be telling me that the glass is half full! (Which may be true, but the real question is, full of what?)

    Fred – I’m sorry to hear that.

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  7. Dave …it really has not been that bad…just a lot of unnatural disasters….been rolling with the punches….and I must say, that my morning espresso today was particularly soothing! Just got a call while I was typing this comment. Tim called from a parish meeting and has asked me to do the Italian booth at our annual multicultural street fair in June. Sausages and peppers on buns. Tim is a great great something or other of one of the participants in the St Valentines Day deal in Chicago. Any way thanks for the sympathy!

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  8. “Garber” is Italian? Coulda fooled me!

    Strong coffee does have a way of putting things in perspective.

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  9. The italian is on my mother’s side. Garber is Eastern European Jew. Long line of rabbis on my father’s side. I am a Catholic. Go figure.

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