reptilian poetics: figures metaplasmic

and of omission

    a scherzi triptych



In Caloosahatchee fog
pig frogs belch into silence.



My five-lined Florida skink
has a kink in his tail.



The python’s now an icon:
nightmare alien.

the sentence


If it’s not a scalpel, it’s a chain saw, or quite possibly, a hedge trimmer, and some
say a pair

of scissors, or a Chinese cleaver from a kitchen drawer, sharp-edged domestic

wielded at close range, so obviously not a gun, no bullets involved, because a killer

never imagines any imagery requiring a license; when she aims to slay the reader,
     razor blades,

old-fashioned double-edged, or size-12 knitting needles, for torture by slash
or puncture—

you’ll know what it feels like to be, exactly what it has felt like to be made
     damaged goods.



Attention! Updates are available for your Garmin device, but you know what

You-know-what happened, just ’cause she was too lazy, suddenly she’s a highway
Silver Alert,
an embarrassment to herself and fellow Prius V owners whose brand is suddenly

on blinky-boards all over southwest Florida, up and down I-75, ’cause a silvery-haired
didn’t bother to retrieve the data for the new airport exit; made me wonder, what about
the man
she supposedly loved who was left at the curb, waiting, waiting, wondering where
on earth,
on what planet was she traveling now, and why wasn’t it he who called 911 to report
     his mistress
a missing person? Whether accidentally or on purpose, she finally got back to the condo
sans GPS,
and took a vow to keep her gizmos au courant because: getting lost really, really super

jojo the badass activist poet has resurfaced, posing


in a leopard-print hijab, waving an Iranian flag, handing
out freebie Rumi poems from a wicker basket to exiting
Publix shoppers, her English/Persian samples; standing
opposite the tireless bell-ringing Salvation Army Santa
who gives her the finger after every donation for Christ’s
work; she’s been spat at numerous times, by men and women,
pelted with expletives; and, on several occasions, a brat kicked,
hard, with his muddy cowboy boot. Taking Mawlānā Jalāl’s advice,
unfolded her own myth, reciting to each bouffanted Baptist
bigot: Judge not, jerko; Muslim? Wrong! Pure WASP, honey.


the cause


Josephine le Poète has resurfaced as rabble-rouser—
minifestante— arousing trodden masses of fellow scribblers
who rebel. She’s shifted into full Les Miserables mode in the USA
to demand living wages, government-guaranteed, nationwide, for all
laborers in the wordmines on behalf of the country’s soul, son âme.
Last time I heard she was making news gigged-out in black from beret
to Raybans to megaphone to t’neck, jeans to slippers, astride the uptown lion     7
at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, at noontime roaring

Payez les poetes! Pay the Poets! Les Etat-Unis must pay its pipers!
An NYPD SWAT team amassed, media mob on its boot heels— as planned.

A nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has twelve books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to.Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (,). Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at