Ernie Wormwood


There is no suffering because things are always changing for the better.
The people smile even when they are sleeping.
All forms of sensual expression are encouraged with signs that say, for
example, Mind You Kiss & Carnal Intentions Agreed.
People fondle openly.
The dogs are all named Happy and it works.  Think about it.  You just need to
buy a lot of dog biscuits.
My father lives there.  If we listen we can hear him booming out “Hello,
Darling” at the Daytime Dance Hall and Pub, where the musical Hello, Darling is the headliner.  The DDH&P is open 24-7 for sudden and yes, flash dancing. 
Poetry is the national pastime.  Ernie Wormwood is the poet laureate.  She
has her own Poetry Train.
The National Anthem is Up On The Roof and the dance of tradition is the
Hokey Pokey.

Children compose the news.  A taste of recent stories includes:

Some Kittens Can Fly
The Kids Guide To Hitchhiking
The Boy Who Passed Out From Eating All His Vegetables
The Pop Up Book of Human Anatomy (reviewed by all the children)
Places Where Mummy and Daddy Hide Neat Things
Dad’s New Wife Robert
The Man In The Moon Is Actually Billy Collins

The consequence for things like not enough public kissing is nude bathing in a


    for Galway Kinnell

I eat pizza for breakfast
sometimes I eat it cold
usually I eat it
because  my kids are already at school
or they are still asleep.
I am aware
it is not good
to eat pizza
for breakfast
or even with the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
because of the pepperoni
and the four cheeses
and the glutinous nature of it.
It is a high cholesterol criminal
whether one eats it cold
or even hot.
I eat it at home

Unless Dante comes to eat it with me
which he did the other morning
when I was in the Inferno.
He suggested we have wine with the pizza
so I brought out my Chilean merlot.
He didn’t mind it wasn’t Italian
and he offered me a cigarette
the best cigarette.
He began rolling—and I took it.
Eating pizza for breakfast is bad enough
but it was Dante for God’s sake.
I fetched us the Waterford ashtray
that had been my mother’s
from the  high cupboard
over the refrigerator.
He admired
the way it caught the light.
The Irish sure know their glass, he said
and death.  You can tell they read my “Inferno.”
Why are you reading it?

“I am a poet studying sin and death and obsession.”
He inhaled deeply and blew circles in the air.
Catholic? he asked with a smile.
“Recovering,” I said. 

You never recover.

And so we breakfasted,
neither of us liking anchovies
both of us adoring marinated eggplant,
sipping Chilean merlot, smoking, talking of Beatrice,
sex, death, & poetry.


That last Friday in Eyeries,
I spent the afternoon on the
bench near O’Sullivan’s Market
pretending I was the village greeter.

Up the street an orange house
then a yellow, a blue, a lavender
and the pink one, where a friend
snapped my  photograph.

My first Garda (police) car stole by,
then clopped a red-haired girl in platform hiking shoes.
She was licking an orange ice cream.
I lay down on the bench

and made love with the Irish sky.


Elephants put their trunks
in another elephant’s mouth
when they kiss.
It stops the buzz in their minds.
It quells their anxiety
and heightens their experience
of being present in the moment.

Try it,
pretend you  are an elephant.
See, you are getting bigger already.


      for Hilary Tham (August 20, 1946 - June 24, 2005)

Vermeer would have painted
the angle of her Asian cheekbone
the Chinese rebellion
the American veil, Judaic mask,
underpinning of aubade.
He would have seen the Mrs. Wei
in her & admired her repairing ways.
Lamenting the too few Hilary days,
he’d place the jade in her ear—
a sign of the deep & dark—imperial.

Ernie Wormwood
Ernie Wormwood is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.  Her poems have appeared in yawp, Convergence, The Antietam Review, Underwire, Beltway Quarterly, The Cafe Review, Rhino, Raintiger, and in the anthologies Poetic Voices Without Borders  and Only the Sea Keeps:  Poetry of the Tsunami.  She was recently a finalist for the 2005 Dogfish Head Poetry award.  She lives in Leonardtown, Maryland.



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Last Updated: Sep 16th, 2007 - 08:34:32

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