Michael Casteels: Two Poems and One Frog-Pond Sudoku


The irises arrive, serene and swallowing
the orchard, the sultan seated beneath harvest.
Pupils dilate and ripen in this hinterland, this
salubrious work-in-progress. A pheasant
integrates from treetop to treetop; the curtains
part and there she is, oh trembling heart,
oh hyperventilation! If I were a horse I’d
equilibrate, if a rhinoceros, I’d radiate of
tungsten. But I am only a salvaged typewriter
draped in seaweed. My bell no longer dings.
She is one dozen donuts. To blink would obliterate.
To drown in the ordnance of her synaesthesia,
I’d punctuate this moment with a phalanx of ampersands, I’d
lasso that pendulous yellow sphere you sometimes see in the sky.



He strikes my nose with an ivory gavel.
I singe his moustache with a flaming baton.
He tramples my toes with a procession of pachyderms.
I sting his cheeks with a thousand aggravated hornets.
He clobbers my kidneys like they’re punching bags.
I lunge with a ballpoint pen. He defends with a down pillow,
smites my fisticuffs with a tornado of hammers.
My head bobbles on my shoulders.
His clenched fists rocket from his forearms,
uppercut my chin, knock me out my boots.
I recline slowly into the air,
time inflating beneath me
like a bag of microwave popcorn.
Then his crumpling blow: a waterfall of bowling balls
cascades into my gut, splays me to the ground.
He aims a kicking horse at my already splintered ribcage
but like a dice I roll away, dropping a perfectly timed
banana peel beneath his foot. His arms flail
like frantic windmills, he totters. I heft my grandfather’s bazooka,
launch a giant wad of chewing gum. He struggles
but remains. I summon a pitchfork of lightning and
hurl it like a bolt. I skewer his heart like a shish-ka-bob.
His eyes flash, then dim. For a moment there is only wind
bending the grass and he topples. Trumpets sprout
from the blood-speckled earth and regale my throbbing ears.
I smile though my teeth are dominoes, dominoes.


after gary barwin, derek beaulieu, bpnichol, and matsuo bashō


Sudoku as Frog Pond Generator
Click on image to expand


Generate your own frog pond



Michael e. Casteels has self-published over a dozen chapbooks of poetry and artwork. His poetry has recently appeared in The Puritan and The Rusty Toque. In the 2012 he was nominated for the emerging artist award in The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, where he runs Puddles of Sky Press. You can find him at www.puddlesofskypress.com.