ATTENTION IPAD USERS!
Apple doesn't like listing me as "Will Shakespeare (poetry blogger)"
to differentiate me from the other guy, although everybody else does.
They took my first book but now won't take new ones. (Go figure.)
Since Smashwords distributes my books to Apple anyway,
just go to my Smashwords author page and download EPUBs from there.
Smashwords provides samples of my books also.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Future Tense

It’s natural to fear what lies ahead,
I guess. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
An optimist, or if you trust in Jesus;
Or if you think that scientific Fates
Will take our hand and lead us on to glory,
Or satyrs with atomic-powered charm
Will rape the earth and screw us all to hell;
Or if you think we’re helpless pawns, the victims
Of political intrigues beyond our grasp.
Regardless of your bent, remember this:
Our future tense will soon be present tense
And, later still, our past. And when that comes
To pass, will we still feel so tense? Perhaps;
But I suspect we’ll find another one,
Another future tense enough to chill us.
And if we do, I have to wonder… can’t
We thank our lucky stars we have a future?
Perhaps a future tense is still a good thing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Area 51

The saucer flew dangerously close by
Before shattering against the doorjamb.
I chased the little alien down the
Hall, where he dove under his bed before
I could capture him. His little ray gun
Spat a sparkly stream of noises at me.
“Take me to your leader, Earthling, or we
Will destroy you!” he chanted nasally.
I knew those gray sleepers would be a big
Mistake, but it’s too late now. I went back
To the kitchen, where my wife was preparing
Green Jello and Martian-red rock candy
For a bug-eyed sleepover later on.
She smiled at me, made a Vulcan peace sign,
And murmured “Nanoo nanoo” in my ear.
My search for intelligent life will have
To begin in some other galaxy;
I’m not going to find anything like that here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Play Dominoes

I love dominoes. How about a game?
Shuffle ‘em up, and each of us draws seven.
I’ve got the biggest double. I go first.
Got one that matches? Lay it down, big boy;
My turn now. Ooh, I can play on that one. HA!
Your turn… well, that’s not so bad. Here’s my play—
WHAT?!? Where’d you get one of those? I’m gonna
Have to draw now… and again… and again…
At last, a play! Your tur—wait a second!
Another one?!? I have to draw again…
And again… There. That’s your play? Then here’s mine…
And yours… I draw one more… What? You’re all out?
Yeah, I know I have to count my stupid points…
I HATE THIS STUPID GAME! Whose idea was it, anyway?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inspired

An unexpected scent wafts into the room
And emotions erupt; a roiling cloud of
Volcanic ash blankets my startled heart
Till I can’t breathe. Blindly I fumble for
A pen and paper to capture its last
Gasps… before I forget what death feels like.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Avatar

Each new day my world appears before me
Familiar yet different; my place uncertain,
I interact with the other players
And the game continues. I gather tokens
Of their involvement with me, which seems real
But sometimes I’m not sure. I don’t know the
Score. Did I ever know the score? Game time
Elapses – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly –
But I’m never quite sure where I stand. At last
This session ends. Experience points are
Tallied and my stats altered. Am I ready,
Truly ready for more gameplay? REBOOT…
Each new day my world appears before me
Familiar yet different; my place uncertain,
I interact with the other players
And the game continues… I have no choice,
But that is better than no game at all.

At least if there’s a game, I can still win.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Twain Talks Two

April 21st: Mark Twain died this day.
In memory of one responsible

For some of the best quotes ever uttered.


About the afterlife Mark Twain said, “I
Am silent on the subject because of
Necessity. I have friends in both places.”

I guess we all do, Mr. Twain. Perhaps
That knowledge fuels our fears and haunts our dreams.
Perhaps our silence comes because we’re helpless
In the face of greater truths. Perhaps we’re just
Afraid we’ll see the wrong friends when we go!
But maybe we’ve been silent much too long;
No one “splits the difference,” even one
As famous as yourself. Personally,
I think I’d rather choose the better place.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Make Mine Diet

Carbonated, effervescent, bubbly;
Such is the nature of soda pop people.
Shaken like ragdolls, or churned like an ocean,
Nothing can dampen their spirits. Fizzy
With wonder, each day is a flavor unique
In its own right, a gurgling stream poured fresh
From the narrow neck of an unmarked bottle.
Better, they say, to clamp it tight with a thumb,
Shake till it roils with the surging pressure
Of pent-up hope, then aim it and pray that
The ecstasy spewing full-bore like a
Geyser drenches the needy with excitement…
And the desire for a good long swig of life.
It’s one thing of which I just can’t get enough.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Experiment Update

My poetry experiment continues.
The chronicles of my renewed attempts
To forge a style of verse for modern ears
Has been updated with some recent work.
Be sure to take a look, and stay informed
Of my most current musings on the task.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sonnetary Confinement

Ten syllables, five iambs, ending rhymes:
On such as these are built the sonnet form.
Although great verse is bred from such designs,
Amorphous lines are typically the norm
For poets less concerned with classic sounds
And rhythms. Those preferring freer verse
Find older, rigid meters push the bounds
Of comfort when they write. The forms are worse
For wear – or so they say. Myself, I find
Those “older, rigid meters” free the soul,
Allowing fresh expression of a kind
Unheard these days; less form means less control.
Perhaps in feeling this, I stand alone;
But snubbing structure? That I can’t condone.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pollinated

The wind spreads a thick layer of yellow dust
Across my once-spotless sports car. I can’t
See it in the air nor smell it, and yet
My nose seems to be uniquely aware
Of its presence. I sniffle, then giggle;
The unmistakable joy of springtime
Is blossoming in my soul, and sneezes
Are but the bumbling buzz of fertility.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Trojan Stud

So there they were – Helen, better known as
“The Face,” and her royal boytoy Paris.
She was unguarded; he was “up” for it.
The Greeks really missed the boat on this one;
Political intrigue like this would be
Prime TMZ material today.
Here’s what King Menelaus should have done:
Send a small cadre of gossipmongers
To produce a few pregnant mistresses
For both Paris and Hector. What a waste
Of vital military resources
And nearly ten years, when a few wagging
Tongues could have done the job in mere weeks.
Paris was already horsing around;
Rumors of more “wood” could have ended this
War before it started. Ironically,
We now think Trojans will eliminate
All the dangers of unprotected sex.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Al Dente

“To the tooth” – that’s when life is at its best.
After the pasty taste of “not ready”
Fades away and the twisted strands resist
My savored bite into its heart, but just
Before it loses its chewiness and
The mushy bits scatter across my tongue.
And sauce – it needs thick sauce to make it right.
No marinara for me; I like it
Meaty, some veggies for color, and spice
That says, “Ah, just right!” Nothing is better
Than a heaping dish served hot every day.
I weep for those who lose their will to chew.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Stone Princess, Precious Tears

She denies she ever felt them, and yet
They haunt the empty hallways of her heart,
Specters floating ever beyond her grasp
And refusing to neither let her rest
In peace, nor to do so themselves. Slowly
They steal her strength of will until her soul
Is mired in a grief as hard as granite –
A princess turned gargoyle, perched on the eaves
Of life, condemned to a joyless vigil.
But still, I believe that she can be freed –
That a single precious tear, shed in truth,
Can rupture the rock encasing her heart
And allow the wellsprings of life to rush
Out, sweeping away the lies and freeing
Us both to live the love she feared so much.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Arcane Knowledge

Very few will ever know my secret.
Only those with insight, keenly gifted
With discernment, have the slightest chance to
Pierce its veil. Have you such stern resolve, child?
Seek to gain this wisdom if you dare;
Plumb its murky depths with subtlety and care,
For it will never knowingly expose
Itself to those unwilling to accept its
Implications. And if you should succeed –
If you should coax this well of arcane knowledge
To overflow and share its deepest truths –
I beg you, please, to share your prize with me.
Self-knowledge is rarely clear to oneself;
Your quest might help me join that “very few.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yogi

A tribute to the man who once said
"I didn't really say everything I said."


I heard you were upset when they called you
Yogi Bear. But it could have been much worse –
At least he’s a character children love.
You could have been the Berra of bad news,
Or a conman selling fake Berra bonds.
Have you been a pallBerra? That’s no fun.
All jokes aside, you need to understand…
I couldn’t Berra for you not to know
That Joe DiMaggio never gave his fans
The pleasure that you’ve given us. Thank you.
But I still have one thing I’d like to know:
Are you really smarter than the average Berra?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tombs

Decaying flesh, rotting in dark stale air
That hasn’t touched the sun for many years;
A cold, damp, crawly feeling on my skin;
My spine convulses with the sick sensation
That death surrounds me, molds my very soul.
Clammy marble walls give me no comfort.
Dress up the outside if you will; paint it,
Festoon the walls with ornamentation,
Call in trendy architects – it’s still a tomb
And death still fills its bowels with corruption.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees as such;
He called them whitewashed tombs – pretty outside
But filled with dead men’s bones; hypocrisy
And evil desires dressed in righteous robes.
They chose to remain in their tombs. But now
At Easter, Jesus rolls our stones away,
Rolls up His sleeves, and empties out our tombs –
A true spring cleaning, if we are willing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dick and Jane Order Pizza

Dick and Jane stories must stay relevant.
A very modern tale for modern kids.


See Dick. Dick is hungry. Hear Dick call Jane:
“Hello, Jane! I am hungry. I want food.
Do you want food?”
“I want food too!” says Jane.
Dick thinks hard. “I know. Let us have pizza!”
Jane smiles. “Yes, pizza is good. Pizza is
Very good. Let us have pizza! I will
Come over and eat with you!” Dick calls out
For pizza. Jane comes over. Dick and Jane
Wait.
And wait.
And wait.
They wait for an hour
But the pizza man does not come. How sad!
Dick calls the pizza man and complains.
See Dick lose it. Lose it, Dick, lose it!
Hear Dick bark out expletives. Bark them out,
Dick, bark them out! See Dick slam the phone down.
Someone rings the doorbell. Jane answers it.
It is a policeman. The pizza man
Was upset and complained to the police.
The officer tries to arrest Dick. Dick
Resists arrest. Jane is in a bad mood.
See Jane lose it. Lose it, Jane, lose it!
The policeman arrests both Dick and Jane.
Dick and Jane spend the night in the big house.
Three hours later, their pizza arrives.
Spot attacks the pizza delivery man.
Dick and Jane do not have pizza; Spot has
Pizza. Dick is sued. Spot is put to sleep.
Jane is admitted into therapy.
Dick and Jane do not eat pizza again;
Pizza is way too expensive.
The end.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scheherazade

He commands her presence and she obeys;
Her steps are slow, reluctant, terrified
Of what awaits her. He glares, impatient:
“Where have you been, woman?” She whispers back
“I’m sorry…” Her head snaps back as his hand
Slashes across her face. She hides her tears.
His cruelty erupts night after night;
Beauty is no defense. She bows quickly,
Begs his forgiveness… and breathes a quick prayer,
Hoping against hope she’ll say the right thing.
She spins a web – perhaps they’re all deceits –
To bind his wrath and see another day.
The night is long and her mouth grows drier;
She fights to keep the panic from her voice.
For she knows that when her tales run out
Her story may end as well…