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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

End of Days

Predicted for so long, it finally came.
It’s New Year’s Eve,
The end of days we knew as Twenty-twelve.
Unlike the ancient Mayans,
Unlike religious zealots making guesses in the dark,
Three-hundred sixty-six of them were known
From New Year’s last.
And once we pass
Through the tribulation of Auld Lang Synes,
Through the Armageddon of hangovers,
Through the supposed Promised Land of bowl games
And New Year’s sale events,
We’ll start the cycle all over again.
In that, at least, the Mayans were right;
The end of days is just a new beginning.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 16

Benedict opened the church door
And gestured Miss Devin inside.
“Pieter!” he called as he followed her in.

In moments Pieter appeared. “Father!
Master Bonham has finally wakened
And is asking for you!” he gasped. Then,
Seeing Miss Devin, abruptly halted
And bowed. “Forgive my rudeness, ma’am.”

“Think nothing of it,” Miss Devin said
With a smile. “The Father told me of
Your master’s injuries. A fortunate man
Is he that you should care so much.
And one who inspires such loyalty
Must truly be a man of character.”

Pieter straightened and beamed with pride.
“Indeed, ma’am, he is. A better man
You’ll never find around these parts –
Of course, I mean no offense, Father.”
He bowed again as Benedict smiled.

“I take no offense, Pieter. It’s true,
Miss Devin,” he said with a smile.
“You’ll find no better man in Vaxen
Than Dietrich Bonham. I count myself
Most fortunate to call him a friend.”
Then he turned to Pieter. “Is your master
Dressed? Or does he lounge about
Awaiting his afternoon tea? Indeed,”
He said with a wink, “the man can be decadent.”

Pieter glanced at Miss Devin and shared
A conspiratorial smile with the Father.
“’Tis true, milady. My master’s been known
To eat the occasional chocolate truffle
And wash it down with a sip of brandy…
With never the slightest hint of guilt!”

Miss Devin covered her mouth with her hand
And feigned a gasp to cover her laugh.
“A wicked man indeed!” she said
And added, “You’re quite right, Father. Quite right!
Such a sinner as this one is surely in need
Of our ministry. I should enjoy meeting him.”

Benedict nodded. “I thought so,” he said.
“So answer me, Pieter. Is your master up
And has he made himself presentable?
Run now and tell him that visitors come!”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Puppy Love

For all of you good folks who
got your first dog for Christmas.
And yes, I like dogs... I'm just saying...

His tail won’t stop wagging
His mouth won’t stop yapping
He bounces and wiggles
The kids won’t stop laughing
Adults are amused now
But that won’t last long –
In time, little puppies
Grow into big dogs

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mayan Mistake

How could I let the end of the world pass without a poem?

Miscalculating Mayan minds
Prepared to meet their end
At midnight on the 21st.
They weren’t prepared to send
Out Christmas gifts if they were wrong;
No shopping had been done.
A million screaming children meant
This week would not be fun!

The parents told their kids to hush:
“We’re too late for the Christmas rush!”

Some argued that the calendar
Might be few days off…
But kids weren’t buying that excuse.
Some even dared to scoff:
“You’ve had 5000 years (or so)
To get this Christmas right.
We could have partied earlier…
No, you did this for spite!
You say you knew the end would come?
Then why not break the bank
Since credit bills would never come?
You’d have our lasting thanks!
Instead we’ve got no Christmas gifts;
We’ve got no Christmas turkey.
We’re stuck with used patolli boards
And month-old python jerky!”

Miscalculating Mayan minds
Prepared to meet their end
At midnight on the 21st.
They never planned to spend
The next b’ak’tun (or maybe two)
Anticipating doom
From children stripped of Christmas cheer
When the world did not go “boom.”

For the Mayan adults, whose children bawl,
It looks like the end came after all.
Merry Christmas to everyone else!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 15

I've mentioned that poets rarely show
the initial state of their poems, thus giving
the impression that poems spring forth
in final form. This week provides an example
of how the process really works!
While writing this week's installment,
I realized that nearly a full day and a half
had passed since Dietrich showed up at the church
with his injuries... and I had completely forgotten
that Dietrich's servant Pieter would be worried sick!
When I make my final version of the story,
I'll have to add a section where Benedict
sends word to Pieter and possibly
some of Pieter's activity. In the meantime,
don't be shocked that Pieter suddenly appears this week.
He has brought some clothes for Dietrich --
who, you'll remember, was naked when Benedict found him --
and has been helping the Father care for his master.

The heavy door creaked open and Pieter
Peered out. “Father,” he said, “Master Dietrich
Has awakened. What shall I do?”
Benedict nodded and said, “Thank you,
Pieter. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Cardinal Jarvik sniffed and said, “Master
Dietrich? What goes on here, Benedict?”

“One of my flock taken ill, Cardinal.
Beaten, actually. I’m nursing him
Back to health. Would you care to help?”

“Indeed not!” Jarvik cringed and drew back.
“Do I look like a manservant?”

“Indeed not!” Benedict echoed.
“Our Lord said He came to serve, but I
Would never mistake you for Him, sir.”
Then to Miss Devin he said, “Would you
Care to aid me, my dear? Dietrich improves
With each hour that passes, but I’m sure
The smile of an angel would do him good.”

Miss Devin blushed and said, “I would
Be glad to help tend your friend. Cardinal,
You may go ahead and find our lodgings
If you wish. I shall join you shortly.”

The Cardinal sniffed. “And how will you
Find your way without a carriage?”

Benedict bowed. “With the Cardinal’s permission,
I’ll escort the young lady when she leaves.
I have need of provisions and had planned
To go later today while Pieter was here.
I shall make sure no harm comes to her.”

The Cardinal harrumphed and fidgeted
Before finally nodding his assent.
He climbed back in his carriage and
The coachman closed the door, mounted his perch,
And smiled at Miss Devin before
Urging the horses toward the town square.

Father Benedict watched them drive away.
“A most unpleasant reflection on the faith,
That one,” he mused out loud. He turned to see
Miss Devin’s poor attempt to appear shocked.
His hearty laugh eased her embarrassment.
“Unpleasant indeed,” she said with a sigh.

“Then why are you with him? Have you no choice?”

“There are few opportunities for a woman
In the church – aside from taking vows, that is.”
Again she sighed and bowed her head.

“And you prefer a less… sequestered life?”

She hesitated. “I… to be blunt, yes.
I came to the church because of my parents.
I was not given a choice in the matter.
Joining the Cardinal on his missions
Allows me to see the wider world.”

Benedict stepped forward as a few tears
Trickled down her cheeks. He touched her shoulder
And, when she glanced up, he smiled and winked.
“There is no shame in that, my dear. Presumptuous
As I am, I know I can speak for my Lord
When I say He looks at the heart,
Not the outward appearance… nor one’s
Station in life. Holy orders can make
A prison as surely as iron bars.”
He swept his arm dramatically
Toward Vaxen Abbey. “Think of this place
As pasture where the flock of God
May run freely, Miss Devin. While in Vaxen,
Feel free to come by and ‘graze’ as often
As you desire. You’ll find no iron bars here.”

She smiled gratefully and rubbed the tears
From her cheeks. “Thank you, Father. I think I shall.”

“Excellent,” Benedict said. “And now,
Shall we tend to my friend Dietrich?”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Claus-trophobia

A bit of Christmas paranoia
To brighten your holidays…

Fear the fat man dressed in red,
Robbing you while you’re in bed!

Elvish gangsters at the Pole
Quickly fence the things he stole.

Parents fall into his trap –
Children sitting on his lap

Tell what gifts are in their dreams;
These dictate his Christmas schemes!

Now he knows the hottest toys
Most desired by girls and boys;

He’ll snatch them when he makes his round
And then return them for a mound

Of cash. Yes, fear the man in red;
It’s this that keeps him so well-fed!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poop on the Housetop

I think this is the last of the Christmas song parodies.
This one also parodies the love most children have
for "potty humor" (a love shared by many adults,
although they won't admit it.) This is a parody of
the children's Christmas song Up on the Housetop...
and if you pay attention, you'll find allusions to
an uncomplimentary name for chipped beef and
a favorite Christmas poem by Clement Moore.
I must admit, I'm rather proud of this one.

Poop on the housetop –
Reindeer plops
Everywhere that
Santa stops!
Eight busy reindeer
Out all night –
It’s on the shingles
Where they alight!
Ho ho ho, you better know
Ho ho ho, they’re gonna go!
Poop on the housetop;
It’s no trick –
You’ve had a visit from
Old Saint Nick!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 14

The love interest arrives! You can't have
a gothic horror tale without a love interest.
This section is proceeding slowly because
I need to introduce several previously
unrelated characters to each other
in a way that makes sense.. but
I also need to introduce several plot elements
that will drive the story forward.
As a result, this section may take a few posts
in order to get everything right. In a first draft like this,
it doesn't have to be perfect...
but it helps if I remember to put it all in from the start!

The morning came. As it wore on
And the sun neared its peak, a coach
Entered the town square of Vaxen.
Drawn by two black horses, the coach,
Bearing the symbols of the church,
Rattled along the cobblestone
Street and stopped at Vaxen Abbey.
The coachman scrambled awkwardly
From his perch atop the carriage,
Hasting to open the coach door.
A large man stepped out first, shoving
The door and the coachman aside
With scarcely a glance. His robe marked
Him as one of stature within
The church; his expression marked him
As one of great self-importance.

The coachman, used to such treatment,
Regained his dignity quickly
And offered his hand to the young
Woman stepping down behind him.
She smiled in gratitude, nodding
Before she accepted his help.
Having no station in the church,
She wore the dress of a simple
Servant – although, it must be said,
Fine robes would not have accented
Her delicate features as well.
The coachman had often wondered
What sin condemned this young woman
To serve as the man’s assistant.

The man strode to the abbey door
And pounded on it heavily –
Once, then twice, and yet a third time.
When Benedict opened the door,
The robed man said in a flat voice,
“You must be Father Benedict.”

“That I am,” he said. He smiled at
The young woman but not the man…
Nor did he invite them inside.
He stood patiently and waited.

The robed man snarled, “What kind of church
Is this, that its pastor doesn’t
Show Christian kindness to strangers?”

Benedict said, “It is a church
In a town where an unseen beast –
Whether animal or human,
We know not – murders its people,
And its pastor questions strangers
Who arrive dressed in Christian garb
But lack basic Christian manners.
The unholy may wear a robe
As easily as the holy.”

The coachman stifled a snicker
And the robed man flashed him a sneer;
The coachman feigned a coughing fit.

To Benedict the robed man said,
“I am Cardinal Jarvik, sent
By His Holiness to this God-
Forsaken part of the world, to
Investigate this strange killer
Of which you speak. This young woman
Is my assistant, Miss Devin.
His Holiness insists that she
Accompany me on these trips,
Although she is little more than
An inconvenience to my work.”

“I understand,” Benedict said.
“With such a lovely young lady
By your side, others might mistake
You for a mannered gentleman.”
Miss Devin smiled discretely, and
Benedict smiled at her once more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Saw Mommy Slapping Santa Claus

The bizarre Christmas song parodies continue…

I saw Mommy slapping Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
I couldn’t help but smirk
When she hollered out, “You jerk!”
She called him dirty names and said
He was a piece of work
But Santa must have kidnapped Daddy ‘cause
I don’t see him and there’re no gifts in sight
Oh Santa must be really pissed ‘cause we’re on his naughty list
After Mom slapped Santa Claus last night

Monday, December 10, 2012

Burnt Christmas

A Christmas carol for global warming –
Appropriately enough, to the tune of Blue Christmas.

Some say a burnt Christmas will hound us
As greenhouse gas-fueled changes confound us
Chemicals in the breeze bring us all to our knees
And Santa’s just a dream, babe, when the ice caps cease to freeze
We’ll see a burnt Christmas, they’re certain
As nature pulls that tropical curtain
Scientists say we’re doomed, that the end’s coming soon
And we’re in for a burnt, burnt Christmas

Yeah, it’s a burnt Christmas that’s coming
The change to celebrations is numbing
Plastic trees wilt at home and the snow’s Styrofoam
Instead of Santa’s elves we’re stuck with a flock of garden gnomes
Though Grandma’s not run over by reindeer
Poor Santa’s down with heat stroke – it’s plain, dear
We’re not doing alright on this hot silent night
‘Cause we’re in for a burnt, burnt Christmas
Yeah, we’ll all have a burnt, burnt Christmas
I smell smoke – it’s a burnt, burnt Christmas

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 13

“NO!”

Dietrich jerked upright in the bed and screamed,
Uncertain of where he was or how he
Got there. The covers clung to his sweaty
Body; he fought to free his hands from their
Clammy grasp. Freed at last, he cradled his
Face in them and gasped for breath, his heart pounding.

Suddenly Father Benedict was there,
Sitting on the edge of the bed, a cup
In his hands. “Here, my friend, sip this water.”
And as Dietrich did so, the Father smiled.
“You’ve had quite the night.  I feared for your health.”

“How did I get here?” Dietrich asked. “And what
Terrible acts have I done? I must know!”

Again the Father smiled. “You have done nothing
But sleep and test my healing skills. Early
Yesterday you came to my door and collapsed.
Your wounds proved severe but not fatal… though
I confess I wondered how you got them.
I cleaned you up and put you to bed.
Since then you’ve done little but sleep, sometimes
Tossing and moaning, sometimes like the dead.
What demon haunts your dreams, Dietrich? The wolf?”

“I changed, Father. I prowled the woods, preying
On human flesh. I battled someone who sought
To destroy me and I tore out his throat.”

“A nightmare, nothing more,” Benedict said.

“But Father, it was no nightmare. I saw –“

“You saw only in your dreams,” Benedict
Murmured with a shake of his head. “I’ve been
By your side all day, afraid your injuries
Were beyond my meager abilities.
This blanket just thwarted all your efforts
To sit up in bed. Do you truly believe
You could have escaped their gentle embrace
And romped through the woods without my notice?”
He laughed at that. “You are no more a wolf
Than I am. Now rest; regain your strength.”

After a couple more sips of water,
Benedict patted his shoulder and made
Him comfortable. And as he dozed off,
Dietrich barely noticed the gritty feel
As he rubbed his fingertips together.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apprentice

I see an image
Floating before my mind’s eye;
My petty efforts
To capture it on paper
Fail miserably each time

Monday, December 3, 2012

I’ve Got a Driver

Inspired by the Beatles’ song Drive My Car
And some televised golf tournaments.

My caddie said, “You should listen to me:
I’ve done this job for a decade or three.
The fairway’s narrow and there’s too many trees;
I know what you’re thinking, but won’t you please
Leave that big stick in the bag –
Yeah, I know my plan’s a drag –
But leave that big stick in the bag,
You’ll hit the ball better.”

I ought to listen; my friends say he’s good.
If he says “Hit an iron,” I know that I should.
There’s water short of the green if I dare…
But I’ve got a driver. I could get it there!
He says, “Leave that big stick in the bag –
Yeah, I know my plan’s a drag –
But leave that big stick in the bag,
You’ll hit the ball better.”

I disregarded my caddie’s advice,
Took out the driver and I hit a big slice.
My ball’s in the water, my score’s in the tank…
And I’ve got a driver and myself to thank.
Took that big stick from the bag –
Didn’t want to be a drag –
Took that big stick from the bag
And hit the ball badder…
Uh-oh, splish-splash, no
Uh-oh, splish-splash, no
Uh-oh, splish-splash, no

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 12

As Dietrich passed the night in fitful sleep,
A brooding figure walked the well-worn path
Where death had claimed so many of his gang.
No men were brave enough, no brigands fool
Enough to serve as bait for Chase's trap.
Now Simon Chase, hands clenched in helpless rage,
Strode down this path toward the river's edge.
He carried pistols, each prepared to shoot
A silver ball. Did he believe this wolf
To be some superstition come to life?
In truth, he had no answer to the question.
Still, when faced with situations that
Defy one's common sense, the most pragmatic
Man will often choose to hedge his bets.

He neared the spot his gang most often chose
For their activities but, unlike them,
He didn't lie in wait for him he sought.
"I'll not give him the upper hand this night,"
He swore beneath his breath, the misty puffs
Evaporating quickly into nothing –
Unlike the fear that grew within his breast
With every passing moment. Primal instincts,
Long forgotten, reasserted their control.
The businessman reverted to the hunter;
His senses, heightened by adrenaline,
Became attuned to every movement, every
Sound around him – chilly breezes stirring
Crispy leaves, and far-off owls in search
Of prey. More confident, he slowed his walk.

The growl was faint but clear. He wheeled about
And saw it – the size of a man, and black;
Its red eyes glowing, flickering like fire
As they studied him; it wrinkled its nose
And snorted its distaste. Bearing its fangs,
It charged at him so quickly…

Chase fumbled with a pistol, raising it
To fire point-blank into the creature's face –
With no effect! The hairy monster leaped
And Chase, the hapless victim, dropped his gun
And raised his arms to shield his face – a futile
Gesture borne of primal terror.

To his surprise, he neither died nor fell.
The beast dissolved before him like his chilly
Breath, passing through his hands and body
Like an icy arrow through his soul.

He gasped and dropped to his knees, clutching first
His neck and then his chest with trembling hands.
An apparition, nothing more… or so
He tried to tell himself. And yet he couldn't
Shake the fear that death had touched his soul.
A warning, this – a warning that it sought
One Simon Chase. Its grudge was personal
For reasons he had yet to understand,
And would return to claim its prize… and soon.

Unless he found a way to kill it first.

But not tonight. He ran back to the village,
Barred his door, and prayed for morning's light.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quest for Fryer

A Black Friday legend inspired
By the old movie Quest for Fire.

The hungry tribe gathers around
An ancient burned-out FryDaddy®.
Children wail as their French fries float
Limply on the cooling peanut oil.
They can't wait for Cyber Monday.
Reluctantly, tribal elders
Journey to the feeding frenzy
Following Thanksgiving dinner.
Stretching into Friday morning,
Tribes of tired bargain seekers
Trudge along the crowded aisles in
Hopes of finding something novel,
Something to ignite the flaming
Passions of those on their Christmas
Gift lists – name brands, inexpensive
Stocking stuffers, lucky guesses.
They are at the mercy of the
Chain store buyers, clueless minions
Looking for a deal themselves – a
Deal that empties shoppers' purses.

The elders travel far and wide,
From one big box store to the next,
From department to department,
Praying for one overlooked fryer
Amid the rubble in the aisles.
Valiantly they brave the legions
Struggling through the checkout melee.
They are unable to escape
Without some unplanned purchases.
Will the trials and tribulations
They endured during this hunting
Expedition finally bring
Cheer to hungry children at home?
This they know: Their family will
Have the gifts that keep on giving…
Fried nerves, burning guilt, and every
Credit lender's hot little hands
Clawing at their empty pockets.

And the fryer will be burned out
By Sunday night. Cyber Monday
Will claim yet another victim.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

They should just call it
"Ares vs Aphrodite"…
It's all Greek to me

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 11

Thanksgiving interfered with writing this week.
It may have been a blessing in disguise,
since I need to decide on the most dramatic
direction to go with this setup. I'm not
at all sure that having him "wolf out"
in the church is the best way to go...
At least, not this early in the story.

Father Benedict dragged himself from bed
And rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
The pounding echoed through the halls
Of the church – erratic, as though
The visitor struggled just to knock.
He draped his blanket over his shoulders
And shuffled to the door. "Who is it?"

He heard a moan. The pounding seemed to slide
Down the door, weaker as it fell.
He tried to open the door
But something wedged it shut.
With a grunt and a heave
He shoved the blockage from the door
And gasped. It was a naked body.
"Dietrich! May the Lord forgive me!"
Quickly he flung the blanket around his friend
And dragged him inside, down the hall
To his room. He placed him on his bed,
Hurriedly brewed some tea,
And tended Dietrich's wounds.
One in particular bothered him –
A gash in his side that could have been
Caused by the blast from a gun.
Powder burns mingled there with blood,
Though he saw no trace of a bullet.
When the tea was ready,
Benedict managed to get
A few sips down Dietrich's throat,
But he never truly woke from his stupor.
The Father's vigil lasted most of the day –
A worried, prayerful vigil.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Return to Cinder

Thanksgiving turkey
Had an after-dinner smoke—
Before dinner too!
It was the cook who should have
Come with a warning label

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Hymn (87.87.66.667)

With Thanksgiving coming later this week,
I chose to write a hymn of thanks.
Hymns are often written using
A metrical index – a number showing
The syllable pattern of the verse.
This allows the same lyrics to be used
With different tunes. For this poem I chose
87.87.66.667, which is
The pattern for Martin Luther's
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.


Thanksgiving is a waste, some claim;
There is no God to pray to.
Faith is a scapegoat that they blame
For evils man is prey to.
They see our troubled earth
And question what faith's worth
When mankind is in pain,
Each day seems more insane,
And they don't see God acting.

Sometimes we lay awake at night;
We feel so persecuted.
Nothing in life is going right;
Our hopes are all uprooted.
Laid bare, our deepest fears
Bring each of us to tears
And drive us to despair;
So sure that no one cares,
We question His existence.

As hopelessness engulfs our world
And we fear God won't hear us…
Though our emotions rage and swirl,
One simple truth should cheer us:
We may not have much say
About our lives today…
Life may spurn our control
But God still holds our souls.
He won't let life destroy us.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 10

Chase stumbled down the staircase from
His room above the tobacconist shop,
Sleep still heavy on his eyelids.
It was early, much too early for
The heavy knocking at his door.
What kind of fool would wake a man this early?
He staggered to the door and snatched it open,
Prepared to give this fool a sound tongue-lashing…
But stopped, dumbstruck, facing Constable Garrett.
"Mr. Chase?" Garrett asked. "Mr. Simon Chase?"

"Why, y-yes, Constable," Chase mumbled,
Trying to appear more sleepy than shocked.
"Forgive me, I'm not used to customers
This early. What can I do for you?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, sir,"
The Constable said, "but this is important."

"By all means, come on in," Chase said,
Stepping aside and motioning awkwardly.
"Have a seat at the counter. You look stressed;
I'll brew us both some tea."

"Thank you, Mr. Chase," he said, removing
His hat and nodding his head as he entered.
"My morning's already been quite long."

As he brewed the tea Chase asked – as
Nonchalantly as possible –
"Does the cause of your long morning
Have something to do with me?"

"I'm not sure," the Constable said, accepting
A cup of tea with a nod of his head.
"You've heard about the animal attacks?"

"Of course. My customers talk of little else.
Why do you ask?" Chase hoped he didn't sound
Unduly interested. He feared he did.

"A small group of revelers left the tavern
Late last night – a surprise to the owner,
Who thought them far too drunk to sit
Aperch a barstool, let alone stand long enough
To leave the tavern. But leave they did.
Supposedly they spoke of going fishing.
And when they didn't make it home last night,
The wife of one complained to me at dawn.
I feared they might have perished in the river,
So I took several villagers to search."

"And did you find them, Constable?" Chase asked,
Uncertain where this little speech was leading.

"I did," he said, "and all were fine. They never
Made it to the river. Too much beer!
The poor sots fell asleep beside the path;
We found them trembling, sound asleep and
Drenched in morning dew."

Chase squinted at the Constable. "That's good…
But tell me: What has this to do with me?"

The Constable looked up, and Chase could tell
That Garrett hoped to find an answer also.
"Our drunkard friends are fine –" he paused and
Studied Chase a moment "—but other men
Fared not so well. We found their bodies,
Victims of an animal attack
Or so we think – the wounds match well to those
We found on other victims recently.
The bodies were mostly a bloody mess but
One of the villagers thought he knew one
From your shop… a man named Burgher."

"Burgher, Burgher…" Chase looked thoughtful.
He murmured the name as if it dangled
Tantalizingly just out of memory's reach.
He gently bit his lower lip, then asked,
"Was Burgher about so tall –" he held his hand
About chest level "– and slightly balding?"

Garrett nodded. "That would be the man."

"I didn't know him well," Chase lied.
Staring into space, he added,
"He rarely spoke except to make a purchase.
Strange little man… preferred snuff to cigars."
Then, looking back at Garrett, he asked,
"You said there was more than one body?"

"Indeed," Garrett said. "We found nine altogether."

"NINE?" Chase blurted before he could catch
Himself. He couldn't believe it.
The beast had killed Burgher's whole team!
Then he came to himself and,
Aware of the Constable's studious gaze,
Chase added, "Good God, man! Is anyone safe?"

Mistaking his angry outburst for fear,
The Constable said, "Relax, Mr. Chase.
As long as you stay in your home after dark,
You should be alright; it hunts in the woods,
Not in town. In the meantime,
I've sent for some help – a man well-acquainted
With problems like this. The beast isn't long
For this world." He slid off the barstool.
"Thanks for your help… and the tea.
I'll keep you informed." And with that, he left.

But now Chase was certain of one thing.
It made no sense, but he couldn't escape
The conclusion: The beast had singled him out.
Why else was it killing only his men?
Something would have to be done… and soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sometimes You Can't Fly Away

Two strong wings beating
Two hundred times per second
Foiled by flypaper

Anger is wasted
Your dreams destroyed; the killer
Doesn't even care

Even the most elusive
Is not immune to this trap
Even the most cautious
Falls prey to circumstances

A cell without walls
Effectively grounds your dreams
Despite two strong wings

Monday, November 12, 2012

Full Medal Jacket

For Veterans' Day.

In our country's service, sometimes for decades,
They answer the call at a moment's notice,
Plunging headfirst into danger each time
Without a single thought for their own safety.

So many serve without our recognition,
So many fall without knowing our gratitude...

If we dedicated a dozen mines
And used all the silver we could quarry,
It wouldn't be enough for all the medals
They deserve – as if a medal (or any
Number of medals) could ever express
The love we feel for the faithful soldiers,
Both male and female, who protect our land,
Our freedoms, and our families every day.

Today we remember their sacrifice;
Today we celebrate their fighting spirit.
For they are the dream of America,
The greatness we all aspire to achieve.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 09

The second pair of guards would fare no better.
Their evil made them targets
But their carelessness made them prey.
The first, entertained
By the songs of the drunken victims
As they approached, never saw his end coming
Nor did he have a chance to cry out.
The second, asleep at his post,
Passed from this life to the next undisturbed.

The third team died quickly… but not quietly.
One died messily, his neck broken
As the wolf violently worried it
Like an old dog with a shoe.
His companion had the presence of mind
To scream before he died,
Causing the drunks to pause as they
Staggered toward their attackers…
And warning the men in the main ambush
Of death's nearness.

Deep in discussion, laying plans and
Preparing their weapons, the wolf's attack
Caught them neither off-guard nor unprepared.
Hit from behind, the leader rolled sideways
And fired a shot at point-blank range
Right into the wolf's belly.
Supposedly a silver bullet,
The wolf ignored it.
His surviving partners raised their weapons
As the blur of fur and fangs never paused.
One man fired and missed, the second never fired
As the wolf crashed into his chest,
Tore out his throat, and turned to the survivor
With a single graceful move –
A ballet in blood, for wolf and three victims.
He trotted away from the corpses
With an uneven gait, blood drip-drip-
Dripping from his side,
A few more drops in an ocean of blood.
The drunken victims would never have noticed,
Had they gotten that far.
They were overcome by their vices
And dropped in their tracks, bodies
Awaiting discovery in the morning…

Much like Chase's nine brigands,
Except their headaches weren't fatal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bad Man

So… is it good or bad to be bad?

Who's the most wanted in Hollywood?
When the purse strings tighten
And the studios are looking
For the next big star, who do they call?
The bad man! The bad man!

Who's the most wanted in TV Land?
When the ratings plummet
And the viewers are looking
For the next big hit, who do they call?
The bad man! The bad man!

Who's the most wanted on the football field?
When the home team struggles
And the fans are looking
For the next big play, who do they call?
The bad man! The bad man!

But… who's the most wanted in DatingLand?
When the nice guys bore them
And the ladies are looking
For their next boytoy, who do they call?
The bad BOY! The bad BOY!

Explains a lot, don't you think?
The bad man's known for what he does
And the bad boy for what he doesn't…
Which may be why
The studios and
The viewers and
The fans tend to end up happy
And the ladies tend to end up unhappy.

Perhaps that makes the bad boy
The baddest man of all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eleusis (aka Arrival)

A song to be sung by the initiates
as they accompany Persephone
on her journey to reunite with her
mother, Demeter, at Eleusis during
the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Blow, Pramnian, blow! Carry our spirits
Safely to the bosom of Demeter
Where all our fortunes lie; where there awaits,
At journey’s end, the rebirth of our hope.

Dear child, allowed at last to lift your face
And feel the warmth of sunlight once again:
Committed to the ghostly world below
By powers not your own, come join with us.

Great mother, joyful countenance aglow:
Now robed in white, we come from night below
To this, the place where you in darkness mourn,
Sojourners with the daughter you await.

Reunion, sweet reunion of the two!
Long-parted by the dealings of the gods;
With our arrival, this deceit is done.
Revive us with the bounty of your love.

Bless us, the ones who guide your daughter home;
Bless us, our land, our rulers, and our days.
Accept our offerings; let us share your joy
And die no more…

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 08

The night came, and with it a chill
That bit to the bone and wouldn't let go –
Or so John Burgher told himself.
After his visit to Chase's shop,
He gathered – with effort – another five men
To carry out their boss's plan.
Fear is a potent thing; the unseen wolf
Had frightened them… but not as much
As Simon Chase, the monster they already knew.
Burgher wrapped his muffler 'round his throat,
A useless shield against the cold…
And, perhaps, the wolf also.

A simple plan it was: As usual,
A small number of Chase's men
Would lay in wait along the road
For unsuspecting victims… but
Tonight Burgher's men would be there too,
Guarding the men from a short distance,
Ready to aid them should the wolf attack.
Groups of two surrounding the group of three;
The wolf would not surprise them tonight.
Burgher and his partner found a hedge
With shelter from the wind but nearby;
A small comfort, but better than nothing.
They settled in to pass the night.

It seemed like hours passed. They heard no sound;
Neither wolf nor prey disturbed them.
At last they heard someone approach –
A couple of someones, drunk by the sound of it.
Their pulses started racing. Finally
Things began happening normally;
Chase would be pleased! They hunkered down,
Unwilling to risk a single noise
That might alert their prey to their presence.
The drunken songs grew louder;
John Burgher smiled eagerly…

He didn't know how he missed its approach.
One moment, music filled his ears;
The next, a blur filled his vision.
It ripped his partner's throat open
Before the man could so much as gasp.

Terror choked his own cries for help.
He sat helplessly as the beast turned,
Cocking its head as it studied Burgher.
Blood dripped from its snarling lips
Like drool from a newborn child.
Its nose twitched as it sniffed mere inches from his face;
The smell of the freshly dead on its breath
Threatened to steal consciousness from him.
But it was the eyes that held him spellbound –
Ruby red, they flickered like flames
As they glared at him through the darkness.
A growl gurgled in its throat,
Causing a new trickle of blood from its mouth.
It dripped on Burgher's shirt.

Burgher drooled, unable to swallow.
One momentary glance at his partner,
Throat ripped open, drove the horror home
And his voice returned – or would have.
As he drew his final breath, the one
That would have been a scream, the beast attacked.
Burgher watched the two glowing eyes
Close on him suddenly … too suddenly.

His muffler offered no protection…
None at all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Round Ball Dreams

The new NBA season started Tuesday;
A short meditation on small beginnings.
(And yes, I forgot today would be Halloween
so there's no horror poem. As if 
Dogged By the Curse isn't enough... ;-)

One round ball,
A peach basket hung on a wall, and
A piece of paper with 13 rules.
Such a simple beginning
For a worldwide sport
Worth billions of dollars each year.
Forget the business for a moment…
How many weekend athletes
Found a reason to face each day
Because they found
A few moments of glory
Playing against friends?
How many kids
Found sanctuary from bad influences
Because of a hoop in a vacant lot?
How many scholarships
Has that round ball supplied
For kids with no other hope of college?
That's a lot of dreams from
One round ball,
A peach basket hung on a wall, and
A piece of paper with 13 rules.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Watchers

It's been a while since I tried a poem like this;
Mrs. Cain was the last one. The Watchers,
According to the Book of Enoch, were 200 angels
Who fathered giants with earth women;
That's the main reason God flooded the earth.
As an aside, I suspect this is where writers
Got the idea for the Watchers in the Highlander TV series.

Just another in a series of poor decisions, eh?
Cast out of heaven by an ill-planned rebellion,
Cast out of hope by the promise of a woman's seed,
You set your hearts on a scheme for revenge
And your sights on the easiest prey.

Two hundred in number,
You banded together and nicknamed yourselves "the Watchers."
Was it funny, an in-joke of sorts –
The Peeping Toms of the spirit world,
Demonic gigolos cruising humanity,
A band on the run,
A band on the make,
Deceiving its women again?

So how did you do it?
Did you target first the curviest,
The roundest,
The sexiest,
The ones most likely to be envied by the rest?
Did you show up as Fabio,
James Bond,
The rock stars of the age
And whisk them away to exotic locales?
Did you bathe them in rich perfumes
And rare aphrodisiacs,
Drug them to believe that no human lover could ever measure up to you?
And after you knocked them all up
Did you go to the "other" girls –
The insecure, gullible,
Willing-to-do-anything-to-be-popular girls –
And drop the charade?
Did you claim to be gods…
Or vampires or werewolves…
And let Twilight fall
Over every last woman on Earth?
Did you find yourself with
A billion Bellas screaming to be turned?
So many women, so little time!
And all of them blissfully unaware you were
Polluting their bodies,
Polluting their DNA,
Polluting the whole human race…
For eventually all of these women would die
And your half-breeds be left in their place.
How can the seed of a human woman
Be born if no woman alive
Is fully human?

In the meantime
You bred like little demonic rabbits…
And the women were proud
To have borne demigods
Instead of mere mortals.

Your plan was bold, I'll give you that,
And monstrous in its scope.
I can't conceive of a hate so deep.
But the monsters you conceived
Were more than God could overlook…
So He made sure that,
When the waters broke,
Your children drowned in the afterbirth.
Then He locked you away in the Abyss,
A solitary confinement for sex offenders
Such as you, and chained you so
You can't even pleasure yourself.
And now, with nothing to do and no one to watch,
The joke's on you.

And yet, hideous as this tale may be,
I can relate in one small way:
I guess humans aren't the only ones
Who find sex a hard temptation to resist.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 07

This scene is finally finished!
A note about the moon: Father Benedict
notes that there has been no full moon
during the time Dietrich believes he has changed.
This is actually a modern movie addition
to the werewolf myth. Although some legends
include a change at a full moon, those myths
chose specific full moons, happening
perhaps once a year. Likewise with the wolf bite.
I chose to let the Father mention
these things to let the reader know
this change is NOT a standard "wolf-out."
When I'm done, I'll have to go back
and make it clear in the first section
that the moon is not full.

Dietrich sighed. "I have these dreams,
These violent dreams of torn flesh
And piles of mangled bodies;
Dreams of faces, terrified, screaming
As they turn to see me falling on them;
Dreams of claws and fangs and
Raging bloodlust. When I wake,
I could be anywhere besides my bed –
Sometimes a cave, sometimes beneath a bush,
Once behind a garden shed –
And always naked, never in my bedclothes.
I sometimes find them shredded but
Sometimes not at all. And lately
I find I've lost my appetite;
The thought of eating sickens me.
My servant says I'll waste away
And yet I've lost no weight."
He shuddered. "Father, I'm afraid."

Benedict reached out to pat his shoulder,
The slightest smile upon his lips –
Not mocking, just a friendly consolation.
"You overlook the obvious, my friend.
A man disturbed by nightmares may,
While sleeping, rend his clothes;
May, in his distress, walk in his sleep;
And may, perhaps, forget how much he eats.
But there are more important questions here,
Questions you have yet to answer.
Has there been a full moon lately?
None that I have seen – and I should know,
As many of our church's celebrations
Fall on days determined by its fullness.
Without the full moon, can the werewolf come?"

Dietrich sat in silence.
He had not considered this.

Father Benedict continued:
"A greater question yet remains. Tell me now:
Have you been bitten by a wolf?
Surely you'd remember that,
Even if it happened in your sleep!
Have you a wound that I may see,
An injury that might lend substance
To your fears? A man does not become
A werewolf just because he fears he has.
Show me your wound; make me believe
A man might turn into a wolf."

"I have no wound, Father," Dietrich said. "And
I know the moon has not been full these nights.
Nevertheless, I know that something happens
When the darkness falls... and sleep with it.
Last night I locked myself inside a cave
I found on my estate some years ago.
Inside it is a cage; I know not when
It came to be, nor who the builder was,
Nor what his purpose might have been.
I only know I locked myself inside
Last night… and found the door torn open when
I woke this morning. Reason plays no part
In this, as far as I can see.
I have no answers, only questions…
Questions and despair."

Benedict cocked his head. "A cage? You found
A cage? On your estate, inside a cave?"
He gazed out the window, seeing nothing,
Lost in thought. "Something sounds familiar here.
I can't quite place it… Could you show me?
Will you take me there?"

Dietrich glanced outside and saw the sun
Dipping down to touch the trees.
"Not today; it's much too late. I fear
What I may do to you, my friend…"

"I understand," the Father said. "Tomorrow
Would be better anyway. I need to think.
Something seems familiar here. A cage…"

Dietrich rose. "I need to go now, Father.
The sun sets and I fear –"

"Then go," said Benedict with a smile.
"Ease your mind, my friend. Sleep well tonight.
Tomorrow we shall track your wolf."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Slightly Irregular

Each day that passes
Takes a little more effort
As I get older…
But would I really want life
To slip away easily?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yankees Gone Home (aka Dust Bunnies)

In case you didn't hear…
The Detroit Tigers swept the New York Yankees 4-0
In baseball's American League Championship Series,
Stopping their run to the World Series.

SWEPT. It's the worst way to lose.
It's not just that you lost, but that
You were never even a factor in the game.
The series is barely over before
The accusations start to fly.
Whose fault was it?
Who deserves the bulk of the blame?
Who should be made to pay
For this embarrassment?
As if you didn't feel bad enough already…

I think I know how they feel.
I've never played pro baseball
For a seven- or eight-figure salary and
I've never had the hopes of an entire city
Nestled on my shoulders.
But I've been SWEPT,
Blindsided by life
Just when I thought I had a chance
To win the game
Or cross the finish line first
Or snag the prize.
There it was, just beyond reach,
Suddenly jerked away
Without so much as a "sorry, mate"
To ease my disappointment.

Brooms have no feelings.
They sweep us away like
Dust bunnies under the bed
And return to the broom closet,
No worse for wear and
Feeling no guilt for destroying our dreams.
Sometimes the last straw
Comes from a broom.

But I take comfort in this thought:
No matter how many brooms there are
Or how often they make a sweep,
There are always more dust bunnies
Under the bed.

I am a dust bunny.
Sweep me away at your own risk;
I'll just be back tomorrow...
With friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 06

This scene has turned out longer than I expected.
Despite the length of this post (85 lines),
I'll have to continue this scene another week.

"Ah," the Father said, and nodded.
"You speak of the recent murders, no?
Ghastly things they are – horrors
That plague an unbelieving world,
Terrors the faithful pray will pass them by.
A good man should be troubled, Dietrich;
Death, especially violent death,
Is not the kind of thing we should wish on
The worst of men – although, it must be said,
An evil man's demise can sometimes be
God's blessing to the rest of us."

"But do you believe in werewolves?"
Dietrich persisted. "Could such a horror
Roam the darkness of God's creation?
Could such a horror possess a man
And turn him into a murdering beast?"

Father Benedict squinted quizzically; then,
Choosing his words with care, he said:
"After a fashion, I suppose.
Even among the vilest heathen,
Tales are told of the hounds of hell
Pursuing wicked men to their final doom.
With eyes blazing in fiery judgment
They track the ungodly and drag them, screaming,
Down to eternal flames of torment –
Down to the Devil they chose to serve
So faithfully during life." He paused
And, with a slight smile, asked, "So, Dietrich…
Am I to assume you fear a werewolf
Stalks the woods around our little village?"

"Not only do I fear this thing," he said,
"I fear that I myself might be the beast."

The Father almost laughed… but then,
Seeing Dietrich's shaking hands and
Panicked look, he stopped. With a heavy sigh
He reached across to steady Dietrich's
Shaking hands and said, "In such a case,
I doubt that even wine is strong enough.
This seems the place for brandy."
He raised an eyebrow, gave a knowing wink,
And as the slightest glimmer of a smile
Crossed Dietrich's face, he rose and walked
Across the tiny room. He turned,
Lifted a finger to his pursed lips, and
Flashed a conspiratorial smile;
Then reached behind the pallet and
Retrieved a bottle of brandy.
"I only keep it for medicinal purposes,
Don't you know," he said.
Returning to the table, he tossed
The remnants of their tea and poured
Them both a healthy dose.
Then, with a hearty "To your health"
They gently clinked the teacups.

After a savored sip, the Father said,
"You're not a man to surrender reason easily.
Many's the time when superstition
Threatened to overwhelm this parish
And yours was the voice that steadied
This flock with calm and stable tones.
Often when hysteria strikes,
The cleric's voice of reason carries
Little weight with the people –
He's supposed to say those things, you understand.
It took no more than your support
To give my words an anchor they would trust.
I find it hard to fathom why
This man, this strong oak firmly rooted
In reality, should now be frightened
By some ancient bogeyman."

Dietrich rose to go, ashamed. "Forgive me,
Father. I was wrong to bother you with this."

Once again the Father smiled. "Sit, Dietrich.
Even the strongest man at some time
Finds his faith in crisis. You fear the wolf –
Then let us see if we can slay
This creature's threat and set you free.
'Come, let us reason, saith the Lord,'
The holy book says. Let us do so now.
Let us suppose this thing you fear
Might possibly be true, and let
The eyes of reason search it out;
The Lord shall be the judge.
Now tell me, my friend:
What makes you fear the beast within?"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In-Your-Face Bravado

He rails at the camera
Putting himself out there
Expecting to be criticized
But sure of himself

He tweets to the masses
Stirring up the controversy
Expecting to be criticized
But ready to take it

He trashtalks his opponent
Risking embarrassment
Expecting to be criticized
But enjoying the game

Most of his opponents
Have "me, myself, and I"
But he's got
A big hulking ego
Guarding his back who
Expects to be criticized
And is ready to take it

Whether they admit it or not
His opponents are nervous
Because they
Expect to be criticized
If they lose…
And, unlike him, they're
Not ready to take it

Bravado is useless unless you
Expect to be criticized
And you're ready to take it

Are you ready to take it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Close Encounters at Gettysburg

Four score and seven thousand years ago,
I’m told some aliens brought forth upon this
Planet… us, conceived in secrecy and
Dedicated to the proposition
That they would return someday. As for us,
We now meet on a shifting battlefield
Where fact and fiction cannot be determined
With any certainty, nor can any
Indisputable evidence be found
To consecrate or denigrate such theories.
Some say that this task remains before us—
To resolve the questions left unanswered
By peoples who appear far more notably
Advanced than they should. The world has little
Memory of what really happened then,
But we cannot ignore the implications.
Will we become a planet under "gods,"
Our way of life replaced by government
Of the aliens, by the aliens,
And for the aliens from this day forth?
Or will we choose to rule our own future?
This much is sure: We can never forget
What a confusing mess our forefathers
Left for us to sort through and grouse about!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 05

NOTE: A continuation of part 04.
I used to wonder how ancient poets
created poems that were so long.
I'm discovering that, once you have
some idea of where you're headed,
the details begin to come naturally.
The scene started in part 04 and
continued this week in part 05
will have to be continued next week.
(I've already written some for next week,
but I stopped where the break
seemed most appropriate.)
This poem is already nearing the length
of the longest poem I've ever written...
and it's barely getting started!

They stepped inside. The Father led
His friend away from the sanctuary,
Along a narrow hallway to his room.
Pausing to smile at Dietrich, he said,
"I think a cozy home provides
Far better rest for troubled souls
Than a cramped confessional ever could."
He opened the door, bowed slightly,
And said, "Besides, I've yet to see
A confessional suited for sharing tea."

The Father's room was little more
Than a booth itself, with a table,
Two chairs, and a pallet for a bed.
He hadn't been here in a while, but
Dietrich still felt quite at home.
He sometimes wondered if he'd missed
His calling; surely such places
Held no attraction for normal men!
Many a night had the two men spent
Engaged in wars at a chessboard, pawns
In the game of life, each pretending
He wielded the power to impose his will
Upon others – just a game, of course, no more.
But the war of wits had a fellowship
About it, a sharing of deeper things
That can only pass when a bond is formed.
Pieter was right, of course; the Father
Was the only man who might ease his mind.

The water was boiled, the tea steeped,
The cups shared with a bit of bread.
Trivial patter passed between them –
Weather, business, family matters,
Gossip. Then both men sat, speechless;
Their eyes met, and Benedict raised
An eyebrow – nothing more than that –
And Dietrich's troubled words poured out
Unbidden: "Father, I fear my soul is damned."

"Do you now?" he asked softly, the slightest
Trace of a smile crossing his lips.
"And here, I thought we had a problem
That might prove too great for us to solve."

Dietrich slammed the table with his hand.
"You mock me!" he started, but words failed him
And all he could do was cradle his face
In his shaking hands. Then he jumped
As he felt the Father's hand on his.

"Forgive me, my son," Benedict cooed.
"I meant no harm; such problems are
My realm of expertise, you know.
I thought a bit of levity
Might lift your spirits. I was wrong.
Forgive me, please, and share with me
This inexplicable burden you carry."

Dietrich looked up, suddenly aware
Of tears on his cheeks, and stammered;
"Forgive me also…" but Benedict
Raised a finger to his own lips.
"No more words are needed between us,
My friend, except they lift your burden."
He studied Dietrich's face. "I've never seen
You thus. Whatever could have caused
You such distress? Of all my charges,
The state of your soul troubles me least!"

"Do you believe in werewolves, Father?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Barbarian Raid

Not your average sword & sorcery tale.
Rhythm inspired by the Bob Seger song
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (YouTube video here).


Thought I had a good plan
Gonna make a quick raid
Score myself a big haul
That's the way the hand's played
Always like to work alone
Easier to get away
Didn't tell a single soul
No one else to get paid

Gonna make a quick barbarian raid
Make a fortune on tonight's escapade
Then I'll find a cute Bavarian maid
Who'll be getting this barbarian laid, yeah

Snuck into the big town
Knew I had my plans right
Slipping down the city streets
Hid by the dark night
If they saw me coming
Just another urbanite
Wearing metal armor
Leather pants are too tight
Carrying a massive sword
Ready for a big fight
Won't nobody bother me –
I'm a kinky sight

Gonna make a quick barbarian raid
Make a fortune on tonight's escapade
Then I'll find a cute Bavarian maid
Who'll be getting this barbarian laid

Stopped to have a few drinks
I was feeling pretty rough
Broke into a tavern
Where they kept the good stuff
Mighta stayed a bit long
But I ain't no powderpuff
Musta emptied half the stores
Making sure I had enough
Stumbled out the front door
Thinking I was pretty tough
Ran into the city guard
So I tried to run a bluff

Time to make my quick barbarian raid
Little wimps won't put me in a stockade
Gotta find a cute Bavarian maid
Who'll be getting this barbarian laid

Challenged half the king's guard
Called 'em little girly boys
Waving 'round my big sword
All they got is little toys
Staggering and slashing
Trying to maintain my poise
I could barely see straight
Then I heard a lot of noise
Guards was running everywhere
I was getting quite annoyed
Caught me in a big net –
They was overjoyed
Thought when I was done
I'd be a wealthy playboy
Now I'm in the stockade…
And merely unemployed

So much for my quick barbarian raid
Trust me, it's no stretch to say I'm dismayed
Here in this stockade they don't have a maid
Who'll be getting this barbarian laid, no

Monday, October 8, 2012

Martian Love Song

Little lime men cruise an ancient red planet
Feeling so lucky and looking for fun
Smiling and flirting with little jade women
Glowing like gems in the dim summer sun

Strutting like starshine, hoping they sparkle
Giggling and gaming a date for the night
Little jade foxes with onyx-black peepers
Lick their thin lips with coquettish delight

Gathered in groups on a ruby-red shoreline
Tickled by tides from a cool methane sea
Dreamers and lovers share, shoulder-to-shoulder
Comet trails bright as their futures-to-be

Why should the aliens have all the pleasure
While we stand staring like dimwitted cows?
Planets change orbit for reasons less wondrous—
Make me your leader, dear. Come to me now!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 04

NOTE: This week I figured out a major
plotting problem. As a result, this scene
will be much longer than the others
and I only got a portion of it done.
I'm also playing around with a slightly
different meter for the lines,
and this further slowed my work this week
But I now have a much better idea of where
the story is headed, so the scenes
coming up should have more detail
than the past installments have had.

The town of Vaxen had a single church –
A simple building, not a great cathedral
Built from quarried stone. The local folk
Had gathered river stone and mountain rock,
Materials not valued by the masons
Sought by wealthy Europeans.
More like a villa built around a silo,
Its rounded walls became a substitute
For vaulted ceilings; timbers spanned
The sanctuary, waterproofed with tiles
From local craftsmen – rough but solid;
And barrel windows, framing painted glass,
Provided them a poor man's imitation of
The glory bigger churches took for granted.

A village might be poor but names cost nothing,
So "Vaxen Abbey" gave a sense of pride
To all its people. A stairwell wound its way
Around the sanctuary's outer wall.
Each Sunday, Father Benedict would climb
The steps and slowly toll a massive handbell,
Summoning his charges. They would scurry
Down the street and enter by a heavy
Oaken door embossed with symbols.
A giant cross there welcomed them inside.

It was to this door that Dietrich now came.
He pounded on the door – respectfully,
Of course! – till Benedict responded.
The door swung open slowly and the priest
Appeared. A massive smile spread 'cross his face.
"Ah, Dietrich, my good friend! It's been a while.
How have you been?" he asked. He looked concerned.

A moment passed in silence. Dietrich glanced
Around the church and, seeing no one, asked,
"Father, have you time to spare for me?
A great many questions have plagued my thoughts
Of late. I find myself in need of wisdom
Far beyond my own. Might I impose?"

"Of course, my son," the father said. "I'll always
Make the time to help you find your way.
Perhaps I'll even find some 'sacramental
Wine' the church can spare." He smiled. "Come in."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chinese Food Junkie

Stir-fried veggies
On a pile of sticky rice
With soy sauce –
The monosodium glutamate
Tasted good too!

On a slow boat to China
Is it Chinese junk food?

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Thought I Left My Soda Here

Bubbles, bubbles up my nose
In the can and on my clothes
Running off the tabletop –
Guess I'd better find a mop!
Once, this floor was spic-and-span;
Who's the jerk who shook my can?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 03

"What do you mean, 'Three more dead'?"
Simon Chase smacked the trembling man
With the back of his hand.
"That's nine men in just one week
And thirteen overall!
What caused the death of these men?"

The blow had knocked the stunned man
Into a stack of barrels.
With one hand he rubbed his jaw;
With the other he pushed himself
To a sitting position.
"The same thing as the others,"
He mumbled. "Mangled by a wolf."

"PREPOSTEROUS!" Chase exclaimed.
"A dozen people would have seen a wolf that size
And hunted it down by now!
There has to be another explanation!"

"I wish the news were better, Mr. Chase,
But the wounds were unmistakable.
Constable Garrett found the bodies
And Dr. Fenn confirmed it.
I spied on their investigation;
They're both confused,
But have no other explanation.
No animal can tear a man's neck
Quite the way a wolf can."

"It makes no sense!" Chase raged.
He stomped around the storage room
Behind the tobacconist shop
That served as his hideout.
He rounded on his informant:
"So, what do they intend?"

The man spoke slowly, cautiously:
"Garrett says that men are searching,
Have been searching, several days.
They find no sign that wolves are hunting
Here; and as you say, a wolf that large
Would surely have been seen…
Yet it has not.
The search continues."

Chase glared with slitted eyes
At something only he could see
While stroking his goatee –
A thoughtful pose more suited to
A satyr than a man.
"I want it found," he said at last.
"I want it killed. Tell the men
To bring the carcass here.
I want to burn it with my own hands."

The trembling man's eyes
Grew wide with terror. "Br-bring it here?
Are you sure, Mr. Chase? Even dead…"

Again the back of Chase's hand
Found the man's jaw. "Do I stutter?
This beast has cost me many men,
Strong men whose skills are not
So easily replaced. Perhaps I sound
The superstitious peasant, but –
If I were such – I could believe
This 'wolf' has chosen me specifically as prey.
I'll suffer no one, man or beast,
To ruin all my plans. I want it DEAD!"

"Yes, sir!" the bandit stammered.
And after peeking through the back door,
Making sure the way was clear,
He went in search of Chase's other men –
The killers yet to meet this hungry beast –
And organize a hunt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tap Water Blues

Forget about the pros and cons…
How would a blues singer see it?
And yeah, you can sing it…

Some people say it's healthy
Some people say it ain't
Sometimes it's clear as sparkling wine
Sometimes it's thick as paint
But it's cheap
Pennies on the quart and it's cheap
It may not be the trendiest
It may not look cool
But it's cheap

It's cheaper when you drink it
And when you wash your hands
And when you clean your underwear
And soak your pots and pans
Yeah it's cheap
Pennies on the quart and it's cheap
It may not be the trendiest
It may not look cool
But it's cheap

Gonna find some empty bottles
Gonna dig 'em from the trash
Gonna wipe away the coffee grounds
And fill 'em from the tap
'Cause it's cheap
Pennies on the quart and it's cheap
I'll fake my way to trendiness
I'll fake looking cool
'Cause I'm cheap
I'll fake my way to trendiness
I'll fake looking cool
'Cause I'm cheap
Don't care if I offend the rest
I like looking cool
But I'm cheap

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ants

They're tiny but industrious
And move like flowing fountains.
So ants don't get discouraged;
They make anthills out of mountains.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 02

The servant, Pieter, briefly paused
Outside the bedroom door
As he considered knocking. Was it wise?
The master seemed ill-humored as of late;
Though that was understandable,
Given the events of recent weeks,
Such drastic changes to the day's routines
Would only draw more undesired attention.
He shunned his closest friends
And stayed in bed too long, as though in hiding.
The man feared for his master's health…
And just as much for his position.
Still, the man must eat! So, after confirmation
That the tray he bore still held a breakfast
Suitable for gentlemen,
He straightened up and, with a heavy sigh,
Hammered on the heavy oaken door. He called:
"Master Bonham, may I serve your breakfast, sir?"

A groggy voice replied with irritation. "GO AWAY!"

Pieter closed his eyes and sighed,
Then called out once again: "Master Bonham!
Breakfast tea cannot just 'go away.'
A gentleman must take it at a proper hour –
An hour passing rapidly with morning's light,
If I might be so bold.
I fear revolt among the aristocracy, my lord,
Should they discover I have, yet again,
Been forced to serve his breakfast tea
To Master's thoroughbred."

A moment's pause, then great guffaws of laughter
Met his ears. "Oh, very well, Pieter.
We wouldn't want my horse to join
The other lords for tea; he'd be so very bored.
You may enter."

Relieved to hear the humor
That his master used to show,
Pieter eased his way into the bedroom.
He placed the tray upon a serving rack
And drew the curtains back. The morning light
Proved his relief to be ill-founded.
The master, fully clothed, laid stretched face-down
Across the bed.
His face and hands were dirty,
His hair a twisted nest of twigs and leaves
And, if that weren't enough,
His half-closed eyes betrayed his lack of sleep.
Aghast at his appearance, Pieter asked,
"Have you been walking in your sleep again, sir?"

Dietrich Bonham raised his head
And flashed a weary smile.
"Ah, Discretion," he joked, "thy name is Pieter."

"The beast again, sir?" Pieter asked.
He tried to keep his fear disguised.
"Was anybody harmed?"

"No innocents," his master said.
"Indeed, the beast again ignored the easiest of prey
And sought instead the predators."
His eyes grew focused for a moment. "Evil, Pieter.
Their evil drew the creature
As a candle draws the moth.
He relished it, exulted in it.
Even now, I feel his satisfaction."
He slumped back to the mattress, then he mumbled,
"And too, my age. He is without appreciation
For the consequences of our actions."

Pieter sighed, again relieved. Beast or no,
This curse had yet to claim a blameless soul
And drive his master to despair.
"I'll draw a bath for soaking, sir,
To help your body heal. As for your soul…
Perhaps another's help should be considered."

"Indeed, an inquisition would remove
This burden from me. Or then, the local hunt club
Might enjoy some larger game –"

"The longer that this creature hunts, the likelier it is
Your jokes come true," Pieter said.
"I thought perhaps Elias might –"

"Elias Fenn?" his master asked.
"The man believes in fairy tales
And theories of conspiracy against
All holy orders. By the king!"

"Who better for discussing such a problem?"
Pieter wondered loudly as he filled
The gilded tub. "If he should talk about these things
With others, would he be believed?
A werewolf hunting only evildoers?
Perhaps he's in the king's employ
And merely killing time until the Pope arrives…"

He turned to see his master sitting, listening,
His head cocked to the side, more like a puppy
Than a wolf. The thought was not consoling, though.
"It's just a thought. Enjoy your bath," he said
And hurried from the room.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Greased Pig

The kids are gathered anxiously
As they wait for the gate to open
And then, without warning
A tiny white blur zips out.
The kiddies giggle and scramble
Around the pen as the squealing rocket
Bounces through buckling legs,
Shoots from beneath falling bodies,
And slips through flailing arms.
The damp dirt is churned into a muddy mess
As cries of "where did it go?"
Echo off nearby sheds.
When it's all over,
The kids are tired but happy
And this little piggie goes "wee, wee"
All the way to the therapist.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Trojan Stud

A rewrite of an earlier poem;
The first version's on the blog. There I mainly
Counted syllables; this one's in blank verse.
A few lines made it through without a change.
A dual reference is meant by "unguarded
moments"—first, Paris and Helen, and then
Pulling the Horse into defenseless Troy.

In Greece, she was "The Face," desired by many.
Although a queen, she stepped aside to take
A royal boytoy—Paris, prince of Troy.
The prince was "up" for it; the queen was "down"
With it; together, they uprooted lives
And sent both Greek and Trojan kingdoms down
A bloody road. How should Greece respond?
On this one, Menelaus missed the boat;
Political intrigue like this would be
Prime TMZ material today.
Here’s what King Menelaus should have done:
Produce a pregnant mistress, maybe two…
Or three… and pay some gossipmongers well
To spread the "truth" about the prince's habits.
Paint Helen as another filly Paris
Was wont to stud. Let's face it, he was clearly
Horsing around already, right? In days
A dozen wagging tongues might have accomplished
What took ten years of battle on the field.
Instead, the Greeks had only this to show:
A wicked waste of military might,
A cuckold husband, Troy a pile of ashes—
We warred ten years for that?—and her, "The Face,"
Unable to produce a single heir
And likely stabled somewhere far from men
Until nobody cared. All told, it seems
A costly debt for one unguarded moment,
A heavy price for those obsessed with wood.

Ironically, we now believe that Trojans
Reduce the risks of unprotected sex.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dogged by the Curse 01

A milky-white moon glows peacefully above
While, deep within my cave, I wait
With manacles around my feet and iron bars
I hope will keep the beast confined.
They mustn't fail me, not again…
But they do. I'm loose and running free.

The crisp autumn air invigorates me
As I lope along the river path.
I pause to sniff the air, searching for prey.
The village is safely beyond the woods,
Too far away to respond
Should my victims manage a cry.

Ah, there! I scent them – strong, healthy, evil.
I feel that familiar rush; my fur stands on end
And the man I once was steps back, ashamed.
I don't care. I am hunger, nothing more.

The overlook is secluded and
The men I kill all deserve death –
Brigands who lay in wait for innocents.
Perhaps it's the stench of blood on their hands
That draws me to their hiding place
But somehow I know where they are.
Despite my bulk, despite the rustling leaves
When I approach, they don't seem to notice,
So intent are they on their approaching
Victims. I know because I see
The shock in their eyes as I fall on them
From behind and they spin to face me,
Voices mute from a choking fear.
They'll never alert their victims to my presence.

I sniff their bloodlust in the air,
Pungent and savory; their fear
Is a warm sweet wine I can't refuse – raw
Passion, swirling in my mouth,
Pouring thickly over my tongue.
Their wickedness is intoxicating;
I am drunk, then ravenous,
Then finally satisfied.
I trot back to my lair and sleep till morning.

A milky-white moon glows peacefully above
While their intended victims pass by,
Unharmed, unknowing, safe because they're
Much too bland for my heightened palate.
Milk is for the lambs, not the wolf.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Announcing the Pulp Poet Project

A blog is better suited to short pieces
Than to extended narratives – and still,
What poet doesn't want to spread his wings
And stretch the form? From Homer down to Byron,
From ancient Saxon bards to Ezra Pound,
The longer forms have beckoned every poet.

But times have changed and poetry has lost
Its mass appeal. The epics of the past
Seem slowly paced, and often self-absorbed.
To reach the modern world, the form must change.

But how? Is there a model we can use
To shape the form and make it more appealing?

A century ago the pulps were born.
Although some people scoffed, the masses came
And read enthusiastically. The pulps
Gave us a host of stirring characters,
Larger than life and all still celebrated
Long after their creators passed away.
They challenged the existing forms of prose
And forged a path still followed to this day.

Perhaps the time has come to blend these two –
The faster-moving pulp approach to story
Along with classic rhythms from the old
Epic forms. Our modern world moves quickly,
And such a blend might suit the modern reader…
Provided that a balance can be found.

And so I launch the Pulp Poet Project.
Each Friday I'll be posting new installments
Of this "poetic pulp," a tale continued
As I experiment with styles and forms
In search of more effective means for telling
A pulp-style story using modern verse.

The story, to be called Dogged by the Curse,
Will focus on a werewolf who becomes
A hero though conditions work against him…
And I can tell you little more than that!
Like writers spinning pulp tales long ago,
I'm working out this story "on the fly"
Using those techniques we know they used.
I may, from time to time, write extra posts
To let you know the rationale behind
Some choices that I did or didn't make.
(I'll still make normal posts on other days.)

With any project such as this, you should
Expect some changes as I go. Right now,
I haven't even made a final choice
To narrate as the werewolf or third person!
I wrote tomorrow's post both ways; the wolf
Won out this time. Perhaps you'll see some posts
Both ways; we'll have to see what works out best.

Installments will be called "Dogged by the Curse"
And followed by a number so you'll know
Their proper order. Each post will be tagged
"Dogged by the curse" to keep the entire poem
Within a single category. Once
The tale is done, I'll gather them together
And edit them into a single poem.

The project starts tomorrow… and I hope
You'll all enjoy this pulpish gothic tale.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Hell with Caesar

Decided to have a little fun with a classic speech!
--------------
At the River Styx, Caesar and Charon
Stare coldly at each other. Caesar speaks:

Grim Roman countryman, bend me your oars:
Come you to ferry Caesar, or appraise him?
The evil chagrin felt by men postmortem
Bids goodly souls to shiver down their bones;
That shall not be with Caesar. Ignoble brute,
Gods told you Caesar was ambitious –
Know it is so; I’ll make a grave assault,
And gravely now will Pluto answer for it!
Here, underfoot of Pluto and the rest –
For Pluto is a goner, and his minions;
So are they all, all goners in the end –
Come I, not to sleep at Caesar’s funeral,
But soon to rise as Emperor of the dead!
I shall free many soldiers here from Rome;
Their ransomed souls my ghostly legions fill.
Does this in Caesar sound ambitious?
When at last the gods comply, I’ll accept;
Ambition ne’er was made of sterner stuff.
Then Pluto will know I was ambitious,
For Pluto is a goner, and his minions.
Then all shall see, though at the Lupercal
I thrice refused to take a kingly crown,
This one I shall take; THIS is ambition!
Yes, Pluto will say I was ambitious;
And sure, he is a goner, and his minions.
I do not speak to you what Pluto knows,
But here I speak to you what you know not:
That many loved me once – not without cause;
No cause will stop them now – they’ll follow me
In judgment of these gods, turned brutish beasts
T’ward men who act with reason. Bow to me!
Carry me, Charon, to my carrion throne
Or stand aside and let ambition reign!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sports Shrink

These days, all kinds of athletes make use of
Sports psychologists to improve their play.
Sometimes that creates other kinds of problems…

My knees grew wobbly down the stretch
As pressure slowly built.
I couldn't make the final shot;
The spotlight made me wilt.

My teammates said I had to choose—
Step up or warm the bench!
They called a sports psychologist
To get my teeth unclenched.

He told me I was good enough.
He said I was "the man."
He told me not to say "I can't"
But only say "I can!"

He had me chanting mantras that
Would build my confidence
And then we worked through roleplay games
To end my reticence.

My pre-shot preparation's now
The finest on my team;
My routines are meticulous,
The best you've ever seen.

But Coach has put me on the bench
And sent the sport shrink packing—
I now take thrice as long to miss
Those crucial shots I'm jacking!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sun Wukong vs. Godzilla

In China, Sun Wukong is the Monkey King,
Star of the epic "Journey to the West."
Besides the coincidental similarities
Between the names Sun Wukong and King Kong,
In Japan the Monkey King is Son Goku—
Yes, the name of the hero in the
Dragonball and DragonballZ cartoons.
For this epic battle I borrowed some of
Goku's enhancements to the Monkey King's weapons.
Godzilla is actually Gojira in Japan,
A name created from the words for
Gorilla and whale. Another happy coincidence!
The Monkey King versus the Sea Monkey—
It certainly makes sense to me.
The poem uses an Americanized version of
Japan's long poem form called the choka.
For this epic, I tried to use haiku-like images.

The Monkey King
Weary hero triumphant
Returns to China
Enlightened after struggles
Beach vacation
Basks in the sun for days
Breezes whisper
Ocean lapping shoreline
Peace at last
Heaven's true reward

Screaming villagers
Monstrous tidal wave rises
Simian sympathy
Rescue the hairless monkeys
Grow bigger
Lengthen golden staff
Slap ocean
Send wave outward
Tsunamis crash
Godzilla now visible
Monkey rage—
Repel invading islander!

Giants clash
Churning ocean battle
Movie roar
Atomic Godzilla breath
Wukong unharmed
Wearing dragon armor
Whirling staff
Airborne Godzilla tumbles
Mountain impact
Landslide buries landscape
Monkey whoops
Underestimates opponent

Brilliant sunburst
Landscape rains from sky
Godzilla loose
Wukong caught off-guard
Leaping lizard
A tail's as good as a staff
Spinning, sweeping
Monkey feet skyward
Godzilla kicks
Head; Wukong woozy
Monkey flung
High toward the clouds
Bad mistake
King of cloud traveling

Soft landing
Stormcloud catches Wukong
Zooms earthward
Pierces cloud with staff
Lightning erupts
Shocking turn of events
Godzilla staggers
Lightning bolts take toll
Wukong leaps
Kick to lizard's head
Grabs tail
One-way flight home
Monkey poses
Energy blast at target
Monkey leaps
As Godzilla splashes
Monkey drives
Staff into Godzilla's head
Staff drives
Godzilla into ocean floor
Another blast
Hole in floor sealed

China saved
Wukong hailed as hero
More sunbathing
Godzilla restrained until
Next Toho movie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aslan

He's not a tame lion
Nor is he safe.
No one can know his plans
Or predict his moves.

He's a wild creature;
He goes where he will.
You can't keep him
Or make him your pet.

But he keeps his own
And directs their paths.
He won't desert them
In time of need
And his sacrifice
Is not in vain.

He's not a tame lion
Nor is he safe…
But he's good.
That is all that matters.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Limits of the Force

Inspired while watching a Star Wars trilogy
Broadcast over the Labor Day weekend.
A syllable-count poem – 10 per line.

The Force is a power beyond our dreams.
We just can't imagine what it can do.

This is your mind on the Force: Your spaceship
Sinks in a swamp off Dagobah's shoreline.
Concentrate, paduwan! It will arise,
Float through the air to the shore and alight
On the sand. WOW! Strong are you in the Force!
But you'll have to drag the dying body
Of your father to your ship on your own
If you want to escape the doomed Death Star.

This is your mind on the Force: The minions
Of Jabba the Hutt impede your passage.
You pinch the air with your finger and thumb
And they fall to the ground. Or an army
Of battle droids comes. Fling out just one hand;
A shock wave of energy blows them back
In a heap. WOW! Strong are you in the Force!
But when you drop into a pit and face
The Rancor, you'll have to stick a big bone
In his mouth, hit a button with a rock,
And wonder why you tried to shoot Jabba
With a blaster when you could have just used
The Force for all these things. Duh, paduwan!

The Force is a power beyond our dreams.
We just can't imagine… No, we just can't…

Friday, August 31, 2012

Carp Diem

At sometime in the past
Somebody nibbled fish on Friday
And then, for reasons not quite clear,
Conspired to create "Fry Day."

Some say it's a religious thing
And others, purely business –
In either case, the crowds end up
Consuming lots of fish flesh.

And yet one question seems to taunt the masses:
What's the truth?
Why do we propagate a practice
Some folks find uncouth?

Some people seek profundity
And some, a juicy story,
But here's my take:
A simpler motive fuels this allegory…

Revenge must be the driving force
Behind this fishy tale.
I think that Jonah started it
So we'd consume the whale!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Slugfest

Another one of those weird poem ideas
That makes me wonder what muses do all day.

Since writers gave Jabba the Hutt a son,
There must be a Lady Hutt.
There must be a Grampa and Gramma Hutt
And maternal Hutts for the runt.

The Grammas and Grampas had parents too
And Hutts that are older still.
The thought of so many just makes me ill,
But there had to be more than a few.

A family reunion would be disgusting –
At least, to you and me.
There's too many things I'd rather not see
In that family of gluttons and lusting…

I don't understand why the heroes in Star Wars
Found it so hard to get rid of that Jabba.
To get rid of him – and his family – a gobba
Salt could be spread in the dark on the slug's floors.

And then, with the ease of a kid crushing bug nests,
Both good guys and bad could be done with the Slugfest.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Icarus

He flew too high…
He stretched his homemade wings
And soared the skies;
Escape was at his fingertips.
Imprisoned by his situation
No more,
Freedom became the enemy
That brought him down.

He flew too high…
But did he reach too far
As we've been taught?
Judgment failed him for sure.
Imprisoned by his failure
Forevermore,
Inexperience became the enemy
That took his life.

He flew too high…
But was he wrong to try?
Too many times
We settle for second best.
Imprisoned by insecurity,
Forevermore
Complacency is the enemy
That must be fought.

He flew too high…
But at least he flew. Will we?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fermentation

In case the term is unfamiliar,
It turns sugar into alcohol.


I read that men were making wine
Eight thousand years ago… or more.
They couldn't say, "This fish needs white"
And trot down to the local store.
They couldn't chill a bottleful
For serving from a pail of ice,
Nor could they pop a shapely cork
For drama's sake at any price.
Instead they brewed their vintage fresh
In pots baked from the local clay
Because their wineskins often popped.
Ceramics were a better way.

I wonder if they ever thought
About the way those wineskins popped?
At some point, someone must have passed
Some gas – and, for a moment, stopped
In shock as they drew parallels
Between their bellies and those skins!
Would drinking that fermented wine
Leave them exploded, mere has-beens?
If so, like gas, the thought soon passed
For fermentation gained in fame.
Since we survived, I guess they learned
To drink some distance from a flame!

Hmmm… When by candlelight we're noshing
We put our wine on ice. Precaution?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another One Coming

Discovered in a file of unused poems.
I made a few changes and decided
I like it. Inspired by Judas Priest's song
You've Got Another Thing Coming.

A bill came for some recent car repairs,
Another for the yearly registration;
The furnace man took all I had on hand,
Despite the smallish tax return I filed.
My bank account is overdrawn; they claim
I owe at least three different penalties.
And only in the U.S.A. could doctors
Collect for visits no one had to make.
No matter what I try or what I do,
Each day brings me another round of bills
And just when I think the end is in sight…
You guessed it – I’ve got another one coming.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weedies

How now, hungry cow?

The cattle on the open range
Need food to make them strong.
They start their day with Weedies
And they know they can't go wrong.

There's fiber in them Weedies;
There's a lot of water too.
And if you're into cellulose
You'll get more than your due.

Some scientists say Weedies
Are what healthy cattle eat.
They're lean and mean; they're svelte machines –
They're bovine athletes!

But if a Weedies breakfast
Turns ALL cattle into jocks…
I wonder how the cows decide
Who's pictured on the box?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ares's Fairies

Please don't ask me where this came from—
I have no idea at all!


According to mythology,
The God of War's biology
Met Aphrodite's embryonia
And bore a nymph they called Harmonia.

(I know some say she came from Zeus
And Electra. I think that's a ruse.
When gods and mortals start to "sweating,"
A demigod's what they're begetting!
She'd then be either girl or goddess…
But nymphs are neither; they're just oddness.)

Harmonia got the hots for Ares.
(In Greek myth, it's quite customary
For goddish parents and goddish kids
To do things normal folks forbid.)

At any rate, they both got busy
At speeds that must have made them dizzy
And, in a breeding marathon,
Created all the Amazons.

Now I don't mean to sound contrary,
But nymphs are basically just fairies.
My books say nymphs just dance and sing
And do a lot of fairy things.

That doesn't sound like Amazons
To me. They run around in bronze
Braziers with swords and shields and stuff.
I think they all sound pretty tough!

So I don't mean to sound contrary
But I doubt Amazons are fairies.
There's just no way these chicks are prancing
Through the Grecian woods, entrancing
Grecian boys to have a fling
Or doing other nymphish things.

They might not be his kids at all.
When Ares joined that ten-year brawl
Of Greeks and Trojans, men and boys…
A human kicked his ass at Troy!

Perhaps the girls said, "Hey, we're tough!
We'll prove we're made of sterner stuff
Than him. We won't be known as fairies
Like that ditzy dipsy Ares!"

I doubt there's anybody rarer
Than those who made it past the terror
Of Amazons grown tired of hearing
Fairy haters and their jeering.
So should you meet with Ares's wards
And find them armed with shields and swords…
I'd never mention old man Ares
And never, EVER call them fairies!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Referee-for-All

A play on the word "free-for-all."
The NFL's in negotiations.


Who chooses all the referees?
I didn't get the memo.
The deals are made in boardrooms
And the dealers all drive limos.

It's not the guy down on the field
Who ends up disemboweled
And cracks his ribs and collarbone
When bad refs miss the fouls.

It's not the fan in agony
Because the call was blown
And cost his team a playoff run—
Hey, can't you hear them groan?

So should I blame the referee
Who simply did his job
The best he could? It's not his fault
He got hired by some slob
Who couldn't call a football game
If everything was labeled.
Sometimes I think the guys on top
Are mentally disabled!

So do we need the referees?
Unless the league regroups
And gets its act together soon…
Perhaps I'll just watch hoops.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Swiggled by a Snoofus

A Dr. Seuss-inspired parody of Lewis Carroll's Jaberwocky.
BTW, "rufous" is a real word; it means "reddish in color."

I went to Bersnaggle
In search of the Snoofus –
A radishant creature
With feathers all rufous.
It quarbled my folks with
The claws on its peckles.
I vozzled a varbit
To pern its kerneckles!

I tracked it to Parzel;
From there to Lake Graggle;
The pipples it dropped
Led me straight to Bersnaggle.
The groach of its harbit
Meant no one could miss it…
And soon I stood facing
Its snarding derissit.

I pulled out my slaggish.
The Snoofus just furgled,
Its snarding derissit
Abrept as it snurgled.
My slaggish abrashed him
With brammish kurlotta;
I knew soon the Snoofus
Would paize his last brotta.

Enamished, I curded
To brash with my slaggish
When two tiny Snoofi
Appeared. They were daggish!
They mibbled, they nubbled,
They driggled and wozzled.
I had to petark them
In spite of my vozzle.

I looked at the Snoofus.
It no longer snarded;
Its parish derissit
Was almost petharded.
No longer enamished,
I veered from my varbit
And left them, all brotta,
Alone in their harbit.

But then, as I wandered
Away, I heard furgling!
The Snoofus and both of its
Snoofi were snurgling!
I rushed to the harbit,
My slaggish all curded –
But no one was there. I'd
Been swiggled! They verded!

So if you should ever
Encounter the Snoofus –
A radishant creature
With feathers all rufous –
Beware of its Snoofi!
Don't veer when they driggle…
And brash with your slaggish
Before you get swiggled!