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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dog Collared (aka Newton’s Dog Chases Schrödinger's Cat)

The puppy begins the experiment.
Its floppy ears and floppy tongue
Whip wildly like streamers in a gale
As it bounds furiously toward the cat.
An overweight scientist lurches awkwardly behind it,
Increasingly aware that two legs
Are less efficient than four…
And that the cat appears
Less threatened by his approach than the dog’s.
At last he stops, hunched over,
Both hands on his knees and
Wheezing loudly as his spaniel
Closes on its spectral prey.

At last the cat streaks up a tree trunk.
The spaniel braces its front paws
Against the trunk,
Defiantly daring the little bugger
To face it in a fair fight.
Dr. Wheezer sees his chance.
He creeps slowly toward the tree
(Slowly is the only speed he has left)
And dives for the end of the leash
Not attached to the dog.

At that very moment the spaniel
Spies a second cat on the ground…
Or is it the same cat?
While Dr. Wheezer ponders this paradox,
Physics take over as
An immovable owner meets
An irresistible desire for catburger.
Dr. Wheezer’s shoulders ache from the jerk
And Puppy’s rear end rapidly orbits
Its front end.
Both bodies are now at rest,
A state of inertia greatly appreciated
By Dr. Wheezer.

Schrödinger's Cat may or may not still be in the tree.
Newton’s First Law of Motion asserts that
A puppy in motion tends to remain in motion
Until acted on by an external owner’s force.
However, the puppy conserves no energy
During its enthusiastic licking
Of Dr. Wheezer’s face.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Art of Finger Quoting

“Poor Ed couldn’t come today,”
Joanie says quietly. “He’s tired.”
But Ed’s not really tired.
I know this because
Joanie’s a finger quoter and
“Tired” is a finger quotation.

What is a finger quotation, you ask?
Joanie talks all normal-like
Until she reaches that last word…
Then she pauses and takes a deep breath.
She raises both hands like she’s
Showing me a new jacket and
Sticks the first two fingers on each hand
Up in the air and wiggles ‘em
Like they was little rabbit ears.
At the same time
She turns her head slightly to the side and
Raises her eyebrows as she says, “tired.”
Sometimes she even smiles and winks.

Tired is tired but
A finger quote is code.
Ed ain’t really tired…
But only Joanie knows for sure.
What’s really going on?
If Ed ain’t really tired…
Is he out playing golf?
Is he watching TV?
Does Joanie just think
He’s a whiny jerk?
Is she mad at him?
Did she kill him and
Now she’s stalling for time?
Is he out saving Gotham and
She’s guarding his secret?
Maybe she’s just
Messing with my mind.

And if she is…
Is she finger quoting “mind”?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 20

Dietrich…

The whisper came from far away,
Its breathy voice a rustling of the leaves,
A stirring of the reeds along a stream.

Dietrich…

It grew louder, filling his ears
Like the roar of a hurricane,
A wild whirlwind thrashing heedlessly
Through the fragile calm in which he slumbered.

Come to me, Dietrich…

He jerked upright in bed, startled
From his dreams. He glanced at Pieter,
Who neither stirred nor made a sound.
He was still in Benedict’s cell,
Still in Vaxen Abbey, and still confused.
Everything seemed unnaturally silent;
Nothing felt real. Could he still be asleep?

In here, Dietrich. Come now…

He slid out of bed and padded
Barefoot down the church corridor,
Following whispers only he could hear.
His feet made no sound on the wooden floor.
The double doors of the sanctuary
Were closed. He searched his memory,
Troubled; they had never been closed before.
He touched them lightly then pushed them harder;
They wouldn’t budge. Neither did he.

Answer the call, Dietrich…

Faintly he heard the howls of wolves,
As insubstantial as a thought,
As fleeting as movement out the corner
Of one’s eye; he struggled to breathe
As a low howl rose unbidden
In his throat. Raspy, inhuman,
It fought its way loose, echoing
Throughout the empty corridor.
Then, as if of their own accord,
The great doors of the sanctuary
Opened noiselessly and dense chilling mists
Spilled about his bare feet. He stepped
Inside. The sanctuary was gone – no,
Rather, transformed into a sacred grove.
Pews melded into giant roots
Facing a great green mound with a pillar
Of stones where the altar once stood.
Only the brazen altar cross remained
Unchanged amidst the roiling mists.

Join the congregation, Dietrich…

Spectral wolves cantered into view,
Their eyes glowing rubies of red.
They gathered around the altar,
On the pews, and behind the roots…
And all their ruby eyes fastened on him.

Do you fear the wolves, Dietrich?

Yes. The word was thought more than said.

He felt compassion… and perhaps
A hint of humor in response.
Ah, my Dietrich. Have you not heard it said:
The wolf shall lie down with the lamb?
Evil stalks the streets of Vaxen, so
I say to you: The wolf shall serve the Lamb.

Dietrich tried to scream but no sound came out.
The voice surrounded him, pressed against him:
I am with you, Dietrich. Evil
Seeks your soul but I am with you.
I have need of you. You can choose to be
The hound of hell or the hound of heaven.
Trust me; I will guide your hunger.
My lambs are in danger. Serve me
By resisting the beast within.
From now on you are marked as mine.

Then two ruby eyes appeared on the cross,
Transfixing Dietrich as they burned
Deep into his soul. Silently he screamed,
His mouth agape with unuttered terror…

Until he awoke in Benedict’s cell,
Pieter still asleep beside him.
He leaped from the bed and sprinted
Down the silent corridor.
The double doors of the sanctuary
Stood open as they always had.
He stepped inside; nothing had changed.
With great relief Dietrich collapsed
On one of the pews and cradled his head
In his hands… then he winced in pain
And stared at his hands in terror.

A tendril of smoke rose from his left palm
From what appeared to be a small tattoo
Resembling a wolf’s paw with five sharp claws…

The fourth claw was shaped like a small cross.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lice Lice Baby

You can guess what rap song inspired this, can’t you?

Lice lice baby
Lice lice baby

Alright, stop – you got a head that’s itchin’
Lice can be the cause of alla your bitchin’
Them little punks be hangin’ on tightly
Don’t be takin’ their dissin’ lightly!
Will they ever stop? Yo, I don’t know
It can be hard to make ‘em all go
Crowd reaction’s like a bad sensation
When you’re caught havin’ an infestation

Folks start acting you’re some stranger
Carryin’ plague – you’re a source of danger
Alone in bed, you can hear them snackin’
On your scalp – gotta send them packin’!
Oodles of shampoo won’t cut through it
Scrubbin’ and combin’ ain’t gonna do it
Time to call your peeps, get your butt in motion –
Murder them buggers with de-lice lotion!

Ice the lice, baby
Ice the lice, baby

Monday, January 21, 2013

Down on the Corner

This is what comes of watching Disney’s
Alice in Wonderland – especially the part

about the Walrus and the Carpenter – then
letting your mind wander unsupervised…
If you hate puns, better avoid this one.


Five little ducklings walked the line
Behind their mama duck.
They zigged around some traffic
Then they zagged behind a truck.
With slow erratic waddling
They crossed against the light
And didn’t make the other side –
They just weren’t very bright.

There was down on the corner;
There was blood in the streets!
They were left without a comforter
To warm their webby feets.

Soon the FBI was summoned
To investigate the crime.
News reports surmised that Mama
Would be doing heavy time.
There were questions of insurance;
There were claims of false arrest.
Lawyers said Ma was abusive –
All the ducklings squealed when pressed!

Did the law take too much license?
Were their ducks not in a row?
Did some chef defile the crime scene?
Evidence was just so-so...

Merely down on the corner,
Crumbled quackers in the street;
All the bills were sent to Donald.
Mama couldn’t take the heat
So she fled south of the border
Though it’s hotter there, I think;
Now she’s in the soup for sure
And it’s a bit too hot to drink.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 19

Miss Devin blushed. “No, he doesn’t.”

She and Benedict reached the square
In the center of Vaxen. And
As they did, Simon Chase stepped
From his tobacconist shop, stopped
To look at them and then, smiling,
Began walking toward the two.

“Not all wolves live in the forest,”
Benedict warned. “See that sinner?
Trust me on this – steer clear of him.
Forgive me for my sacrilege,
But I pray the wolf would take him!
Vaxen would be the better for it.”

Chase barred their way with a huge smile.
He took Miss Devin’s hand in his
And made a show of kissing it.
“Good day, Father. And who might this
Fetching young woman be? Perhaps
Our priest was once a normal man,
Tempted by the lusts of the flesh,
Who thus became a true father?”

Benedict stepped between Chase and
Miss Devin. “Were I her father,
I would have moved her far from you.”

Chase continued to smile. “Really,
Benedict, you get so worked up!”
Then to the girl he said, “Long ago
Harm befell the Father’s brother.
T’was a terrible accident,
One for which he blames me, although
I had nothing to do with it.
I find it quite unchristian that
A man of the cloth should harbor
Such violent hate toward me,
When all Vaxen knows I am blameless.”

Benedict’s eyes widened in rage.
“BLAMELESS? The devil himself will   
Find mercy at the throne of God
Long before you, you blasphemer!
The taint upon your soul is like
The Mark of Cain, placed upon you
By the Lord Himself. Like a bloody
Hound from hell it will track your
Wayward soul, running you to ground
Until the day you breathe your last
And it drags your worthless carcass
To its eternal damnation!”

Chase gazed at Benedict’s red face
With amusement. “Were your sermons
As fiery, all of Vaxen would
Have found salvation long ago.”
Then to Miss Devin he said, “I
Shall make your acquaintance again,
Miss… perhaps in better company.”
Then off he strode about his business.

“Not all wolves live in the forest,”
Benedict repeated to her
As they watched Chase go. “And that one
Is the most dangerous of all.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Avada Kedavra (aka Delusions of Grandeur)

Avada Kedavra is “The Killing Curse”
In the Harry Potter books.

The empty cartridge somersaults
Slowly from the gun,
Its hollow echo ringing off the concrete
As it dances across the floor.
The victim, far less gracefully,
Is slammed against the wall
Before collapsing in a lifeless heap.
The shooter runs.
Flashing lights on a black and white
Sparkle like red stars
Against the cloudless blue sky,
An oversized bloodhound
Single-mindedly
Running its prey to ground.
Finally cornered, the shooter turns
On his pursuers;
The confrontation is loud and messy.
Media outlets flood the scene;
Coverage causes a war of ratings
And three bestselling books.

Two hundred years ago,
A gun was a tool primarily used
For feeding and clothing families.
One hundred years ago,
A gun was a weapon primarily used
For killing cops and gangsters.
Today,
A gun is a magic wand primarily used
For winning arguments
When “Oh yeah?” is insufficient.

Monday, January 14, 2013

American Idle

I thought of nothing yesterday;
I’ll think no more today.
I’m something of a specialist
At “mental macramé”:

I’ll “knot” do this, I’ll “knot” do that,
I’ll “knot” do anything
Unless I’m in the mood. I’m quite
Proficient with this string!

So thorough is my idleness,
So ample in its scope,
I weary just to think of it!
And yet, it gives me hope

For sloth this all-encompassing
Must be a form of zen…
I think I’ll take a rest before
I contemplate again.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 18

The walk to the center of town
Didn’t take long. With Miss Devin
On his arm, Father Benedict
Escorted her into Vaxen,
Enjoying the envy of those
Younger men who happened to see.
And as they walked, they spoke of things
About which Cardinal Jarvik
Cared little – the common lives of
The townsfolk, the history of
Vaxen, and the dangers of which
A young woman should be aware…
And how Dietrich posed no danger at all.

A subject in which she showed keen interest!

“Mr. Bonham seems a kind man,”
She said. “It’s hard to believe that
Anyone would want to harm him.”

“There are always evil men who
Prey on those better than themselves,”
The Father said sadly. “A man
Like Dietrich demands holiness
Of himself, and so exposes
Other men’s sins by example.
Rather than face their own darkness,
They try to extinguish the light
In others. This ‘werewolf’ Jarvik
Seeks? I believe it is the work
Of such sinners, a ruse to hide
Their evildoing from the law.
But the judgment of God stalks them;
His justice will bring them all down.”

Not one to frighten easily,
Miss Devin asked, “So you believe
Your friend fell victim to robbers
Pretending to be a werewolf?
Did he bear the marks of a wolf,
As did the others who have died?”
       
Benedict shook his head. “Alas,
He did not. But he was beaten
In a manner that could not be
Accidental.” And then he smiled.
“Miss Devin, I would not question
Dietrich’s righteousness, but neither
Would I question his fierce nature.
He is a gentle soul, but true
Gentleness requires a deep strength.
Only the truly strong among us
Have the ability to act
In a truly gentle manner,
And it takes depth of character
To show grace to one’s enemy.
The soul devoted to the Lord
Would become a terrible sword
Should God decide to make him so.
Perhaps Dietrich’s attackers learned
That terrible lesson firsthand.”

She gasped. “Do you think he killed them?”

Benedict smiled. “No, I think not.
Some evildoers died that night
But they bore the marks of the wolf.
You have seen Dietrich, Miss Devin;
Does he look like a wolf to you?”

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Slave and a Haircut

The haircut came first.
Samson gave the Philistines
All kinds of trouble,
So they brought in a barber
To cut their losses –
Delilah the hair stylist.
By clipping his hair
You might say she clipped his wings.
A sexy crewcut?
More like a slave to fashion…

And then just a slave.
Chained, beaten and blinded
By his enemies,
The once long-locked hero
Of the Israelites
Was reduced to grinding grain
As a prisoner,
Which cut his life short as well.
For his final act
Samson did get his revenge,
Destroying thousands
As he died a messy death…
Although Delilah
Got away, scissors and all.
It’s better to be
The barber than the barbered,
I guess, even if
You don’t get tipped for the job.

Slave and a haircut;
Tragic hero and barber.
Thus immortalized,
Samson forever defined
The ultimate bad hair day.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Still in Beta

Initiate wake-up sequence…
Exit bed,
Begin daily activities…
Malfunction…
I’m still in beta,
Today’s untested model.
Sometimes I’m prone to dawdle
On the edge of proper function;
Check back later.
I’m uncertain what I’ll be;
I might be a better me
Not some malfunction –
An indicator
I’m in beta…
Still in beta.
Attempt restart…
Error…
I’m still in beta,
A project in the making.
Sometimes I think it’s taking
Far too long to get things going.
My Creator
Says, although I’m not so clever,
That my failures aren’t forever;
I’ll keep growing –
Another indicator
I’m in beta…
Still in beta.
Terminal errrrror…
Try again tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 17

It was at moments such as this
That Dietrich most appreciated
Pieter. His servant’s steady hands
Pushed buttons into buttonholes
When Dietrich’s clumsy fingertips
Struggled just to feel them. Every
Muscle ached; every joint felt stiff;
His head throbbed with every heartbeat.
But under Pieter’s skillful care
He slowly started looking like himself.
He stood, still a bit unsteady,
Just in time for Benedict’s arrival.
The Father nodded his approval.
“You’re looking better, Dietrich, my friend –
Much improved since yesterday.
Tell me now; how do you feel?”

“Better, Father,” Dietrich said,
“Thanks to your kind care –“ And then
He stopped mid-sentence as Miss Devin
Stepped into the tiny room.

And she, she likewise halted as
Her eyes met Dietrich’s. Neither said
A word, but none was needed.

Benedict glanced back and forth
Between the two, a twinkle in his own eyes.
“Apparently you feel quite well,”
He said. “This lovely lady is
Miss Devin, secretary to
The Cardinal Jarvik,
A most unpleasant man sent by
The Church in search of answers
To our current situation.
She’s only just arrived, and given
What discomfort she’s endured
In Jarvik’s presence, I thought she
Might find you better company.”

“H-hello, Miss Devin,” Dietrich said.

“And y-you, Mr. Bonham,” she replied.

The corners of the Father’s mouth
Crept upward as the two said nothing –
Not with words, that is.
Their gazes never wavered as
They stood there motionless.
“So talkative,” he mused out loud.
“I promised I would walk Miss Devin
Into town. Perhaps the walk would do
You good, my friend. What do you think?”

“I’d like that,” Dietrich started –
But stumbled as he stepped toward her.
Pieter and the Father caught him
As Miss Devin quickly knelt before him.
Her hand caressed his cheek; then,
Embarrassed, she quickly pulled it back.
“Are you hurt, Mr. Bonham?”
She asked, her voice trembling slightly.

“I-I’m fine, Miss Devin. Thank you,”
He replied. “But it appears
My knees are weak right now.”

“Indeed,” Benedict said
With a knowing smile.

Dietrich shot him an irritated look,
But Miss Devin’s most ladylike giggle
Finally brought a smile to his face.

Benedict clapped his hands. “Wonderful!”
He said with a laugh. “I thought
The two of you might lighten
Each other’s day. You’re welcome to stay
As long as you need, my friend.
I’ll see Miss Devin into town this time.
Perhaps she’ll come and visit you
Later, after she’s settled in.”

“I’d like that,” she said.
“Later, Mr. Bonham?”

“Later, Miss Devin,” Dietrich said.
“I’ll look forward to your visit.”

“As will I,” Benedict said…
And laughed again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dark Lard of the Sith

Let’s start the New Year off right.
Diets are a common resolution, and
After watching some Star Wars movies
Over the weekend, I could only wonder
Why Sith lords aren’t… er, heavy like
The “heavies” in gangster movies…

The terror of the universe
Waddles from his starcruiser,
And lackies bow in fear
Lest he come to reprimand them…
Then trip and fall on them.

His lightsaber bears the stain of
Luncheon meat, thinly sliced;
At this his skill is unsurpassed,
Even by his master.
His midiclorian count is high
And all of them need nourishment!

In space, no one can hear you breathe
Unless you are Lord of the Sith.
That labored rasping isn’t a respirator,
Just the effort of walking.
The original Death Star was modeled after him,
And wherever his shadow falls
Is the dark side of the Force.
Some say an attack squadron once used him for cover
And was never detected.

The Emperor’s been known to say,
“He ain’t heavy, he ain’t my apprentice.”
After all, a Sith lord’s job demands
He throw his weight around…
But if you moon your enemies
And they mistake you for a real moon,
Perhaps you’re too big for your britches.