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, July 31, 2013

My Butt Cheeks Jiggle So

To the tune of Just a Gigolo, originally by Louis Prima
(who voiced King Louis in Disney's The Jungle Book);
I used the version by rocker David Lee Roth,
who’s been known to show his butt cheeks on occasion.
(If you’ve never seen the video—a send-up of MTV
in the 1980s—you can watch it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeXjBWN8LO8
I love the part where the Billy Idol imitator
gets accidentally electrocuted.)
I stopped after the first verse because
once I began the second verse with
“’Cause I got too much booty,”
it started getting a little weird…

My butt cheeks jiggle so
Although I’m walking slow
People think the room is swaying
Skinny chicks despise
The Spandex-covered thighs (ooh)
I’m displaying
Like a killer tide
They shove those clowns aside (bud-da-dum)
Folks are afraid to crowd me
They’re afraid ‘cause they know
When my butt cheeks jiggle so
Folks get crushed around me

Monday, July 29, 2013

Roaches

Behold the roach!
His hordes encroach
on lands that aren’t their own.
They stake their claim
in your domain
and make your house their home.

His merry band’s
far-reaching plans
would fill their tiny jaws
till they denude
the world of food.
They’re vermin with a cause!

Thank God their dream
of haute cuisine
at roach motels is strong…
or else their plan
to conquer man
would simply carry on!

They’d overcome
us with their num-
bers as they ate their fill.
But from greasy spoons
they are NOT immune;
even roaches can get ill!

So perhaps the roach
doesn’t fear reproach
or a nuclear demise…
but if where they eat
gives them sticky feet,
that’s a chain we’ll subsidize!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dogged by the Curse... Interlude

Today we sidetrack with an instructional post as I iron out the final act of this story.

Although I finally figured out how I want to end this story (I'm close -- I'm guessing two or three more posts), I didn't get this week's installment finished in time. So I'm taking today to prepare you for the finale...

Because I've realized there are some missing pieces in the story.

This is part of the reason that most poets don't let you see anything but the finished -- and probably well-polished -- work. I want to give you a quick look at the things that will require me to rewrite this "pulp epic" before I finally publish it in book form. Perhaps it will help any of you who decide to try something like this on your own.

First of all, if I hadn't been writing it right in front of everybody on the blog, I don't know if I would have gotten it finished at all. I've never tried writing verse this long -- it's nearly 17k words long already -- and since I wrote it "on the fly," as it were, I've had no real blueprint of where it's going. That's part of the excitement, but part of the frustration as well. If you decide to try it, be prepared for the inevitable hard places.

Of course, the most obvious reason I'll have to rewrite is the variety of different verse styles I've used while writing this. I simply didn't know what would be the best way to tell the story. I've used everything from pure blank verse and tetrameter to simple syllable counting and free verse; I even did one section with rhyming couplets. I suspect I'll use more than one style in the finished poem, just for variety if nothing else, but the current version has no pattern to the styles I used at all... and pattern is what makes a poem poetry.

The story has evolved as I've written it as well. Some characters simply vanished, like old Elias Fenn. (Remember him? He's the town doctor.) Likewise, Father Benedict became a much more important character than I originally planned. (That's part of the reason for my struggles near the end; I needed to figure out how Benedict fit into the finale now that he was so prominent in the story.) Loose ends like those have to be dealt with in the final version.

Finally, there are some missing parts to the tale -- primarily, I forgot to build a romantic connection between Dietrich and Lilian. I did hint at it, in the posts right after Dietrich got hurt and Lilian arrived in Vaxen, but I forgot to write the sections that actually showed the romance growing. Those will have to be added during the rewrite.

So, as you can see, this isn't as simple as just "writing a story in verse." Unlike writing a story in prose, the need to use a poetic form of some sort really complicates any attempt to just sit down and write. There are some very real roadblocks to getting it done. But it's also incredibly rewarding -- I can't tell you how proud I am of this very flawed piece of art! I'd recommend it to anyone willing to try.

And next Friday we'll hit the home stretch. Like I said, I expect it will take two or three more posts to wrap the very rough first draft of this baby up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Belly Ache

For tempting man, God cursed the snake
to crawl upon its belly.
Since then, it’s wriggled lithely
on the ground like vermicelli.
I wonder if, at first, it had
a thousand legs or four?
Or did it travel Slinky-like
and spring across the floor?
Did speeding hoops (with tails in mouths)
zip through the woods? How slick!
Perhaps man was inspired to build
the world’s first pogo stick.
If that’s the case, this curse seems mild;
I think God helped its back
when He decided to remove
its sacroiliac.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Booty Call

Listen up, ye scurvy pirates!
Every hand on deck—don’t stall!
I’ll not give ye second chances;
This be Blackbeard’s booty call!

If ye want yer share of plunder
Take it now, ‘ere twilight falls!
First come, first served—that’s me motto.
We’ll not have no drunken brawls.

If yer slow and get no booty,
I’ll not put up with yer bawling.
Test me if ye dare; I’ll take yer head
To stop yer caterwauling!

So listen up, ye scurvy pirates!
Even if ye have to crawl
Come now and get yer share; this here
Is Blackbeard’s ONLY booty call!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 44

Slowly Chase got to his hands and knees,
Then stood up, his legs unsteady beneath him.
He slapped his hands together, brushing away
Clouds of sooty dust – a workman preparing to
Undertake a heavy job. With an evil grin
He muttered, “So you want to play, do you?
Then let me show you the fate of rabid dogs.”

Dietrich stood his ground between Chase
And his friends. Benedict and Lilian still lay
Where they had fallen when Chase was thrown back.
Slowly they gathered themselves enough to sit
And watch the brewing battle unfold.
Dietrich never turned his eyes to them,
So focused was he on his foe.
He dug his paws into the smoking ground,
Bracing himself for Chase’s retaliation.

Chase straightened his arms at his sides,
His hands palms down, and closed his eyes.
Then, with a sudden twist he gritted his teeth,
Screamed, and flipped his hands palms up.

Dietrich shook, his back arching
As an unseen force clawed at him,
Attempting to lift him into the air.
The glow around him intensified
The two stood motionless, shaking from the strain
Of apparently doing nothing… but both
Benedict and Lilian knew better. That unseen power
Had both of them pinned helpless to the ground.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waterboy (aka Sweater Weather)

It’s so hot, I’m meeeltiiiing…

According to most scientists
I’m mainly H2O, but this
Confuses me. How can it be
That heat has this effect on me?

You see, at ninety-eight-point-six
Degrees, I’m warmer than the breeze
That’s turning me into a puddle.
I’m far too wet to kiss and cuddle!

An ICE CUBE melts. MY heated state
Should cause me to evaporate,
Thus carrying the heat away
And cooling me throughout the day.

Instead, I’ll be a lesser man
Whose fate is irrigating land;
Perhaps they’ll plant a tree for me.
(I’ll water it posthumously.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ants

The great Ogden Nash once wrote
a short poem called The Termite:
     “Some primal termite knocked on wood
     And tasted it, and found it good!
     And that is why your Cousin May
     Fell through the parlor floor today.”
Although it’s nearly not as good, here’s my own
Nash-inspired meditation on another insect…

Ants trudge the earth from dusk to dawn
In conga lines a million strong…
But if they really want to dance,
They have to crawl in someone’s pants.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 43

Again Chase clenched the rope
And again more lightning danced
Down its length… but Dietrich didn’t react.
Instead, he lowered his head and snarled —
A low, threatening sound that slowly deepened
Into a rumbling growl that built
Into a wall of echoes. Louder
And louder, never stopping long enough
For the hound to even breathe, it filled
The clearing and drove away the smoky mist.
Then the rope itself began to vibrate,
Throwing sparks that crackled even worse
Around the hand that held it. Chase
Gritted his teeth and grunted, his body convulsing
As he tried to maintain his grip until
The rope shattered like fine crystal…
And a blast like a keg of gunpower flung him
Back from the hound and his friends.

Stunned, Chase sat up, shaking his head
As he tried to focus on his furry foe.
The quivering glow that surrounded the beast
Had to be the result of this host’s frailty.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Humidity

Perhaps it’s too much information,
but I bet you guys feel the same way.

My hate for high humidity
Gets fueled when sweat starts drowning me.
Do you like folks to drip on you?
Not me! But hot air’s sweating too
And when I shower, to wash it off,
A single toweling’s not enough.
The towel’s a soggy mess but I
Feel just as if I never tried.
Once dressed, sweat still flows down my back,
Beneath my waistband, in my crack—
That’s why I vent so fervently
When drowned by high humidity.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Takin’ My Talents to Myrtle Beach

The hot weather got me thinking about
LeBron James’s now infamous decision:
“I’m takin’ my talents to South Beach.”
But Myrtle Beach is much nearer my home…

My bossman, he just don’t appreciate
What a good job I do. No, it ain’t no reach
To decide the best thing I can possibly do:
I’m takin’ my talents to Myrtle Beach.

So much time gets wasted in useless work
And the pay is so low. We sit here for days
While the sunshine goes wanting. Let’s get up and go!
I’m skilled at preparing for fast getaways!

The smart girls head oceanward; they don’t wade
In secretarial pools. That’s poor fishing there!
Let’s go where career babes all travel in schools
And my angling skills matter – at Myrtle so fair!

So let me make this perfectly clear…

I’m skilled at acquiring the ways and the means
For escaping these overly boring routines.
So please understand, I don’t mean to be rude…
But I’m takin’ my talents to Myrtle Beach, dude!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dogged by the Curse 42

Chase scrambled easily to his feet as
Dietrich positioned himself in front of
Benedict and Lilian. He smiled as he said,
“Well, wolf boy, I see you made it.
I wondered if perhaps you’d gotten lost.”

Dietrich spread his front legs and lowered his head,
His eyes never leaving his adversary;
A rumbling growl filling the air between them.

Benedict quickly regained his wits and
Stumbled to the cross from which Lilian drooped
And began slicing her bonds with the knife.
She slumped to the ground, too weak to stand.
With some effort he managed to get her
To her feet and, with her arms around his neck,
Supported her well enough that they could lurch
Slowly down the hill. At the bottom
They stood a few feet behind Dietrich to watch.

Chase laughed, a harsh grating sound
That chilled their weary bodies.
It was enough to drive them to the ground.
“Do you think you’ve won?” he taunted Dietrich.
“Do you think this paltry effort has saved them?
I rule this domain – I control its weather,
Such as it is; I shape its terrain
To suit my whims; I set its borders
And bar its gates. I am the god here!
You have no more than I suffer you to have,
And my rules can change at any moment.
This is your cage, my unruly pet!
You are mine, as surely as if I held your leash
In the palm of my hand… LIKE THIS!”
And with that, a fiery rope appeared in his hand,
Stretching out to a thick black collar
Around the hound’s neck. “KNEEL!” Chase yelled
As he clenched his fist around the rope.
Lightning leapt from the rope and collar;
Dietrich’s eyes widened as his forelegs buckled
And he dropped to his knees, unable even to howl.

Involuntarily Benedict shrieked with rage
And tried to rise to his friend’s defense…
But Chase’s other arm snapped out,
The fingers of his hand spread wide, and
Neither the priest nor the girl could move.
Slowly their tormentor closed his fingers and
Twisted his forearm, lifting them off the ground.
He smiled at them. “I am the god of this hell,”
He gloated brightly, “and the angel of death
Incarnate. None find mercy at my hands!”
His lips slowly drew tight across his teeth
Like the snarling wolf he had feared so long
As he dropped his gaze back to Dietrich.
The hellhound returned his gaze without fear.

Infuriated, Chase clenched the rope again
And more lightning danced along its length.
He locked his gaze once again on the hound…
And froze.

Dietrich didn’t even tremble. Instead,
He slowly, deliberately, stood up as though
Rising from a pleasant nap, baring his own fangs
In a canine mockery of Chase’s smile.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yorktown

A poem for the Fourth of July.
Technically, the American Revolution ended
With the Siege of Yorktown (Virginia). The British Army,
Under the command of General Lord Charles Cornwallis,
Surrendered to a combined French and American force
On 1781 October 19. The war continued
For another year as peace talks dragged on
And formally ended on 1783 September 3.

It was the end and also the beginning.
A small port of call, founded for shipping
Tobacco back to European markets,
Was captured by an enemy whose power was slipping.
They dug in to make their last stand. Did the British know
That their hopes of victory set sail that day?
Did the Americans know they'd “arrived” as a country?
Did the French know another revolution was floating their way?

Freedom is an intoxicating concept,
Tantalizing the mind but seizing the heart.
The founders of Yorktown never imagined their dream
Would be where America’s biggest export got its start.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bananamus Rex

I guess the title would mean “king of the bananas.”
And I guess this also means that the heat has me thinking
About things like ice cream way too much!

Way back in the days of the Herbaceous Era,
Way back when the flowersaurs wandered the earth
Bananamus Rex was the unquestioned ruler.
Not one of his peers could grow stems of such girth.

Though envious berries would say he was yellow,
Though fat sassy melons would call him thin-skinned,
He knew he was bigger than all their stem envy…
And great genus Musa was right in the end.

He welcomed the ice age and prospered despite it,
Evolving into the Bananamus Split;
A bunch of his relatives broke into movies—
They got starring roles giving comics the slip.

Some teamed up with sports doctors, working with athletes
To speed their recovery and give them an edge…
And then to the rest of us, B. Rex gave MUFFINS!
To disrespect B. Rex is pure sacrilege.

We’re way past the days of the Herbaceous Era;
We’re way past when flowersaurs wandered the earth.
But I think, of all those Herbaceous genera,
Bananamus Rex has most proven his worth.