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

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Origin of Football

If you want to “toss around the old pigskin…”

Pa sent young Jimmy to the sty
To fetch a hog for dinner;
They’d have a bunch of chops and ham
And bacon once he skint ‘er!

But Jim come squalling, “Pa! Hey, Pa!
They stole our smallest hog!
And I seen footsteps in the mud —
They lead off through the fog.”

Pa grabbed his hat. “Dang nabbit, boy!
What took y’all so long?
Go get the boys; we’ll track ‘em down
Before the thieves git gone!”

So Jimmy rounded up his kin;
Pa grabbed some shotgun rounds.
Eleven of ‘em started out
With Blue, their rabbit hound.

Old Blue went baying down the trail
With Jimmy close behind;
Pa struggled just to keep up as
He led the other nine.

At least the fog was lifting as
They got down to the valley.
Pa hollered, “There’s the critters, boys!
Come on — don’t dilly dally!”

Eleven of the Johnson boys
Was headed for their farm.
The oldest, Donny, had that piggy
Tucked beneath his arm.

Old Blue cut off them Johnson boys!
He snarled and Donny moaned
While Jimmy, Pa, and all the boys
Got ‘twixt the thieves and home.

The Johnsons started hollering:
“Give us this hog… or else!”
But once Pa cocked his shotgun,
All the Johnsons stopped their yells.

Then Bubba (one of Donny’s kin)
Went running ‘round the end.
“Hey, throw it here!” he hollered as
He flashed a toothy grin.

So Donny flung that hog at him
Without a moment’s thought
And, muddy though that pig’s skin was,
Somehow that hog got caught!

“YEE HAW!” yelled Bubba gleefully
As he headed for the barn.
Jim’s brother Jed came running in
And slammed a stiff forearm

Right to his chin and down they went,
Both sprawling in the mud…
But the hog went sailing through the air
And landed with a thud.

Now Jimmy’s brother Homer
Scooped him up and ran for home.
Some other kin surrounded him,
Prepared to break some bones.

As Jimmy’s kin lined up to face
The Johnsons, opposite
Each other on the battlefield,
Pa told ‘em, “This is it!

“Now, Jimmy, you go ‘round the left
And Jed, you take the right
While Homer runs it up the gut.
Them Johnsons ain’t too bright!”

And meanwhile Bubba organized
His brothers in a line.
They squatted down, prepared to lunge
And grab that tiny swine!

The Johnson girls came out to watch
And cheer their menfolk on.
The field was getting muddier;
The day was nearly gone.

Possession of that hog went back
And forth and back again
As more and more folks came to watch
This game no one could win.

At last all twenty-two men fell
Exhausted to the ground.
The little hog? It ran back to
Its ma without a sound.

The crowd helped everybody up
And said, “Wow, what a thrill!
But next time, sell refreshments —
Maybe bring a moonshine still!”

But neither side would try again.
This first game really cost ‘em —
For weeks they lived in dirty clothes
‘Cause Mama wouldn’t wash ‘em!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Give ‘Em the [Foam] Finger

The Seattle Seahawks fans hold the world record
for loudest sound — over 137 decibels.


Thousands of football fans scream in the bleachers
Waving foam fingers, waving ‘em high;
Dozens of fingers, hundreds of fingers,
Thousands of fingers point to the sky —
Some of ‘em wagging, some of ‘em thrusting,
Some of ‘em helping keep chilly hands warm!
There must be thousands of crazy fan customs;
Why did this odd one become the fan norm?
Could have been noise makers like vuvuzelas.
(Up in Seattle they’re already deaf!)
But I think the reason’s most likely survival —
Foam makes it hard to beat rivals to death!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bar-B-Q (aka Barbeque)

This week I’ll be writing Super Bowl stuff!
Here’s a song parody for those tailgate parties
at the Super Bowl, based on
Credence Clearwater Revival’s classic Suzie Q.

[chorus]
Oh Bar-B-Q, Oh Bar-B-Q,
Oh Bar-B-Q smoker, we love you
Bar-B-Q

[verse1]
We love your hick’ry smoke
You never make us choke
We love your hick-ry smoke
You never make us choke, Bar-B-Q

[verse2]
We’ll keep your heat down low
We’ll keep your heat down low
We’ll keep your heat down low
And smoke you nice and slow, Bar-B-Q

[verse3]
We’ll give you lots of time
We’ll give you lots of time
We’ll give you lots of time
To cook our ribs so fine, Bar-B-Q

[chorus]

[verse4]
Games may be second rate
But you are always great
Games may be second rate
But you are always great, Bar-B-Q

[chorus]

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Few Degrees Short

With all the cold weather, I started to wonder
what an overdrawn weather account might be like…

I meant to go play golf today;
the sun was shining bright.
But when I stepped outside the door
the weather wasn’t right.
I saw icicles on the trees
and all the ground was white;
I shivered as I felt the teeth
of winter’s icy bite.

Inside, I snuggled by the fire
and called my weatherman
to try and get some answers fast.
If he can’t help, who can?
“What happened to my balmy day?
I had a golf trip planned,
not riding on a dog sled through
this Arctic no-man’s-land!”

My weatherman hurrumphed his throat
and said, “My records show
your warmth account is overdrawn.
The temperature’s below
our normal daily average
because of what you owe.
It seems you’re short a few degrees.
You’re lucky it’s just snow.”

I slammed the phone down in disgust.
I didn’t want to hear
how my account was negative
so early in the year!
I’ve only used a few good days
to help my mind get clear
from all the crap we’ve had at work.
This seems a bit severe!

I understand I’ll have another
month or two of this
before they get the balance straight.
My rampant avarice
has messed up weather everywhere,
from Cali to Ole Miss…
but it’s always nice on X-box.
Hope they don’t count cyber hits!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chamber of Commerce

I was looking through a book of slang
and discovered that “chamber of commerce”
used to be a slang term for the toilet.
Things went downhill from there…

Visitors are welcome at the Chamber of Commerce.
We help our local workers get their daily duties done.
There’s just so much to do and there’s so little time to do it—
Everybody’s always on the run.

Everybody’s headed for our Chamber of Commerce;
People come and go all day… but mostly, they just go!
Our neighborhood’s a busy place and everyone’s got problems;
Ending their distress is our goal.

It’s just another workday at the Chamber of Commerce
With lots of pressing business needs, so won’t you step this way?
Take your place in line, my friend, and please don’t dilly-dally;
Folks are in a hurry today.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mice with Swords

An experiment: A standard rhyme scheme
with no regular line length or meter.

It’s a standard of so many fantasy tales:
A valiant mouse with rapier wit
Discovers an actual rapier
And fights for the animals’ benefit.

It’s just his size, of course.
With it, he goes out righting wrongs
And becomes a mighty hero,
Worshipped by all the animal throngs.

I always wonder who made them,
These tiny toothpick swords
That armed not only the hero mouse
But also the evil enemy hordes.

Was there once a society
Of incredibly talented mouse smiths
Who forged the magic blades
That became the focus of mouse myths?

Where are all the little mouse smithies
With little mouse anvils and little mouse torches?
What happened to all the little mouse guilds
Where mice trained to run those little mouse forges?

What happened to the thriving trade
That made it profitable to forge the things?
And why only swords? Why not axes
Or maces or other simpler weapons to swing?

But worst of all, how could they forget
All the far-ranging battles
That made it necessary to forge
So many bucklers to rattle?

A whole society lost without a trace,
Leaving only skeptic mice in its wake.
The logic behind it makes no sense…
Yet some mouse found a sword. It makes my head ache.

Friday, January 17, 2014

You Can Take This Job and Shovel It

Once upon a dung heap, growing
Daily as my boss kept throwing
Workers underneath the bus,
    The word came: My career was done.
Soon he called me to a meeting
Where there was no use in pleading;
Even if I’d made a fuss
    The odds I’d win were next to none.
    Soon my job was jettisoned.

Though my resume looked pretty
And at interviews I’m witty,
Economics ruled the day;
    An opening I could not find.
In my field, no help was needed.
Painfully, I soon conceded
I should find another way
    To fatten up my bottom line
    Before my payments fell behind.

In the want ads I discovered
A position for horse lovers.
Pail and shovel I would wield —
    At least the job would be secure.
Like my former daily grind,
I still begin each day behind!
I’ve learned, no matter what your field,
    Our force of workers would be fewer
    If most fields weren’t filled with manure.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Crater Good

Supposedly an asteroid
impacted in the Yucatán
and ended dinosaurian dominion.
This mass extinction left a void
that one day would be filled by man —
at least, that’s the predominant opinion.

Now sixty million years or so
have passed since “Thunder Boulder” struck
and nearly left the earth depopulated.
But since that time, we’ve lots to show!
Although some say it’s merely luck,
new forms of life appeared and copulated.

So when your future’s looking bad —
the bull’s-eye for an earthbound stone —
Just think about those frightened little mice
who, once preyed on by saurian cads,
now found that Earth was theirs to roam!
Disasters sometimes lead to paradise…

Unless you’re a dinosaur, that is.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fusion

I got a lot of energy
But I don’t know what to do
That’s how it is sometimes

On other days my mind is clickin’
But I’m too tired to act
That’s how it is sometimes

Things start really jumpin’
When I get ‘em both at once
Neutrons start firin’
Things get done
Life’s excitin’

If I want a life worth livin’
I know the road to take
It’s not confusin’

When my drive meets my idea
The power gets unleashed
The collision of the two creates fusion

Stars are fueled by fusion
I want to be a star
I need fusion

Friday, January 10, 2014

P.J. Bottom

One of those silly ideas that just begs to be written…
primarily so you can get it out of your head!
Just for the record, it probably didn't really happen this way...

Hey, have you heard the stirring drama
Of how we wound up with pajamas?

Long ago, in days of old,
Folks wore nightshirts. Knees got cold!

Then along came P.J. Bottom,
Inventor of sleepers. People bought ‘em!

Grownups soon cut off the feet,
Making long johns. Pretty sweet!

The one-piece top was next to go.
(Some guys preferred their pecs to show.)

The “trap door” was no longer needed —
Just drop your drawers before you’re “seated”!

A short nightshirt came back in fashion.
The pairing of the two was dashin’!

And that’s the tale of how we got ‘em…
Thanks to the genius of P.J. Bottom!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I’m Peeling Wood

It’s a big hit on the Woodland Top 40!
Here’s a beaver’s rendition of
Michael Bublé’s I’m Feeling Good.
(In case you didn’t know, beavers don’t eat wood;
they just peel off the underbark and eat that.)

Birch on the shore
You know how I feed
Bark I adore
You know how I feed
Chewed right off the core
You know how I feed
I got no saw
I got no adze
I got no knife with me
But I’m peeling wood
I’m peeling wood

So many trees
You know how I feed
Sweet willows like these
You know how I feed
I eat what I please
You know how I feed
I got no saw
I got no adze
I got no knife with me
But I’m peeling wood

Cottonwoods warmed in the sun
They know what I need, don’t you know
Thick juicy bark — yummy yum!
Such a joy when I feed
Naked trunks when I get done
Got all I need
Any rough glade
Is enough, hey
What a buffet for me
For me

Tough outer sheath
Won’t stop how I feed
The good stuff’s beneath
And it’s waiting for me
Just give me sharp teeth
I’ll have plenty to eat
I got no saw
I got no adze
I got no knife
I got no saw
I got no adze
I got no knife
I got no saw
I got no adze
I got no knife
I got no knife with me
But I’m peeling wood
I’m peeling wood
And I peel it good
I peel it good

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ode to a Wimpy Little Snack Cracker

Behold, thou flimsy cracker!
Thou art but a tiny square of wheat
    or rye
    or millet
    or some such humble flour,
Yet thou art embraced warmly
    by the most distinguished of partygoers!

Tell me, O brittle wafer:
What madness possessed thee,
    that thou didst aspire to the buffet?
Thou art little more than glorified hardtack.
Thy form is too rigid for he who nibbles;
    a single bite causeth thee to shatter.
Yet thou drapest thyself
In the most embarrassing of toppings,
    that thou mayest soil his attire
    with the greatest of ceremony.

O most tantalizing of snacks!
Despite thy fragile nature,
    still will I celebrate thy brazen tastiness.
For the love of thee I humiliate myself,
Even unto the wearing of a bib in public
    that, despite thy flamboyant splatterings,
    yet may I savor thy zesty garnishes unscathed.
And should we meet by chance,
And I be unprepared for thy presence,
    yet shall I risk the disdain of those around me
    and shove thee whole into my mouth
Rather than pass thee by.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wabbit

This is one of those poems that came to me
and I have no reason why! Imagine that Joyce Kilmer,
author of Trees, was really Elmer Fudd…
There are two versions—the “Fudd” version,
followed by a translation just in case
you need help figuring out the Fudd version!

I doubt I’ll eva bweak dis habit
Untilw I catch that wascally wabbit.

Dat wabbit, cwafty as a farwit,
Puhwing up my bestest carwits;

Teamed up with that scwewy duck,
Dey make me feel juss wike a schmuck.

The times I neahwy bwoke my neck
Or wound up in a nasty weck

Would scarw away a wessa hunter…
But I keep making the same old bwunder.

Fools wike me may twy to gwab it
But onwy God can catch that wabbit!

TRANSLATION:
I doubt I’ll ever break this habit
Until I catch that rascally rabbit.

That rabbit, crafty as a ferret,
Pulling up my bestest carrots;

Teamed up with that screwy duck,
They make me feel just like a schmuck.

The times I nearly broke my neck
Or wound up in a nasty wreck

Would scare away a lesser hunter…
But I keep making the same old blunder.

Fools like me may try to grab it
But only God can catch that rabbit!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Baby

It’s here! Baby New Year arrived today
And everyone was thrilled to bring it home.
They smiled and cooed and tried to coax a giggle
From its lips with a funny face or two.
This fresh new baby offers so much promise…
But how long till its diaper’s not so fresh?
How long before we make the selfsame errors
That made us long to toss the old kid out?
We’re giddy with its fresh outlook on life…
But how long till its outlook gives us pause?
This year is new, not us; how long before
Old habits crush its young dreams? So I wonder…
What kind of home will Baby New Year know?
Perhaps it’s Mom and Dad who’ll need the diaper!