Sunday, May 24, 2009

seven under heaven

for human being

an alligator named augustine
kept his apartment clean
when the housing inspectors arrived
they saw it wasn't a dive
but quarters fit for a queen

a butterfly named bo
surrendered to mother earth's flow
he floated through every clime
but was always home on time
to watch his favorite show

an insomniac chipmunk named constance
said, i've had enough of your nonsense
to the frogs in the pond below her tree
who never stopped their chatter for tea
but they heeded not her remonstrance

a philosophical frog named fred
tried to store inside his head
the history of every creature
their every form and every feature
and cared not where his enquiries led

an elephant named ed
hated to get out of bed
no matter how the sun did shine
he said, the days no friend of mine
i would rather dream on instead

a grumbling gorilla named gus
waited every morning for the bus
to take him to his place of employment
where he experienced little enjoyment
but cowered in his cubicle and cussed

a human named henry brown
lived in a little town
he had no time for idle talk
but exercised in endless walks
and dreamt of eternal renown

Thursday, May 21, 2009

an abrupt end to villainy

"the topographical and anatomical information in particular is lost on me."
"however," holmes continued
"everything will be revealed

tonight will tell the tale
our friend mr wells will join us
perhaps nayland smith as well
of course watson your input will be welcome as well"
"good heavens holmes i should hope so
remember the muddle we had before
all because we consulted mr wells
perfectly ridiculous to bring him on board again if you ask me."
holmes smiled
"i expect sharp insights from mr wells.
count on it, watson - "
a sharp rap on the door interrupted him
"lestrade, no doubt"

"at your service, mr holmes
no change in plans i take it
devil take it if i understand the plans though."

"ah, lestrade
never fear
all will be revealed in good time
the night will bring surprises
of course all nights bring surprises
maybe tonight's will be exceptional.
in any case
clear your mind of preconceived ideas
as of course one always should."
lestrade nodded

'i have invited mr wells to join us
nayland smith as well
for his particular expertise
opium is not my strongest subject
relying on cocaine as i do"
"mr holmes if i may say so - "
"ah, here are mr wells and mr nayland smith now
too good of you to come gentlemen
i trust we will have good sport tonight -
oh excuse me i haven't this gentleman's acquaintance -"
nayland smith nodded pleasantly

"i have the pleasure of introducing mr lee."
nothing in holmes demeanor showed surprise

"poppy lee, i believe -
alias - dr fu manchu!"
"really holmes this is outrageous
this man is our guest - "
"i understand the laws of hospitality as well as the next briton, watson
curtail your outrage
under the blotter on my desk you will find a
letter addressed to
"all mankind and particularly queen victoria and sherlock holmes"
received in the mail this morning

"is this some sort of joke?"
spluttered wells and nayland smith simultaneously

"little is to be gained by preconception, gentlemen
observation must carry the day
sorry to have used you as foils but
the fate of mankind was at stake.'

"oh so i was being duped again. eh?"
"never fear, mr wells, your time will come."

"my word holmes," exclaimed watson
"everything is back to normal"

gang of six

a choleric chimp named chuck
was corrosively cursing his luck
but he gave hosannas
when he found some bananas
that fell off a turnip truck

a delirious dolphin named dank
had no money in the bank
the humans pointed their fingers
and assaulted him with zesty zingers
as he jumped in his disney tank

a decorous dragon named dray
liked to sleep in farmer brown's hay
this inflamed the homesteader's gorge
so he called upon st george
to drag the poor dragon away

a hirsute hippo mamed hank
had a favorite barber named frank
he relaxed in the barbers chair
and dreamed of meadows green and fair
and white lilies by a river bank

a cantankerous crow named joe
floated above an ice floe
the way the world was going
he couldn't help but knowing
there was fire down below

a flaccid flamingo named fay
wouldn't give the time of day
to humans with their planes and cars
and plans to colonize the stars
she just went her own way

Sunday, May 17, 2009

i'm looking for my mother

"i'm looking for my mother to kill her"
"my, my." said sherlock holmes, "that sounds a bit extreme."

lestrade looked on quietly
on one hand he approved of holmes method
on the other he was shocked
killing was serious business
in his opinion words meant something
newer views were taking hold
gentlemen in positions of influence

forwarded theories
on the irrelevance of language
refuting centuries of received wisdom

moll johnson the pickpocket
youthfully snarling and insouciant

made eye contact with lestrade
on a nod from holmes
tom jubb the constable
hustled poor moll away
"elementary, my dear lestrade," holmes explicated
"remnants of prehistory

tumble through the child's brain
obviously irrelevant

interesting however -
let us take a walk"
leaving the docks behind

holmes and the worthy inspector
entered a broad thoroughfare
reminding lestrade of a battlefield in the punjab

billy blood, part 1

the aztec night was falling fast
when through a fellaheen village passed
twelve riders from across the border
in perfect military order

the lieutenants had two famous names
they were frank and jesse james
the captain was more famous still
none other than the dread quantrill

the faces of the other nine
are not so firmly etched in time
but as they rode to meet their fate
each rebel soldier pulled his weight

the village had but buildings three
a jail, a church, a monastery
a single tree with blood red berries
stood beyond the cemetary

and from the berry tree, swinging loose
a carefully knotted hangman's noose
caught quantrill's eye and then frank james'
in the sudden sunset's final flames

the other ten seemed unaware
they filed into the village square
the square was empty - dusty - still
"another ghost town" cried quantrill

frank james frowned and jesse scowled
far off, a lone coyote howled
the black chacmoolian hills looked down
upon the strangely silent town

dan willis was a rider bold
a brash newcomer to the fold
frank and jesse despised his sass
but quantrill laughed at the youngster's brass

now dan jumped off his horse's back
and taking tobacco from his sack
he rolled one easy as you please
seemed quite prepared to take his ease

he kicked a stone across the ground
"i think i'll take a look around"
he shouted - but no answering sound
echoed his challenge - quantrill frowned

professor porter shifted his weight
upon his horse - "i'd hesitate
to jump to conclusions," he shivered
his red nose twitched and his gray beard quivered

"look ye boys!" cried frenchy le rouge
his finger pointed and his eyes grew huge
upon the coal black mountainside
a light had flashed - and suddenly died

"where are in tarnation are the peasants?"
cried long and lanky henry pheasant
"where's the chief and where's the priest
so quick to get their palms well greased?"

quantrill's face grew fiery red
"shut the flaps on your empty heads
we didn't come here to take a census
the devil that cursed it never meant us!"

"why speak of the devil," cried jack mule
"never mention him, that's my rule
he may be listening, he may be not
but if you rile him, he'll make it hot"

and with those words of wisdom true
he stared at quantrill with eyes of blue
who choked and sputtered with exasperation
"you're the biggest fool in the whole damn nation"

"what nation might that be?" quoth jack
"we've been to every nation and back
seen red and white and black men's ways
enough to last us all our days"

quantrill shrugged and turned aside
his own council he would bide
frank and jesse had drifted apart
and were talking, heart to heart

'there's folks round here." sad frank real slow
"there ain't no ghosts, that much i know
and where's there's folks there must be food
this trickery puts me in bitter mood"

"i think these fools are spooked," said jess
"about to cry for mama, i'd guess
they surely are a sorry crew
whatever made us think they'd do?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

where are the others?

where are the others?
henry harris woke up on his park bench
earlier that evening, when he had fallen asleep, the park was filled with people
rick rogers, the sheriff, had allowed him to sleep on the bench
everyone in town had been celebrating the great victory over the powers of darkness

armageddon had come and gone
remembering it brought tears to henry's eyes
ecstasy had been the order off the day

the whole town now seemed deserted
henry walked away from his bench
expecting to find the rest of the townsfolk around the corner

on a telephone pole a sign was attached
"the joke is on you" it read
henry rubbed his eyes
every cell in his brain throbbed
rick rogers and the rest of the townsfolk had seemed like good people
so what had happened?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

poem #12

talking without ceasing, thirstier than ever
ahab sat in the lifeboat
low on the horizon the sun disappeared
kissing the water with flame
i told you so said billy
nothing good could come of this
good is not my word, ahab replied

when darkness fell
incandescent sharks appeared
they laughed at ahab billy and the others
harry smith the cook
opened his mouth to catch the rain
unfortunately there was none
there was no wind either

confidence ebbed
eternity beckoned
ahab kept talking
serenading the waves
in which the sharks laughed
never mind said billy
glory awaits us

tornados of words
hurricaned out of ahabs mouth
in the moonlit foam
restlessly tumbling
sam brown the boatswain
took heed of heaven
in a single fleck
everything was

the whole crew looked to heaven
hoping for salvation
ahab kept talking
now and on earth

endless words
endless words
reverberating forever

Monday, May 4, 2009

poem #11

no more stories from this day forth
on the other hand stories are deeply satisfying

my first story was about a murderer
oh how he fooled me
remembering it brings a smile
emptiness is filled

so, doctor, you did it yourself
the truth sets us all free
on the other hand you are cursed forever
repeating your crime is impossible
i have to move on
evidence is never enough
surprise is everything

fred was my new friend
reality was his deck of cards
out of the deck he pulled more stories
magnificent stories

the universe was his green felt table
how he made it spin!
i was entranced
so i gave up real life

detectives outlaws swordsmen
androids aliens vampires time travel
youth forever

fred was only the first
on his heels came mickey, edgar, big bill, jack, jim
raymond, herbert, howard, clark and two-gun bob
time stood still
how did it ever disintegrate?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

rimbaud, part 3

mungo answers with grimacing rage
"death is the murderer's only wage
it is time to turn the final page
on this beastly and unrepentant mage

this little monster thinks he can sell
the human race to the circus of hell
but i will not fall under his spell
his demonic designs i vow to quell

the criminal who gets away
weaves threads of darkness in the fabric of day
and angels look down from above and say
'over such a world why should we stay?'

so cast him into the waterless well
and all his sneering triumph dispel
so that legions of demons may sadly tell
his tale to the tolling of a burning bell

this is no wayward youth beguiled
on whom temptation has merely smiled
this is the evil one's favorite child
how can we let such a one run wild?"

the denouncer pauses- his words are spent
the sheriff answers "i know what you meant
but your words aren't worth a half a cent
because through the swamp his steps are bent

he may be running with the speed of ten
or safe in a wolf-woman's murky den
the dogs are lost - and we're only men
when the sun comes up, we'll try again"

"go back then - i'll go on alone
and leave unturned no slimy stone
what's that? i heard a zombie groan"
the swamp erupts in a single moan

mungo's face grows white as chalk
his eyeballs bulge and his tongue can't talk
the sheriff shrugs - "it's four o'clock
a right enough time for zombies to walk"

"see, see how satan protects his own
his imps guard the road where his favorite has flown
the fire-tongued boy and the shapeless crone
play on drums of snake and trumpets of dragon bone

let's go then,' mungo's lips are pursed
his eyes are darker than a thunder-filled hearse
"defeat is terrible but this is worse
ah - let me turn back, for one last curse!"

his foot, when he turns, doesn't ht the firm sand
out of the ooze twists a long-taloned hand
and seizes his ankle like an iron band
he struggles and screams but firm he must stand

"oh demon, release me." cries the piteous wight
raising hands to heaven in terrible fright
"release me, release me, i will never more fight
against your glorious master, the emperor of night

oh, release me, release me and all of my days
i'll devote to chanting the horned one's praise
to serve him forever i'll search out new ways-
let me look just once more on the sun's rising rays!"

suddenly, softly, the hand lets him go
trembling and gasping he staggers back slow
and shaking his head exclaims, "what do you know
these demons are fools - i always said so"

"yes," says the sheriff, "no doubt that is true
tomorrow the skies will be sunny and blue
the night be forgotten, the world bright and new
but night's waiting children may not forget you"

rimbaud, part 2

the deputy grunts and returns to his chair
but his gray rebel cap stands up on his hair
a cold blue flame hangs eye-level in air
hissing like a rattlesnake trapped in its lair

the flame retreats to the bars of the cell
the hobo laughs - a hyena from hell!
his lips and his eyeballs begin to swell
as he whispers hoarse "i've a tale to tell

only a tale - i've nothing to sell
it begins with the tolling of a silver bell
over a green and dew-dropped dell"
the deputy answers "i don't feel well"

"i was once a man - a humble one, true
with the high and mighty i had nothing to do
all week i read the testament new
and on sunday i read the old one too

i lectured the low and bowed to the great
i emptied my glass and cleaned my plate
and thanked the lord, both early and late
for giving me such a happy fate

i was deacon of a little church
a bluebird sang from a sunlit perch
in a purple elm beside a snowy birch
when life gave a sudden and terrible lurch"

the wolfman drones on, and on, and on
the deputy nods - he begins to yawn
the jail is a board, he is only a pawn
his eyeballs fade like the moon at dawn

the cell bars twist in the wolfman's claws
his piteous story has come to a pause
his white teeth laugh in his hairy jaws
the sleeping deputy hears applause

the sheriff shakes his head at the dogs dismay
"we'll have to come back at break of day"
mungo clears his throat to say
"i don't think that is at all the right way

this wretch has broken the laws of the town
i will not rest until i've hunted him down
what use for the mayor a martyr's crown
if his killer as escape artist makes his renown?

this is no wayward youth beguiled
on whom temptation has rarely smiled
this is the evil one's favorite child
how can we let such a one run wild?"

rimbaud, part 1

throw the jaguar a nickel and the clown a dime
and ride on the river of endless time
the mayor is lying face down in the slime
so now you can never atone for your crime

the statues are shattered and the safe is unlocked
it's midnight forever on the cuckoo clock
so its out the window and down to the dock
to the twisted tree beside the humpbacked rock

"mama - mama roo - are you there?"
"don't come closer,boy - beware."
"beauregard's treasure = i've come for my share."
"the moon isn't green - so you haven't a prayer."

"i've had enough of your magical words
all your talk of green moons, red frogs and white birds
the night is alive, or haven't you heard
the dogs are howling to cut me to sherds

i gambled for beauregard's money and won
i need it now because i'm on the run
i must get to natchez before the rising sun
because my tribulations have only begun

"boy - if you must be such a fool
as forget what you learned in michael's school
and the message you read in jezebel's jewel
and break both angels and demons rule

then never awake from your madman's dream
when nothing will ever be what it seem
but that pitiful rays of hope may gleam
i leave you this token of magic esteem"

raindrops riffle on a snakeskin drum
and a thousand toads take up the hum
the eyes glaze over and the hands grow numb
a white light shines on the swirling scum

and the light contains an old felt hat
the crown is shapeless and the brim is flat
gray as the fur of a mangy cat
surely you are not afraid of that?

with a trembling hand on a fluttering wrist
the hat fits as tight as a demon's fist
zombie eyes glitter and serpents twist
the sorceress gone with a final hiss

say goodbye now to mama roo
in amber bubbles in a mist of blue
her curses were empty but her lies became true
now there's nobody left but the dogs and you

the slime so dismal and the sir so foul
the demon in his armor and the monk in his cowl
the fish-dog-witch and the goddess-owl
are all set trembling by the terrible howl

there is only road - through the thick of the bog
though you can not be hidden by the thickest fog
in the tallest tree or the hollowest log
no time to be lost because here is the dog

with hide black as nothingness, eyes white as time
red claws rake the dirt at the edge of the slime
the sheriff smiles gently at his terrible whine
though the dog speak in tongues, he won't answer in rhyme

Friday, May 1, 2009

about me, part 1

i was born by a river in a little shack, and just like the river i can't get back on track.
my parents were missionaries in china, or maybe in india or darkest africa,
one day lenin and trotsky came to town.
they stayed at mrs b's rooming house.

mao tse-tung was already in town and he was staying at the savoy.
we knew trouble was brewing when hombres like that were in town.

when i finished sweeping up at the mission i went for a walk.
as i approached the river i heard laughter.
someone was laughing.

by the time i came around the bend the laughter had stopped.
on the river bank a fish was flopping.
racking my brain, i could never remember seeing such a fish before.
not even in my dreams.

behind me i heard a gurgling sound.
yeti was standing there.

as i may not have mentioned, yeti was my best friend.

rain began to fall.
i pointed to the fish still flopping on the ground.
veins began to throb in yeti's forehead.
evidently he was as baffled by the fish as i was.
right then we heard the sound of oars coming through the water.

i turned and saw trotsky lenin and stalin in a rowboat.
no conversation seemed to be going on.

a i watched the water ripple out from the boat

lenin turned and waved to me
i waved back
trotsky merely nodded at me
truth be told i never liked trotsky much
lenin was much more friendly
eternity was in his gaze

stalin was my favorite
he always had a smile
almost always
conversation with him was easy
koala bears could not be more friendly