A wordy perversion of diversion…

scrabbleWords hide what can only be said.

Workman by Day
A nobody to professors, a workman by day
this subtly ordinary man said we write
(if we do) for others and not ourselves;
a simple diversion for the wordy perversion
making things fit snug like a girdle once did,
hiding things curvy, restraining and deceiving
the favors like adverbs for our great, untidied
neighbors, their reading a passion for our
weakened fashion of night’s haunts which
scare us awake and forced one to contemplate
the nightmares of failures and adult scares
which only verse hides what sunlight chides.



Anonymity and other unknown things… (part 2)

When nobody knows anybody (or is it ‘When anybody knows nobody’?), life is what we call normal. If that bothers you as much as it does me, then you might enjoy this…

Humanized Anonymity
It has come to my attention
that doctors have a 100% failure rate,
if life is what they preserve,
and I’ve never seen one attend a funeral
unless it’s theirs, of course,
so I propose they be required to show
last respects for all their patients,
by law they must be there, embarrassing
as it will be, and apologize
along with everyone else saying ‘I’m sorry’
in the line winding around
the casket, and they will be one of the
only ones who truly mean it;
while I’m at it, I propose that
historians be forced to stand in public
at regular intervals, reciting
the names and a brief paragraph about
the millions and millions
they gladly ignore or anonymously label
when writing their big books
of sweeping, majestic generalizations
while a mother’s baby failed
to thrive and died in her arms yesterday,
a stupid boy, so unloved,
thought nothing of shooting a neighbor
so he might belong to a family
he’d never had before, or the paranoid,
wrinkled woman named Lucy
who spied out of her drawn drapes
at her new neighbors because
they didn’t belong in her neighborhood;
with funerals well attended
and public recitations going on daily,
we’ll be quite entertained but
probably not concern ourselves as we
go about ignoring important things
until we see our doctors dressed to mourn
or hear our name recited; and,
doctors would be so busy with funerals
that they’ll be unable to save lives,
and the writing of history books would
suddenly include observations
of the practice of public recitations and
how this is just a concession
to a silly and meaningless public clamor,
for meaning for humanized anonymity
that they’re happy to supply.

Unlikely poets and their poetry…

poetWhat frightens you the most?

A blank page?


Words that don’t rhyme?




What Isn’t There
How many a writer or poet has been ruined
by reading Thoreau’s Walden only to retreat
to her own obscure pond and wait for those
pronounced feelings of nature, god and life,
perched before a blank page, ready to write
infamous words that will change everything
about seeing the sunrise, or a low moon,
the seasonal wrenching of life from death,
or death from life in the anonymous vacuum,
only to end a long, lonely day exhausted
and uninspired by the page called life
with no words to express what isn’t there.

Jack the Poet
Under a bag of old Marshall Field’s boxes,
and on top of a Kodak Carousel projector
tucked in the dark corner of her garage,
all dusty and crawling with dry creatures
is a stack of black binders – four total, dated
and numbered in hindsight 1/4, 2/4, 3/4
and the final, penultimate volume 4/4
of Jack’s poetry – Short Poems on Life
he titled them, by her Dad – Jack, obviously,
typed out with errors and corrections
on that onion-skin paper they used,
complete with a table of contents and
page numbers, so I counted 628 poems
of Jack’s life’s work of thoughts on life
from a man who drove a truck everyday
drank a beer as soon as he arrived home
liked to tinker with model trains some
and somehow over his entire adult life
wrote poems (the rhyming kind) about
everything from his boots to beer to
bosses to friends to family and the boy
he never had to what he wanted to be
when he was a kid to snow and rain to
how stop signs worked to women drivers
and back home at the end of each day,
and I turned each page carefully and
thought that I was the only one to look
at Jack’s Short Poems on Life since he
lost his memory, his wife, his pants
on several occasions, and even his
model trains that would chug and chug
around a modest oval in the basement
for hours and hours, sometimes deep into
the night – two or three – in the dark
except for the tiny lamp of the engine and
the red lantern of the caboose as he
sat on a stool wearing a engineer’s
cap and his pajamas.

Words are fun…

Playing with words is fun (being played with with words – not as much). But there are ways words can be enjoyed, not just twisted; played with for the joy of it.

ACBaseballWho doesn’t remember the word play of school days (pair, pear, pare), and the puns, witticisms, lyrics, double entendres, and classic name games like Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (playing with nouns – Ernest – and adjectives – earnest) or the silliest play of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s On First (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg).

Abbott: Alright, now whaddya want?
Costello: Now look, I’m the head of the sports department. I gotta know the baseball players’ names. Do you know the guys’ names?
Abbott: Oh sure.
Costello: So you go ahead and tell me some of their names….
Abbott: Goofy, huh? Now let’s see. We have on the bags – we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.
Costello: That’s what I wanna find out.
Abbott: I say Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third –
Costello: You know the fellows’ names?
Abbott: Certainly!
Costello: Well then who’s on first?
Abbott: Yes!
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The guy on first!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The first baseman!
Abbott: Who!
Costello: The guy playing first!
Abbott: Who is on first!

Good, clean fun, right?! Well, only if it’s witty.

Let’s try a few more…

Nothing Rhymes With Orange

It just isn’t true
that nothing rhymes with orange
and it seems wrong
to convince the vulnerable otherwise,
as if a game is played
and couplet is the end of nothing
for any child can hear
that the word nothing doesn’t
come close to orange.

And I Quote

What is a quote to be quoted
and to whom does it belong?
those marks somehow borrow
what I wish was my song;
what I want as my own
but someone found before,
almost perfect way of words
I must have, and I adore;
sometimes because of who
but I prefer what is said,
the world is but objects,
not facts’ means instead;
picture what is or is not,
but what is written is read
stop asking what it means
or you’ll always be misled;
while I will quote as I wish
call me a plagiarist as well
all’s words and other words
not things we jsut misspell.

When is When

When – that’s the best way to start
a poem about memories and tears,
and ‘tears’ is such a good rhyme
for fears, hears, nears  and years
which brings us back to when and
timing which is everything except
for emotion caught in time’s gears
(there’s that rhyme again), ripped
from childhood and baptized in
disappointment called adulthood
(you see, that’s how it’s done);
keep these things in mind and
compose away, don’t be afraid
to play with emotions and linger
while meaning disappears
and when becomes lost in years.

Then there are the abuse of words and grammar – for those who know enough to be mean about words (further vs. farther types, for instance).


There may be no matter more alarming
Than a grammarian who thinks himself charming
With quips and quotes from days past
Uttered snidely at every evening’s repast.
Throwing out rules of should not and never
Correcting chit-chat he thinks himself clever.

And that’s enough for now.