Do-good boy, always doing what you’re told,
Always keeping to the road,
Do you feel used?
Do-good boy, always keeping to the fold,
Always carrying your load,
Do you feel abused?
Do-good boy, if you’ve done what they told you to do,
Tell me, through and through,
Why do you feel so confused?
In The School Yard
Did you sit
On the grass,
While others played,
Notice the sky’s color,
The hue of a day?
While children’s laughter
Arose around you,
Did you see
What the horizon
Had to say?
On a speck of universal momentum,
I raised my hand to my gaze,
In hope of discovering some index
To my maker’s intention.
And I beheld the patterns at my fingertips.
But exceeding this, I could not fathom.
Sweet Child, Innocence
Sweet child, innocence,
Lost in the jungle of experience,
Has been blinded by knowledge,
Impaled on a thorn that was once her flower.
Along the Ginza
A girl smiled -
Roses have thorns
That poison the blood.
Bloom stained from the bud.
Do not believe
The promises spoken,
As vanity’s token
A tender touch scorns.
A Point Of Cacti
Alive where most things die,
Thrive the fearless cacti.
In a sharp tongue, they say,
We are here! Keep away!
Sing on, coyote howl!
Blow, arid desert sands!
The cactus lifts his hands,
His cantankerous scowl!
I witnessed you bathing in napalm rain,
Baptized into being,
Sprouting serpent scales
Where there was skin as smooth
Shedding your egg tooth altogether.
I saw a flower wilted,
Her fairness browned away.
She had her nature quilted
In full obscene display.
No longer would the bees abide,
Her nectar to obey.
No longer could her petals hide
The meanness of her way.
Pampered palms stand high,
Pressing pompous heads to the sky,
To show everyone
They deserve to be served more sun.
A silver-white star
Cried, "How great we are,
Me, myself, and I,
Up here in the sky,
The quintessence of divinity,
Masters of infinity.
We are here to stay,
While all else melts away."
Narcissus, Who Loves You?
Fragrant cherry blossoms are the rave
Of spring, vestments of branches and leaves,
Cast off and floating like snow from above.
The pumpkin blossom is a plain variety.
Yet, what she ultimately achieves
Is a fruit immeasurably handsome.
Rosemary has no flowers to speak of,
Offers only her essence as a greeting,
Departs humbly, bequeaths a healing piety.
Narcissus, your pride is fleeting,
Soon withering to a shallow grave.
Narcissus, you are empty. You are loathsome.
In The Eye Of The Illusion
Dulcinea afforded charm beyond measure,
At least enough to dazzle quixotic aesthetic pleasure.
Don Quixote must have seen something in the slattern belle,
Qualities that pleasure senses, that only the senseless can tell -
That he should believe her lovelier than Cleopatra in her day.
Who’s to say she was not as pretty as any superficial delusion?
In fair objectivity, a judge of the subjective is compelled to say
That beauty is in the eye of the illusion.
Treacherous thy rule
Of feeding and deeding
Thy poisonous function,
Void of compunction!
Take breath from breath!
Make death from death!
Yet, in your creed,
No toad king
Will ever sing
Praise of thy breed,
Or use thee for a throne.
Demon of stagnant water,
Pandora’s foulest daughter,
What twisted architect’s plot
Contrived thy devious lot?
From what rank cesspool of hell
Did such evil bud and swell?
What foul fiend’s forge formed thy sting
To bring pestilence on wing?
Mosquito, thy name is death,
The sole purpose of thy breath
To bleed and taint on thy stave
Souls to agony and grave.
When thy creator formed thee,
Did he mindfully agree
To loose a scourge of thy kind,
Or act in a fevered mind?
A lone tumble bug
Met a dung ball thug,
While twiddling dung.
To the prize both clung,
For this transgression,
The bug killed the thug,
And banned fiddling
With bugs twiddling.
Power And Glory
Meat-eating orchids speak freely of supreme being,
Eloquent tongues licking at fleas,
Declaring power and glory.
One would fare better to heed the humble wisdom
Of morning glories, plain and simple,
Cats like meat,
Consider it a treat
To feel heat
And small feet
And the flutter and beat
Of meals in fast retreat.
Cats are never discreet
About the food they meet.
They care not if they cheat,
Or if their lunch can tweet.
They just eat.
Let Us Prey
This fine hour,
Let us devour.
Let us eat,
As we are eaten.
Let us beat,
As we are beaten.
Let us thank
The living food bank.
This wholly new day,
Let us prey.
Garden In Disarray
There were tomatoes to be washed.
The roses all needed spray.
There were slugs to be squashed.
There were squash on the way.
There were posts to be staked.
There were piles of mulch to lay.
There were trimmings to be raked,
Laying there since May.
There is gardening to wage.
Who will fill the birdseed tray?
Who will put rocks around the sage?
Who will keep the squirrels away?
Who will set up the blueberry cage?
The weeds are here to stay.
The gardener didn’t wake today.
A vegetable should be planted,
Or thrown on the compost pile.
A rotting form is vile.
There is no gain in waiting for rain.
And it should not be taken for granted,
That where there is wilt, there is not pain.
A vegetable suffers without sound,
But longs to be again underground.
Cut the loss, nail the cross,
Into the incinerator toss.
Mow! Bring out the hoe! Throw!
You cannot sow what cannot grow.
Cull it and lay it in a row.
Hell to be a carrot! I could not bear it.
Rosemary is an incredible lady.
But in question is her virginity.
She likes it where it’s always shady,
Out of view of the Trinity.
Simply smell her racy perfume.
Her sharp fingers get right to the point.
From her rigid posture you may assume
That your wildest desires she will anoint.
By Way Of Confession
It should be mentioned by way of confession,
Without apprehension, the splendid remuneration
For a measure of cash,
The intimate contract
For a bit of contact,
A feeling of sealing a bargain,
Penetrating a market share,
Stocks, bonds, mutuals,
Economical ups and downs.
It’s only fair
To pay the debt due,
Credit the service industry
For an historic deal.
David turns his head aside
At the mention of his name,
For the loss of pride,
In legendary shame
At his maker’s oversight,
That formed his manhood so small,
And exposed him to fame’s light
With no clothes at all.
Finias Cuckold went out to see,
Where the Dickens, his wife might be -
Perhaps the barn or beyond the shed,
Planting red peppers with young Jimmy Ned.
The One That Got Away
Come with me, and we will see
What this jungle has,
Together, I schemed.
But you said never,
Like a rhino tromping.
Bigger game you had in mind;
A king or nothing.
Yet, now my roar is loud.
And you’ve locked yourself
In a zoo
No safari will ever come for.
A poisonous snake is gliding
Along a tortuous track.
A poisonous snake is hiding
And sliding behind your back.
Her tapered head is drawing slack.
Her gaze is glazed with guile.
She slithers with a knowing knack.
Beware her crafty smile.
You ain’t gettin’ any.
What is it?
Didn’t you ever have a smart pill?
A smart pill.
I can see you ain’t.
What are they?
They grow wild,
in the spaces between cornstalks…
but not exactly.
What do they taste like?
with sort of a chocolate aftertaste.
Can I taste one?
Find your own.
What do they look like?
you can have some of mine.
But next time,
you gotta pick your own!
They taste good?
They don’t look that great,
but they’re sweet.
If you don’t want ‘em,
just give ‘em back…
stop being an idiot.
That’s why they call ‘em smart pills.
They don’t look very good…
but once you find out how good they taste,
you’re smart not to tell anybody,
so you can eat ‘em all yourself.
Pop the whole handful in your mouth,
all at once!
That’s the way they taste best!
How come you spat ‘em out?
Don’t you wanna be smart?
Those aren’t smart pills!
They’re rabbit poo!
you’re smarter already!
The Shallow End Of The Pool
Survival of the fittest
Is not a guarantee
That a species’ very best
Will climb the family tree.
The will to proliferate
Is the genetic rule
Of breeds degenerate
In the shallow end of the pool.
In The Genes
A man who frequently stuttered,
Bred a dame who only muttered.
They produced a child,
With a tongue most wild,
Who constantly hissed and sputtered.
A spreading brand of greed
Produced the Asian fantasia.
The way the Chinese breed,
There’ll be more euthanasia.
Good fences make good neighbors,
Divide up interests in suits.
But nothing better dilutes disputes
Like the rattling of really sharp sabers.
When man wielded his first stone
To crush a bone,
Little could he know
Where this utility would go -
From stone, to iron, to fission,
From clan, to national, to nuclear division.
Now what should he do with his stone?
He could crush bone,
Or build a future for his fellow man -
Move on, or go back where he began.
In A Cozy Hornet’s Nest
Hornets have no room for anything
That doesn’t buzz and doesn’t sting.
They carry this message on the wing,
With scintillating fury sing
The praises of their glorious breed.
With colors blazing bright, they fly,
Death to all, their mutual creed.
Against all foreign foes they fly.
Who can reason with such a nation?
Who can reason with such a lot?
Nothing can still a furied congregation,
When regional fervor is burning hot.
All swarming hornets feel
That home, sweet, home is best,
And thus their animosity seal
In a cozy hornet’s nest.
Cute Little Scorpion
A cute little scorpion climbs from his nest,
Steps into the desert heat,
Licking his lips, ready to eat.
Mother always knows best,
Puts her nipper back in the shopping cart.
Hungry little tike! Bless his heart!
two of them
at least a grade more
scared to rage
as they were twice my age
they would tear
the other frog in half
like the other four there
for a laugh
one second-grader and a frog
against two bullies tried and true
and not even a bullfrog from a tough bog
a scrawny little leopard frog nearly through already from the
but the frog mustered his might
and made a desperate leap
fell over him in a fearful heap
they beat me black and blue
kicked my mouth red
spat on my head
made me piss my pants
but the frog got his chance
slipped under my chin
and disappeared into the hedge
smiling a big green grin
The telephone was a tool of fun,
In a rude and riotous way.
We would dial up folks, one by one,
With a wit of cruel things to say.
But the night we dialed
A mother’s lost child,
Took the heart right from our cheer,
When Clair’s mother said,
Through the distant wire, "Clair’s not here.
The Vicious Beast
A bull mauled the matador,
One afternoon in the sun,
Stomped him into the bloody floor,
Declaring he had won.
Deviation from the norm
Impressed mercy not the least,
Dispatched picadors, in good form,
To kill the vicious beast.
A man, in Bangladeshi tradition,
Threw acid on a little girl’s face,
And burned beyond recognition
My faith in the human race.
Pigs put in pens of mud,
Fed to be dead,
To shed red blood,
The prodding rod -
The power of god
Moving them along.
Pigs smell wrong
Through the slaughterhouse door,
On the kill floor.
They try to understand
The feeding hand,
But their minds are dry,
Muddled by insanity.
And with their souls they cry,
In the name of humanity!
The Other Cheek
Remember how the chosen
Purged gentile cities,
Loins girt with entrails,
A pound of flesh
Is a high price
Did you cry,
An eye for an eye,
When they goose-stepped
You to Dachau,
Appeal to idolaters
Were there any
Uncovenanted to save
The Jews from drowning?
Where was Moses
When the gas flowed
A tooth for a tooth
When so many
Are piled as high
As mount Sinai.
(Thou shalt not
lust for blood)
Lieutenant Governor Morgan
Jamaican winds blow hard astern.
And he takes by land what he can’t by sea,
With a yo-ho-ho and an eye to the blade,
Drinking rum while the Spaniards burn,
Storming their walls with bloody glee.
Then it’s yo-ho-ho with a will for the trade.
Shielded by nuns like Saint Elmo’s fires,
He wins for a bounty what pure greed inspires.
Then its yo-ho-ho and the legend’s made.
With a yo-ho-ho and an eye to the blade.
"On your feet!
Formation on the street!
Trainee Anderson, you better move your sorry ass.
You got another inspection to pass
Today, son, or your ass is mine.
Gregory, looking mighty fine!
Got your stuff squared away.
Puhl, what did I say
About that sorry-ass shirt?
You better get your shit together.
You’re gonna hurt so bad it’s gonna hurt
You’re mamma. I don’t know whether
To use you to mop the floor,
Or throw your goat-smelling ass out the door.
Pines, what the hell you doing?
You better get your ass off that bed,
Unless you’re dead.
Just keep screwing
Around on my time, trainee!
And you’re gonna see
A whole world of pain.
Bates, you’re here to train,
Not bebop like some disco clown.
Give me twenty! Get down!
Move it up girls. Make your buddy smile.
We’ve got a mile
To run before chow.
Gibbs, you want to tell me how
The hell you’re gonna run
With my foot up your ass?
Take your hand off your gun,
And shoulder that weapon, you knucklehead!
Girls, keep in mind what I said
About weekend pass.
All right, dress it! Space!
Attention! Left face!
Oh, here we go. We’re at it again.
We’re moving out. We’re moving in.
Oh, here we go. We’re at it again.
We’re moving out. We’re moving in.
Your left. Your left. Your other left, Rouse!
Get in step, you sorry-ass louse.
What the hell you think this is, a cancan show?"
"I don’t know, drill sergeant, I don’t know."
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma,
Made me blend in with the green and the polish,
And sound off, one, two, three, four,
Made me mean, a fighting machine,
With no regard as to why I must be inclined so,
To go low, and go high, and snatch, and mask,
Without missing a beat or smelling the gas,
Perform all tasks in a military manner,
Stand at attention, stand at ease, hurry and wait,
To the rear march, company halt, forward again.
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma,
To string a lanyard so as not to blow off my hand,
The mathematical precision of tangents and trajectories,
How to place a projectile for optimum radius,
This is my rifle, this is my gun,
To sling and unsling fast as a blink,
Field strip any weapon with closed eyes,
To crawl low like a snake and strike swiftly,
To run through a mine field in my sleep,
To jump from a helicopter without breaking,
To take the blow with the shoulder,
To go for the throat with a standard choke hold,
To pierce the kidney so it bleeds sufficiently,
To catch a bullet without crying out,
To die without denying I did it like a pro.
They taught me how to kill in Oklahoma.
But all I wish to remember,
Was sitting on a howitzer one evening,
Watching the sky turn from peach to lavender.
Pigeons are burning,
Lighting up the night.
The flames are churning,
Turning the blackness bright.
The sky is falling,
Ringing with fright.
Hell is calling,
Bringing on the fight.
The sandbags are gone from the post office steps -
Now clusters of school girls in navy skirts,
Waiting for friends on a sunny summer day,
All oblivious of horror, free and chattering,
And a boy with a runny nose and a ball cap,
At the door, testing his top on the granite entry,
And an old woman selling snacks for refreshment
From a yellow and green handcart.
Two decades of rain has washed the blood away,
But not the stains of the memory, of the wrong.
My soul reels before an assault of memory.
I still see democracy retreating,
Fearful faces from a bookstore window,
A soldier in a black beret distinctly
Sneering at me from his machine gun nest.
And my heartbeat feels cold in Kwang Ju.
Tinian, this jewel of tranquillity,
Mother of glorious evisceration,
Innocent bearer of justice,
Deliverer of divinity’s message,
Silenced the iniquitous winds,
Made ash the cherry blossoms.
Sacrosanct are these shores
Washed by the turning tide.
A boy from South Carolina,
Hoped to be a U.S. Marine,
Keep peace, and win wars,
Make his folks proud,
And get off the farm.
A boy from Palestine,
With delicate brown eyes,
Heard too many cries of jihad,
Prayed five times to Allah,
And strapped himself with C-4.
Just before dusk,
A mortar hit a mosque.
When concrete falls,
And floors become walls,
It smashes and squeezes
Life from bodies,
Like whey from cheeses.
The Hundred-Year War
For a hundred years they killed each other,
Turned their plowshares into spears and swords
And all manner of implements for the harvesting of a brother,
All out of confusion as to which gods and lords
Gave whom the divine authority to turn the other cheek.
In the name of love they amassed a hundred-years worth of dead.
One would think it should take no longer than a week
To sort it out, or a simple discussion over bread.
But to come to some term of forgiveness was too hard after all.
For a hundred years they slugged it out.
They must have had extraordinary recall -
To remember what the hell they were fighting about.
Now we fight a bloodless brand of war.
More sophisticated than before,
We battle at thirty thousand feet.
And our foes we never have to meet,
Nor agony on a dying face.
Ah, the progress of the human race!
Taking Up Cudgels
When you claimed a portion of the sky,
Jupiter and Mars to impeach,
Jumped, and pissed your territorial markings high
And wide as undulating ambition can reach,
Wholesale slaughter of lives wantonly wasted
In futile investment, when ego tasted
Victory, grew drunken with lust,
Was but a subtle shifting of cosmic dust.
"In God’s holy image all men are cast,"
Said the king to the leper at the end of his fast.
William Shakespeare and Attila The Hun
Had an identical inclination to share a good pun.
"We both do our duty with feisty spunk,"
Said the callused old farmer to the sodden young drunk.
"Listen to this verse, how the melodies come,"
Sang the opera singer to the moron, deaf and dumb.
"A cripple is a champion, an eagle a hen,"
Thought Adolf Hitler and all his kind men.
"God’s sheep should be cleansed in water and fire,"
Claimed the priest to the heretic as he burned on a pyre.
All men are gods, each son a sequel.
Without a doubt, all men are created equal.
The Korean man next door
Fought for the North in the Korean war,
And for the Japanese before,
And unwilling to risk any more,
Not daring to even the score,
For thirty years, swept the floor
In the neighborhood grocery store.
On a stone beneath a tree,
Near the grass beside a street,
In the eyes of an old man,
I thought I spied hope
Searching sadly for its soul.
Things are useless in the rest home, you see?
Burke has no use for them there.
He’s going to be there indefinitely.
‘Cause he’s too tired to go anywhere.
All of his things are too old to use
But too good to throw on the trash pile.
So, I thought we’d choose
To put them in storage for a while.
An ancient Chinese king
Gave his servant a sealed ring,
And bid him swiftly bring
The secret of youth.
For this great truth
A reward he might take -
For failure, death at the stake.
The servant searched far and wide
For a place he might hide.
For he knew in truth
The impermanence of youth.
He sold the sealed ring,
Found a Korean wife,
Led a quiet life,
And indeed outlived his king.
Overindulgent words of praise,
Shine the pride of small men’s heels.
Shameless licks the forked tongues raise,
Fall as nought ‘neath vanity’s wheels.
Slash, saber, slash!
Cut clean and quick
As a lightning flash!
Heart, turn to brick.
Sizing Up The Tooth Fairy
If I pulled all my teeth,
We could be rich, Daddy.
But how would I chew my meat?
Never learned how to fly,
Never gained a long neck
To reach up high,
No camouflaging speck,
No mane to flap,
No claws to trap,
No special joint,
No ferocious cry.
They developed an eye
That sees only the point.
Any young worm will soon find
That a worm’s-eye view is blind.
The scene from down in the ground
Pictures little more than sound.
‘Tis a rocky life to dwell!
The early worm catches hell!
The ditch bank looked higher by a yard
Than reality would prove to be,
There in a torrent of rain so hard
I had to test with my boot to see.
The rank weeds seemed a soft enough weave
To cushion any slip in my pace.
But, oh, how nature loves to deceive,
And remind mortal fools of their place!
It was too late when I saw the cheat.
I grasped at straws, willows, but found briars,
Slid a yard down the hill on my seat,
Offered a hand by a band of liars.
There are few lies as coy
As a show of open joy.
A smile can be vile,
A brand of wanton guile,
A broad cover for many kinds of greed.
And a show of anger or disgust,
One should never heed.
Never ever trust
Any ill or well-seeming deed -
Is usually duplicity in need.
Truth is a rarity.
What is meant is rarely spoken
By all but those in agony, or the heartbroken.
And even pity is often taxed by vulgarity.
(Pain is feigned as easily as breath)
But there is no mistaking sincerity
In the glassed eyes of death.
Sincerity is something everyone can eventually achieve.
I’ve never met a corpse I didn’t believe.
They sat peacefully at their meal,
Ate heartily their bread,
Anything to appeal
To the spirit of the occasion.
Through gentle persuasion,
I hoped to discuss
Without raising any fuss
Or any hurt
To the host.
But they drowned out the question,
With a unanimous suggestion
To raise a toast,
And drank deeply draughts of breath.
Of the rancid dish of death
They did not partake,
For merriment’s sake.
As a matter of formality,
They considered it a bit too hot.
They left it to simmer
On a back burner, under a lid -
They, the madmen who did not
Concern themselves with mortality,
And I, the madman who did.
Mani, I Name You
Mani is still with us,
Divested of titles,
Lenity his vestment,
Salvation in simplicity,
Martyred by Zoroaster.
His spirit is freed from
The bodily catechumen,
Now growing tomatoes
On a lake in Burma.
Mother Shipton’s Prophecy
Children, have you heard the news?
Better mind your P’s and Q’s.
In eighteen hundred eighty one,
The world to an end will surely come.
Time has all ran out, you see?
Since Mother Shipton’s prophecy.
Blinded By The Light
Blinded by the light,
Afraid of finding bogies in the night,
He holds his tattered blanket tight,
Says, "I’m no ape.
There must be some mistake.
Just look at the way my banners drape.
I’ve had all the truth I’m going to take.
Of mud I’m made.
I’m a higher grade
Than other animals are.
Why, if I had an ark,
I’d take all the believers and embark,
And find a twinkling star."
A Mystery For The Sphinx
She takes a self-righteous stand,
Upbraids Cheops for his pile of sand.
The futile waste of energy,
The gross abuse of liberty,
A pyramid of lies,
Within her raging head, she decries.
And with her moral sensitivity writhing,
She walks in a church, and pays her tithing.
Somnifacient den of thieves,
Pernicious lies are poison,
False hope a dying contagion.
The garden’s trees have many leaves.
A serpent’s bite is quite fatal,
Plain bread the only anodyne,
Veracity the finest wine,
And dulled conscience merely lethal.
Where’s The Resurrection?
Where’s the resurrection?
It’s time for insurrection!
Listen, all you seers!
I don’t want to blow your optimism.
I have no use for moral schism.
But, God, it’s been two thousand years!
Thy Only Kingdom
Solace thy thirst in wisdom.
Succor thy mind in learning,
For riches of knowledge yearning.
Let truth be thy only kingdom.
I’ll take mine undiluted;
No water, no ice,
No sweetener, no spice.
Give it to me straight.
It’s more easily computed,
Bitter and pure
As a prepaid whore.
A straight dose is better to follow;
Harder to stomach, but easier to swallow.
I live in a realm of thunder,
Where the elements rage,
And deities plunder.
Here, all certainty is blunder.
Molecules reach an age,
and crack wide asunder.
It seems to me no great wonder
That in the final stage
All shall be swept under.
Bubbling, troubled, multitudes wash
Restlessly from ancient depths of slime.
Lives lost in the steaming mists of time
Swell up on a gurgling burbling swash,
Yearning to be free as air, from scum
Churning, loosened from their sludgy slum.
Arise, antediluvian hosts!
Avaunt forever, primordial ghosts!
A Sage Shall Find
"Son," said the sage,
"Some age with age.
Some find a wage.
Some find rage.
Some find themselves in a cage.
But a sage is sage,
Sees just another page,
Sees time binds all things
With strands of sticky strings,
And freedom no longer rings,
Except the kind that death brings.
In the end, my friend,
A sage shall find
That when we attest to see things best,
We are blind."
How empty is fame!
What did Alexander gain?
A few deeds in books remain.
Naught is the worth of a name -
A footnote, a blotch, a stain!
Then for what should I aim?
For tranquillity I shall take pain,
Peace of mind never wavering, never wane -
The universe and I, one and the same.
Poised against eternal night,
The sun burns forth volcanic light,
Dauntless in his titanic fight.
Darkness, wise with senescence,
Bides the raging luminescence,
Knowing the limit of essence.
Puppy, prancing on the lawn,
Nestling, sniffing at the air,
Wobbly-legged suckling fawn,
Curious warm kitten there,
Beware the danger! You should
Not stare wide-eyed at the sky.
Do not play with bad and good.
Stay where you are. Don’t ask why.