THE WRITE BROTHERS

Ancient Sumerians wrote in cuneiform;
Ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphics.
Ancient Americans write in cursive form;
Impatient physicians write in hieroglyphics.

As an ancient American who still writes poems in cursive form, I wish my fellow fathers everywhere a Happy Father’s Day. 

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ZEE POET OR ZEE COMIC – WHICH EEZ MORE MORONIC?

In my April Fools’ Day post, I noted that April is NATIONAL HUMOR MONTH. As a poet of sorts, wouldn’t it be funny if April also happened to be NATIONAL POETRY MONTH?

Well, as you might guess,
it turns out that, yes,
that is the case….
and this is the place
where poetry and funny
join together as oney
until death do them party
or are doomed from the starty
by comic rigor mortis
or a poet out of sortis.

Oui, mon ami — this is going to be a post which joins zee art of zee poet with zee art of zee comic, and if you don’t like zee combinaison, you can lump eet. What’s more, I’ll do more such posts, zee likes of which will have you begging for merci. So if you know what’s not good for you, you’ll take eet and like eet….or take eet and fake eet. I’m not particular. (I’m also not hungry — I think I eet too much.)

Understand, I’m not one of those poets who doesn’t understand what he has written, but somehow expects zee reader to. Non, mon ami, I understand perfectly what I have written. It’s YOU who I expect hasn’t a clue. Why is that true? I have no clue. And, frankly my dear, I don’t give a fous (pardon my French).

Unfortunately, I see that my allotted time for this post is almost up, so zee funny poems I was going to publish here must wait until next time, for which I apologize. Thank you for your very kind attention….or, as zee Hoosier Hot Shots more etiquettely and poetically put it:

VERSES WITH CURSES

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May the devil write your obituary in weasel’s piss. –old Irish curse

Hold on — how did that get there? Either the devil made me do it, or me computer is up to no good (which wouldn’t be the first time). To be sure, me fine lads and lassies, this post is about curses in verses, but a curse alone does not a poem make. As for that derelict curse above, there are no weasels in Ireland unless you count the sloat (which is often mistaken for a weasel) or the lowly human (which often acts like a weasel, but technically is not).

Be that as it may, I haven’t got all (St. Patrick’s) day, so let’s get on with it. Here is a cultivated selection of VERSES WITH CURSES which, not least among its Hibernian virtues, could serve to show America’s petulant President how to insult his inferiors with a bit more savoir fairy (class, in plain English) than is typical in his limited vocabulary:

THE CURSE by John Millington Synge

Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.

Let her live to earn her dinners
In Mountjoy with seedy sinners:
Lord, this judgment quickly bring,
And I’m your servant, J. M. Synge.

from THE CURSE OF DONERAILE by Patrick O’Kelly

Alas! how dismal is my tale,
I lost my watch in Doneraile.
My Dublin watch, my chain and seal,
Pilfered at once in Doneraile.
May Fire and Brimstone never fail,
To fall in showers on Doneraile.
May all the leading fiends assail
The thieving town of Doneraile,
As lightnings flash across the vale,
So down to Hell with Doneraile.
The fate of Pompey at Pharsale,
Be that the curse of Doneraile.
May beef, or mutton, lamb or veal
Be never found in Doneraile,
But garlic soup and scurvy kale
Be still the food of Doneraile.
And forward as the creeping snail,
Th’ industry be, of Doneraile.
May ev’ry churn and milking pail
Fall dry to staves in Doneraile.
May cold and hunger still congeal
The stagnant blood of Doneraile.
May ev’ry hour new woes reveal
That Hell reserves for Doneraile.
May ev’ry chosen ill prevail
O’er all the imps of Doneraile.
May not one prayer or wish avail
To sooth the woes of Doneraile.
May the Inquisition straight impale
The rapparees of Doneraile.
May curse of Sodom now prevail
And sink to ashes Doneraile.
May Charon’s Boat triumphant sail
Completely manned from Doneraile.
Oh! may my couplets never fail
To find new curse for Doneraile.
And may grim Pluto’s inner jail
Forever groan with Doneraile.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER by James Stephens

The lanky hank of a she over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer:
May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair,
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will see
On virtue’s path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked on me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master, he’d give me a cask a day;
But she, with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.

THE CURSE OF NOT BEING IRISH by mister O’muse

And so we can see, Donald T.,
What the problem may well be:
In your entire immigrant ancestry,
Of Irish blood, you’re entirely free.

But on St. Patrick’s Day, luckily,
Every man is an Irishman, glory be!
So depart for today from your family tree,
Uproot this curse, branch out, and be free!

From ass act to class act, verily
This very day, you can transformed be….
Therefore, by virtue of the Irish in me,
I dub thee, please God, President Donald O’T.

 

A READER WANTS TO KNOW….

THE ART OF THE REAL

“Would you explain your writing to me?”
“Certainly — I write what I see.”

“So, what you see is what you say?”
“In my mind, I see it that way.”

“But things aren’t always what they seem.”
“In that case, I write what I dream.”

“Pray, how to tell the two apart?”
“Some might say, therein’s the art.”

“Then, that’s the art — to part the two?”
“No, that’s the part that’s up to you.”

“Up to me? But you’re the writer!”
“Truth be told, aren’t you the decider?”

 

WINTERDREAM

A homeless man in his 50s was found frozen to death the morning after Christmas at a downtown bus stop in the city I call home….though it might have been any city on earth where cold weather reigns this time of year.  Local homeless advocates said he was known to them: a drug addict who recently relapsed after staying clean for several months.

The homeless here have no ‘home’ in which to stay (homeless shelters are open only overnight, not all day), but each one has a name, a face, and (no doubt at some point in his or her life) a dream. The frozen man’s name was Ken Martin. His face was invisible. His dream? Perhaps it was something along the lines of this poem I wrote years ago:

WINTERDREAM

Suppose a homeless man came upon
what survived of a tattered old jacket,
abandoned, like himself,
to the elements….
and in that tattered garment,
crumpled up inside a pocket,
a winning lottery ticket
might transform his existence.

But first, that paper future must be
found, and then, having been found,
not tossed like litter to the gutter,
unopened and unexamined.
Let us further suppose
the deadline to claim its prize
was coming at midnight
of that very day.

That night, in winter’s turn,
the man had a dream
that he could live his life
all over again,
knowing in his lost youth
what he knew now
so that all the choices
and hidden chances
of wasted turning points
again lay open before him.

But the thought made him cringe
— regret was a fire
that gave pain without heat.
He awoke in cold sweat
to the taste of snow
on the cracks of his lips,
pulling tight the collar
of today’s good fortune.
What luck to have found
a buffer against fate.

 

 

 

RHYMES AT RANDOM

In a comment to my last post (CERF’S UP), I raised the possibility of re-publishing several of my poetic baubles from THE RANDOM HOUSE TREASURY OF LIGHT VERSE. Generous soul that I am, suppose I add a bonus of bangles and beads to the baubles….for man does not live by words alone, but with the inspiration of Blyth spirit beautifully begetting beguiling music, without which our Kismet (fate) would be drab indeed:

Yes, my friends, I have rhymes — or, conversely, should I say….

And now, having strung my lead-in out this far / I wish upon a wishing star / to make appear my Random rhymes / from the pages of bygone times. / These rhymes abode in poems four / nothing less and nothing more / but not having used up all my string / I’ll save one of the poems for my next post-ing:

LOVER BOY

Narcissus was too perfect for sex or pelf —
He longed only to gaze in love at himself….
The moral of which is that, even in myths,
Too much reflection may be your nemesis.

THE BOOK OF WISDOM

Thou shalt not commit adultery;
Nor shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s spouse.
Shouldst thou succumbeth to temptation,
Thou shalt not do it in thy neighbor’s house.

CONCEIVABLY, THE COMPLEAT HISTORY OF HUMAN SEX

Adam and Eve,
I believe,
Were the start of it.

Everyone since,
I’m convinced,
Played a part in it.

NOTE: Ann Blyth, who played Marsinah (daughter of The Poet, played by Howard Keel) in the film version of Kismet, is one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

 

 

CERF’S UP

In his comment to 20/20 BEHINDSIGHT (my May 20 post which contained a look back at TWENTY QUESTIONS), long-time blog buddy Don Frankel mentioned WHAT’S MY LINE? (another old TV game show). It so happens that one of the regulars on that show, humor writer and publisher (co-founder of RANDOM HOUSE) Bennett Cerf had chosen the 25th of May (1898) to be born; thus, today I honor his birthday by posting a selection of favorite Cerf puns and quotes (and high time I returned the favor, considering that lo, some twenty-plus years ago, RANDOM HOUSE published several of my poems in THE RANDOM HOUSE TREASURY OF LIGHT VERSE).

But first, let’s take a look back at one of the WHAT’S MY LINE? programs from the same year as the TWENTY QUESTIONS clip shown in my previous post:

There is little question, I think you’ll agree, that WHAT’S MY LINE? was a step up in class compared to TWENTY QUESTIONS…..so it’s time to hit the Cerf (as beach bums refer to the swells) and ride the wave….to wit:

Gross ignorance is 144 times worse than ordinary ignorance.

The confused young man couldn’t decide whether to marry Kathryn or Edith. Try as he might, he just could not make up his mind. Unwilling to give up either, he strung them along far too long. This indecision continued until both women tired of the situation and left him for good. Moral of the story: You can’t have your Kate and Edith too.

Then there was the young female comic who was promised good roles in a hit TV show. All she had to do was divide her favors between the star and the producer. But it was just a sham; she never got any air time at all. You might even say she was….shared skit less.

There once was a student named Bessor
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all
And today he’s a college professor.

The Detroit String Quartet played Brahms last night. Brahms lost.

I shouldn’t be surprised  — it was four against one.

And on that note, I bid thee a fond fare well.