The Ballad of Bad Luck Joe (or) A Whale With Much to Bewail

Eels and seals, buddy Joe…oh, I think I might know
Yes, I think I might know why your tummy’s so sore
Oh for hairy Pete’s sake, good compadre, tough break
I’m afraid you just swallowed a human

What was that, cheerless chum? Yeah, well, where I come from
All the whales tell some tales about humanish folk
Maybe songs of hot doom when they come with harpoons
But a lot of the stories were comedy

And the one common thread that ran through all they said?
It’s that humans are smart, but they surely aren’t wise
They will make their bold plans to impress fellow man
Then they end up inside a whale’s belly

What does all of this mean for the one near your spleen?
Well, I wish I had sunnier news to convey
Here’s the positive part: he’ll most likely depart
But what damage will he leave behind?

Will he tickle your throat with an oar from his boat?
Or instead fill your head up with smoke from a fire?
Well, whatever he’ll do will be no good for you
That’s a thing that I sadly can promise

But the worst of the worst (if you don’t, in fact, burst)
Will be all of the garbage that he leaves behind
And for weeks, Joe, your breath will smell awful as death
Because men are smart, foolish…and dirty

Someplace Else

Gentle rain drip-drooping over rocks
In the stream that winds near my house
The scene wreathed in giddy greenery
And woven with knobbly, gnarly roots
Reminded me of my childhood
When I believed that The Hobbit
And The Wind in the Willows
The tales of Winnie the Pooh
And Frog and Toad are Friends
All took place in the same world
(In some beaverly corner of Narnia)
And I was quite sure that the land
Of Badger and Bilbo and the rest
While not “real”…not exactly
Was both wide and homely
Green and inviting as summer
A place where I would very much like
To while away a bit of my precious time
(And every now and then, I surely did)


and self-centered
are not the same thing

so persist
so resist
the voice that chastens
for seeking within

the road to understanding
and to compassion
toward others

passes through the land
of growing
to know
and to be kind
to ourselves

when i sit
in silence
when i confer with a friend
or with a counselor

when i probe
my own past
or when i try
to fathom my mind
in this moment

i’m not taking anything
from others
and one gem is preserved
for myself as well

tomorrow’s me
will always remain
a mystery

A Vigil Song

Well the horse, she escaped nigh twenty days ago
But we’re told she’s been seen in these parts, and so
Now the bulldog and me, we are setting up a camp
With some apples as lures, a coil of rope, and a lamp

And we wait, and we wait, and we wait
For the coming of the horse

Saw a rustle in the bushes maybe half an hour past
Was a doe (turned out) and golly, she was going fast
‘Part from that it’s been nothing but squirrels and birds
Though the dog barked once at some noise that he heard

And we wait, and we wait, and we wait
For the coming of the horse

Then as sudden as a thunderclap the horse charged up
And she froze stock still on seeing me and the pup
I approached her with an apple held out in my left hand
She spied the rope in my right, spun and ran to beat the band

And we wait, and we wait, and we wait
For the coming of the horse

what we harbor

boats and doubts, mainly
so i got to thinking
back there somewhere
in the annals of language
someone must have thought
“these things are related”

doubts, like boats
keep us afloat
they prevent us from sinking
into the deep waters
of certainty

where it isn’t necessary
to breathe
because all of the air
was taken in
and processed
long ago
and then exhaled
in precisely
the correct way

doubts take us places
we don’t always harbor them
we take the wheel of our doubts
and we sail them someplace new
new to us
maybe new to everyone

if we’re brave
perhaps we’ll drop anchor
and go ashore
and explore
and make further

when we turn our doubts around
and captain them home
and share our newfound treasures
with the home port folk
sometimes they throw
a welcome party

but not usually

that’s ok though
because it’s only when
we get back to port
that we can harbor our doubts
like we’re supposed to

i guess
because linguistics

unlimited data; one low price

i’m afraid
i have some bad news

the scans are back
and your brain

we don’t like
to use the word

your brain
it’s not normal

also your eyes
and optic nerve

they all seem to have
been reconfigured

in line with new

reshaped specifically
it appears
for focus

focus on a rectangle
roughly nine by sixteen
in ratio

in front of your

just about here

it’s not that you can’t
pay attention

it’s just that
you probably

the good news is
your rectangle can

it can do portrait
and landscape

so it won’t always
be exactly
the same

what’s that?
you ask if there’s a cure

well, yes
yes, there is a cure


you’re not going to like it

Of Jesus and Tinúviel

The Son of God
The story goes
Accepted death
Upon the cross
And in three days
He rose again
Regaining immortality

And Lúthien Tinúviel
Of legend
Did surrender
Her eternal destiny
To live a finite life
Beside her Beren
Who was mortal man

In every time and place
There have been those
Who gave their lives
For love
Or to save others
They were human
Not high elves or deities

I wonder how it feels
To be immortal
Facing death or bounded time
I wonder more
About the human being
Sacrificing this
Her only life

Blood Trilogy

The Blood of the Wolf (624 DE)

We are the Wolf, and we
Are fashioned to be free

We never shall submit
To Lions’ “lordly” rule

By pure tradition’s breath
We are the folk who roam

The Lions say this land
Belongs to them alone

They drive us from our camps
Our warriors’ blood they spill

They hunt our game for sport
They dam our rivers’ course

They take our boys as slaves
They take our girls for worse

No pain nor chains nor death
Will cease our sacred fight!

The Blood of the Lion (628 DE)

The House of Lion’s sole desire
Is our own freedom to survive
And flourish! Our small landed household
Merely seeks to feed our folk!

And yet the Empire’s evil boot
Descends relentlessly to crush
Our heads beneath its iron heel
These Dragons care not for our lives

They tax our grain, our oil, our wine
Until what’s left is not enough
To keep our family and hirelings
From the threshold of starvation

Our young men they press to service
Fighting wars in far-flung countries
Our young women they demand
As tribute for their royal harems

No oppression e’er will stop us
Striving for our noble pride!

The Blood of the Dragon (635 DE)

We are the Dragon; we are born to rule
We bear this burden with humility
Our yoke is not unduly harsh nor cruel
The Empire’s nothing save its folk…you see?

So hear us when we say our heart is torn
By these attacks that seek to bring us down
What animals would steal a babe just born
And float it home upon the river, drowned?

Or worse, kidnap a child, which is returned
Enchanted with some vile, unholy spell
That waits for nearby kin, their joy well-earned
Then levels miles around with fire from hell?

It matters not what wilds we need lay waste
The terror of these Wolves will be erased

The End of Poetry

On the ides of NaPoWriMo
I thought things were going groovy
Ah, but little did I know
That they’d decided to rise up

I had no inkling nor suspicion
That my verses would attack me
Not until they showed up holding knives
(Keen, cutting words indeed!)

I am hiding on the next blank page
There isn’t any cover
But I like it here – it’s language-free
Except…I just can’t hold my tongue

And now I am surrounded
I can read the writing on the wall
Oh, which of my creations will
Now execute this sentence dire?

Et tu, “The End of Poetry”? Et tu?