C’est La Vie Sucre

The Empress Josephine had all the pearls
that a woman could want around her neck,
wealth envied by ladies and dukes and earls,
like the treasure from a galleon wreck,
yet below-deck, behind her crimson mouth,
the sugarcane sweets from her hometown isle
on Martinique, down in the Carib South,
had rotted her teeth brown behind her smile—
brown like molasses, and no pearls could hide
the oyster-halitosis in her quips,
for though the empire fetched pearls far and wide,
she had no pearls within her foul clam lips.

The High Priest

A fly rests on the head of US Vice President Mike Pence as he takes notes during the vice presidential debate against US Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California Kamala Harris in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Behold! The most high priest
speaking false-tongued fictions
in a sprawl of corpses, a feast
to earn benedictions
from great Beelzebub,
the Hell Prince, Lord of Flies
who blesses maggot, worm, and grub,
and all death-fed likewise.

Disenchanted (Expanded)

The fairies prance within my kilt

for she’s a lass bonnie built,

but when she kicked to dance a lay

she broke the wind—my fairies fled away.

But why fault such a lovely lass

her eagerness and a bit of gas?

Taking hold, then, I kiss her mute

and my fairies flee away at her toot.

To the chapel we go anon

with her bridal gown flowing on,

and at the altar love is vowed,

but my fairies flee when she farts aloud.

Across the threshold of my home

which is a cottage made of loam,

I carry the love of my life,

but the fairies sniff, groan, and flee my wife.

Upon my bed I lay her down

and from her breasts I doff her gown;

we make love sweet, gentle, and kind,

yet the pressure escapes out her behind.

A long life we live together,

in fair, fairer, fairest weather,

but the fairies remain outdoors

by day or night, for she farts as she snores.

Growing old, my lass never stops,

resounding through the mountaintops

of the highlands, lowlands, and all,

scaring the fairies with her war horn’s call.

But I never will mind her smell,

though oft like the sulphurs of Hell,

so why fret if my bonnie lass

wards fairies with her will o’ the wisp gas?

For in winter when cold winds blow

and the hearth is warm with fire’s glow

she lights it brighter with her fart

and warms me up body and soul, and heart.

It’s All Greek To Me

When you wear that frowning mask and speak,

it is, to me, nothing but gibberish, Greek,

and though you claim to be a tragedienne

I see you as nought but a comedian

like Aristophanes and his tale of frogs

or Priapos sporting his big phallic logs;

nor could any deus ex machina save

you from the shameless melodrama you crave

while you appeal to the chorus in strophe

to win you your Dionysian trophy.

Though you claim a Stygian monopoly,

your woes are less like that of Thermopylae

and more like Artemisia upon her prow,

lost to hysterics, smashing fleets like a plow.

Euripides grants no ambiguity

about your woes, or any gratuity;

he would offer you not one word of solace

while the mad mobs chased you out of the polis,

nor would Sophocles offer you a short verse

of sympathy for your much-lamented curse —

he would invite the Great Sphinx to devour you

or entomb you with Electra, out of view.

Aeschylus could not pity you any less,

sending after your sobs the Erinyes.

And poor old Homer, though so blind to the task,

could see how loose you wear that aggrieving mask,

thinking you like a Paris as you flee, thus,

from your lover ’s first husband, Menelaus.

Oh, but the Greeks haven ’t enough of such tales

to match your sobs and moans and woebegone wails,

so perhaps I should look to later, to Rome,

and therein find you a theatrical home

far from the fall of Troy, the Aeneid now,

the rise of Rome, or Augustus, anyhow,

and tracing Virgil to Catullus, in time,

and on to Ovid and each beautiful rhyme —

not to praise you, my persona non grata,

nor any of the other automata

that imitate tragedy out of boredom

like a debauchee lounging in his whoredom,

but to show how drama and poetry mean

more than an actor speaking lines for a scene.

Deicidal Laughter

It is not that great a wonder

that so many preachers should fear

sheep not fearing their god ’s thunder,

so they whip at them, year to year,

to bleed their sense of good humor

out of them with barbed briar tongues,

to cut it out, like a tumor,

and remove laughter from the lungs.

For nothing kills gods so easy

as laughter in an idol ’s face,

whether full-throated or wheezy,

razing all gods from time and space.

Do not look to philosophy

or science to achieve the kill;

to earn you your hunter ’s trophy

humor is god ’s Achilles heel.

Downwind

Downwind
Thinking himself quite tall
and claiming the high ground,
he loomed over them all
from atop a dung mound.
“You’re beneath me,” he said,
“and you always will be.”
Bible in hand, he read
from Deuteronomy.
“So circumcise your heart,”
he said, “and be not...stiff...”
then choked on the next part,
getting too big a whiff
of the shit neath his shoes,
as did his would-be flock
who left, as so behooves
those sickened by shit talk.
“Wait!” he cried, but then coughed
at the odor blowing
with the wind, now aloft,
and the heat now glowing
amidst the Summer sky
beaming with its full fire,
bringing tears to each eye
and worse than any mire.
“By God!,” the man exclaimed,
“and by Moses and Christ,
and all who yet be named,
this is a true shite-geist!”
He wavered a moment,
feeling faint at the smell,
but rallied as he went
though the smell did but swell.
“Yet, I shall reprimand
this age of foulest souls
and purge this goodly land
until the church bell tolls
to declare all so pure
as a Godly town might...”
He gagged as the manure
stank in the hot sunlight.
Rallying once again
from atop his dais,
he preached against all sin,
saying, “Lord God, stay us
from temptation, from lust,
from envy and from wrath,
show us works we will trust
and show us the right path.”
Then pointing at a boy
passing by with a book,
he vowed then to destroy
all sinners with a look
should they read any tome
that was not the Bible,
but the boy went on home
and cared not of “high bull”.
A girl then passed in grace
with ribbons fine and fair
and the preacher’s green face
burned bright red with a glare.
“Vanity is thy name!
Forsake earthly treasures
or it will be thy shame
in Heaven, these pleasures!”
The girl pinched her nose
and gave him a wide berth,
fearing to ruin clothes
more than her soul on earth.
The preacher loathed the cloth
of her pink dress as well,
saying “Beware the moth
that nibbles souls in Hell!”
The girl did not glance back,
but hastened to the downs,
keen to practice her knack
for sewing pretty gowns.
And many a more soul
did the preacher condemn,
the world together, whole—
leaf and bloom, root and stem.
“Foul!  Foul!  So foul indeed!
This world stretched beneath me!
An iniquitous seed
felled from the Fruitful Tree!”
He stomped deep in the mound
as if ‘twas what he scorned,
kicking filth all around
like a bullshitter, horned.
“As a Joshua tree
will my belief so grow
from this filth beneath me
and the faith that I show!”
All day he preached thereon
till sun slept and moon fell,
and though he bathed till dawn
he could not shake the smell.
“The iniquities last,
ever without reprieve
as shadows from the past
cast by Adam and Eve.”
He thought it a trial
from which others might learn,
yet his wife thought it vile—
a circumstance to spurn.
“If you are so holy,”
she said, “be a saint
no more roly-poly.
Wash away your foul taint!”
“Tis the taint of the world!”
he said, “and follows thus!”
She screamed at him, then hurled
a pan, raising a fuss.
“Out!  Out!” she cried, “Out, swine!
I cannot endure you!
Were I not wedded thine
I would marry anew!”
The preacher fled thither,
backside aching from blows,
and felt his heart wither,
as did his crinkling nose.
“The stench persists,” he said,
walking the country lane,
knowing not where to head
while stench brimmed in his brain.
“Now I am an exile
from out my own good home,
prey to some devil’s wile
and forever to roam!”
Angrier than before,
the preacher returned now
to the high mound once more
with a complacent brow.
“Still do your sins smell!”
he proclaimed, hands aloft.
“And will thus unto Hell
when sulphur and fire waft!
Raise your heads up to me,
and know the higher ground,
for I stand above thee,
a sermon on the mound!”
For the rest of his days
the mad preacher lectured,
decrying the world’s ways
while retching on each word.

A Few Humorous Poems

Riches
“Worry not for worldly wealth,” the priest said,
“for your riches lay beyond Heaven’s Gate.”
The priest then counted his flock, head by head,
and, pleased, sent around the collection plate.

Puppetry
The ventriloquist had not half the skill
to throw his voice from a wooden throat,
so he chose to work on Capitol Hill
as a lobbyist, becoming the GOAT.

Get Bent
A contortionist of world-wide renown
was giving a performance much lauded
when she suddenly stopped and then stepped down
from the bright stage as the crowd applauded.
Waiting till the audience fell quiet,
she pointed to a man among the crowd,
directing the spotlight till he was lit—
an embarrassed man to whom she now bowed.
She said, “Here’s a man who twists more than me,
more than anything, even a serpent,
as he lies on the phone so easily.”
The man tried to speak, but she said, “Get bent.”

Much In Common
They adored him as a Rock god of sex
in the Seventies, his groupie harem
birthing the next generation, (Gen X),
who also shared his favor among them.

Funeral Crasher

The young man flew like Shakespeare’s Ariel
from woman to woman, with great flair,
himself more center-stage at the burial
than the man for whom they had gathered there.

He wore his tears like badges of honor
as he reminisced vaguely about the dead,
talking to each woman, and prevailing upon her
to embrace him, support him, bosom to head.

The coup de gras was the dirge that he sang
as if to conjure from air a chorus of sylphs
in accompaniment, yet his lovely voice rang
not for sorrow or pain, but for the MILF’s.

For he knew the flow of sorrow’s tears
was as good a lubricant for the ruse of Love
as any seduction by charms or beers
and so he sang smoothly, sweet as a dove.

Alas, while he sang without any shame
and with a talent that was duly silver-voiced,
he also sang proudly the wrong man’s name
and immediately dried up all that was moist.

Realizing his deceit, the mourners rebelled,
cutting short his golden-throated verses
and taking him by his arms, whereby held,
he was tied up and put into one of the hearses.

The funeral director said he would see justice done
and so drove the funeral crasher far away
until the hours flew by, and down came the sun
at the coffin-like darkening of the day.

The director was a pale man with a narrow face,
neither young or old, but seemingly ageless,
and he had an accent which nobody could place,
his hair slicked back and his eyes sagacious.

At length they came to a graveyard on a hill
far from the city, in the moonlit countryside
where many people had gathered until
the hilltop was crowded, all around a bride.

The nary-do-well was untied and brought out
and taken to the bride that awaited him there—
a paper-pale woman with her lips in a pout
of fangs, her eyes unblinking with an undead stare.

The funeral director grinned, his fangs agleam,
and he said, “You celebrate Death as we all do—
as an occasion for Love, an advantageous scheme
whereby joy is had while others only rue.

“Thus you will join us in our blood-linked clan
and live eternally, wed to my niece, Natalia,
thriving in shadows, feeding upon Man,
from now and forever a vampire, nox fatalia.”

The young man was brought before the bride,
and she pulled him close to her fetid face,
and no matter how much the young man tried
he could not free himself from her embrace.

As her lips parted, however, and her fangs flashed,
there arose a warcry as men flanked the hill,
their guns firing while their silver swords slashed
at the guests that had gathered in the dewy chill.

The young man was agog with confusion and fright
as a stake entered the bride that held him to her,
Natalia withering unto dust beneath the moonlight—
he ran as fast as he could, slipping in cow manure.

A vampire hunter approached, looming while astride
a horse as pale as Death, the moon at his back.
“I’m not a vampire!” the young man cried and cried,
but the hunter granted the rake no slack.

The young man tried to flee, but slipped once again,
falling as the hunter dismounted his ominous horse
and raised a hammer and stake, aiming to pin
him to the darksome earth without remorse.

Awaking as the stake struck his heart,
the young man found himself at the black gate
to the graveyard where he had plied his art
to women in mourning— the hour now late.

It had been a dream, but his neck still ached
where the mourners had tossed him out on his head;
standing up, he realized it was not good to be staked
out at funerals— a dating app might work better instead.

Awkweird

Like a baby shower
at an abortion clinic
I have always been awkward
and a little weird.

I am bathos personified,
a schizophrenic dramedy
without pacing or direction
or pertinence to the narrative—
a fart joke
in the middle of a love triangle,
or a food fight
while the hero proposes to his
damsel.

I am
a headstone for your
grandma’s birthday party
because I have been told
that forethought
should be appreciated.

I am
a streaker caught
in a Black Friday swarm
pressed between angry mothers
with impatient children
and wondering where
he put his wallet.

I am
a self-avowed atheist
invited to say Grace
at a company picnic,
and I am
like nervous laughter
during a hostage negotiation,
the muzzle against my temple.

I am
an errant boner
in swimming trunks
while at the public pool,
or a bit of broccoli in the teeth
of a president speaking
of impending war;
a fan invited on stage
to sing a song
and spacing-out on the lyrics
with the microphone broadcasting loudly
my static-crackling forgetfulness
as I hem and haw
in beatbox rhythm.

I am
an unarmed Security guard
asking to see a real cop’s ID
and a
gangly stork
among a flock of flamingos;
a boot put on backwards
and sliding off to reveal
a peg leg.
Sometimes I feel
like the universe’s punchline,
and yet nobody laughs at the joke
because I am just too weird and awkward.