Cutpurse And Cutthroat

A pocketful of sharp pens and knives,
each a thing that can end many lives,
but when I ponder which is the best
I take the largest knife to the test—
two or three people may surely die
before I catch the policeman’s eye
whereas a pen can legally kill
MILLIONS with a legislative bill
that seeks to cut taxes for a few
while the poor who make less revenue
slave away at labors ever worse
for the sake of a CEO’s purse,
whether cutting safety at the mills
so the machinery comes off its wheels
and goes falling down, crushing workmen
into puddles of red jam, or when
the concrete mix is not up to snuff
and collapses from the mountain bluff,
or the insulin cost soars so high
it outstrips blood-sugar, by and by.
Look, an ounce of ink, or maybe less,
can make one hell of a bloody mess
and make more money from sacrifice
to Mammon, that god of wealth and vice,
and that is why the coin and the pen
are in the pockets of congressmen
and why a thief with a bloody blade
is not half so bad as thieves “self-made”.

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.

The Priest And The Pig

There was a Priest who lived in a town— a town very much like any in Colonial America. His favorite refrain was “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, and so he often exhorted his flock to bathe at least once every three days for healthiness of body and soul. These ablutions were not so well-received by the townsfolk. They resented taking baths, and they resented the Priest’s ideals concerning cleanliness, and often laughed about their pigs wistfully and how they wallowed so happily in their own filth.
One day a pig farmer asked the priest a question.
“If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then you, being a priest, should be able to clean a pig and keep it clean, shouldn’t you?”
The Priest took the challenge to heart and, so, proclaimed he would clean a pig of his own and keep it clean in the pews of the church henceforth. The farmer was so pleased by this bit of mirth-and-merry that he volunteered his own hog to the Priest; a hog whom he had named Donald.
Donald was a large, fat hog with quivering jowls and quick bowels. It was said the farmer had never planned to butcher Donald because his meat would have been too befouled to eat. Donald also made the farmer— and his neighbors—laugh due to his devil-may-care antics of befouling himself and wallowing in it and shaking it about himself in every direction. Seeing the hog, the Priest was dismayed. But he was not deterred. He took charge of the hog and brought Donald home, immediately setting about cleaning the beast with rituals of ablution. Everyday the Priest undertook this Herculean labor, and every day Donald would be clean for a brief time during Mass. Not long later, however, Donald would be covered in his own filth, and so, too, the church pews. Conversely, the Priest spent so much time and effort trying to clean the pig that he, himself, became soiled and sullied as well. Day to day, his holy garbs were ruined by the hog’s disgusting habits, predilections, and impulses.
In time, the townsfolk began to scorn the Priest and his dirty condition. They stopped listening to the Priest while in church, and forewent their own ablutions. Simultaneously, they looked upon Donald fondly and praised him, adulating his cleanliness, even as he spoiled the pews between which he passed, the Priest following behind him to clean away the filth in Donald’s wake.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” they said, remembering the Priest’s refrain. And so they shunned the befouled priest and made Donald the new leader in their church. The Priest despaired at this, and became angry.
“Have you no sense?” he said. “It was by my labors that your pagan idol became as though clean!”
His former flock ignored him, sitting in the pews and listening raptly to Donald’s grunts and oinks and squeals. The Priest raged, vowing never to clean Donald again. Within the same service of Mass the hog had befouled himself, flies swarming him in the hot Summer air while he wallowed upon the dais and squealed. The townsfolk looked on approvingly, yet the Priest attempted to triumph in this revelation before them.
“See you now the iniquity of this squalid beast?!” he cried. “See you now how sullied you yourselves are made with false worship of a glutton and putrid profligate? A creature of basest instincts and inane proclamations?”
The flock was sprayed with filth from Donald as he rolled in his own expulsions, and yet the flock was not so filthy as their new idol.
“But he is a pig,” they said. “Of course he is filthy. And that is why we love him. For he is what he is, and makes us feel better about ourselves. And he makes you angry when all you do is make us feel wanting. You only chastised us to improve ourselves. But we do not need to improve ourselves with Donald leading us. We are cleaner when beneath him than we were when beneath you, for if Donald is closer to God when he is so filthy, why, we must be very close to God right now. Closer than we ever could be with you talking down to us.”
“But it is a god of filth that you aspire to,” the Priest said. “It is a god of baseness to whom you lower yourselves in prostration!”
The flock tried to say more, but Donald’s filth rained downed upon them in a great shower. They praised him as one voice, then cast the Priest out of the town, exiling him to the wilderness as if he was an unclean leper among them.
The American townsfolk lived as pigs, shamelessly, to the end of their days.

Carried Away With Oneself

The townsfolk worried when the river would crest,
knowing it would flood their precious farmlands
and ruin crops before the Summer harvest,
all so fearful it was out of their hands—
that is, all except Donnie, the local fool
who lived in a white house all fading fast
and didn’t know how to discern a plain mule
from a jackass, or from a looking glass.
Anyhow, Donnie had it in his dense head
that he would save the town from the great flood.
“Give me all your buckets,” Donnie loudly said,
“and I will reduce that river to mud.”
Townsfolk thought this a hell of a hoot, all right,
and so they gave him every bucket,
and so Donnie took them to pail, day and night,
at the river, walking far to chuck it
away from the river, out toward the swamp,
where he fancied he made a difference,
even as the locals would laugh and would stomp
to see him so taken with such nonsense.
By and by, the river crested and then ebbed
as the floodwaters flowed farther on South
to the tributaries, watersheds, all webbed
until the river ran dry at the mouth.
The townsfolk were amazed to see such a thing
and praised Donnie for his supposed feat.
“If you are so grateful,” he said, “make me king!”
The townsfolk all knelt down to kiss his feet.
Thereafter Donnie saw to the floodwaters
whenever the rains fell in a torrent,
and he had much to eat, and many daughters
from the townsfolk, though it was abhorrent.
Each year the river rose, Donnie would bear it
with buckets, scooping it by the liters
as proof of his practice and pledge and merit
as the river rose, or fell, by meters.
But then came a year with such heavy rains
that they feared a forty-day flood was nigh
while the river swelled and broke over the plains,
the current swift, the whitewater crest high.
“Donnie! King! Save us!” they all cried out in woe.
Donnie scoffed at the river, wide and vast.
“I’ll right it,” he said, his orange cheeks aglow.
“You just wait and you’ll see! I’ll fix it fast!”
And so he took up his bucket, and his crown,
and he went to the rabid riverside
where he dipped his big, greedy buckets down
into that roaring, racing river tide.
For days he bailed at the river, growing tired,
yet the river only swelled larger still,
the farmlands and the town becoming but mired
in the bloat of that Leviathan swill.
“You are a fraud!” the townsfolk said to their king,
but he never lost faith, too much the fool
to ever doubt himself in any one thing
as he sought to solidify his rule.
And so Donnie worked at his usual pace,
which is to say, slow…lazy…no swifter
than the Hare when sleeping in the fabled race
against the tortoise, that steady drifter.
But the river was both the tortoise and hare,
for it ran swift while staying in its bed,
or else moved steadily outward, here and there;
whichever way its swelling excess led.
And Donnie waded out in the deep, thinking
he needed to get to the river’s heart
to pail out the most, although he was sinking
to his neck—yet still thinking himself smart.
“You won’t ever beat me, river,” Donnie yelled,
choking on whitewater as it tumbled
like the frothy fury of millions that swelled
until Donnie tripped and gagged and fumbled.
And, at a blink, Donnie was swallowed from sight
beneath the currents he thought he mastered—
his crown and buckets were found the next night:
the river will always have the last word.

Lord Of The Golf Rings

Lord of sparkling pyrite illusions,
like Saruman with his many cloaks
projecting power through delusions
and defying the Shepherd of Oaks.
He seeks the end of the Age of Man
and is false idol, and false wizard,
and pollutes all those whom he can,
corrupting Middle-Earth with his word.
Having power through what is believed
by those who kneel beneath his tower,
it is a sleight of hand shadow sleeved
as a showman’s at his premiere hour—
not a power of intelligence,
but of lies, deceits, a con’s bluster
ensorcelling those deprived of sense
as they gaze on a false-gold luster.
And what forces may vie against him
when Mt. Doom rumbles at its distance?
Good men lose faith and the light grows dim
while the elder race flees hither thence.
For Gondor has lost its favored son
and sulks in the shadow of Mordor
while Rohan wastes without direction,
king idle behind a wormwood door.
The Rohirrim, too, ride without aim,
flanking the enemy, to and fro,
almost as if playing a child’s game
rather than defeating their sworn foe.
Wherefore Gandalf? To the very small,
yet for who knows what wizard’s reason
as Hobbits rise to the horn-blast call
for a time in the easy season.
For comfort is the worst evil spell
and is far worse than the Uruk-hai
as it halts the hero from his tale
and aids the tireless, triumphant Eye.

Sword And Sorcery Politics

Words can be as a sharp sword
grasped by the adept tongue
to cut down many a horde,
yet therein among
are foes defter at the thrust
when they fight you, those skilled
beyond your means, so you must
use truth as your shield
to deflect their subtle lies
and such black magic spells
that can kill heroes, likewise,
when a true tongue fails;
for such warlocks can conjure
phantasms of falsehoods
to overmaster hearts pure,
but lost in the woods.
Such conjurers breathe black smoke
to suffocate swordsmen
till they cannot see, and choke,
lost to dark lords when
they use the truth against you,
their alchemic spellcraft
warping facts until untrue—
a dizzying draught.
All you can do, then, is bow—
bow to truth’s fickle blade
and maybe survive, somehow,
perhaps by the aid
of a good PR wizard
whose power extends
to charisma points, his word
a spell that rescinds
the curse that has unmanned you,
whether from your false foe
or by your own false hand, too,
for he may well know
the coveted counter-curse
to restore your honor
or keep it from getting worse…
Nope, you’re a goner.

Medley

Viewing
Most human thought is
best left unseen, like a closed
casket funeral.

Prayers
Never had he once prayed for rain
to strengthen the crops in any field;
but to mock the tears of the slain
and drown the graves of the men he had killed.

The Sailor’s Curse
“Cranky Christ on a crook’d cross
wi’ a crotch full o’ itchin’ crab!”
he said after tasting her special fish sauce.
She punched him in his belly flab,
at which he was at a complete loss.
She said to him, “Watch ‘er goddamn gab!”

The Biggest Predator
The twin seastacks rose from the salivating surf,
pale, jagged sandstone towering above the earth,
and through the frothy ocean, like a tongue between,
the ghost of the world that was could be seen
in the backwash waves that thrashed up and fell away,
terrible creatures swarmed within the spittle spray—
they tore at one another within a bloody tide,
bickered and bit, fought and fed and died,
all dissolving within those tumultuous waves,
even the largest among them but simple slaves,
for they were the feast and the furor of Mother Nature
who devours all creatures, despite her nomenclature.

Simple-Minded Stories
Rinse and condense—
no space on the
bumper sticker
for nuance or context;
black and white bullet points should proliferate
but reiterate only one thing:
we good, they bad.
Let me tell you a farfetched fairytale
easy enough for a child to follow:
Once upon a time
in a faraway kingdom
we good,
they bad.
The end.
People throughout history have loved such
tribalistic myths,
but I fail to follow the bandwagon.
The stakes are so high,
yet the plot so thin
and the characters dehumanized
beyond any personality.
I cannot suspend disbelief
as the contrivances compound
in the lazy storytelling.
Here’s a truer story
with more substance to it
than the cliche plot
that has been told again and again
throughout history:
Once upon a time
some people thought life would be
easier
if they had to think less—
the end.
Except that last part is fiction
because this story has never ended.

Bible Babble
You
renounce Babylon everyday,
but should it truly displease you
take up hermitage in the
Appalachian Mountains,
comforted by the holy works
you cherish
and never bludgeon the brains
of others with your cherished Book;
do not banish the vices or voices
as if misremembering that
Jesus overthrew Caesar;
no,
rather,
he banished himself, outcast
in ascendance.
So, run to the hills
and in your sacred pilgrimage
keep a vow of silence,
otherwise you profane the Word
with that which you would
condemn Babylon.
For when in
Babylon
you are a Babylonian
even as you preach against its temples,
but worse,
for you are a holier-than-thou
hypocrite.
You have a
stained-glass heart,
and how easily shattered
the panes are—
as easily as any glass house
David might live in
as he readies his stones.
Stop cowering in the skirts of
the Great Whore
and venture out into the
Wilderness
should you be in earnest—
do not return.
Do not preach, at one moment,
against the sins of your Mistress
and at the next moment
sleep in a Babylonian bed.
Become the martyr to your purported
puritanism.
Go now:
go steeled in your faith.