Ignis Fatuus

Ignis fatuus, a fickle fire
leading fools astray with his glow—
leading them into the fetid mire
where swamp creatures lurk below.

Flickering in the deceptive dark,
he draws lost people to his light
for despair, for anger, for a lark
as they wander the uncertain night.

Fanged creatures gibber and howl,
expecting a feast most gruesome
when he glows where they prowl,
all eager for the meals to come.

Drain the swamp? He will not,
for Foolish Fire needs slime to exist;
he would fade away without the rot
and the putrid gas in the mist.

So beware the flame among the muck,
popular though he is, somehow,
or you will fall in and get stuck
like millions who stumble after him now.

Beach Stranding

Strapped to the fabled White Whale,
Ahab rode his flanks inland
where waves wove a trail
along golden beaches of sand.

The ebbing tides receded quickly,
leaving the carcass now moored
and the stench rose so thickly
that Ahab struggled and roared.

“O fickle leviathan of Fate!”
he cried, all futility.
“You took my crew and firstmate,
but I’ve seen the end of thee!”

Along the golden coast of Cape Cod
rich families gathered together
as if to behold a dead god
while the captain cursed the weather.

“How hot Summer’s winds often blow
when a man is at Hell’s door!
Pride cometh now, well I know,
before the Fall to this shore!”

The sun baked the sand to gleam
as to be freshly shaved gold dust
and Ahab, within the whale’s steam,
growled as an engine gone to rust.

“Full market value for this bounty!”
He cried. “Ere true worth be enjoined
with apt reward, I’ll not count thee
entitled to a foe so finely-loined!”

The families looked on two thus bound
and pondered how came they from the sea—
this bloated, wasteful pair, pound for pound
equal to their own profligacy.

Innards soon exploded outwards,
festooning that private island shore
with a banquet for squawking birds
which glided in to feast on the gore.

And so strong was the gaseous blast
from the swollen sides of that whale
that it minced the families, all amassed
in the rotten blubber of a morality tale.

A Smattering Of Poems

Social Media Divas
They welcome voyeurs with spread
lenses,
inviting complete strangers to peruse their
intimate stream of posts,
their
photo-filtered lives,
and yet, however deep the probe delves
with flash and magnifier and high resolution
pic-pic-pic-pixels,
their lives are only ever
shallow;
the gleaning of a photo,
taken with “beauty face” on,
while all of the hollow
blandness
is hidden
on the backside of the camera.

Jester Of Jazz
He is always tripping along
from one improv moment to the next,
playing an unrehearsed song
as if he is badly hexed.

Sometimes he falls flat on his face
and smashes into a clamorous mess;
sometimes he has the saving grace
to orchestrate a feat of finesse.

But it is all up in the ambient air,
as is he, stumbling and somersaulting
over sheet music, his instrumental flair
a capricious cadence, never halting.

And there are times when he fumbles the note
and stumbles upon something quite sublime—
something beyond what is predictably rote;
a little out of rhythm, but keeping in chime.

Tradition
Tradition is the
graveyard
upon which we happily picnic,
unmindful of the
dead
buried beneath us, their
muted displeasures
unheard
as we lounge in our own
era.
Only the
graverobbers
seek the dead’s pretenses,
and who should trust a man
wearing the blood-gemmed ring
of a dead tyrant
recently exhumed,
or heed him when he says
“Tradition dictates…”?
After all,
Tradition
is the mold-eaten bedrock of
our home, sickening us as we
breathe in
its spore-crowded vapors.
Why not simply build a new home,
fresh upon a new foundation?
Why not
enjoy this picnic
and not mind the
worms
eating at the remnants
of a decayed era?

Entangled Genius
Is it not like a
spider
entangled and
dying
in its own web,
how he went
bankrupt
at his own casino?

Sisyphus Sighed
“Why not just give up?”
they ask, as if they do not
push rocks uphill, too.

Dis-Crete Labyrinth
Within the labyrinth
of your life
you are
Theseus, venturing bravely
while reliant upon another’s thread
to lead you out of
entombed darkness,
but you are also the ravening
Minotaur,
bullheadedly stubborn
and unwilling to ask
for help.
The Minotaur, being
pride,
shadows Theseus, being
humility,
and how often one overtakes
the other
as the maze twists and bends
like a spider’s web.
But there is a third among them
and she is Ariadne,
she being
grace,
and she holds the
clew
whereby the labyrinth may be
explored
without losing oneself completely to
Daedalic hopelessness.

Daylilies By The Crystal Lake

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Daylilies by the crystal lake
where grow green ribbons fair
and the glossy wavelets billow and break
with a soft sigh of Summer’s air.

You are flame-crowned, unfolding stars
bowing heads low in thanks
from ditches and roads, unheeding the cars
and bobbing along river banks.

Daylilies of daydream delights,
carry in you the day
and its glow, even in the darkest nights—
I would be as you, if I may,
growing you where I lay,
in darkness where I may someday lay.

The Coo Coup Clock

Ascend the throne,
king or president
or emperor, alone,
even heavensent,
but in time,
as like tides,
with rhythmic rhyme
that blind-sides
you must step down
or suffer a fall,
no more crown
for you,
not at all—
coo coup!

The late hour
draws so near
lose all power,
know true fear,
for the birds coo
and ascend
toppling you,
all reigns end
as the cold
pendulum swings
for you, too,
as of old,
the way of kings—
coo coup!