Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Deathwords, XXI

Sleepy George

George was a narcoleptic—he
Could sleep in any space.
He was not inconvenienced by
His final resting place.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Deathwords, XX

Coke and a (Final) Smile

Eugene, who dealt some coke, I hear,
Was quickly caught and cuffed.
A prison convict pillowed him,
So poor Eugene was snuffed.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Deathwords, XIX

Old Duane and a Slice of Life

Old Duane was a butcher who kept his aim high:
All his meat was organic and local and fresh,
But our poor Old Duane one day fell on his knife,
So Duane sadly traveled the way of all flesh.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Deathwords, XVIII

Ralph’s Final Cough

At the church so near the cliff, Ralph
Uttered such a shocked cough,
He and all the congregation
Suddenly were knocked off.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Deathwords, XVII

The Last Ride of Billy the Kid

And so Billy the Kid, who was deadly and young,
Was adept with a knife and a gun (oh, of course!),
But Pat Garrett shot Billy one night in the back,
So the Kid had no choice but to ride the pale horse.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Deathwords, XVI

The Ace Gambler

The gambler loved his poker games—
But cheating he embraced,
So I was not all all surprised
To hear that he’d been aced. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Deathwords, XV

 Anna Pest, the Shocking Plumber

Yes, she was (in her age) a great plumber, well known
Far and wide for her wisdom, her skill, and her brain.
Electricity got her—a wire in the wet—
And the plumber—poor woman—then circled the drain. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deathwords, XIV

The baker there in Naples bragged—
He really loved to boast.
“I’ll tight-rope ’cross Vesuvius!”
The next thing: He was toast.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Deathwords, XIII

Old Tom was an announcer, who
Had such an unkind cough
That soon he did not breathe at all
And quietly signed off. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Deathwords, XII

Louisa feared both slime and dirt—
Oh, all those filthy germs!
And now she’s lying underground,
Forever counting worms. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Deathwords, XI

Cornelius spent his life with wire—
It was, of course, rewarding toil.
He fell into a fiery vat
And shuffled off this mortal coil. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Deathwords, X

Old Thomas was a farmer who
Just gnashed his teeth and cussed.
The gods, perturbed, then silenced him
And watched him bite the dust.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Deathwords, IX

Terry was a carpenter, who
Noted every detail.
Then he fell—a tablesaw!—was
Dead as any doornail.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Deathwords VIII: Duane's Retirement

Duane was a librarian
Who would not be retired,
But Death one day acquired his card
And marked it: “Now expired.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Deathwords VII: Daisy, Daisy ...

Deathwords VII: Daisy, Daisy

Daisy Smith and Daisy Jones—oh,
Both of them were crazies:
Soon the Reaper found them both, and
Now they push up daisies. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Deathwords VI: Sue's Breath

A breathing competition. Sue
Had won it in the past.
But this time in the finals, well,
Poor Susan breathed her last. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Deathwords V: Bella's Fatal Choice

Once, Bella was dear Casper’s friend—
She loved that shade the most,
But she met Edward Cullen, and
At once gave up the ghost. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Deathwords IV: Bob's Misfortune

Bob’s Misfortune

Bob loved to play draw poker, so
He made some Vegas trips—
But tried to cheat some gangsters there
And cashed in all his chips.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Titus' Ill Luck

Titus’ Ill Luck

Titus was a clumsy guy—he
Had such rotten luck; it
Turned: He found a milking job, but
Then he kicked the bucket.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Adele's Lament

Adele’s Lament

Adele fell for a fellow—she
Was smitten by his charm.
They looked at rural property,
But then he bought the farm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In My Yard

In My Yard

I found a tiny magic frog—
And I was really stoked.
I held it in my hand and dreamed,
But then—oh no!—he croaked!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov. 18, 2014

Sneeze Attack
November 12, 2014
Near Rupert, PA

A Pennsylvania morning, with
A summer’s balmy breeze.
But in our car it seemed that all
That I could do was sneeze.

It happened once—and then again
(A symptom of disease?)—
Again and then again they came:
A sneeze, a sneeze, a sneeze!

I glanced at Joyce, whose eyes beseeched,
Whose manner uttered, “Please,”
While I replied the only way
I could: another sneeze.

I wondered if my drama skills
Would somehow bring me ease,
And so I waxed so thespian
With each ensuing sneeze.

But, no, my acting (never good)
Did nothing to appease
The god now reigning in my nose,
The god who's known as Sneeze.

Old Nature has her music—like
The surf and rippling leaves.
And so, inspired, I improvised
My Symphony of Sneeze,

Bassoons and trumpets, timpani—
I used in all degrees,
But Joyce, I saw, considered it
Just more obnoxious sneeze.

And on they went, a score or more,
In various degrees,
And Joyce and I were tiring fast
Of my displays of sneeze.

Then, suddenly, they ceased—relief!
No, not a single wheeze,
And Joyce and I discussed awhile
The noxiousness of sneeze.

“Our car could use a sail,” I said,
“And I'd provide the breeze.
Then we would have a sturdy craft—
And christen it The Sneeze!”

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Dancing Deer

This will be the final entry in the Daily Doggerel series. As the Walrus said, "The time has come." I will be publishing on Kindle Direct a final collection of these pieces (it will be the 7th volume) and will post here when it is available--probably in a week or so.

A Dancing Deer

A couple cars ahead of us—a dance.
A deer had dashed—had taken such a chance
On crossing Highway 91. She did
Not look, of course. And when we heard cars skid
And saw them swerve. I quickly hit the brakes—
No need for any fatuous mistakes,
Not at my age, an age when “tripping” has
A different meaning than in days of jazz
And Sixties’ foolishness. And as we stopped,
We saw the deer, in panic, then adopt
Contorted choreography. It worked!
And though I won't persuade you that she twerked,
It was a sort of sexy move. O, deer!
What have you done? Your move—so full of fear—
Has caused a man to have a naughty thought.
O, Nature! Do you know what you have wrought?
Both Freud and Darwin see their theories win,
But must, in-graved, begin a tortured spin.

Today, I fear, I had to shelve
My plan to study—really delve
Into the Mystery of Twelve.
(Why don’t we have a word Twoteen?
It makes more senseknow what I mean?)

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

The Nurse and Romeo will now conspire
To stoke the glowing embers of Love’s fire. (2.4)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Lily

October Lily

October lily, on the stalk,
What would you say if you could talk?
Perhaps you’d offer to explain
Why you are blooming by the walk?

The other lilies had their reign
Beneath the spring and summer rain,
But there you are—so orange and bright—
As sun and warmth begin to wane.

It isn’t wrong—nor is it right—
That you are here—the strangest sight.
It’s just a sign of nature’s might:
Before the dark—a buoyant light.


I heard he wanted to aggress
Which would have caused an awful mess—
And so to ease my pure distress,
I showed up in a wedding dress,
And, laughing, he proposed some chess,
Which made some sense … but I digress …

Shakespeare Couplet

Out in the street, his friends find Romeo.
The Nurse arrives—a message for our beau. (2.4)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Immortal Shelves

Immortal Shelves

I remember—many years ago—
The house where Grandma lived. I know
So much about the place because
I was there frequently—it was
So close to where we lived. They had
So many books. It makes me sad
To think of all those books now gone,
Dispersed. A few then sat upon
Two wooden cases, darkly stained.
The cases long ago contained
Some titles  I recall, among
Them readers by McGuffey. Hung
Above them were some pictures I
Cannot remember, though I try.
When my grandparents died—the worst
Of times—among the very first
Of things I wanted were those shelves.
By then, see, Joyce and I ourselves
Had piles of books that had no home,
From tattered paperback to tome.
And years soared by—and decades too.
And soon those cases sagged. Were new
Ones necessary now? I could
Not stand the thought of that. They’d stood,
Endured all that our hope supplied.
And now would they be cast aside?
No. Never. So today dear Joyce
Delivered them—was there a choice?—
Unto a shop where they’ll enjoy
A resurrection. And return
To serve again. Oh, they have earned
It all. I like to think they’ll thrive
Beyond the time that I’m alive.
And grandsons will employ them then,
Perhaps recalling where they’ve been.

Classic photos in the buff—I
Called the series “Nude-Os”—
Earned me lot of major bucks and
Critics’ earnest kudos.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

The Friar hopes a marriage will unite
The families who are now so filled with spite. (2.3)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Mild Ones

The Mild Ones

The Harley glides toward us where we sit—
McDonald’s driveway. I don't want to hit
The guy, but I can't really tell if he
Is turning. Why no signal? Mystery.
He's close enough that I can see him well—
An “older” gentleman (not hard to tell:
His frame is bent and slender, and his face
Reveals his years.) Oh, it is no disgrace
To carry all the history that he does.
In fact, I somewhat sympathize because
I bear a half a dozen decades, too—
Okay, it's seven—more than just a few.
This Harley guy seems out of place upon
His fine machine. No Marlon Brando, he.
No wildness lingers near him. Now I see
He does desire to turn, and as he leans
Into the thing, I see his faded jeans,
His faded face, his jacket scuffed with age—
Perhaps a wipeout now and then? It's tough to gauge.
He gives us both a feeble look as he
Slides past—a wrinkled face, a white goatee.
And then he's in our mirror, then he’s gone,
We turn out in the road—and then drive on.
Oh, Time defeats us in our weary wars,
Transforming us into a mouse that roars.

Wrote her that she was terrific,
But I wrote in hieroglyphic.
She replied, “Be more specific.”
So I did—I’m so prolific.
Dumped me fast—oh, so horrific!
Told me I was soporific—
So I cruised the vast Pacific,
Not for reasons scientific,
Seeking life more beatific. 

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

To Friar Lawrence hies our Romeo.
He tells the Friar what he needs to know. (2.3)

Monday, October 27, 2014



I leaned back in my study chair
To grab a folder near.  
The next I knew, I supine lay—
I’d found a new frontier.

My balance in my sunset years
Is nothing to behold.
It’s just more certain evidence
That I am getting old.

I stumble over rumpled rugs,
On magazines and books—
I visit them there on the floor
To give them closer looks.

And soon, I know, so very soon,
I will not have a prayer,
And I will fall because, you see,
I’ve stumbled on the air.

And when it’s air that's tripping me,
I know The End is nigh,
And soon enough I’ll find it’s time
That I must say, “Buh-bye!”

I liked her parabolic tale
About the journey of a snail.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

So sweetly, sorrowfully the lovers part—
Each carries now the other lover’s heart. (2.2)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Literary Geese?

Literary Geese

Outside a Barnes & Nobleon a night
When more than several things did not seem right
We were right by the entrance when we heard
That honking sound from that most common bird.
Canada geese were winging overhead—
And practically invisible. I said,
Just pointing out the obvious, “It’s geese!”
And Joyce, adept at keeping spousal peace,
Agreed, eschewing irony and such,
Which do not help relationships too much.
A lesser spouse (like me?) might well have quipped,
“Duh. You think?” But Joyce could not have slipped
In such a way. She does not ever use
Such cruel irony. She knows you lose
More than you gain with such locutions, so
She merely looked aloft and said, “I know.”
I don't believe that I have ever seen
A flight this late. What motives anserine
Propelled them from the pond—or maybe ground—
Where they were probably simply gathered round
And waiting for some goosy Morpheus?
Or maybe they had started to discuss
A Pynchon novel? But they had no book?
So flew to Barnes & Noble for a look?
But saw a couple in the parking lot—
The man looked creepy old, the woman not—
Decided they’d postpone their Pynchon talk,
And filled the night with disappointed squawk.

No matter how much stuff you cumulate,
You can't escape your final, fatal date.

 Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

“O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon”—
She’s learning that from love she's not immune. (2.2)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Ghost Bird

The Ghost Bird
Pioneer Trail, Aurora, OH

Emerging from the trees—a ghost in flight.
I swerved, was startled by the sudden sight
Of such a bird. It flew with ancient grace
And slicing speed—perhaps a hawk in chase?
But no. This bird was far too large. No hawk
I've seen before could cause the shock
That this bird did. An eagle? Could it be?
In this small wood along old Pioneer
With schools and athletic fields so near?
Nor could it be a buzzard, though the span
Of wings was buzzard-broad, much wider than
A hawk’s. There were no dangling legs, the kind
A heron shows in flight. All things combined?
It was a ghost. Some prehistoric thing
Awakens after eons, then takes wing
Across the road, and quickly soars beyond,
Allowing only moments to respond,
And leaving us in arms of wonder. Oh,
I'm dazzled by the things I fail to know.
My eyes direct me to what matters most,
And all I think is that I’ve seen a ghost.

Beside a different road—some mourning doves
Discuss their daily needs, their fears, their loves.
They seem to coo as we glide nearly by—
Perhaps they’ve seen that ghost there in the sky?

First, I got a meaty grubstake.
Then I ordered juicy club steak.

[grubstake = to provide with material assistance (as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances]

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

“If they do see thee, they will murder thee,”
Warns Juliet, but he declines to flee. (2.2)

Friday, October 24, 2014



The thinning now proceeds apace—
Possessions flee the house,
While Joyce and I are dancing to
A waltz by Johann Strauss.

Oh, yes, so very many things
Acquired throughout our years
Elicit, when they leave, our laughs—
But soon will come the tears.

For (next) the things that leave us
In our fierce, intent campaign
Will be some things whose absence will
Create a biting pain,

A pain we’ll feel forever when
We view an empty wall—
Or just until that day when we
Can feel no pain at all.

Soon he showed himself a phony
In our conversazione. 

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

“With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls,”
He says, so near his lover’s family halls. (2.2)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Will to Breathe

The Will to Breathe

Relief removes a dreaded weight
That you have borne in pain.
Some welcome news arrives (at last),
And you can breathe again.

The “breathing” that you’ve done the while
You’ve waited for the news
Resembled more an agony,
A blackly purple bruise.

Or this: You’ve breathed through fabric that’s
Been folded till it’s thick,
So every breath’s required a sort
Of complex magic trick.

But then relief. The bruise is healed.
So easily you breathe.
But Time, you know—you really know—
Exists but to deceive.

And soon, so soon, the bruise returns,
And breath requires the will
To write your hopes so myriad
With only ink and quill.

So surprised at the patina
Glowing near my hot farina.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

“’Tis but thy name that is my enemy,”
She says, not knowing he can hear—and see. (2.2)