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)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rain Reign, Go Away!

Rain Reign, Go Away
(For Logan Dyer)

There’s so much wetness—so much pain.
I feel I must somehow explain
The animus inside my brain.
The genesis is fairly plain:
See, baseball once was my domain,
And—oh!—how I would sore complain
When clouds rolled in, when came the rain.
I know it sounds a bit inane,
But when it fell on our terrain,
I felt betrayed—so inhumane
To ruin a perfectly good baseball game with a bunch of dumb water falling out of the sky and making the infield turn into a diamond of mud and then we have to postpone—or even cancel—the game and I have to go home and be bored until the next game, when it will probably stupid rain … again!

This Goldberg guy (yes, Rube’s his name)
Created things—discovered fame.
Devices crazy—so complex—
But with such humorous effects.

[Rube Goldberg = accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply; also: characterized by such complex means]

“But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?”
Says Romeo, who’s soon to feel love’s aches.  (2.2)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Squirrely Luck

Squirrely Luck

The squirrel dashed across the road—
A nut locked in his jaws.
Unwavering, he chose to flout.
Ohio’s traffic laws.

He made it to the other side—
Displayed no doubts or fears—
And leapt across a leafy lawn,
Now safe—no messy smears

Upon the road he’d just traversed.
A lucky squirrel, for sure.
And where he went I cannot say:
His terminus, obscure.

A mile away—another sight
Reminded us today
That crossings are not certain. There:
A flat raccoon display.

1. Dumb …

Quickest way you can appall me?
When I talk, you just stonewall me.

2. … and Dumber

Stonewall Jackson charged ahead.
Oops, his troops just shot him dead,
So they learned with sigh and groan:
Jackson was not made of stone.

[stonewall = 1: to be uncooperative, obstructive, or evasive  2: to refuse to comply or cooperate with]

Shakespeare Couplet: Romeo & Juliet

“He ran this way, and leap’d this orchard wall,”
Benvolio observes while others call. (2.1)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dreaded Day

A Dreaded Day

The dreaded day’s again arrived—
It shows that summer’s gone.
It is the day I go outside
And put the storm doors on.

Transition days—especially
The dreaded ones each year—
Remind us of mortality
And coat our hours with fear.

Will we survive Old Winter's winds—
The cold, the ice, the snow—
His bareness and ferocity?
We cannot ever know—

Until  the warming winds return—
Until the cold’s withdrawn—
Until I feel it’s safe—at last—
To put the screens back on.

 1. Dumb ...

I liked to watch him eat a meal—
So cultured—civilized—genteel.

2. ... and Dumber

Jen asked me, "Is the color right?
Does it have some appeal?"
"What is that color?" I replied.
Said exquisite Jen: "Teal."

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet

“But passion lends them power”—so we hear
The Prologue speak—dire tragedy looms near. (2.Prologue)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Curiosity Killed the Coyote

Curiosity Killed the Coyote
Rte. 8, 18 October 2014

So now I’m lying here. Near dead—
Confusion reigning in my head.
I know the day is wet—and know
I must most carefully go
Where I’ve not been before.
Unknown. From old coyote lore—
And from parental barks I heard
When just a pup—I soon inferred
That caution is survival’s key.
Today I found it so for me.
I’d never felt a hunger so
Insistent that it made me go
Somewhere unknown. But then—today—
The sky and rain seemed odd—so strange
That I roamed far outside my range
And found myself near creatures who
Could move so fast—as if they flew
Like hawks. But these were on the ground
And moved with such a roaring sound
That I was curious. Mistake.
Among the worst that I could make.
I drifted in—a closer look—
The hardened ground just shuddered, shook.
Impossible, perplexing speed—
It would be all that I would need
To run down every meal. A gift
From who?—or what?—to be so swift?
And with these visionary dreams
I felt myself aloft, it seems,
And saw my certain life conclude,
My curiosity subdued.
And I no longer seem to care
That I am going. Faces stare
From creatures roaring swiftly by.
My thoughts grow dark—and then the sky.

 He veered into hyperbole
While trying to dishearten me.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet (23)

“My only love sprung from my only hate!
Cries Juliet, who contemplates her fate.  (1.5)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aurora's Honored Educators

Aurora’s Honored Educators
17 October 2014

The room was full of fabled folk—
Of teachers long retired—
Who gathered there to celebrate
Those colleagues who inspired

Their students and the rest of us—
Through many, many years,
Admiring speeches sometimes soaked
In grateful streams of tears.

Kmetz-Kutinsky—these were two
Who nursed and guided me,
And both now have a permanence
In my frail memory.

We honored excellence today—
In such variety,
Two teachers who had long displayed
Their classroom alchemy.

1. Dumb …

The feisty, feckless, fabled fool
Shall seek some solace skipping school.

2. … and Dumber

I just ordered lots of iced tea—
Why’d the server get so feisty?

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet (22)

She learns that Romeo’s a Montague.
Identity—there’s naught we can undo. (1.5)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Waiting Room

Waiting Room

So often now we undergo
Some tests at clinics. Well we know
The reasons: Time, of course,
The principal. Without remorse
He taints our blood with toxins and
At times it’s so much to withstand—
The knowledge, first of all, that we
Must go. Must sit. Anxiety
Our close companion in the chair
Beside us. Any other where
Is preferable by far to this,
So near the bottomless abyss
Where Fear conceals in purest black
The hope we need to pull us back.
Our bodies disobey commands,
And so we sit. We wait. Hold hands.
And feel in them the warmth of hope.
Is there another way to cope?
I'm fairly certain there is not.
We face our fate with what we've got—
A lover who can understand
The solace in a lover’s hand.  

Off to the ashram worried Tommy sped—
He sought serenity inside his head.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet (21)

“You kiss by th’ book,” she says to Romeo;
The Nurse arrives, so Juliet must go. (1.5)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wrong Turn

Wrong Turn

The intersection’s blocked, I see:
A car has made a turn,
But nothing's moving in that lane,
So I sit here and burn.

The Turner—no surprise—does not
Divert her steady gaze;
No eye contact is prudent in
An automotive maze.

Some horns announce to one and all
Displeasure’s presence here.
Some shaking fists, profanities
Inaudible but clear.

At last some movement! Costive cars,
Released, now move ahead,
And no one any longer hopes
The Turner will drop dead.

And all of us will soon, I know,
Arrive right where we hope—
With memories cleansed completely of
That thoughtless Turning Dope.

Mary said there would be no buss—
So I knew her love was bogus. 

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet (20)

Then Capulet tells Tybalt to cool down—
He knows that Romeo’s admired in town. (1.5)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coming Up Shorts; or Shorts Subject; or, Shorts Story

Coming Up Shorts; or, Shorts Subject; or Shorts Story

On Tuesday it was fairly warm—
It was as per reports—
And so I put the jeans aside,
Put on a pair of shorts.

I wore the sandals, too, of course—
And—for you fashion hawks—
I did not pull an Old-Guy move
And wear them with some socks.

For I am such a fashion hound—
GQ looks up to me
When crafting articles about
The highest denier cri*.

And out I walked, attired in style,
And it was kind of sad:
I heard a passerby remark,
“Dementia … too bad.”

*I had to look this up recently. Means "the newest fashion."

Want to keep your life intact while
Playing games of crambo?
Do not cheat while playing with
That fierce and famous Rambo.

Shakespeare Couplet:  Romeo and Juliet (19)

Hot Tybalt thinks he smells a Montague:
Some violence is what he'd like to do. (1.5)