Poems

Here are those poems which I wish to share. I love jokes, rhymes, and wordplay, and I savor the challenge of fitting ideas into metric verse.

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Eulogy for a Master

2021-06-13

A parody of one of my favorite poems, G. K. Chesterton's "The Great Minimum."

Syndicated to Twitter.

It is something to have warred as we have warred.
It is something to have done as we have done.
It is something to have battled with a lord,
And, though it mean your death, see battle won.

It is something to attain the weightless blade,
Though blade of equal make yet lay you low.
It is something that your killer was repaid,
Though peace now be the sum of all you know.

To have seen you spurn the Council, with your face
Brave as a file of troopers for the fray,
Calmer than Time, a sentinel of Space:
It is something, though you went from me today.

To have known the things that younglings may not learn,
And turned away all passions, base or high;
It is something when one's fate one may discern;
It is something to have lived to watch you die.

In a time of leisure droids and death-stick churls,
And squabbling smugglers wallowing in ire,
In a galaxy of Twi'lek dancing girls,
It is something to reject all heart's desire.

Lo, simple are the robes in which he burns.
Yea, tidy is the beard upon his chin.
Let the Dark Side tempt a lesser man to turn
With its lightning. It won't master Master Jinn.

Higher Flight

2021-06-09

This is an Elon-Musk-themed parody of John Gillespie Magee, Jr.'s "High Flight".

Syndicated to Twitter.

Oh! I have spurned the surly SEC,
And pierced the skies with rocket booster flames;
Sunward I've turned, to harvest energy;
Nutted to Mars -- and played a hundred games
You have not dreamed of -- founded, bought, and sold;
Ran Paypal, blasted Dogecoin to the moon,
Built companies from visions into gold,
And granted seven children silver spoons.

Up, up the endless void of frozen black
My dankest starship speeds with burning grace.
I've seen the future, and I won't look back:
They'll say I left my mark upon the times.
For I have sent my Roadster into space --
Put out my hand, and touched the face of Grimes.

The Gamer's Prelude

2021-05-18

This is a loose parody of the Prelude to The Canterbury Tales, dedicated to, and inspired by, none other than my good friend Ryan Wright (read his interview with The Drongo, or play Ryan Quest.)

There came a schollar from Viking country,
Well verst in ludonarrativity.
When that Aprill with his shoures thick
Hied off, he watched ye childe play hoop and stick
To ponder changing stick for lethern balle,
And wryte upon the meninge of it alle.
Of anti-gamer scorn, no hede took he,
Aware that men live in society,
While those of lerninge to him wolde adjure
For hy discourse on English literature.
Full gladly teched he on such things culturall,
And left each lecture-hall with maydens plurall.
Exotic assets allways filled his pipe:
He was a verry parfit gaming type.

Darth Skivin: Still Livin'

2021-03-08

An email to Aaron Strick, intended only to pay a compliment and secure a Sith holocron, so touched him that he wrote a blog post about how happy he was to receive it. This is why I spend so much time on the Web; why I employ technology to run social projects like The Drongo and the SLC; why most weeks I take on hosting duties for Homebrew Website Club Americas.

Aaron, you're a drongo and a half, and a magnificent mellow, too. I laid down these stanzas in your name, for your pleasure.

What ho: Darth Skivin's papa is a drongo?
And IndieWeb-compatible, to boot!
So kind is he that on my horn he'll toot,
And deem it awesome that I email. Lo!

Such drawing skills as few contestants mustered
Were brought to bear on that repugnant Sith
Our Skivinator made his entry with.
Both Plurt and I declare you've cut the mustard.

No permadeath for Skivin in the Clone Wars,
Nor in the upgrade to the Aaron site.
Your Darth renewal triggered my delight;
If you're my mellow, naturally I'm yours.

Overmuch Magic

2021-03-05 (updated 2021-09-01 )

This is the fourth, final, and longest of my semi-found poems inspired by choice phrases from The King of Elfland's Daughter.

The men of the parliament gathered again to take counsel.
Threl had witnessed their lord of an evening, alone on the downs,
Totally motionless, list'ning to soundings from Elfland,
With his eyes to the East as he listened — yet no sound was there.

"We sought magic for Erl from his father, and magic is here —
We have more than enough," stated Threl, voicing fears for them all.
"Let him follow no more after witchery," someone replied.
"Let us go to his chamber —" Threl stopped him. "Too late for that now."

Then Guhic rose slowly and stood by himself at the table,
As trolls gibbered like bats in the loft, and shapes prowled in the dark.
"If the eyes of Orion, our lord, are now turnéd to Elfland,
Let our parliament go to Ziroonderel, up on the hill,
And beseech her to cast us a spell against overmuch magic."

At the name of Ziroonderel — nary a troll in the night
Nor a will-o-wisp lacked for a fear of her magical broom —
All twelve men were enheartened. Tomorrow, they'd wear holy clothes,
And they'd end their work early, to visit the witch before nightfall.

When the parliament came to her door, she was sitting outside it,
Looking nowise the older for all of the coming of years.
"Mother Witch," began Narl, "we are met here to pray you to give us
Some good spell for a charm against magic, that no more will come
To the valley of Erl, where the magic is now overmuch."

"You'd have spells against magic? You speak as though magic were not
All the spice and the essence and ornamentation of life.
By my broom," said the witch, "I will give you no spell against magic."

And they thought of the wandering lights and the gibbering things,
All the strangeness and evil that ran in the valley of Erl,
And besought her again, speaking suavely. "Oh, Mother Witch,
There is overmuch magic indeed, and the border with Elfland
Has been broken. The trolls and the goblins should stay in their elf-holes,
And we men with our folk and our fam'lies and homes, here in Erl.
Mother Witch, for our homes, will you give us no spell against magic?"

"By my broom and by stars and night-riding, I give you no spell!
I would sooner grant spells against water to make the world thirst,
Than a spell against stream-song which evening hears faintly past hills,
Whereby we hear old wars and lost loves of the Spirits of rivers.
I would sooner cast spells against bread, that the people should starve,
Than a spell against wheat in gold hollows of moonlit July,
Through which those of whom mankind knows nothing may rove in the night.

I would spell against comfort and clothing, and shelter, and warmth,
And would do so before I would tear from the poor fields of Earth
Any magic which makes, against Space and its chill, ample cloak,
And gay raiment against sneers of nothingness. Go hence to Erl!

And to you who sought magic in youth, but in age seek it not,
Know that age brings a blindness of spirit, as blindness of eye;
Brings a darkness, across which no truth may be well apprehended.
No voice from that darkness shall move me to spell against magic!"

Orion's Unicorn

2021-02-27

The third in my series of semi-found poems derived from The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Lord Dunsany.

Forth from the unicorn issued a groaning,
A sound low and awful, as never is heard in the fields that we know.
Then there was naught but the wonderful carcass,
The deep growls and roaring of hounds as they wallowed in fabulous blood.

Curséd be unicorns, all of their ways,
And everything else in the world that be magic.

Curst be their horn and the place where they dwell
And the lilies they feed on. Curst be their speed,

And their hide in white sleekness, their beauty --
And all things enchanted that wander by magical streams.

The Retreat of Elfland

2021-02-25

The Elf King, chaunting rhythmic, unknown words,
An age-old incantation, ordered Elfland
To drift away from Earth, the mortal realm.

As in a moment no one can determine
When sunset layers turn from gold to pink,
From glowing pink to listless unlit colors,
All Elfland left the edges of the fields
Which all men know, and hied where men know not.

Motionless fronds of dream-gripped trees lay calm.
Petals of myriad roses stilled their trembling.
Sharing the King's content, Elfland reposed.

Thus continues my series of semi-found poetry inspired by attention-arresting phrases from The King of Elfland's Daughter. "The Retreat of Elfland" is less of a found poem than "Almost Elfland," for I've taken a bit more liberty in rearranging the phrases, and even inserted a few words. Still, though, any beauty you find in this should be considered Lord Dunsany's doing, not mine.

Almost Elfland

2021-02-20

So strong enchantment lay o'er all that land,
It seemed there was an understanding there
That reached from men to trees, from trees to men.

More beautiful than aught our wonder guesses,
More than our hearts have hoped, the dewdrop lights
Hint of the seaweeds draping cliffside rocks.

Eternal beauty dreams in honied air
Where nothing ever stirs or fades or dies,
Nor seeks its happiness in changing things.

This is almost a found poem. The stanzas are adapted, with only miniscule changes, from lines on pages 15, 20, and 40 of The King of Elfland's Daughter.

Seagulls

2021-01-09

This morning message is work in progress, for sure. It means something, but doesn't mean it as fully as it might.

I'm posting it to keep encouraging myself to post snippets and snoopets.

For breakfast, man made sausage, so I sausage,
And squint askew as Ra holds high his disk.
With no time for poetic inspiration,
He casts aside the slinking clouds of mist.

The seagulls, noisy poopers, have come inland.
With stupid orange mouths agape, they wheel,
Ungainly flap, and float, til they spy refuse,
Then land to fight amongst themselves and squeal.

On high, in blue, airliners cut a contrast,
Speed straight where birds must fart around like clods. 
Do seagulls ever wonder what a plane is?
Do they believe in jets, as we do gods?

Reese's Cup

2020-10-10 (updated 2020-11-14 )

This is just for giggles and shiggles: a little Halloween spirit, China-style.

巧克力兮,花生酱
混合二味,皆更香
小圆形兮,超方便
咬后食尽,屑不见

Translation:

Chocolate -- oh, peanut butter
Combine the two and both taste better
Small round shape -- oh, super handy
No crumbs left from one-bite candy

Mountain Call and Mountain Response

2020-10-09 (updated 2020-11-21 )

After reading "A Gift from "Endlessly Stupid" to a New Hermit", Chris Stasse responded with a poem of his own, "Hermit Replies to Stupid" 《傻隐回复》.

鸟啼更静躺山夜

生人不约往孤野

车冷人寂思萦纡

离家一日似十月

Rough translation, 2020-11-21:

At night I lie in the mountains. It's quieter when birds sing

Strangers aren't likely to approach this lonely wilderness

My car is cold. I'm lonely. My thoughts twist around

One day away from home is like ten months

Naturally, I wanted to reply in kind. My goal was to show I had grokked Chris's poem by restating its sentiments in different words.

In addition, I challenged myself to work within the constraints of a line-internal rhyme scheme: the 2nd, 4th, and 7th (final) syllables of each line all share an ending sound.

I think it turned out rather well. Judge for yourself:

鸣静紫河情迪微害

(For those who read Chinese, 尨 is here pronounced meng2, not mang2 as you might expect: the former is an archaic reading meaning "jumbled.")

Rough translation, 2021-01-11:

The skies are cold. His thoughts are jumbled. Bird calls alternate with silence

Above the mountains, the Milky Way reveals itself to no one

In this remote place, he is lonely. His emotions thrash forward and back

Goodbye to home, farewell to Dad -- and, now, a touch of fear

A Gift from "Endlessly Stupid" to a New Hermit

2020-10-08 (updated 2020-10-28 )

A certain Mr. Stasse (featured several times on this website) has temporarily withdrawn from society to live at a Buddhist retreat.

Original Title: 《老傻赐新隐士》

2020-10-13: On reflection, I dislike the third line and will probably change it. It's a leftover from the first draft, and out of place.

秋风摇树果不应
愿隐士身旁同赏
人生弯曲预无因
他稳似果拟之值

Rough translation (updated 2020-10-13):

Autumn wind shakes the trees, but the fruits don't go along
I wish the hermit was here to appreciate it, too
Life's twists and turns aren't worth guessing at
He is steady, like the fruits, and that's worth imitating

Countryside Nastiness

2020-10-03 (updated 2020-10-10 )

In September, Chris Stasse sent me a letter which concluded with his calligraphic rendering of "Countryside Pleasures No. 6" 《田园乐——六》, by Tang-era master poet Wang Wei. My reply to Chris included a parody of the same poem.

My version's title swaps out the third character, 乐 le4 "pleasure, happiness", for the rhyming word 恶 e4 "evil, vicious, harmful." Here is "Countryside Nastiness," by Wang Wei's little-renowned cousin, Wrong Wei.

桃红中坏烈焰
柳绿烧成灰柱
花落腾于热气
鸟啼出窝恐离

Translation:

Red peaches suffer from fierce flames
Green willows burn up into pillars of ash 
Flowers fall, then rise on heated gusts
Birds cry, leaving their nests in fear

Finally, let's compare my parody with the original. In my imitation, I retained the first two syllables in each line, marked like this.

桃红复含宿雨
柳绿更带朝烟
花落家童未扫
莺啼山客犹眠

My parody was inspired by the wildfires raging through California at the time of writing. After posting my letter, I learned that the fire in Santa Rosa came within 3 km. of Chris's house! The news made me feel a bit embarassed at having written a lighthearted poem on the topic, but Chris put me at ease:

我觉得这首诗很美,真的,我一点也不介意。就算我房子被烧得一干二净,你的诗在我眼里还是会有一种悲壮的美。

Bloo With You

2020-09-04

A late-night snippet imitating the chorus of Weezer's "Pork and Beans." For Hayley ("Bloo") to sing to Seth.

I've a PhD that I must pursue
There's neuroscience knowledge to accrue

With calves athletic and a belly lean
At times my swagger's known to cause a scene

Although I'm picky 'bout my repertoire
I'll practice strumming tunes that you adore

One look in our mirror and you know it's true:
I'm awful fond of being Bloo with you

(Hayley: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I’m not sure what the tune is (hint pls!!!) but I’m smiling ear to ear anyway <3 Me: It's 'Pork and Beans.' Hayley: OH FUCK YEAH)

Dew

2020-07-31 (updated 2020-12-11 )

This is a parody of "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", the best-known song by 90s group Neutral Milk Hotel (NMH), feted for their otherworldly sound and surreal lyrics. I apologize to Jeff Mangum, Scott Spillane, Jeremy Barnes, and Julian Koster for perpetrating the following verses.

As always, I encourage you to sing along. A glossary follows.

What a scrumptiously-based mountain liquid I taste
Could this be what sex feels like? Must be
While I chug, enemies start to flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye, they'll be shot by me
Sweet caffeine
Glug it dry, then use the bottle to go pee

And one day we will die, and respawn in the sky
Where God's scoreboard will show our K:D
But for now, we are young
Gaming far from the sun
Fragging noobs in a vicious and masterful spree
My mommy
Says to turn it off, but all I do is ree-eee-eee-eee!

[Spillane horn solo]

What a gripping gunfight
I've been having tonight
On the leaderboard, I made top three
I'm in love with my life
And my virtual wife
Hear the voice that I made for her digitally
Love to be
In the arms of my handmade waifu daki

Now how I crave Mountain Dew
How I would stretch my tongue out to
Receive what nectar trickles through
The mountain valleys, green and sweet

Where does it come from? No one knows
We dare not question sacred flows
Our slurping, burping record shows
It's Dew that keeps us on our game

[Koster on the singing saw]

What a scrumptiously-based mountain liquid I taste
As I pick from arrayed weaponry
And when we meet on a cloud, we'll sip long and sip loud
Laying waste to all comers and guzzling freely

Can't you see?
We gamers live in a society

The promised glossary, for those unaware of certain seedy aspects of gamer and otaku culture:

Bananas

2020-07-29 (updated 2020-08-06 )

This was commissioned by the Fruit Art Project, a group which develops creative projects that incorporate the history and geography of fruit cultivation. When I learned that wild bananas were originally tiny brown nothings, and that the wealth of modern cultivars are the result of intensive human breeding, I imagined what that breeding process would have looked like if it had taken place all at once, under the control of a 21st-century organization.

Our teeny-weeny lumps of brown bananaflesh are worthless.
We can't sell these. We need new products, of which we can boast.
Our wholesale customers are vicious, money-grubbing, mirthless.
If they can't snag consumers, we'll be toast!

We of Bananas, Inc must guide development of nanners
That grow up larger, sweeter, firmer, easier to store.
Big supermarkets only then will deign to fly our banners,
Sell patrons our bananas, and buy more.

The only object of Bananas, Inc must be succeeding
At rising from the red into the moneyed heights of black.
Before the breakup of Big Fruit, our brown nanners were leading
The market: an advantage we now lack.

As one division of a bigger firm, we had the freedom
To discount buyers' preferences since no one could compete.
Those days are gone. Barbarians are in what was our kingdom,
And their bananas are what households eat!

I see your faces. Pass this mic, and share your hard-earned lessons.
Bananas, Inc. requires a breakthrough in this fiscal year.
Please speak your mind. I hereby call an all-hands brainstorm session—
Beginning now, and happening right here.

2020-08-06: Today, I noticed and fixed a line in the original where I completely broke the rhyme scheme, without noticing. While rewriting that line and its rhyming one, I noticed confusion in the narrative structure of the last two stanzas. After 46 minutes of poetry, the two stanzas merged into one.

Portland Protest Preparations

2020-07-28 (updated 2020-09-22 )

I no longer live in Portland, but I know many people there. This was written to bolster the spirits of three good friends who informed me they'd be participating in the ongoing courthouse protests.

My Portland boys, I hear you'll join the protesting tonight.
I bring you heptametric stratagems to aid your fight.

Kit Emlyn out to feed those comrades who've made their retreat.
Twelve spoons, one vat of jam, and gimp-suit butt cheeks on a seat

Will draw the right attention to your makeshift chow hall stand,
As long as you establish it far back from no-man's land.

Construct a trebuchet and launch Drew o'er the courthouse fence
To do karate with his lanky limbies. No defense

Can best a six-six wingspan hitting backs high, and fronts low.
Sir Unger, rather than the naginata you would stow

Before most battles, I suggest you pack in field supplies.
Once you've dispensed them, as what Charlie labors may arise

Reach your attention, go and help where hands are needed most.
Render assistance, then slip clean away, a sideline ghost.

One final plea: no matter how the federales chafe,
You're better whole than injured. All of you, please come home safe.

This poem alludes to real events. Matt Unger loves himself a good melee weapon, and doesn't shrink from "Charlie work" (tough labor.) Drew, the karate-chopping beanpole, once drew a Kirby OC and, when asked to come up with its name on the spot, stuttered out the ridiculous moniker "Frontlo." Finally, for a term project in the performing arts, Emlyn donned an assless latex gimp suit, and -- with spoons and knives taped to his fingers -- attempted to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the professor and a dozen classmates.

That's Right, Voyeur

2020-07-25

This is a naughty parody of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", a Beatles classic from the White Album.

I turn on the faucet
Warm water starts flowing
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

And while I'm disrobing
I know what I'm showing
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

I don't know why nobody told you
How to be bolder in love
I don't know how somebody sold you
Tickets to watch from above

With lathered-up bubbles
I'm rubbing my belly
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

I'm wiggling and jiggling
Like hot sexy jelly
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

I don't know why total immersion
Triggers perversion in you
I don't know how you got this craving
But I relish bathing for you

I rise from the tub
And the droplets start rolling
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

I hope that your tongue's out
And ceaselessly lolling
That's right, voyeur: take a peep!

The Man from H.0.P.3.

2020-06-22 (updated 2020-06-30 )

This poem was inspired by correspondence with the Philosopher of Life, h0p3.

Sundown. My latest letter is complete:
I post it to the madman's house of black.
His call for correspondence thus fulfilled,
White ink on parchment fuligin comes back.

The auto-philosophe greets me with cheer.
He's scoured my tubes; he's scanned my public face.
"Your site's delightful" — so reads his review.
No lesser turbo-hermit has such grace.

I swear I see him through Eye Number Three:
Thin fingers, stained with e-ink, sweep the keys
That lock him to the ever-growing Book
Of Life, which he attends on hands and knees.

From ones and nones, h0p3 builds a prophesy,
And from his labors may he never tire.
In 2020, Montaigne essays on.
His precomputed smile floats down the wire.

Huge Katana

2020-03-21 (updated 2020-08-01 )

This is a parody of Leonard Cohen's famous song "Hallelujah". When my friend Matt mistook a haiku for such a parody, I knew I had to make it real. Consider this a companion piece to "Hakuna Katana".

News: this got picked up for production into a real song!

My ancestors all bore the sword
Which I now bear to serve my lord
All spring I fight, when weaker men don't wanna
It goes like this: the stroke, the swish
The spray of blood, the stink of piss
I have no friends besides my huge katana

Chorus:
Huge katana
Huge katana
Huge katana
Huge kata-aaa-ana

From Edo to Hokkaido's shore
The only life I know is war
Each day of my existence is nirvana
A lesser man would lose his head
But I know I'm already dead
And to my son I've willed my huge katana

[Chorus]

I've read the Bibles Dutchmen sell
I scoff at Satan, laugh at Hell
I need no foreign Christ, and no Madonna
I don't believe a word they say
My Bible is bushido's way
My only god is called my huge katana

[Chorus]

I have no patience for the court
I've never been the courtier sort
I'd rather live life simply, kin to fauna
The finer arts are lost on me
Let others write death poetry
My dying words will be my huge katana

[Chorus]

Hakuna Katana

2020-02-25 (updated 2020-02-25 )

These verses are parodies of the song "Hakuna Matata", from Disney's animated film The Lion King. I wrote the first two stanzas on 2018-01-14, and the other two on the publication date above.

Consider this a companion piece to "Huge Katana".

Hakuna katana: what an elegant blade
Hakuna katana: only Nippon-made
It means bushido, for the rest of your days
Bisect knights with ease
Speak Japanese
Hakuna katana

Hakuna katana: cut down knights from your horse
Hakuna katana: follow honor's course
It means no mercy, and it means no remorse
Your whole life will be
Blade mastery
Hakuna katana

Hakuna katana: train in samurai schools
Hakuna katana: kill impudent fools
It isn't murder if you follow the rules
With a single slash
Turn foes to hash
Hakuna katana

Hakuna katana: fill opponents with dread
Hakuna katana: slice off someone's head
You'll practice living like you're already dead
One day you may be
Like Musashi
Hakuna katana

Strange Squeaking

2020-02-09 (updated 2020-07-24 )

I stepped outside to take the air, but stopped short when I heard
A squeaking cry, as issues from a wounded, bleeding bird—
Or rather, from no bird at all, but from an injured bat;
The wingéd mouse, the flying shrew, the aviating rat.

The sound came from the corner of the garden, past the gate.
I went inside to fetch my coat—we've had a chill of late.
Beraimented, I crept along. The batlike wail grew near.
On garden path I crept, until the screeching filled my ear.

And ... what found I? A broken bird? A bat, brought down to ground?
'Twas neither thing that drew me there by way of eerie sound.
I took a knee to do some work. The squeaking went away.
No longer will that broken sprinkler keen like dying prey!

2020-07-24: Only five months after writing this poem did I learn that shrews are in one order of animals, bats in another, and mice and rats in a third. I love line 4, but if I can change it to match biology, I will. In the meantime, please don't base any scientific research on this poem.

Stanza Written Above a Ridge

2019-12-14

Part of the 2019 Weeklong Wine Country Poetry Fight. Written while hiking in Austin Hills State Recreation Area, in response to a challenge from Chris Stasse: "in five minutes, write a poem on what you see before you."

The north wind rises
Descends onto the ridge
Meets both trees
And swirls away

After I read this aloud, Chris said it reminded him of descriptions of nature from the poet Wang Wei [王维].

Fedora

2019-06-13

I tried and tried, but couldn't come up with a poem for Fedora. Instead, I made for her a bite-size videogame called Fedoradventure, which you can play online. Though not a poem, Fedoradventure still belongs to the Friendship Village series.

Poems for Friendship Villagers

2019-06-13

Half a dozen friends of mine live in a group house called Friendship Village. The first time I hung out with them as a group, I wrote a Chinese poem for them all to express my gratitude at meeting such lovely new friends.

About a year later, after a joyous night of homemade pizza at Friendship Village, I decided to write poems for each of them. A week later my project was complete. I hand-wrote the poems on cards, and delivered them at Ian's going-away party on 2019-06-13.

After the Farewell Lunch

2019-08-20

Shortly before moving away from Portland, I got the chance to have a farewell lunch with Professor Hyong Rhew, one of just three or four people whom I call "my most beloved teachers." Also present was my long-time friend Chris Stasse, whom I similarly call one of "my most beloved friends."

This poem commemorates the mischievous post-prandial activities of that day. I believe this is the first poem I've written for Chris; it probably won't be the last.

最后一杯
干了之后
老师告别
哥俩要走
笑着回家
大麻便抽
疯狂假想
做双朋友

A loose translation, 2019-12-20, 11:41:01-0800:

One last cup
Drained
The teacher bids goodbye

The two boys
Leave
Laughing all the way home

"Big Hemp" is
Smoked
Wild fancies take flight

Such is a pair of friends!

AJ

2019-06-13

Part of the Friendship Village series.

Guaranteed to brighten up my day-J
Hugs me when I go off on my way-J
Emits every color except gray-J
Friendship Village saint? I vote for AJ

Milkshake Sonnet

2019-12-04 (updated 2020-01-29 )

My milkshake is a peanut-butter treat
With chocolate, too, appearing in the mix
A glass so large, so sickeningly sweet
That I need less than half to get my fix

I'm in a diner with a weighty tome
Great English Poems, edited by Briggs
Across the table, Adam looks at home
With Murakami, and with coffee swigs

There comes a sudden motion from below
As Adam lays a tickle on my knee
I counter-jest, exclaiming, "Nandato!"
Which Adam laughs at oh-so-heartily

It's Wednesday. We have nothing much to do.
The skies change from a rainy gray to blue.

Hooked on Darjeeling

2020-01-31

A parody of the song "Hooked on a Feeling", originally performed by B.J. Thomas and further popularized by Blue Swede.

Pour a cuppa
Pour a, pour a, pour a cuppa
Pour a, pour a, pour a cuppa
Pour a, pour a, pour a cuppa

One sip of Darjeeling
Sparks my fantasy
I don't bother trying out
Any other tea

Finished steeping
Board the flavor train
West Bengali
Worldwide acclaim

I ... I'm hooked on Darjeeling
That tea-leafy feeling
Another cup for me

Hooked on Darjeeling
Those leaves got me reeling
Another cup for me

Little insects puncture
Veins of growing leaves
Causing plants to send out
Muscatel terpenes

Come on, boiling water
Be a friend to me
Bring me piquant secrets
From those ancient trees

Grapelike flavor
Puts me on my knees
I'm in heaven
Filled with ecstasy

I ... I'm hooked on Darjeeling
That tea-leafy feeling
No other drink for me

Hooked on Darjeeling
Those leaves got me reeling
No other drink for me

Two Thirds of a Sonnet for Chance

2019-10-13

Written in response to something nice that Chance, a new friend, said to me. This is "two thirds" of a sonnet because a real sonnet needs a third four-line verse before the ending couplet.

Has it occurred to you that you deserve
To be called not just chill, but chill supreme?
I have a softness in my heart for those
Who follow through—who realize the dream

Of living in a world where effort's fruits
Are by most sincere comments justly met
Much thanks, for 'tis upon my horn you toot
Exchanging digits was a winning bet

A sonnet, or two thirds of one, for thee
With gratitude from You-Know-Who and me

Night Walk

2020-01-30 (updated 2020-03-31 )

I rambled through a grid of streets which I thought I knew cold
The street lamps turned to will-o-wisps, alluring balls of gold
I lost my bearings wandering—I got all turned around
But I'm OK. I found my way, and now I'm homeward bound.

I got disoriented on the roads I walked of old
I took some time to cogitate—I knew I wouldn't fold
The path that I was seeking is no longer sought, but found
I'm A-OK. I found my way, and now I'm homeward bound.

Surveying my surroundings gave my instincts purchase-hold
Rearmed with subtle pointers, I grew confidently bold
Old landmarks shuffled out to say, "You're on familiar ground"
I'm A-OK. I found my way, and now I'm homeward bound.

The Peerless Drongo

2019-10-14

While traveling on the group tour which inspired "A Gift for Gadi", a friend and I spent a day stumbling around a foreign marketplace, our bellies stuffed and our eyes wide. We were totally out of place -- yet we were at ease. I invented a word to describe the feeling of wandering aimlessly without a care: "roaming around like a couple of drongos."

The word "drongo" doesn't have a pithy definition, but this poem (and its companion, "Drongo Explained") should help you get the idea. A hedonist, a bon vivant, a fish out of water, an artist, a scrounger, a drifter, or a jester might all be drongos.

He's cheerfully strolling
Devoid-of-all-goaling
Gracelessly fearless, our witless fellow

Down the street ambling
Unhurried rambling
To none beholden, the peerless drongo!

Pausing to peer as the
Ladies draw near is he
Finding no shame in production of drool

With lust for the stocking
The drongo comes knocking
No need of motley has this kind of fool

Wanton debauchery
Lewd side-eye watchery
'Round the whole world in his bumbling flow

Snorting and snootling
Fecklessly frootling
To none beholden, the peerless drongo!

Cheapest of epicures
Drinker of every beer's
Last golden drops in the bottle at hand

Market stall prowlery
Flavor night-owlery
Led by his stomach all over the land

Faced with this nobody
Go with the flow, buddy
When you come near him you're certain to know

Share what you have today
Soon he'll be on his way
To none beholden, the peerless drongo!

[I am aware that not all speakers of English pronounce "epicure" /'ɛpɪkiɹ/, rhyming with "beer" /'biɹ/, as I have rhymed them here.]

Poem for Cameron and Felix

2019-10-12

Written late at night, after getting to know these two fellows at a meetup. If you join the second and third lines in each stanza, the meter becomes iambic tetrameter (save for the line beginning "Knowledge", which must be read as a trochee.)

Tonight I've met a pair of men
Whom I hope I may
Call new friends

Two buds, pointed at PhDs
Knowledge sets both their
Means and ends

Two dudes, united by one car
Stick-shift - they're off! in
Homeward flight

Let's meet again, cognition crew
To pass another
Pleasant night

Keely

2019-06-13

Part of the Friendship Village series.

A cottage on a hill
A flower patch
A tree of fruit
A mound of herbs
A bunch of beans
A pile of plerp
A bag of blegg
A tin of twomp
A sack of snoob
And a sign out front, big-lettered:
WITCHY WONDERS
"CHAOS, MADE TO ORDER"

Drongo Explained

2020-01-29 (updated 2020-03-23 )

While corresponding with Kicks Condor, I realized I didn't have a snappy, instantly-recognizable definition for a drongo. To fill that need, I began this poem in December 2019, edited and extended it over the next couple months, and pronounced it finished on 2020-01-29, around 23:33.

A drongo is a hooligan,
A whirlywind, a fool,
A tonguer of adventure's taste,
A seeker of the cool.

With merry eyes he seeks a prize—
He's not so sure it's real—
By keeping ever on the move
He turns all woe to weal.

The drongo's madman tendencies
Are rarely well-controlled.
To pyrite one may see him cling,
Convinced it's good as gold.

First going hard, then going fast,
Then going 'round again,
Is perfect drongo conduct, which
The drongo finds urbane.

To drongo is to wander through
A landscape from the past,
With no plan but to savor it—
Then toast it, at the last.

A drongo has nowhere to be
Before his chosen hour.
Though time may threaten him with snares,
He's far beyond its pow'r.

If drongos call out, "Nine o'clock!"
They never mean the time:
They're pointing out a pretty girl
Who's standing at your nine.

Should you insist that's boorish — fine!
Renounce it, if you choose.
A drongo's way is his alone,
And his alone to lose.

You can become a drongo — if
It's true you have no lack
Of love for wild abandon, and
Distaste for looking back.

For starters, ramble-shamble romp
To anywhere you please.
You'll know the other drongos when
They join you in your ease.

Laughodils

2020-01-30 (updated 2020-03-23 )

A horrifically stupid parody of William Wordsworth's "Daffodils". Mostly finished by 2019-12-23, but only revised and posted at 00:35 on 2020-01-30.

I read of Wordsworth's daffodils
To set my mind a-wandering,
That loyal hound! It carried back
A silly thought, no somber thing:
    "Although I cherish daffodils,
    They're far outstripped by laughodils."

The laughodil's a precious plant:
It isn't sold in any store.
If giggling is what you want,
Ask those who scour the forest floor
    (Though when a laughodil they find,
    They're loath to part, as with gold mined.)

When seekers bargain, pay their fee,
Or flowerless you will return.
Once back: be careful! For, you see,
The cooking method's hard to learn.
    But if you only persevere
    The hour of laughter will be near.

With juice of laughodil in hand,
Take just one sip — not one sip more!
A single sip will bring you glee,
But two means pain forevermore.
    Be off with you. For all it's worth,
    I hope you find that mystic mirth.

Esther

2019-12-23 (updated 2020-03-23 )

Were I King Ahasuerus
    Then never would I see
        A Haman full of hate.
        My kingdom's Jews, their fate,
    Would never safer be—
Were I King Ahasuerus.

Were I King Ahasuerus
    No outside threat would scare us.
        With Mordecai at hand,
        The wisest in the land,
    We'd have him to prepare us—
Were I King Ahasuerus.

Were I King Ahasuerus
    I'd toss out old Vashti
        With bigger dreams than britches.
        What's with these ancient bitches?
    A diff'rent wife for me—
Were I King Ahasuerus.

Were I King Ahasuerus
    To fortune I could bear us.
        One people, marked forever:
        A Jewish race, together.
    To this compact I'd swear us—
Were I King Ahasuerus.

Hayley and Her Boy Toy

2019-03-05

One of my two favorites of the poems I wrote for my former roommate, Hayley. The other favorite is "Goodbye, Hayley".

Hayley and her boy toy
In the night they giggle
Fingers go exploring
Interlocked they wiggle
Fingertip on her hip
Tracing out a squiggle
This is love, no doubting
Not even a niggle

The Bunghole

2019-11-03 (updated 2020-07-24 )

A parody of William Blake's "The Tyger".

Bunghole! Bunghole! Clenching tight,
On the toilet, in the night.
Curse you, bowels! Set me free!
Has my poo no place to be?

In a distant land of glee—
Somewhere constipation-free—
Man may poo most joyfully.
He knows not of agony.

He knows not the price we pay:
Pants 'round ankles, we inveigh,
Grunting, swearing, moved to pray,
Pooing in a toilsome way.

For what reason, in God's grace,
Did He make man squat in place,
Wasting time, without a say,
On a poo's extended stay?

What immortal hand on high
Moved to make our poo so dry?
Whither Bunghole and his fee?
Whither constipationry?

Bunghole! Bunghole! Clenching tight,
On the toilet, in the night.
Curse you, bowels! I don't see
What I've ever done to thee!

That's Podracing

2020-01-27

A Star Wars parody of the classic Dean Martin song "That's Amore".

When you pull a tight spin
Without losing your grin—
That's podracing

When the chance cubes are rolled
And you have to be bold—
That's podracing

Racers bring
(Bring a ling a ling, bring a ling a ling)
Pods together in battle
Watto squirms
(Squirmy lurmy lurm, squirmy lurmy lurm)
Only Shmi left as chattel

When you feel in command
Soaring over the sand—
That's podracing

When a man screams "poodoo!"
As he cedes ground to you—
That's podracing

When foes swear in Huttese
As you place first with ease—
That's podracing

When announcers go wild:
"Anakin, the slave child!"—
That's podracing

Racers bring
(Bring a ling a ling, bring a ling a ling)
Pods together in battle
Watto squirms
(Squirmy lurmy lurm, squirmy lurmy lurm)
Only Shmi left as chattel

Missing the Moment

2019-12-27

I sit down to produce a jot of verse—
I stand up, and I pace around the room.
What might have been a banger will get worse
The more I pace. To hesitate spells doom.

For any work which takes a focused mind—
And poetry is surely in that group—
Ideas must flow all at once, I find,
Or else I'll lose myself: caught in a loop

Of thinking, and rethinking, and—oh, fuck!
I've dropped the thread entirely by now.
That's what I get for pacing: a big suck;
The glimmer of a topic, but no "pow!"

One saving grace: there is no Poem Boss.
When I screw up, it's no-one else's loss.

Goodbye, Hayley

2019-09-20

Hayley, AKA "Blue" or "Bloo," was my roommate (or "shmoom-mate") from September 2018 to September 2019. I started composing poems shortly before I moved in with her, and soon found that life in close quarters provided many poetic inspirations. This is one of my two favorites from this period; the other is "Hayley and her boy toy".

I was delighted that you called me mellow
I'm certain that you count as mellow too
I testify to you that this Max fellow
Will just as certainly be missing Bloo

Our shmoomery is done but not forgotten
When thinking of me please don't hang your head
We shan't forget each other 'til we're rotten
No need to eulogize before we're dead

If by some chance to SoCal comes a Hayley
In Snoop's hometown you know you have a pal
Transmitting good cheer to you on the daily
What's left to say? You rule! Go get 'em, gal!

Hanna

2019-06-13

Part of the Friendship Village series.

Hand-painted
Wholesome winter scenes on
Christmas cards.
How? How does
Someone come to wield such
Skill at arts?
Long, hard work
And a smile for all the
"Not-quite-rights."
No other
Way to learn to paint such
Winter sights.

Ian

2019-06-13

Part of the Friendship Village series.

Sneaking round the house at night
The prankster man comes giggling
Laughing to himself with all
Ten fingers splayed and wiggling

Reaching into every cranny (Not a man for strictures) You won't see him come or go But you will find his pictures

A Gift for Gadi

2019-01-25

I once traveled in a touring group guided by an amicable man named Gadi. When the group played Secret Santa and I received his name as my beneficiary, I decided to write him a poem.

Please excuse any awkwardness in the pseudo-literary Chinese. The gift was completed in a hurry, for a non-Chinese-speaking audience, so I judged rhyming more important than phrase construction.

A Gift for Gadi, Original
Gadi Gadi Gadi
我队队长
样子很帅
哥们超爽

人才之峰
留一大胡
教人何为
天天为酷
A Gift for Gadi, Rough English Translation
Gadi Gadi Gadi
Captain of our team.
His style is way fresh,
This Chiller Supreme.

Of eminent talents
And big-bearded too,
He teaches all people
His everyday cool.

Rory

2019-06-13

Part of the Friendship Village series.

To me you come off as the coolest housemate
Can it be true that you're the illest villager?
Skate on home, then rouse up that guitar rumpus
"Cool" is too weak: from now on you're a chillager