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Last updated: January 7, 2006

Light Verse: Poems About Minor Irritations:


Being A Wrong Number Is Always Having To Say You're Sorry

Something than which I can think of nothing dumber
Is the way the guy who phones YOU is madder at YOU for being a
wrong number TWICE than you are at HIM for TWICE dialing
a wrong number!
"Are you sure there's no Vivian there?" he'll say.
"Sorry, no way."
"But, this is the number I was GIVEN!"--
He'll insist so irately that I'm tempted to say, "Alright, fine,
I'm Vivyen!
Now who the hell are you!"--and when he tells me, say "Never
heard of you" and hang up with a bang,
But instead I say, "I'm sorry" and hear HIS bang and can only
mutter to myself the curses that at him I long to have

But even that's not as silly
As when you dial a number and know right away it's wrong, but
a nice person answers who insists on helping you willy nilly:
"OK, thanks, I must have dialed wrong...".
"Well, just a second, let me just check, I'm new here, maybe
someone else knows--it won't take me long..."--
And she's so helpful, you just can't hang up on her, so you
wait for her to ask Joe if "we've got a Shirley here?"
(You can hear her asking about Shirley, though you asked for
Charlotte whom surely they've not got) and you're starting
to feel severely surly and tired of holding the receiver
against your whorly ear,
When she comes back on the line and says, in a voice that has known sorrow,
That Joe doesn't know for sure, but he says if you call back late
Someone will be here who can tell you if there's a Sherry here
(Where IS this, the Y?)
And you say, no, no, that's OK, I don't really need to talk to
Sherry anyhow, thankyousomuch, goodbye, goodbye,
And you hang up while she's asking for your number
So she can check tomorrow and call you back--what a bumber!

Edge Of My Seat

I worry all through scenes where a guy with a chinful of shaving
Goes to answer the phone and chats on and on with foam dangling
as if it doesn't mather
That the latter (that is, the lather, not the foamer) may be
about to drip on the rug!
If the cowboy hero's hat falls or gets shot off and the girl runs up to give him a big hug,
I worry: Will he remember to pick up his hat?
Not to mention the gun the dying bad guy dropped in the dust--you
could get lots of money for that.
When paunchy John Wayne jumps on a horse with a SMACK!
I worry, of course, about the horse's back.
When the camera shows lovers more or less nude,
Not that I'm a prude,
But I worry about their having to be naked with each other
(The actor and actress, that is) and what if his or her mother
Or father or spouse is watching with embarrassment or fascination
To see gigantic on the screen a familiar tush and marks of
And I worry about what their kids' schoolmates will say--
"Hey, I saw your Mama the other day!"--
and how will they (the characters, I mean)
Get dressed when they tore their clothes off with buttons flying
in all directions, never again to be seen?
I also worry about bubbles in coy bubble baths bursting, people
ruining their shoes singing in the rain, blood getting on
expensive suits (and bullet holes too) and if the girl in
the musical won't think her lover's a nut for starting to
sing and dance in a public place in mid-tete-a-tete.
Those directors sure know how to make my heart go pit-a-pet!

On Letting Chips Fall Where They May

If you load the chip
with too much dip,
en route to your lip,
it'll tip and drip.

The Sarcasm of Teens

New bile of the

Big Barbie

Why are dolls small?
Why not GIANT Barbies?
The kids could climb in and walk around
in 10-foot-tall Barbies and Kens,
pull strings to make the eyes roll,
while peering out through slits
in the bra (or, in Ken's case, the lapels).
The kids could grow into their dolls,
buy genitalia options (glue-on)
in time for Sex Education. They could
BE their dolls, so that all of life
could be a chat room, virtual bodies
greeting each other as they stalk the campuses
and bars on slim, stiff, pink, plastic stilts.

Loosely Watched Trains

A busy mind by old age is not vexed -
You lose one train of thought and catch the next.

On Wishing I Could Hold One With My Eye

Waiters among the tables fare -
Only from ours they shrink:
Waiter, waiter everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink!

A Lotta Onomatapoeia

Can't sleep, but I got to:
Cricket staccato,
Cicada legato,
My gut's obligato...
Can't tell 'em not to.
I don't know what to
Do - pray for blotto?

A Backup Tape, A Backup Tape, My Kingdom For...

Total hard disk crash - O pestilence!
Now is the winter of our disk contents!

A Maiden To Her Control-Top Panty Hose:

Make two buns one
And hide my hide;
O! You can run,
But you can't ride!

O Virtue, Must You Overdo?

O Virtues,
Must you be so fussy
Like hen-pecked accountants who, on dry sunny days, carry
umbrellas and wear overshoes?
Why can't you be blowsy and breezy like a gold-hearted hussy?

O Virtues,
Must you grind so finely like a fashion model who, with
perfect pearly teeth, each tiny fat-free mouthful
Over chews
Exactly 32 times? Why can't you be a sloppy swallower, silly,
succulent and slothful?

O Virtues,
Why must you stand in the study stiff with self-denial,
Repelling all friendly overtues,
Turning cold shoulder to pleasures venial and penial?

O Virtues,
Must you be clad ever in beige and charcoal? Will you never
Overt hues --
Scarlet, azure, gold, chartreuse...and would a litle mauve
hurt youse, eh, Virtues?

O Virtues!
WHY must you puff up Congresspersons with endless pompous
Poor over-juic-
Y inappropriately prodding Press-it-in, whom, endlessly, but
juicelessly, Congress impeaches!

Ah Virtues,
Why can't you on occasion wink a beady eye, your gaze
Avert, use
Tact? Do you know nothing of urges for furtive merging, narrow
verges, the creeping mortal curfews of our dreary days and

Have we not paid over and over and over dues,
O Virtues?
You are beginning just a tad to annoy, Virtues --
OY, Virtues!

You're on a Double-Ply Roll

You're old when what breaks the day's tedium
Is not a good meal or good sex or the passage
from a.m to p.m,
But a good BM.

From Here to Internety

Three minutes lost since I clicked on that icon.
The only websites growing, at this rate,
Are on the keyboard: Cobwebs, mould and lichen.
We also surf who only sit and wait.


O what a tangled Web we weave!
No limiting what we achieve
With hypertext - but what a peeve
When mammoth files I must retrieve.
There're hours to go with no reprieve,
No sleep to knit this raveled sleave.
It's midnight. Hell, I'm gonna leave!
What story will the boss believe?
(It takes some practice to deceive.)

How to Attract the Single Hole

A cup is very complex:
The air may have holes in it,
but they are very hard to find
and will not hold tea.

So we make out of clay or glass
the sides and bottom of a hole.

Instantly as these take shape
some alert hole makes them its own.

Having thus lured a hole into our grasp,
we fill it with tea, which we empty
into other captive holes.

Pumping Irony

Getting rid of:
Ab flab,
Pec dreck,
Lat fat,
Glute suet;
Putting some bod
In my quad,
Getting a delt
That can be felt,
Building some hams
On my gams,
Increasing by half
Each calf,
Trying to spice up
Each bicep and tricep,
Double the size
Of my thighs,
Eliminate the grips
On my hips,
Make me and my trapezius
Most pleasing and squeezy, yes!

We're Just Good Friends

I love her, but she's married to another,
So, tail between my legs, I play big brother
And tease myself with dreams of torrid sin
And - but for him - the love that might have been.

The game wears thin - a thought creeps in to haunt me:
Before she fell for him, she didn't want me.

Awe Shucks

When someone says something is awesome,
How come it is always so not?
Perhaps long ago I once saw some-
Thing awesome. I must have forgot.

The Long Goodbye

"I did it because I didn't want to hurt you!"
Means, "Thanks for your love, but now I must desert you."

Better Latter Than Late

While washing a dormer
From high on a ladder,
In hosing the former,
He soaped slick the latter.

He slipped off the ladder --
Oh dastardly fate!
But it could have been badder:
He's not yet "The late."

Reflections on Getting Up

The hardest part of every day
Is getting out of bed:
One foot, another, stand up...sway --
Where did I leave my head?

Sit down...no, walk! -- the room's so wide...
Now things are getting clearer,
For there's my head, all crusty-eyed,
Where I left it -- in the mirror!

So I Says to Myself...

Of all the hidden pleasures of mankind --
Like peeing in the bath, popped blackheads, farts --
The one most stigmatized of all, you'll find,
Is also dearest to our private hearts:

We love to chatter to ourselves aloud;
We're such good company! What an enigma!
For if we're overheard amidst the crowd,
Uncell-phoned, speaking to ourselves -- the stigma!

The remedy for most of us is marriage:
No need, then, care who overhears or peeks,
As -- safe with one each vowed to love and cherish --
He to himself and she to herself speaks.

Oughtumn Woods

The woulds are lovely, but the coulds
Are weak before the bully shoulds.

She Said, Holding Herself in Her Own Arms and Shivering

The saddest words of all our tongues and pens
Are these: "Can't we just be good friends?"

She Said Over His Grave

No deed so black, it can't be bleached to virtue:
"I lied because I didn't want to hurt you."

Tis An Ill Woodwind Blows No Good

Resistance is futile.
For hours each day
On his flute he WILL tootle.
If mean thoughts could slay...

Myth Takes:

Zeus wore winged dentures.
Upon arising, he'd clap his hands
and open his mouth wide.
The dentures would leap from the bedside table
directly into the jaws of Zeus
and settle with a CLACK,
folding their wings in his commodious cheeks.

One day the tip of Zeus' sacred tongue
got caught in the clack.
Furious with pain, Zeus groped
for his teeth, but forgot
to shut his mouth. The teeth escaped
easily from the great anguished O!,
flew out the window and into the sky
where, scattered by a pursuing bolt
of vengeful lightning, they became
the constellation Denturius.

That bright yellow star toward the center
is Tuska, Zeus' false left upper

Thereafter Zeus refused to wear teeth.
When visiting mortal lovers,
to avoid embarrassment, he appeared
as a swan or a bull. No one expects
a toothy swan, and who's going to look
a white bull in the mouth. Besides,
they mount from behind.

Now that long constellation to the north
of Denturius is Phallosium Bobbittus....

Or Elmer Fudd?

The house in the Drano commercial
speaks to its owner in deep stentorian tones,
the God of Moses when He's feeling anti-sercial:
From dark roiling clouds the voice of James Earl Jones.
And why not? What do we serve and cherish
More than our convenient box full of things.
The House endures; like flies we perish.
O House, protect us 'neath thy sheltering wings.
In the commercial the house demands Drano;
The lady doesn't dare say no,
But like a good doggie, fetches,
And if your house sounded like Chaliapin, so would you, I
If my house must speak with any voice other than my own,
Let it, as I stroke its dusty nooks, giggle and moan,
And if its drains get stuck with guck,
Let it sputter and stew like Donald Duck.

Dies Irae or Iris, Dearie?

Some say the world will end in ire,
Some say in NICE.
From socks I've lost in that damned drier,
I hold with those who favor ire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of airy-fairy
To say that for destruction "nice"
Is also very scary
And would suffice.

Grand Old Apres Shampoo

I've never felt hair grow,
And yet I know it does,
For my high and noble brow
Is still richly crowned with fuzz,
Though down my drain did go
More hair than ever was.

Carpe Canine
Or: Hark! Hark! The Dogs
Do Barf!

Now what's that dog chewing?
Surely something he shouldn't.
From a can or a cat box,
Whether bone or soft puddin' it,
This Pollyannish dog
Always finds something good in it.
He gobbles it down,
Then plays dumb--Hollywoodn't
Do it better, as if saying
"Something wrong? Why, whodoneit?"
I'll find out what he scarfed
When, tomorrow, all chewed-on, it
is barfed on our carpet
And I put my foot in it.

Consolation Prize
Or: How Do You Like Them Apples!

God thought "It's time to cast them from the garden"
When Adam stared at Eve and got a hard-on
And Eve turned red and said, "I BEG your pardon!"

"Be gone!" quoth God, "You won't be needin' Eden.
Henceforth it will be Eve ye sow your seed in.
And so you know whose bleedin' will must be done,

Your brow will sweat to put food on the table;
If childbirth doesn't faze you, the puking babe'll;
Then just try raising Cain--you won't be able.

Now SCRAM!" "Yessir!" they said, and into the wilderness
They strode, wond'ring what to wear and where to build their nest
And giggling like children to think what making children is.

Curb Your Doggerel

You know that you can't have your treat
Until you've done your business.
Not on the path! Please be discreet
And spare our neighbors' queasiness.
Don't gaze up at me from my feet
With sweet big-brown-eyed quizziness!
Just do your duty quick and neat
Or we'll be here till Chrisimess!

I Wish You Joy Of The Worm
Or: Anima Told Me So

Spring's melodies mostly are merry and flutey and cheery ones,
But, hark! my ears buzz with those shrill tinny bloodthirsty clarions,
As mosquitoes come down on our folds like the Medes or Assyrians.
It's time, my old mutt, that you had a heart-worming experience.

Mid-Evil Earache

Long-winded guest, when wilt thou blow?
The small-talk out is talked.
Christ! If my smile were off my face,
And thou out my door had walked.

Whose Hose

A stocking, children,
Is just panti-hose
In which a short,
One-legged person goes.

Just Sew Sew

She sews kids' clothes
At a rapid clip,
But as she sews,
So shall they rip.

The Hirsute Of Sappiness

"Isn't da kittums cute!" --
Turning her suit hirsute.

It Bellies Imagination

When diets and exercise failed to stop
Belt's slip neath paunch o'er-spilling,
Will-power drained, he at last succumbed
To suspenders and disbelief in willing.

[Note: Coleridge said that poetry required of the reader a "willing suspension of disbelief."]

A Mirror Figment

You make a face.
The mirror repeats you.
The copy cat
Persists, defeats you.
It's what you think
You are that eats you.

Shelf Esteem

All the things we had, we've got
On dusty shelves: Waste not, whatnot.

Sedimentally Speaking

What I meant, but didn't say
Sank, a bitter sediment.
Distaste yet lingers, though I pray
I meant what, since, I've said I meant.

Join The Peptic Degeneration!

O clever ads for a clever age!
Which soft drink gains the leverage?
"Just chug-a-lug our beverage,
And you'll never never never age!"

Jockeying For Position

Why do officials hate us so,
Glare through grills and sneer in courts?
Because they fear that we may know
How bad they need to adjust their shorts.


He thought he had lint,
But he din't.

B Complex Blues

I wake up tumescent,
Loaded and primed, I think,
For a bald bold satyr act,
But it's evanescent,
Gone, quick as a wink
After a solid gold cataract.

A Wart To The Wise

If funny things grow on your nose,
You won't be wooed by eskimos.


Was it pressure to excel
drove my Tee shirts to XL?


When prayers and diet fail,
Chagrined at each new pound I find,
I cringe upon the scale:
A waist is a terrible thing to mind!

Waiter Waiting

I shake my empty coffee cup
At the waiter across the room--
Everyone knows I want to fill up
But the waiter across the room.

Maybe I should throw my mug
Across the room at the waiter.
Would he get mad or simply shrug
And get back to me much later?


Promoted beyond his ability,
He's developed a status tic.
To hang on to his new billet, he
Fabricates his statistic.

Behind his desk, he cowers,
Praying fervently that his trick
Won't be caught. His boss hourly glowers,
To which TWITCH! goes his status tic.

A Clean Breast Of It

Some women are hugely impressed
By a man with a full-bristled chest,
So a brute with the reek of the cave'll
Sport shirts open wide to the navel;
He'll usually manage to wear less
Than the bashful pectorally hairless:
When he strides the beach, proud hair apparent,
He is practically not a stitch wearent.
As for yours truly, I couldn't care less --
Though to shun flu and other bugs perilous,
I wear turtlenecks both day and night.
But I grant every woman the right
To her life, liberty and pursuit
Of happiness with the hirsuit.

Grain Of My-graine

"How fine to be
None else than me,"
Orated he
To multitudes
Of cheering moods
And attitudes.

Busy As A B+

He spends his nights with friends
Who aren't there any more,
Tidying up loose ends,
Evening up the score.
These friends are lost or dead,
But they show up each night.
He's busy in his head
Being right.

It's For The Best

When people who do badly explain again and again
That they're doing the best that they possibly can,
Don't try to refute them,
Just shoot them.

Lesson Lesions

All day he scrapes and screes his violin--
I think my nerves are stripped of myelin!

Spring Mutterings

Life is a lingering disease.
I've grown accustomed to despair.
Don't confuse me, silly breeze,
Running swift fingers through my hair.

White Supremacy On The Shirt Circuit

How white should one's white shirt be?
The one washed with Brand X looks as free of dirt as a shirt can
free of dirt be
Until our sponsor's all new jumbo miracle-ingredient-infested
Unfurls a shirt as blindingly white as sunlit sea spume, a
politician's public conscience or snow that is virgent.
Just what I need: my paunch, that has been exploring new
territory faster than Lewis and Clark,
Glowing in the dark.

Whither, Man?

Thanks to the weatherman with his map,
His numbers, moving arrows and rapid rap,
At last I understand the weather!
Today's rain, for example, is because that big thing from down
below and that big thing from way up there are rubbing
Tomorrow it may rain some more, depending on whether
Those two big things keep rubbing together.
Now that swirly mess is a satellite view of Heaven,
And that's all there is to the weather, but there'll be more at

It Goes Like This

The singer says please sing along--
He thinks he's in the groove.
God! I wish I had a gong!
The singer says please sing along--
"I need your help to sing this song!"
My lips politely move.
The singer says please sing along--
He thinks he's in the groove.

Dental Work

Busy buzzing drill
on and on,
Endless drone
Is, was and will
Is Is Is
Fuss and fizz -
(clamp damp tamp)

There She Is--We've Been Looking For You Everywhere!

From her own couch she feels outside
Looking in: gnome leers at gnome;
She or the party must have died,
But the hostess can't go home.