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Last updated: January 7, 2006

Light Verse Poems About Poets, Poetry, Critics and Editors:

This section contains light-verse poems about literature and literary figures. Since I've already published a 400-page book of such poems (a few of the following are in it), I haven't tried to crowd all of them into this section, just a small sampling.

Bogged In Ogden

It is risky and reprehensible and doggone rash
To become infatuated with--ugh!--Ogden Nash:
Your poems cease to be serious and rational
In dogged pursuit of the notional and Nashional.
You can't sleep with your nogden befogged-in
With hunting for rhymes odd enough to be worthy of Ogdin,
And next morning your brain's a dog breakfast and by dinner it's a dog dindin
From being ceaselessly ahum with that Ogdin din,
And you devoutly wish you could, like Dorothy, say to the Wizard of Og:
"Why you're nothing but a humbog!"
You'd balloon back to Kansas and our culture full of fresh, raw, distinctive voices by the dozen with that Toto dog then--
But suddenly up bubbles another horrid rhyme that's just tootoo Ogthen...
And so feverishly through this wilderness of brashly flashy,
tooth-gnashy hash
I ramble with Nash.
I'm sliding downhill fast, thanks to Ogden Nash.
I fear that neither God nor Ogd can save me from a terrible
toboggden crash!

The Editorial Wee Wee

Poetry reading: Just outside the loo
A line of poets squirming in their shoes.
Inside, no doubt, there sits an editor who
Is holding onto it for future use.

How Grimly They Bare It

Feminist poets, though often graphic,
Are seldom, if ever, the least bit laughic,
Not even when they're gay; in fact, the gay are the least gay
and the most graphic,
Though hardly priaphic;
They milk their one theme, The Importance Of Being Ernestine,
As if it were a Jersey or a Hereford or a Guernestine.
Though a Hereford is not for milking, but for meat,
But I guess you can milk a meat cow or any cow on which you can
grab hold of a teat.
Anyway, let's not be so literal, but get back to my subject,
which is the literately clitoral
Or, portmanteaued, the litoral,
Which sounds like "littoral", meaning "of the shore or beach",
As in "Once more into the beach..."--but my grasp has just been
exceeded by my reach;
So I'd better quit or what I
Write hereafter will be torn to Orphean shreds by the Clitorati.

Kubla Befrands A Dolly
Or: Was His Mount A Bore--Ah?

Though you'd think one kind word from a glorious emperor would
turn a maiden's heart to pudding--or at least her
One word from Kubla Khan wouldn'ta,
Because Kubla would always put his foot in't,
So the women agreed that Kubla Khan couldn't,
And though he begged and flattered and assailed them with gifts,
prayers, raves and rants,
He couldn't get into their short thick pants;
But after restoring his courage in taverns measureless to man
(Where ceaselessly from bottles booze for sots with halph a
scarred liver ran),
He would try again, his pitch getting fulsomer and fulsomer,
Until, though he never heated a single damsel to a full boil, he
did at last get a damsel with a dull simmer.

'Tis An Ilk Kith Blowth No Goethe

She likes to read from Roethke & Rilke
And their ilke.
My stuff's no kin to Rilke & Roethke,
Nor kithke.


Leapeth frogge
And splasheth bogge -
Softe sing haiku!
Adjective droppeth,
First person croppeth,
Softe sing haiku!
Bright leaf soarth high -
A butterfly!
Softe sing haiku!
Trembleth blossom
Quite ad naussom -
Softe sing haiku!
Haiku! Haiku! Softe coo haiku!
Haiku! Haiku! Haiku!

Fat Chants

His solemn chants proclaim
Most poets share his aim;
For most dignify cant.
I too applaud and fawn,
Pretend to dig it...yawn --
As a sign-if-I-can't.

Ah, the Hagiography OF Winter..."

Once poetry's decreased repute
Was blamed on "moon," "June," "Love"...
But now our poets would be mute
Without the use of "of."

A Dip in the Deep

Must poems save lives, right wrongs,
Get down to nitty-gritties?
What's wrong with fun and songs?
Enjoy my pro-fun ditties!

Deanotations Renewal Notice

Poets are often called songbirds --
Like wrens -- though for notes we use words,
And you, readers, must sing them too...
Wren, you? [Renew?]


Poems where kisses
Plunge into abysses
Of surging blisses,
While hits with my Mrs.,
Are less hits than misses
Where my sour phiz is.

This Poem Is Hip...NOT! (is it?)

I think that I shall ever drone
On endlessly in monotone,
For poetry should make us sleep
With its hypnotic steady creep
That best can make us do and see
What we are told agreeably.
Thus hypnotism is my game -
Each syllable more of the same.
My voice is heavy, and your eyelids
Start to droop like shrinking violids.
Your minds can best be led like sheep
When sunk in deep iambic sleep.
For tomes I'm paid by fools like thee
Whom, oddly, tone can make agree.

Highbrows & Eyebrows

At winning poetry prizes and grants,
Those academics can't be beat,
Eyebrows scorning rude raw rants,
Wresting vict'ry from the jaws of effete.

If Your Nash Is A Rambler, Park Her

Nash is rash,
But Parker is darker.

A Tut-Tutter's Stutter

I have a speech impediment:
I speak in rhyme and sentiment;
I always stammer in iambs
And praise your free verse with faint dambs.

For Whom Nobels Toil

Could I write such insouciant stuff
If caught up in the lures of prestige?
The French put it aptly enough:
Nobelists oblige.

A Book Scarcely to be Bourne

Myriad dull Ludlum, Ludlum, Ludlum,
Myriad dull Ludlum -
His words pile up like snow;
And nowhere is there merriment, merriment, merriment,
Nowhere is there merriment -
Unmitigated woe.

[All right, he's not quite that bad, but I was seduced by the closeness of "Mary had a little lamb" to "Myriad dull Ludlum".]

Poetry Slam

What wins the judges'
Is platitude
With attitude.

...Just to Bridge Over the Je Ne Sais Kwai

He hopes to make a living
By writing nostalgic goo.
This rude world's unforgiving:
"Go stuff your deja vu!"
To pay your way to oblivion,
Best keep your day-job, vous!

[Note: "Kwai" for "Quoi" in the title because of "The Bridge Over The River Kwai" (movie and book) and because the writer who expects to make a living out of such goo will spend a lot of time Kwai-ing.]

Critics, Please Note

Call me rude,
Call me vulgar,
Call me lewd,
But not dull -- GRR!

I'm Prolix, so Lick Me!

When I'm introduced as "prolific,"
I flinch: From the balmy Pacific
To the drizzly shores of New Joisic
I'll be ostracized by the prochoicic!

...Or So I Like to Think

The reader who, meeting an awful pun, groans
is no more displeased than the lover who moans.


If you make it intense,
There's no need to make sense.
Make it weird; make it dense;
Most of all, make it..hence!

Beware the Snides...

Dorothy Parker's favorite vice:
Always scathing on thin nice.

On the Proliferation of Dickinsonian Poets

"I'm Emily. Who are you?
Are you Emily too?"

Like As Not

Here lies one once fond of simile,
Beneath the moss and lichen;
As these are fed by bits of him, will he
Be likened to the lichen?

A Last Alas

Dressed in black,
A mournful monkling...
At last Hamlet's
Done un-uncling.

A Definite Deficit

Poets are children: We need Ritalin, too,
Desperately craving attention as we do.

Articulate Litter

I write great poems, then wait and wait...and wait;
Those I would reach are all illiterate.
A case of way too literate too late.

The Timing of the Shrew

Invective, jeers and so on --
Hear that virago go on
Like an insoluble Koan!
A shrew is far worse
Than a villain, who's terse --
When does Iago go on?
But Kate, in her hearse,
Will still mutter and curse,
Because the shrew must go on!

Shakespeare Meets the Bee Gees

Kate meets Iago. Hard hearts glowing,
Villain and Virago go gogo-ing.

Catullus Got Your Tongue?

Another epigram! I've strained
To sprawl, to draw
My poems out, but I'm constrained
By Martial law.

[Note: Catullus and Martial were Roman poets, both terse, but Martial, in particular, is remembered for his brief epigrams.]

Choose Me, I Beg

I wrote a book --
Please take a look.
You really should --
It's VERY good.
It just wants readers;
It's quite a book...
Author's can't be pleaders...
But take a look.

Where are the Inflections?

Rhyme is heavy
Tax to levy
On this minglish
Thing called English.

[Note: Many languages are far more inflected than English (all the Romance languages, for example) – that is, the words have special endings (inflections) to indicate gender and other qualities. It is far easier to rhyme in such languages (e.g., Italian) than in English, which is a mix (minglish) of Germanic and Romance and other languages.]

Mistress in Distress

My lines won't scan – a point to ponder:
O mis-stress mine, where do you wander?

You're ON! (View of a featured poet)

Your showcase --
Don't choke, Ace.

But One Mo Cup of Jo Would Help

Ready to write – I'm perking;
I've got my mot juste working!

Sowing Wild Quixoats?

Her poems in that rough age
Most regularly ran,
Bulked up by slick roughage:
Large dollops of Gibran.

[Note: Referring to the silky oracular and not very bran-like pronouncements of Khalil Gibran.]

It Has An Air

If you'd asked Ogden Nash if his poems were worthy of the raving
and lauding
Bestowed by critics upon Eliot, Stevens and Auding,
He'd have said, diplomatically,
"Comparisons are odious and malodorous"
His heart the while singing with a flipflopflip, romatically,
"Your comparison is melodious!"

Beyond The Pale

Fey damsels roused Poe's lust--
He couldn't stomach crudeness--
and pale ones, sober-eyed and just
a touch sepulchritudinous.

Promise of Breech

Bob and Liz go down to the nudist beach,
In Adriatic glare frowning.
Will Bob's Victorian gasp exceed his reach?
Will Elizabeth bare it, browning?

A Poor Thing, But Brine

O Andrew Marvell, my sun runs no more.
I can but marvel how you still do your thing.
What now transpires at my every pore -
Not hot, but cold and wet - is but a pore thing.

Those Too Too Tonic Nights

Fyodor Dostoyevski
And Alexander Nevski
Cursed like Rasputins
At all those Darn Teutons!

To Which, "F. U.", Quoth E.

E. Hemingway thought wealth not all it's heralded
To be, not thinking as F. S. Fitzgerald did:
"The rich," quoth S., "are not like you or me,
But rather more like 'they', or, royally, 'we'."

[Note: Fitzgerald is reported to have said to Hemingway, "The rich are not like you and me", to which Hemingway replied, "Yes, they have more money."]


Quoth one James Kilmer "Hark!
A poem's not like a tree!"
Yet is not his a bark
As "O Bough - WOW!" raves he?

[Note: Kilmer wrote "Trees", which begins "I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree."]

Roses! MORE Roses! NEW Roses!

Gertrude Stein wrote "a rose is a rose is a rose" -
No one tells Gertrude Stein when to end a clause! -
And though gen'rous, was rather morose than jocose -
She could not tolerate being sans Toklas. [Santa Claus]


Politically Correct? Not Gertrude Stein!
Although she knew not when to end a line,
No one could say that Gertrude was afraid
To call a spade a spade a spade a spade a spade...

Shellfish Shelve Selfish Shelley

After drowning, Percy Bysshe Shelley
Fattened many a shellfish belly;
Hence the naming of those famous dishes,
Crab and lobster bysshes.

Tish Tish!

In "Percy Bysshe Shelly" the "Bysshe"
Rhymes with dish and fish and nouveau riche,
But not, unfortunately, with "cliché"
(A word sorely lacking in rhymes) or with "Quiche", eh?

One Ray of Light Thru the Dolorous Haze

One asks herein: Can a book offend?
Suave lad, he - merry to the end.
Ah, lowly tongues will say he's dead,
But turf lies lightly on his head.

[One asks Sirin: Can Nabokov fend?
Suave Vladimir, HE to the end.
Ah, Lolita, Angst will say he's dead -
Butterflies lightly on his head.]

[Sirin = Nabokov's pen name in his Russian work -- a kind of song bird.. Dolorous Haze = Lolita's "real" name. Nabokov was a lepidopterist (studied butterflies) as well as a writer. The second quatrain mirrors the first, sonically, in a way that, I think, would have pleased Nabokov, though line seven is rough.]

Queensbury Rules and Soiled Stones

"Slander!" cried Oscar; Queensbury counter-sued,
Striking below the belt, the stodgy prude! -
Sued and pursued - rude! Lewd! (all this in quotes) -
On stony soil he sued Oscar's Wilde dotes.

[The Marquess of Queensbury sued Oscar Wilde, accusing him of sodomy. Wilde had been having an affair with Queensbury's son.]

Yes, No Pollyanna He

Young Tolstoy sampled all things male -
A taste of war, a piece of tail...
Then wrote - will wonders never cease! -
a tasty tale of war and peace.

The Peter Principle

Some passionate male poets write epics that stretch from April
to December
About the beauty, strength and prowess of each his member.
Now I don't object to a little masculine self-esteem--
Even a precious poet as acned as hackneyed whose penis is no
mightier than his pen is and his pen is a leaky Bic--
even such poets should dream
A little--aye, a little, there's the nub:
One member maketh not a club
To beat us ceaselessly over the head with
Nor for that matter that anyone else would want--except,
perchance, to sleep--to go to bed with.
I would not have these poets stricken dumb,
But I do propose a rule of, shall we say, thumb:
Let epic perorations swell and paeans painfully dwell on the
might and the height of it
And the empurpled ivory-shafted glory of the sight of it,
But permit the poet eruditely to endite on it
Only as many words as with a pen (preferably felt) he can write
on it,
Which should keep it down to one however trite sonnet,
Perhaps only a very slight sonnet,
And even that's assuming he can keep his, shall we say, interest
Long enough, but not too up, lest the poem come to an abrupt
Shall we say, end. But how long
For self-love's old sweet song
Is long enough?
Of such stuff,
O brave and genital poet
With pale cheeks and eyes inchoate,
However much they want to like you,
Even the politest audience will forsike you
(Perchance to sleep) if you exceed a haiku.


"Who do you suppose
Is Ionesco's

"I know, sir! Us!"

[Note: Ionesco's "absurdist" drama, "Rhinocerus", got lots of academic discussion of this sort.]

O Reason Not The Need

King Lear, The Musical – why not?
The Bard was a great Learicist,
And I could write some songs – why not? –
With just a little beer-assist.

Why not try it? Shakespeare's hot!
Aren't I an empiricist?
Big sisters screech, "There's not a lot
To love, so learn to fear us, Sis!"

"You're colder than a serpants twat,"
Sings Lear, "You haughty heiresses!"
Hi ho, the wind and the rain – I've got
It made! I'm a Shakespearicist!

[Note: The "big sisters" are Regan and Goneril, who disinherit "Sis" (Cordelia, the younger sister). Lear says to R. and G. that they are crueler than a serpant's tooth. "Hi ho, the wind and the rain" is from the chorus of a song sung by "the Fool" in Lear -- it's also in "Twelfth Night".]

Freelance Writing

Syllables –

Kilmer DeFrosted

Whose woods these are I think that I
Shall never know. Although I try,
So rapt in each tree's loveliness
Am I that I can't see the mess
Of trees we call a woods – we poets,
Which may be why I'll never know its
Owner -- God, perhaps, for none
But fools – the sorts who always pun –
Could think to own one tree, much less
All these, whose number I can't guess...
I'd count them all as one counts sheep,
But, like long poems, that leads to sleep,
And I have promises to keep
And miles to drive before I sleep...
And myshoodribblefuddle...
My car's wrapped ‘round a fucking tree!
And what's that bloody heap I see?...
Whose corpse that is I think I know;
But only God knows where I'LL go.

He Wouldn't Care For All This Rhyme

He had but one voice, lofty, broad and vociferous;
He brought to life's banquet a hunger omnivorous;
Prowled with deep-sniffing nose through a world odoriferous;
He wasn't a leg- or an ass- or a tit-man;
He much preferred men, but he loved every bit, man;
And only in grandeur, for he was no wit, man,
No slicer and dicer – a hug was his gift for us.
On and on, like waves breaking on sand, he would riff for us.

Did he love us? Or did he love only Walt Whitman?
Did he cherish the sound of his voice like a hitman
Re-oiling his favorite gun? But if Whitman
Loved sharing the voice that he loved with the rest of us,
Isn't that love enough? Or did he get the best of us?
Did he use us as props, symbols solemn and festivous
In the sensual, proud-strutting New World of Walt?
Was there once such a world? Maybe. Now we're adult.
Let's move on. Don't look back. You might turn into salt.

He's a Gas

"You shall not pass!"
Thus does a wall twit man.
"I'll shed all mass,
Be less than gas,
Be here and there
And everywhere."
Thus does a Walt Whitman.

After His Port, He Listed to Starboard

Walt Whitman fills his poems with lists
And whiskery brother-hugging trysts.
I hug sisters and am listless,
But I doubt that I've been kissed less --
More, I think. Last night you kissed
Me more than even Walt could list.

Rye Not?

Did J. D. Salinger embolden
50's youth to sample pot
By glorifying Caulfield, Holdin'?
Probably not.

[Note: Holden Caulfield, rebellious teen hero of "Catcher in the Rye".]

What follows are four parodies of John Donne sonnets, each followed by the original:

John Donne Sets The Corset Of Feminism

At the round girth's imagined flatness, TUG!
You strumpet handmaids, and arise, arise
From dress, you numb, braless (infinite tease!)
Soft doves, popped upward by the corset's hug,
You whom rude men dismiss as tit, boob, jug,
You by whom knights, priests, boys with woeful sighs
Claim to be slain, claim once you've filled their eyes,
They've beheld God! OOF! pull those stays...OUCH! UGH!...
But let them loll, girls, and me moon a space,
For if, beyond my boobs, my buns abound,
Unbound, they'll bound - a bun dance of my grace!
Unstay me - why make flat what's jolly round?
Reach me! I'll be unpent! Loose is not lewd!
BURN corsets, bras! I'm in a muu-muu mood!

* The above sonnet is not-too-loosely derived from one of John Donne's "Holy Sonnets", "At the round earth's imagined corners blow/Your trumpets...":

At the round earth's imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold god and never taste death's woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou'hadst sealed my pardon, with thy blood.

Don't Let Hard Butter Get Your Goat

Butter your bread, impatient child, for you
As yet but jab, scrape, clot - then slop on jelly,
Little of which shall ever reach your belly,
Dripping, instead, upon your shirt, your shoe
From rents your earnest buttering tore through
In your rough haste to get back to the telly
Before commercial's end - poor loaf, from deli
But this morning bought, whole, fragrant, new...
Worse yet, your gelid butter clumps in chunks,
Some bread bits slabbed and smothered, others bare.
Rather would I, a savage, tear off hunks
To sop up sauce, than taste such shoddy fare!
O thaw thy butter that it gently spread,
Nor gash nor rashly gouge thy willing bread!

John Donne's sonnet upon which the above is based:

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like a usurpt townn, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved faine,
But am betrothed unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Not Goodbye, but Good Buy!

Beth, be not cowed, though swept from bargain table
By swarms of fellow shoppers - if you lose
One blouse, find others; look long ere you choose:
Buy not, poor Beth, 'til you have read the label;
What though raw silk stir jealousy in Mabel
If it won't fit? Buy only what you'll use:
Who shops impatiently, at leisure rues.
Hold thy heart calm and shrewd amidst this Babel.
But no! Eyes glazed - and not with drugs, nor sleep,
Which but the pictures be of shopper's lust,
Deaf to your husband's pleas - in whims thy trust!
No slave art thou to notions of dear and cheap;
Patch not nor dye old frocks, but let them lie:
For Beth shall dye no more; Beth, thou shalt buy.

And another parody of the same poem:

Dobbin Undonne

Horse be not proud, though some have called thee
Noble and haughty, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Remount, poor horse, nor yet canst thou throw me.
From dogs and ponies, miniatures of thee,
Obedience; then from thee much more must flow.
And where I lead, there surely thou dost go,
Else bit will bite thee most untenderly.
Thou art slave to whip, reins, harness, spur-shod men,
And dost with straw and dung and horseflies dwell,
And Chevy or Ford can carry us as well,
And smoother than thy gait; why swell'st thou then?
Because I can not make thee drink? Bad actor, ye?
Then horse shall be no more! To the glue factory!

Here is the sonnet on which the two poems above are based:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings and desperate men
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Here's a parody of Milton's most famous sonnet, followed by the original:

Spam-Soon Agonistes

Or: Sin of Spam

When I consider how my day is spent,
With half my morn in this dark world and wide,
Wasted beside this trough, where I abide
Thy whim, thou churlish nag, thy head not bent
To drink or serve thy Master and present
A docile eye - I tan thy useless hide!
How long must I stand furious by thy side?
[Alt: Know I'll demand dray-labor, drink defied.]
God grant me patience lest, my spleen to vent,
I take His name in vain! Thou wilt not heed
My pleas, nor be cajoled by gifts? Oh damn!
I'll wring thy neck! 'Twill serve thee right! My state
Is kingly. Coursers at my bidding speed
And post from here to town. Drink or be Spam!
For I'm ill-served who only stand and wait.

When I consider how my my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hid
Lodged with me useless, though my sould more bent
To server therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He, returning, chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

The following four villanelles are take-offs on the famous Dylan Thomas villanelle, written on the death of his father, that repeats the lines "Do not go gently into that good night" and "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Advice To A Lady Whose Gent Takes Her For Granted
(As, Of Course, A Villain'll Do)

Do not go nightly in to that rude gent;
Stay out till 4 a.m. Should he complain,
Rage! Rage until he begs...and then relent.

Ladies don't grow on trees - they're Heaven-sent!
His ass-grabs should be greeted with disdain.
Do not go nightly in to that rude gent.

And if he says, "See here, who pays the rent?"
Say, "Fine - I'll move out, since it's such a strain!"
Then rage! Rage till he begs...and then relent.

This man's an island while you're continent:
Let "I'm not in the mood" be your refrain.
Do not go nightly in to that rude gent.

Headaches, fatigue, "It's sore!" - you can invent
New reasons every night - his pain, your gain.
Rage! Rage until he begs...and then relent -

With all that waiting, swiftly he'll be spent;
Say, "My, My! Speedy Gonzales! John on the Wane!"
Do not go nightly in to that rude gent!
Rage! Rage until he begs...and then relent.

Against the Dining (Oof!) Delight

Doughnut, go gently into that tight gut.
You'll be the last, I swear: I'll eat no more!
Rage! Rage in vain, sweet tooth! My mouth is shut.

Go gently, for I would not burp nor putt
In such fine company. One, two, three, four
Doughnuts, go gently into that tight gut,

Melt on my tongue, sweet lard, but do not glut
Nor cloy, for you're the last...but who keeps score?
Nay! Rage in vain, sweet tooth! My mouth stays shut!

How can such golden lightness make me jut,
Such crispness make me sodden? I implore,
Doughnut, go gently into this tight gut;

Tight? Yes, I'm stuffed with creamy filling -- but
Your path's well-oiled by three who went before.
Rage, rage in vunchwitoonch: muffmusheshut.

That smell! (Ah, Resolution, you're a slut!)
Just one more bite? With coffee? (Fickle whore!)
Doughnut, go gently into that tight gut.
Rage, rage no more, sweet tooth.... (I'm in a rut.)

To A Gambler Up Against Loaded Dice

Do not go gentle with a light goodbye -
You know this bozo's "luck" is a load of crap!
Rage! Rage against the lighting of a die.

You've got a rep - you can't let this go by.
If word gets out, your name is Mr. Sap!
Do not go gentle with a light goodbye.

"Bad luck," he says, and "Sure" is your reply.
You keep your cool and watch out for a trap...
(Rage! Rage against the lighting of a die!)

You shrug, begin to stand, then with your thigh
You tip the table CRASH into his lap,
Not going gentle with a light goodbye.

He's clawing for his gat - you let him try,
Then coolly loose your little thunderclap.
Rage! Rage against the lighting of a die.

You take your bills and let the nickels lie.
"Bad luck," you say, and leave him to his nap,
Thus, gentle, going with a light goodbye -
Why rage against the lighting of a die?

The Horse That drink Refuses Drives Me Nuts! - Drives Me to Rage

Do not, unwatered, turn from that good stream,
Lest burning seize your throat at end of day;
Drink, drink, or else I'll thrash you till you scream!

Wise nags may loll and look askance and scheme
To let the others pull their load; yet they
Do not, unwatered, turn from that good stream.

Good men, kept waiting till the sun's last gleam,
Rage, rage against the stalling of a bay!
Drink, drink, or else I'll thrash you till you scream!

Wild men - who aren't as jovial as they seem -
Would tan your skin for drummerboys to play...
Do NOT, unwatered, turn from that good stream!

Grave men look patient, but they'd gladly ream
You out, if you dared flummox them this way.
Drink, drink, or else I'll thrash you till you scream!

And I - such bother! How you make me steam!
Goddamn you with your shrill pathetic "Neigh!"
Do not, unwatered turn, from that good stream!
Drink, drink, or else I'll thrash you till you scream!

Next, a parody of Shakespeare's "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?":

Apples And/Or Angels

Shall I compare thee to a guy named Fred?
Less hair hast thou upon thy floppier chest,
Thy calves, thy underarms and all the rest -
Except the ropey stuff atop thy head
(Not more, but merely longer, truth be said),
And densely nestled in thy nether nest -
There art thou more...or less? Which way is best?
I cannot say which is the best in bed -
Ne'er have I bedded Fred; I can but say
That when dark shades have shut the eye of day,
If I must lie with someone - all undressed,
I'd rather bump the baldness of thy breast
Than guzzle booze and burp with hirsute Fred.
If this be error, who'll care when I'm dead?

[Note: The title conceals the phrase "Apples and Oranges" -- referring to things that are difficult to compare.]

Next a parody of a famous Emily Dickinson poem, followed by the original:

No Flies on Emily!

I heard a bard die when I buzzed.7
The stilling of her yapping
Was like the stilling of the air
Before the swatter’s slapping.

My thousand eyes each lit with joy:
"This lady isn’t napping!
She’ll give my maggots a good home..."
And then two hands came clapping!
I dodged the mourners, zipped away
From hands hot to mishandle;
The thunder fell behind — and then
There interposed a candle

With blue-tinged flickering spear of flame
‘Twixt door and me, ungentle.8
Then on singed back I twitched and knew
No maggots would I dandle.

I heard a fly buzz when I died.
The stillness in the room
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.

The eyes around had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering firm
For that last onset when the king
Be witnessed in the room.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable; and then it was
There interposed a fly

With blue uncertain stumbling buzz
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed; and then
I could not see to see.

Sonnet Les Matines, Ding Dong Bell

The sonneteer in apple-green pajamas,
Rolls over onto his belly, groans, then snorts
("ICtus! OCtet! SESsss...tet...")--Hark! He farts
("Petrrraaarch!"), then falls to dreaming of enjambments.

Curled up now on his side, he sweetly rests,
Swells up, subsides to slow iambic breathing
Until, with prose-grey wraiths of dawn light writhing
Through literary shades, he turns and twists,

Clutching to catch at slumber's dragging foot,
To make her stay till he can find a line
To make sense of his dreams and also rhyme
With something...he's forgotten just what, but

He wants a finish sunlight's glare can't spoil...
DING! DING!--Foiled by the clock's barbaric peal!

[Note: Ictus, octet, sestet, enjambment, iambic, foot – all terms for concepts having to do with sonnets, metrical poetry, etc. Visit your friendly local dictionary. This sonnet dotes on partial rhymes, a kind of dream distortion of complete rhymes. The fart sound, ""Petrrraaarch!", refers to the Italian poet, Petrarch, who is said to have created the sonnet form.]

Le Sonn Et La Furie

How primly rhymed pentameter sets out
In perfect ranks, plumed hats and gleaming brass,
Marching to thumping drums across trim grass
To put the ragged noisy mob to rout
And...oops - WATCH OUT! Who threw that brick? A shout!
Hold ranks! Duck! Keep in step - but watch your ass!
We'll show this rabble!...Lord, but what a mass
Of life is this! It surges all about
Each syllable - the meter cannot hold!
Now it's breaking, words stumble from the ranks,
bloodied feet fall out of step,
rhyme drowned in the din of revolt
falters falls
look there! On either flank
hordes of

dart an

d leap

[Note: The disintegrating sonnet above is a short history of the break up of traditional forms, which happens gradually in the course of this poem, which starts out as a sonnet and at the end, is still, covertly, a sonnet (despite the chaotic look of it), retaining half rhymes (hold/revolt, ranks/flank, step/leap) and a bit of the beat.]

Sonnet to the Max

(A Max Sonnet Production?)

Why do I think I have to write a sonnet?
Why do I think and think and think upon it?
Shakespeare and Milton and Donne have already done it;
Now hordes of genteel rhymsters overrun it--
So why must I? What can it be but vanit-
-Y? There is naught that's new beneath the sun: It
Has snob appeal, like wearing a bon ton bonnet
Or knowing Monet from Manet and not saying "Monnet".
It's made to last: It sets your words in granite,
Like tombstones or marriage--but I'd rather Don Juan it,
Foot-loose and fancy free, 'oclast O'th' icon. It
Ill suits me to be ever like lawyers on law nit-
Picking. What eggs me on? By God! I'll shun it!
The sonnet makes me vomit! I SPIT on it!

But if I ever choose to write a sonnet,
In spite of all my carping, to condone it,
Once started, I won't stop, but on and on it
Will tick away, out-rhyming rhyme and reason! It
will show them! I'll pentathalon it--
Make an olympic event of it! I'll flaunt it!
Rhyme it to death! At last make it a non-it!
I'll write it in one sitting in the john. It
Won't even put my legs to sleep; then down it
Will flush, bye-bye, all gone, gone gone...I'll yawn; it
Isn't a blonde or brunette or Madonna. It
Is how you write if you're someone's maiden aunit.
But perhaps I'll save it...no, toss it! O! Doggone it!
I CANnot! Look! I've done it! A double sonnet!

Hark! Hark! The Larks Do Bark!

Though poetry readings aren't exactly a lark --
And in poetry even larks aren't larks, being
blithe spirits that never birds wert,
anymore than of yore you could hear the Nicean bark --
Yet seldom to the announcement of a reading do I fail to hark,
For where else is there always lots and lots
of room to park?

[Note: The poems referred to in line 2 are Shelley's "Ode to a Skylark", which begins "Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert" or something like that, and Poe's "To Helen", which refers to those "Nicean barks of yore" -- the boat sort of bark, I guess -- hmmm, canoes are made of bark...but I think I'm barking up the wrong tree.]

NEA Nay-Saying

I think that I shall never say
The sort of stuff for which they pay,
That trendy avant-gardish tripe
That reaps rewards and reeks with hype.
I rave my raves, rant many a rant,
But ne'er shall win an NEA Grant.

My poems will do - some deep, some witty,
But aimed at you, not some committee.
Besides, a grant would just affront me
Who write for love of God and country –

Also to use up excess trees,
Sip cheap Chablis and nibble bries
(O poetry-reading-evening bries!
O tenderly caressed Chablis!)

But pardon these, my jeers and japes,
If they be only sour grapes
That I'm not of that glittering crowd
Of fresh new voices, well-endowed...

Yet they're not gods, just fools like me
Who call their babblings poetry -
If they can win, then why can't I?
Perhaps someday I may apply.

[Note: NEA is National Endowment for the Arts, which gives grants to artists, including poets.]

Tune In Tomorrow...

For want of the horseman, a battle be lost?
For want of a horse, the horseman be lost?
For want of a shoe, the horse be lost?
For want of a nail, the shoe be lost?
But wait! Hear that creaking o'er the
rutted fields? Oh hurry! before the bugle sounds!
The nails are coming! The nails are coming!
Oh everything depends on a red wheel barrow!

[Note: This is a mix of the old adage about how a battle was lost, combined with a famous line from William Carlos William about how everything depends on a red wheel barrow, except it reverses the point of his poem, where the wheelbarrow's lack of any but aesthetic virtue was important.]

Beep! Beep!

Don't knock
Writers' block:
It's how you learn if your clock
Goes tick tick or tick tock;
But it's time to break your Bic and turn on the TV or take a
long wock
When you catch yourself listening to your digital watch to find
out if it goes tick tick or tick tock.

For hundreds of other parodies, limericks about poets, new odd poetic forms, etc., order my book: "Please, Lord, Make Me A Famous Poet Or At Least Less Fat.