Laugh if you will
Comic and Light Verse
After Sir Walter Raleigh
Go, poem, since you are free,
and, though you know it’s hopeless,
if you make just one see,
at least there’ll be one dope less
to chant the hymns that praise
the liars of our days.
Tell friendship it’s just greed
to take without returning,
tell love it’s only need
to quench a sexual burning,
and if they doubt your word,
then flip them both The Bird.
Tell managers they care
for nothing but their perks;
tell judges they’re unfair;
tell lawyers that they’re jerks:
when they shall have demurred,
dismiss them with The Bird.
Tell churches that they sing
of god and worship money;
their purpose is to sting
their flocks and keep the honey:
so let them be assured
they won’t escape The Bird.
Tell statesmen they commit
mass murder for their masters,
and never need admit
blame for their disasters:
on them is well conferred
The Order of The Bird.
Tell liberals they’re moony;
conservatives, they’re tools;
call flaming leftists loony,
and right wing ranters, fools:
if they cry, "No we’re not!",
The Bird must be their lot.
Say politicians lie
and lie and lie and lie
and lie and lie and lie
and lie and lie and lie.
They don’t like what they’ve heard?
Perhaps they’ll like The Bird.
Tell radical professors
rebellion’s easy, when you’re
among the proud possessors
of insulating tenure.
If they squeal, "That’s absurd!",
assign their grade: The Bird.
Tell poets they’re careerist
tell critics they’re the merest
flotsam on auteurs,
and if they scowl and scoff,
then they must be flipped off.
Tell generals they delight
to climb their hierarchy
enslaving youth who fight
to keep their owners free:
if generals howl and hoot,
present The Bird Salute.
Say toadying little ferrets
are guaranteed a cheer,
while unconnected merit’s
rewarded with a sneer:
if they disparage you,
you know what you must do.
Call honor egotism’s
point out that patriotism’s
an antidote to shame,
and if they are outraged,
release The Bird uncaged.
Then vanish, poem, at last,
when you have done your duty,
into the spirit’s vast
retreat of truth and beauty,
and leave this world we see
to King Hypocrisy.
Please click player for audio.
This is a poem, but don’t be afraid,
it can’t hurt you. You can read it without
the slightest obligation. It won’t ask
you to sign anything or pester you
for a commitment. It will not expect
you to sit quietly at your desk with
your hands folded until the bell rings. You
can put it on a poster on your wall
or carry it in your pocket in case
you ever need a poem or just leave
it lying around. It is all surface,
so you don’t have to worry about how
deep to stick your finger into it. It
will give you the same answer each time you
ask it, which is more than you can say for
most people. It won’t make things better or
worse. If you think about it, you will be
thinking of nothing. It just sits there. It
doesn’t even have a clever ending.
Dear Mr. Jones:
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If you would, then please take a moment to consider
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These are uncertain times, but a savvy investor
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All that we ask for is ten minutes of your time
in your own interest. Surely that's reasonable.
Is that too much to ask, Mr. Jones? Tell me, is it?
Our varied portfolio is state-of-the-art designed
to meet your personal needs, as I'm sure you'll agree
if you'll only spare the time to read our brochure.
Is that so much to ask, Mr. Jones? In all humility
I say, is that so very, very much?
Mr. Jones, I am a human being like you:
I've got blood, brains, guts, hands, eyes, and a bleeding ulcer,
and a boss breathing fire down my neck about the response rate
these circulars get, and a mortgage and child support payments,
and a son who's a bum and spends all his time smoking dope
and playing that loud metal music, or whatever they call it,
who I can't do a thing with because my bitch ex-wife
is so busy buying booze for her ex-con boyfriend
with the money some bozo judge makes me send for the kid
that she can't find the time to plan any visitation.
And you say you're irritated -- ha! irritated!
by being asked to look at one lousy brochure
which will show you how best to put your money to work,
and which maybe, just maybe, will lead to a contact call
which could keep me from losing this crummy job and having
to live in my car on the street with my clothes in the trunk?
Have you no pity, sir? Have you no human pity?
Am I so foul in your sight that you won't drop a crumb
of your precious attention for me and our literature?
Please, please examine the charts and prospectus enclosed
and mail the accompanying form if you'd like further details.
It would make one tormented soul just a little less wretched.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me.
Yours very truly,
Robert P. Anderson
VP in Charge of Sales
Here comes a poem
here comes a poem that is a snowfall with each flake a different color
here comes a poem that will wrinkle your nose and smooth out your tongue
here comes a poem with a chip on its shoulder but if you knock it off it will cry
here comes a poem that will hop around your front lawn looking for worms
here comes a tough, hard-bitten poem with a cigarette dangling from its lip
here comes a poem looking for its Mommy
here comes a poem as powdery as saffron sherbet and rosewater tea at dawn
here comes a poem with its wife kids grandma and Uncle Jake they will eat all your food break your TV and stay with you forever
here comes a poem written by the little man on the stoplight it says Go
Big Crit authorizes any person who has been called a poet in print to wear an arm-band bearing the Happy Face.
Big Crit decrees that anyone who wins a poetry prize shall in respect of that honor give all subsequent public readings of his or her poetry while wearing Groucho glasses.
Big Crit hereby commissions the production of an anthology to contain every poem ever published in which a television set appears, all copies of which are immediately to be burnt.
Big Crit ordains that henceforth all love poems shall be printed in mauve ink on lavender paper and all war poems shall be printed in Gothic type and all poems about poetry shall be printed upside-down and backwards and all poems about one's grandmother shall be printed in black ink on black paper.
Big Crit enacts that from now on the verbal content of all paid political advertisements shall consist solely of excerpts from the plays of Aristophanes.
Big Crit orders all those possessing a budgerigar to teach said avian to recite one line from the verse of William Carlos Williams;
and Big Crit further declares April 25th of each year to be Annual Bird Bard day, on which the recitation of poetry shall be forbidden to all but parakeets, so that there may be no ideas but in budgies.
Eight punch lines in search of a joke
And the Pope said
I'm with the Jewish guy.
Styrofoam? cried the salesman
I thought it was popcorn!
Oh, it's not for me
he told the bartender
it's for my hippopotamus.
There's just one thing
I still don't understand:
how come whenever I
press this button
you stick out your tongue?
But the King's ears
were upside down.
I'll bet you've never seen
a gorilla in a tutu either!
said the Martian.
And the moral of the story is
let anyone give you
than you can shake a stick at.
Now we must part,
my sweet Ilona:
I must leave
and I must travel
and every day
I'll bear a heart
that's like a parcel
of sorrow that
you're not in Barcel;
yet though we stay
apart so far,
you'll still be with me
there in Bar,
for with love's constant
eye I'll see
your image every
day in B.
The Streets of Manteca
As I walked out in the streets of Manteca,
As I walked out in Manteca one day,
I spied a young cowboy asleep on the sidewalk;
When prodded from slumber, these words he did say:
“You are wearing a Stetson, spurs, chaps, and a six-gun,
And so I assume you’re a cowboy like me;
Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story,
Then try to guess which shell is hiding the pea.
’Twas once in the saddle I went riding gaily,
Albeit I had not a horse to my name,
But down in the basement my dad had a saw-horse,
So I rode a steed which could never go lame.
Oh bury me holding a king and six aces,
With a pint of good whiskey to keep my corpse warm,
And a pair of my custom made dice in my watch-fob,
For I’m a young cowboy and I’ve bought the farm.”
ooohhh I'm so angry
ooohhh I'm so angry
I'm mad enough to eat a nail
I'm mad enough to stomp a quail
ooohhh I'm so angry
ooohhh I'm so angry
I'm so angry I could spit
I'm so angry I could shit
ooohhh I'm so angry
ooohhh I'm so angry
my icy rage would make all hell go
I'd like to jab you with my elbow
Demanding editor for poetry
invites submission of your verse to me.
My first command's to memorize the rules
by which I'll entertain submitting fools:
You'll send me your submissions on your knees;
no more than seven in a packet, please,
and you WILL put an SAE inside!
(The stamps are mine, whatever I decide.)
On one point I'm particularly firm:
no simultaneous submissions, worm!
You'll humbly wait on my decision four
or five or six or seven months or more,
until I send, as stinging as a whip,
that cruelly polite rejection slip.
If stern humiliation's your desire,
I'll give you all that anyone could require.
ANNOUNCING THE ANNUAL ANTONIN ARTAUD MEMORIAL PRIZE POETRY CONTEST.
The competition will be divided into three categories of poets:
CATEGORY 1: Adult Poets Who Have Been Damned By The Ineluctable
CATEGORY 2: Adult Poets Driven Mad By Unknown Guilt
CATEGORY 3: Young Persons (18 and Younger)Laboring Under The Delusion That They Have Not Already Died
Entrants may submit as many poems as they wish, but each poem may be no longer than The Iliad.
The contest will be refereed by a distinguished Panel of Judge, who will select one winning poem from each category.
The decision of the Panel of Judge will be final and in fact was made at the moment of the entrant's quickening in the womb.
Entry fee for EACH poem will be two (2) one oz. Krugerrands flecked with a substance which defies chemical analysis. Poems submitted without the entry fee will not exist.
The Panel of Judge will contribute all entry fees to the purchase of pork rinds and beer.
Winning poems will be taken by the Panel of Judge to a forlorn Transylvanian mountain peak at dawn, where they will be torn into little pieces, spat upon, thrown to the ground, and trodden underfoot.
Please submit your entries, with appropriate entry fee for each poem, to the Panel of Judge at the address on the card which you will find under your coffee cup tomorrow morning.
If god exists
I challenge him
to strike me dead
within ten minutes.
Rudolf the biker reindeer
Rudolf the biker reindeer
had a goddam shiny nose,
and if you ever saw it,
you would say that fucker glows;
all of the other reindeer
used to ride his ass all the time:
they never let poor Rudolf
go out with them and drink beer by the case and get sick drunk.
Then one foggy Christmas eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolf, you headlight-nosed sonofabitch,
you're gonna haul my ass tonight!"
Then all the reindeer thought he was King Shit,
shouted out and cried in glee:
"Rudolf, you red-nosed motherfucker,
you are some kind of sleigh-pullin' fool."
Your haiku horoscope
Same old taken for
granted Ari. Someday you'll
show them all. They'll see!
Love beckons this week,
Tau, but when you get closer
it's waving bye-bye.
Time for a fresh start,
Gem. If you won't change your mind,
at least change your socks.
Remember, Can, that
the way up is the way down.
Life's a pogo stick.
Some may be peeved by
your Leonine manner. Well,
it's for their own good.
If not for you, Virg,
nothing would ever get done,
but do they thank you?
Keep your balance, Lib,
particularly when you're
walking a tight-rope.
Get ready! This week,
Scorp, a dreamboat sails into
your work place. Dream on.
Message for you, Sag,
in Aries. And they all thought
you'd never find out
You're just a bundle
of lovable quirks, Cap. So
what's with these weird looks?
Aquari, you're on
a cosmic roll. Let it all
ride: you'll be surprised!
What is the sound of
one hand clapping, mystical
Pi? That's your reward.
No one should ever be treated by anyone
like I've been treated by you:
you think you're so cool
you're exempt from the rule
that you pay for whatever you do;
but the earth will turn
and the sun will burn
til the day you finally see
that no one should ever treat anyone else
the way that you've treated me!
— There's nothing here. I'm going to draw a line.
— Good grief, what for? — Because there's nothing here.
— Well now you've done it. The nothing was just fine,
but these blank naked halves have got to go.
— Then blow a wind across them. — Why a wind?
— It will be a start. — There. Now what's that mean?
— It means desire, of course. — That's pretty thin.
Just because the wind sounds like a sigh,
it's going to mean desire? — No, not just that.
It also makes things move, itself unseen.
— Not here it doesn't. There's nothing here to move.
— Then let's lay down a forest. Oh, come on!
The trees will sway and rustle in the wind.
— So what's the forest mean? — It means the heart.
And we'll thread it with some silvery brooks that splash
and leap from rock to rock, to stand for change,
and half a dozen giggling waterfalls,
just for fun. — But how come all these things
have got to stand for something else? How come
each single thing can't be itself alone?
— I put in waterfalls. — That's not the point.
— Come on, we can't stop now. Set up an arch
of hard blue porcelain sky, and float a sun
across it lazily to change the light
to pale pink purple fringed with mellow orange.
And when that sun rolls gladly off the edge,
we'll draw this soft black curtain over it all,
punctuated with points of ice cold light
to stand for what the wind can never reach,
and now we'll need a cool and looming moon
to pour a soft lumescence on our work,
and a few small scampering things with gentle eyes
to keep the nighttime company. Take my hand.
Let's walk into its freshness. What do you think?
— I think I liked it better without the line.
The Four Seasons
'Tis the last rose of summer! I shrieked in dismay,
and soon its bright petals must wither away!
O whence now the peach, the pear, and the orange?
For answer the door of time creaked on its door-hinge.
'Tis the first frost of autumn! I sobbed in despair,
and winter's sharp teeth soon will bite the day's air!
The leaves fall in shock at the season's cruel crime,
like a dandruff of years on the shoulders of time.
'Tis the winter's fifth blizzard! I howled in a rage,
and my soul gnaws its tail like a beast in a cage.
Though winter is wan, yet my passion is purple,
for griefs have my heart by the hair, and they sure pull.
'Tis the spring-time's first peony! I squealed in delight,
and its delicate bloom is for sore eyes a sight!
Now the season's warm joy holds the forests in thrall,
and I believe that I don't feel so bad after all.
I essayed a lampoon
to skewer this buffoon
but ended in frustration,
since there's no rhyme for asshole.
Though it's true there's no precise
rhyme for that not very nice
term of insult (you could pass whole
hours trying to rhyme that crass hole
fruitlessly), yet be assured
he certainly deserves that word,
since whether he sings high or basso,
he still remains a dreadful asso.
In this real old pond
this frog just sits there then jumps
in. Hey, you listenin’?
starts to sound weird
after you’ve said it
a whole bunch of times.
Shave and a hair cut
When you see a sign
that points to itself, then you’re
on the right track.
It snows. I shovel.
It snows. I shovel. It snows.
All that is, is one
and it’s this one right here and
it’s mine. Take a hike.
If you think I'm not
serious that only means
the joke is on you.
Let your mind be filled
with the oneness of all things,
here, now. Just kidding.
Variation on a theme by Williams
We thought we should give you fair warning
before you pull open this door
that the plums you had saved for this morning
ain't there no more.
You'd decided you never should trust us
already, so we ate them all.
They tasted as luscious as justice.
Now who you gonna call?
Poetry seduces the truth with lies.
Poetry tastes like silvery moonlight wine.
Poetry’s losses give you extra tries.
Poetry’s the ultimate pickup line.
Poetry colorizes your old life.
Poetry plays eternity for a sucker.
Poetry explains where you were to your wife.
Poetry’s a jive-ass motherfucker.
Poetry laughs while you’re out there mowing the lawn.
Poetry tosses a ruby into your grave.
Poetry’s what’s left when the poet’s gone.
Poetry makes it easier to be brave.
Poetry molds roses out of breath.
Poetry is an argument with death.
Interview with a Gentleman
Sir, who are we?
Sir, we are our desires.
And what, Sir, are your religious views?
Sir, I believe we enact the judgment of Providence.
Sir, of what metal should a man be made?
Sir, of iron.
Not, Sir, of gold?
No, Sir. Gold is soft.
Sir, how are we to consider victory?
Sir, as money in the bank.
And how, Sir, are we to take defeat?
Sir, as a bracing wind.
Sir, should we fear death?
Sir, we should fear the fear of death.
Sir, what would you have graven on your tombstone?
Sir, he did more good than harm.
How, Sir, would you have your enemies remember you?
Sir, as a plague.
And how, Sir, your friends?
Sir, as a refuge.
Sir, what is honor?
Sir, it is the last thing we lose.
Sir, what is the worst thing a man can be?
Sir, what then is the best thing a man can be?
Well then Sir, what is the worst thing a woman can be?
And what, Sir, is the best thing a woman can be?
“Man: an objective subject.
Woman: a subjective object.
which ought to be a straight path to its goals,
instead must vex
its way among a million shifting roles.
No matter: man's resolution
is only braced by such illogic.
Man has a mightier magic:
which by defining each
thing it encounters, locks
it in his own conceptual box,
from which it takes on shape.
Nothing exists until man names it first,
making it a part
of what is ours, for knowing is a sort
of acquisition, in which we spend
our force to bend
provocative conundrums to our mind,
then leaving them, once quelled, to find
still newer matter challenging our art.
If the rainbow's architecture, or the burst
of unimagined stars, or the beamed support
of time and space itself cannot escape
his language-spangled cunning,
then by what running
may she thwart
his universal power of attribution?
The purpose of a problem is solution.”
“Man: a restricted notion.
Woman: an endless ocean,
which needs no path to oneness, lying above,
below, along, around, within
the source and aim of its desire,
does not require
anatomy to comprehend the dancer,
nor thinks it any gain
the heart of mystery
against an answer.
to force reality
into the facts,
but truth is an embroidery
of all that is, or has been, or could be:
nothing exists that is not woven in.
To name is to discover, not define,
a sort of analyzing not supported
by treasure-heaps of diction meaning ‘mine.’
What is, cannot be thwarted.
Since foolish man may never recognize
(for wisdom is a kind of recognition)
the world created for his eyes
each time he opens them, nor learn to know
himself, not merely
who understand how dearly
one must pay to let things grow,
rejoinder, being assured
though never the first, always the final, word.”
A million eggs
If a million chickens
laid a million eggs,
they'd all jump up and down
on their two million legs;
just think of it: a million eggs,
a million whites and yolks
would make a mile long omelet
to feed a lot of folks.
All material on this web site copyright © 2014 by Jon Corelis