Laugh if you will

Comic and Light Verse


Jon Corelis

The Bird

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

illiterate poseurs;

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

euphemistic name;

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.

Poem poem

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.

Junk mail

Dear Mr. Jones:

How would you like to achieve

the kind of financial freedom you've always dreamed of?

If you would, then please take a moment to consider

the high-yield, low-risk investments that we can offer.

These are uncertain times, but a savvy investor

such as yourself will always recognize

the value of wise investment planning like ours.

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

Four-Star Investments

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

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!


Me, too

said the Martian.


And the moral of the story is


let anyone give you

more bull

than you can shake a stick at.


Now we must part,

my sweet Ilona:

I must leave

for Barcelona,

and I must travel

there alone,

and every day

in Barcelon

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


Submission Guidelines

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.

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.

Thank you.

The blasphemer

If god exists

I challenge him

to strike me dead

within ten minutes.





tick …

shit ...

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!

The Line

— 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.

Barb 2

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.











Some Zens


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.

Weisenheimer, eh?

Um ...

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?

Sonnet: Poetry

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, cruel.

Sir, what then is the best thing a man can be?

Sir, true.

Well then Sir, what is the worst thing a woman can be?

Sir, predictable.

And what, Sir, is the best thing a woman can be?

Sir, eighteen.

Gender Studies

“Man: an objective subject.

Woman: a subjective object.

Hence sex,

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,

whence love,

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

to pin

the heart of mystery

against an answer.

Man acts

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

his condition,

so we,

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