Saturday, September 22, 2012

education of a cad

once there was a maiden fair
 who spent her life in a morris chair 
and when she heard the clock strike three
 and saw it was still not time for tea
 she ran her fingers through her long red hair

 miss jocelyn jones had never been kissed
 so she became a satanist
 when she met the lord of the flies
 and listened to his lies
 his advances she did not resist

 prudence peters was detected
 disrespecting the family by whom she was protected
 and so they turned her out of doors
 amid the winter's harshest roars -
 with sin her path soon intersected

but of all the melancholy tales
of trusting and betrayed females
 there are none so sweetly sad
 as of those whose who met a certain cad...

 the honorable charles st charles, of cheltenham and bath
 through the ladies cut a swath
like a louche latin or lustful turk
 he made of maidens much short work

 and filled the highways, roads and lanes
 with cast off kates and jilted janes
 of such behavior from a son
 of civilized christian albion

 what can one do but sigh?
and turn a chastened eye
 toward heaven's sorrowed gaze
 and hope and pray for better days...

 the honorable charles had his detractors
 who thought him the worst of malefactors
 but had his sympathizers too
who thought eve's daughters deserved their due

 of blame for tempting the poor lad
 spawn of a drunken sire and mother quite mad
 orphaned indeed before the age of ten
and early taken up by sporting men

 even as a smooth cheeked lad
 there was a certain way charles had
 of always seeming to acquiesce
 in anything his fellows pressed

 upon his burgeoning consciousness
 sometimes more, but rarely less
 he would nod polite approval
 and never ask for the removal

 of any new or old temptation
 and with little contemplation
 allow himself to plunge headfirst
 into each appetite or thirst...


Sunday, September 16, 2012

outlaw blues

an outlaw is always on the lam
from society's total scam
he gets it while he can
waiting the day when he faces the man

another doorway, another night
dreams interrupted that never take flight
a junkshop of memories, mostly bad
mom and jack daniels, with their smiles so sad

over the river the smile of dawn
taunts the outlaw to get it on
the man is sleeping, in his penthouse high
and the outlaw is left to wonder why

someday, in a shining hour
the man will come down from his tower
to face the outlaw's wrath
at the end of his heroic path

but when - when - when?
the sun is rising yet again
the outlaw stretches and blinks
the bottle beside him winks

"though the way be long and cold
and my dreams get a little old
o friend so faithful and true
what would i do without you?"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

tears of a clown

my tears flowed like wine
because you said you'd not be mine
and then they flowed like cheap champagne
because you caused me endless pain

they flowed like seltzer water
because you were the devil's daughter
they flowed like chamomile tea
because you meant the world to me

i scanned the darkening skies above
dreaming of eternal love
desperately searching for a sign
that you would finally be mine

alas, alas, my dream came true
now i can only say to you
i hope the times of sad regret
are ones that we can both forget

frankie and johnny: a villanelle

frankie pulled out her gat
her eyes were pools of hate
johnny put on his hat

don't look at me like that
johnny saw it was too late
frankie pulled out her gat

on the window sat a cat
silent and placid as fate
johnny put on his hat

you dirty stinking rat
you was always second-rate
frankie pulled out her gat

why don't we have a chat
our differences are not so great
johnny put on his hat

a breeze wafted through the flat
"you had your chance to be straight"

frankie pulled out her gat
johnny put on his hat

Friday, September 14, 2012

modern age

this is the modern age
so they tell me anyhow
things used to be one way
but they are different now

how fortunate we are
to live in these bright times
when the burning fires of truth
have devoured history's lies

how terrible the darkness
in which poor humans lay
farewell to folly's shadows
hello to bright new day

i hope that none among us
dwell fondly on the past
now let us all march forward
for we are free at last

nature's way

see how the little seagull
floats over the stormy sea
see how the little termite
devours the mighty tree

see the little mosquito
spread oceans of disease
as in the river's placid flow
the crocodile take his ease

see the platoons of scarlet ants
munch whole sugar plantations
and the humble tsetse fly
devastate human nations

see the smiling monkey
slowly peeling a pomegranate
as wind and wave and eternity
erode the spinning planet

Thursday, September 13, 2012

town tramp

there's one in every town
one that gets left behind
when the other girls head for broadway
or hollywood and vine

there's something about her
something not quite there
you think she'd be long gone
but she's still here

marked for trouble
from the day she was born
daughter of darkness
child of scorn

they whisper behind the curtains
snicker at the general store
you'd think she'd have had enough
but she comes back for more

len jones is a deacon in the church
bob jackson has a spotless reputation
but their eyeballs always follow her
when she walks past the trailways station

tommy wilson is the quarterback
on the undefeated high school team
but even on the night before the big game
she haunts his dreams

at night she goes out walking
with her handbag trailing low
she must be going somewhere
but where is there to go?

she wanders past the pool hall
saunters past the five and dime
she looks up at the moon and stars
but stops at the county line

a mother's prayer

the angels will be waiting in heaven
when they strap you to the electric chair
they'll be waiting in heaven, joey
if they listen to a mother's prayer

if they listen to a mother's prayer
for justice to be finally done
for the truth to be finally triumphant
as bright as the rising sun

this world is fallen and twisted
and drowned in a swamp of sin
to save her helpless children
oh how can a mother begin?

you were such a beautiful child
maybe just a little bit wild
but deep down you were just pretending
your inner light burned neverending

your soul shone forth for all to see
but you aroused the jealousy
of those who want to drag things down
there are plenty of them in this town

who can't see in front of their noses
and always see thorns not roses
who are blinded by truth and beauty
and think denial is their duty

no, it wasn't the nicest neighborhood
but i always taught you to be good
yes, it was a mother's secret hope
that you would be the first american pope

now that hope will not be fulfilled
thanks to mister district attorney de ville
but what will be his own fate
when he answers for his lies at heaven's gate?

for the jurors who were led astray
by his perfidy i have this to say
i hope you never feel the pain
i felt that day walking away in the rain

the angels will be waiting in heaven
when they strap you to the electric chair
they'll be waiting in heaven, joey
if they listen to a mother's prayer