Monday, December 7, 2020

the ribbon

as i was walking down the lane
i met a man from peru and a lady from spain
they accosted me in a civilized manner
and asked me what was inscribed on my banner

i wore a ribbon across my chest
upholding the measures i thought best
to improve the values of civilization
in every human tribe and nation

your sentiments do you credit, sir
the man from peru with a smile averred
do you find they meet with wide approval?
my name by the way, is conrad duval

mime is john smith, i replied
my knowledge of the world is wide
with it now succinctly distilled
my destiny is fulfilled

that destiny is to spread
the truth to the living and the dead
to solace those who endlessly weep
and awaken those who endlessly sleep

those who find me naively mystical
and perhaps a bit egotistical
may be assured i will never rest
and will always do my best

i awoke to a cold dawn
and realized my hearers were gone
and the man from peru and the lady from spain
were only the wind and the rain

Sunday, December 6, 2020

on a summer day

as i was dozing peacefully
on a lazy summer day
st peter pulled up in a pumpkin
and asked me to cleveland the way

i do not know about cleveland
i answered with a shrug
chicago is just down the road apiece
but is filled with ugly mugs

i know nothing about chicago
the saint cried with alarm
but i must find lawyer jefferson
because pa has sold the farm

pa has sold the farm, he repeated
and a tear fell from his eye
where st augustine and i were lads
in the sweet bye and bye

that is unfortunate, i told him
and managed not to grin
but such things happen every day
in this fallen world of sin

i wish i had a drink, he sighed
of whiskey, beer, or gin
his white beard waved as he pulled away
and i never saw him again

Saturday, December 5, 2020

every day is the end

you may not like it but it’s true
i am a person just like you
i am the greatest of all time
so please throw me a lousy dime

i vowed to conquer like alexander
but my dreams were so much grander
i had one mission from my birth
and that was to bring peace on earth

at first my path was rough and stormy
nobody had any time for me
no one cared what i had to say
and went on their merry way

but i perservered
i grew a long black beard
my eyes flashed fire and ice
and i stopped playing nice

where to begin?
the world was filled with sin
eyes were glazed, and hearts were cold
armageddon had grown old

i would sand on the corner and shout
but the street tuned me out
my feet got flat and my beard got gray
and not a passerby looked my way

i sat in my little room
and decided to change my tune
of all men i would be least
and preach forgiveness and peace

i stopped speaking and held a sign
simply announcing the end of time
i lost my menacing frown
my blood pressure went down

the present future and past
were none of them built to last
wanderer, take note
we are all sinking in the same boat

you may mot like it but it’s true
i am a dreamer just like you
if you pass me by some time
throw me a lousy dime

Thursday, August 13, 2020


an endless chain of sages
stretches through the ages
what they say again and again
is written on the head of a pin

but it is a big pin
so you can not win
If you say it is simple, you are fated
to be told it is complicated

if you ask for the ugly details
they will not fail
to laugh because you can not see
the beautiful simplicity

if you say you are, you are
if you say you are not, you are
i guess you just are
are you with me so far?

i am glad you have seen the light
so sit tight
the sage will see you by and by
and tell you everything you know is a lie

Sunday, July 19, 2020

the mountain and the monkey

once there was a mountain
that never went anywhere
a monkey often passed it by
and sometimes stopped and stared

why do you look at me so rude
the mountain would complain
though you laugh and point your finger
you will never feel my pain

i am only a monkey
the monkey said with a straight face
i see you are a mighty mountain
and have put me in my proper place

i do not like your attitude
and suspect sarcasm in it
a tear trickled the mountain’s face
an awkward silence lasted a minute

very well, the monkey said
if you are not satisfied
i suggest you crawl under the wide blue sky
or otherwise run and hide

with that the monkey took his leave
and frolicked across the earth
the mountain stayed right where he was
because he was cursed from birth

Sunday, June 28, 2020

old johnson

i was standing on the corner
when i heard my bulldog bark
i turned and saw old johnson
he was standing in the dark

me and him went back a ways
with nothing good between us
him and his buddy jackson
rode me like a couple of hyenas

what had i done to him lately
to make him look so foul
suddenly he stepped from the alley
with a most menacing scowl

who are you and your bulldog
he asked with a slippery smile
to invade my territory
with your simpering whimpering guile

>I do not know your uncle
I ianswered with a frown
but I have every right to see the show
when i choose to come to town

be that as it may, he smirked
but the cards have all been dealt
and you may be astonished
when they are turned up on the felt

i scorned his imputations
and whistled for my dog
but long will i remember
what emerged then from the fog

oh you who walk the cobbled streets
and lounge in doorways dim
beware of old man johnson
beware , beware of him!

there are those who deal with devils
or pray to angels bright
but beware of those like johnson
who shine their shoes at night

the fog swirled all around me
as he faded from my view
but i would not bake his biscuits
and neither, i think, should you

Sunday, April 26, 2020

waiting for the light to turn green

the great void spins
and spins and spins and spins
who shall say where the void ends
and where it begins?

i had more than enough to drink
and before i had time to think
i accosted a stranger in the street
but he pushed me aside without missing a beat

the question of the void
is easy to avoid
if you really put your mind to it
you can get through it

>that is what i wanted to say
but the stranger went on his way
with my words unappreciated
because they had never been stated

how many strangers have you pushed aside
as you wander through this world so wide
they might have given you food for thought
then again, maybe not

i am waiting for the light to turn green
it’s the loneliest light i have ever seen
the walls of the steeet close in
maybe i will go for a swim

no bail

the mayor would not go my bail
so i am here to tell my tale
and will not let it rest
until i have done my best

roses are red, elephants are gray
everybody should have their say
flowers bloom in howling blizzards
human beings are all really lizards

violets are blue, champagne is bubbly
old philosophers faces are stubbly
if you never learn to stay out of the rain
you will get wet, again and again

grass is green, hay is yellow
my old dog sam was a jolly good fellow
he scratched the surface of the earth
and played the fool for all he was worth

noses are purple, mud is brown
every time i go to town
folks gather round and call me names
but my mama loved me all the same

old man mose is mighty rich
he carries an old curved hickory switch
the devil gave him as a gift
when mose stopped one night and gave him a lift

just a feller walking down the road
with a cat, a rattlesnake, and a toad
the rain was falling, the sky was dark
and he had to find noah’s ark

someone must give us all a ride
or we will be fit to be tied
to the tree from which old mother eve
picked an apple, i do believe

such is the substance of my verse
stranger, i ask you, which is worse
a man who will offer you a drink
or one who always stops and thinks?

Thursday, April 16, 2020


i thought i heard sheriff john brown say
this is quality stuff
and he had been around a long time
and knew when enough was enough

and so i could not believe my ears
when he commended me thus
and felt as if i were struck by lightning
or hit by a greyhound bus

but then i looked around
and to my dismay found
he was talking to sad sam smith
who had come in the door with

all the creatures i had known
in my years all alone
on the mountaintop
before it all came to a stop

i thought i heard sam smith say
as they led me away
they gave him every opportunity
is it our fault he didn’t want to be free?

and shirley the waitress said
he should have stayed in bed
whenever you walk out the door
the lions and the oceans roar

Saturday, April 4, 2020

late at night

as the rain rattled on the roof
sidney greenstreet offered proof
to the officer at the station
of his sincere reformation

as the detective waked away
rosalind russell heard him say
these hoodlums before dawn
will lay lifeless on the lawn

cary grant had another plan
it was to confront the man
who had designed the whole frame
and say he knew his real name

but adolphe menjou
would never know who
made the last phone call
and left the message on the wall

after poor claude rains
went to such pains
to include the younger generation
in his address to the nation

Thursday, April 2, 2020


all you lonely hermits
dreaming of endless highways
the road is empty

listen to the rain
and roll over
and go back to sleep

at the end of the road
there is only another lonely room
another empty shack