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Long poem by Tommy Boy | Details |

Romeo and Juliet - After the Wedding

"Would that thou might forgive these indiscretions, my love. Would that I might once again gain thine favor, that my spirit should ascend from this dismal abyss, that these downcast eyes might be raised on high as before." "Do not bespeak of pardon, nor address me with endearments. We art no more, and thine letter scribed with explanations, too late. Such sentiments as thou proclaims bare no truth, 'tis guilt, nothing more. Thou must leave, go!" "Thou hast stabbed me to the heart with thine words! Remember, please, that I am but flesh, born with the imperfections common to men. I beg of thee, harken to my plea, that my spirit may soar." "And what of thee? Thy words still tarry within mine heart. Thou cast my wishes aside, my spirit perished in this parting. Ye deemed me unworthy of consideration. I foolishly believed... matters naught! 'Tis late, thou must go. Let me be." "Foolishly believed? Do tell, my love. Hide not thine inmost thoughts. If, indeed, these words of mine still tarry within thee, hope lives! To say that I deemed thee as unworthy is to rip this heart of mine apart, without pity! My sins were mine alone. Thou hast erred in thine reasoning. Love remains." "My thoughts matter naught, for all remains as is. I know not the way to what once was, what came in the beforetime. 'Tis too difficult for me. Love wanes, yet friendship... continues? Dost thou... wilt thou have me as such?" "To be mere friends, alas my love, 'tis not possible for me. I beg of thee, remember the days of long ago, whence love first shed it's light upon us. Two hearts converged as one. Two spirits entwined in love's rapturous embrace. We spoke then of forever, eternity was within our grasp!" "Dost thou really believe that the former days can be so easily resurrected? I recall being in thine embrace, thou whispering words of forevermore. But thine words were cut short, ye left like a phantom of the night! I offer more in the way of friendship than thou offers by way of explanation." "And yet, what explanation may a man offer for inherited weakness? I strayed, if but for a moment. I never left thee in mine heart. If thou would have me go, I will leave thee and never return to this place. Yet, know this, my love, that in leaving I am the walking dead, a mere shell of a man." "Am I to blame? Thou once told me thine humanity perished in passion's flame. 'Twas the last time I laid eyes upon thee. Thou left my side, I waited for thee, but thou never came. I thought thee dead! 'Twas only when thine servant brought this letter that I knew thee yet lived." "If a rose were to wilt, might it bloom yet again? If the sun's light were extinguished, could it shine once more? If a man's heart were to be crushed, might it survive to love another day? And yet thou would crush this penitent man's heart with thy scorn. Thy harsh rebuke is too much for me, I cannot bear it!" "If I be that rose, yet these thorns remain to scratch at thee. Still, she pines for the warmth of the sun. To have bathed in the glory of it's light; she hast loved too much. Her thorns remain, for if the rose were to rise from the dust, she fears she would not survive." "This be my promise, dear one, that love renewed will not be in vain. If thou would open thine heart to me, love must take wing! Here I am, on my knees, imploring that thou should grant another chance, a chance to show thee that this love be eternal, my dedication to thee, replete." "How I miss the days of long ago. Thou would whisper sweet poetry in mine ear. We would walk hand in hand along the beach, listening to the sounds of nature. I remember the taste of thine kiss, the first one. It may be possible, my love, that this impasse might yet be overcome." "Oh that thou would fulfill this lonely man's dreams! That thou would take me in thine arms again. We shall dance 'til the sun comes up, the moon above, our muse. I too miss the days of the beforetime, when love was new, the possibilities, endless. Would that thou should shine thine light of favor upon me, I would humbly accept." "Yes, mine lover! Thine indiscretions had cast me into the lowest pit, yet I believe that forgiveness is at hand. Thy words of repentance hast softened this cold heart of mine. Thou left after the fiery rebuke, but thou hast returned! How could this heart of mine have been so cruel, so harsh?! "If then this be thy resolve, I shall not hesitate a moment more. Into thy arms I shall run, if only to feel the warmth of thine body to mine. Thy scent shall linger as in the days of long ago, thy kiss shall consume me. Wait not, my love, your lover comes, bringing gifts from afar." "Come, dear one, I pine for the love once shared. I long for thy kiss, thy body swaying in rhythm with mine. The fire of passion shall never be put out! Our love shall last for eternity upon eternity! What joyous reunion awaits those who hold on to love's sweet charity." "I am here, my love, to receive thine forgiveness. On bended knee I await thine favor. If thou hast deemed me worthy of such, I shall enter these gates and remain until the sun no more gives his light, until the starry heavens fade to naught, and the moon forgets the glory of her owner." "Forgiveness is mine to give, my love. Freely I do give it to thee. And should I forget this day, may speech perish from these lips, may these eyes of mine never more see the light of day. One thing I request of thee, this thing that caused the parting of hearts: Oh Romeo, I beseech thee, leave not the toilet seat up again! Ever!!

Copyright © Tommy Boy

Long poem by Roy Jerden | Details |

The Pedicure Virgin

I don't know what came over me that day - an instant of weakness after years of resistance, I suppose.

My beaming spouse leads me, a dog on a short leash, into the forbidden citadel, the sanctum sanctorum of feminine fastidiousness, the dreaded nail salon.

As we pass through the portal, we enter another dimension, one not of Man. 

One of Woman.

Overwhelmed by estrogen, like Superman in the presence of Kryptonite,  my strength saps. 

The harpies in the salon immediately sense fresh meat, hailing my wife like Caesar in a Roman triumph, gleeful in the knowledge of the barbaric sacrifice to follow. Lightheaded, my eyes dart around, a trapped beast seeking escape.

I'm screwed.

The sacrificial altar is prepared. The torture device is like a dentist's chair, but with a tub for the feet, presumably where they will drain out my blood. Resigned to my fate, I mount the gallows.

Glancing around, it seems that all the employees are Southeast Asians. Mostly young. Reputedly, they own this territory, like Indians in convenience stores or Italian greengrocers. My personal tormentor is the proprietor, a slim pretty Vietnamese woman perhaps in her mid 50's, with cold eyes and a professional smile.

I immediately sense  that I am dealing with She Who Must Be Obeyed. I am commanded in that bossy Asian way to put my feet in the tub, as she turns on the water. Apparently, like some feminine droit du seigneur, Dragon Lady reserves the right to draw first blood from pedicure virgins. My primae noctis, so to speak.

As she sits below me and leans forward to grab my feet, I get a good look at her  well-formed cleavage. Maybe this won't be so bad,after all...

As my feet soak, I close my eyes and sink into a Felliniesque fantasy, surrounded by Asian houris garbed in short white Grecian gowns, catering to my manly whims.

I'm getting a semi...

Dragon Lady brings me back to reality, placing my left foot on her toweled workspace. 

There's another guy here... 
and that SOB is getting a manicure from one of my girlfriends!

An older lady enters the shop. She has an experienced and well-traveled look. Obviously a repeat offender, she immediately begins apologizing to Dragon Lady for her tardiness, meanwhile sizing me up like a slab of man-meat. Dragon Lady gives her a proper scolding, then the horny old biddy tweaks my big toe and flashes me a knowing smile. I wonder if she is packing heat in that big purse...

Suddenly, I become William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. As I make a break for freedom, I am plugged in the back by the scorned Gloria Swanson lookalike.

Then, a cold look from Dragon Lady and my spouse re-establishes territory and Gloria backs off.

Dragon Lady looks pleased as she draws out what appear to be farrier's tools for shoeing horses, presumably to work on my virgin toenails, which I admit are heading toward Fu Manchu territory. A pair of evil-looking wire cutters makes short work of my talons, then she pulls out a chisel and begins removing layers of yellowed nail until they are smooth and white. 

Nice. I can take this. 

Then she removes the cuticles and pushes back the skin.

Holy crap! I think she just popped my cherry! I see blood on my big toenail. I take it like a man. A bead of sweat runs down my brow.

She finishes the flaying job, puts the foot back into the soothing bath and begins carving up the other one.

"And women pay for this?", I think.

"You like massage?", she asks.

"Massage?" I glance at my spouse nervously, wondering if she intuits the direction of my thoughts. 

She points to the control panel on the chair. 


"Why, yes. Yes I would!", I reply.

Anything to take my mind off my pending amputation.

"All the way?"

I suppress my licentious thoughts.

"Warp seven, Mr. Sulu."


"To infinity, and beyond!"

She got that one, and turns on the machine. Robocop immediately digs deeply into my neck  and spine with his titanium-steel fingers, plowing my vertebral column like a John Deere cultivator. My central nervous system releases a  flood of endorphins. The cocktail of pain and pleasure is a masochist's wet dream.

The surgery going on downstairs dissolves into the background...

Dragon Lady puts the second foot back in the tub and removes the first. She pulls out a big cheese grater and goes to work on the bottom of my foot. I don't have thick calluses, but she produces a pretty respectable pile of Parmigiano. Makes short shrift on foot two. My smooth feet now look like a baby's. 

Not too bad, not too bad. 

My spouse shoots me the old Told You So look and smiles.

Dragon Lady now pulls out the pumice for the final polish. As she goes to work on my foot, nerve endings now exposed after many years return me to infancy.

It tickles! Oh Momma, does it tickle! 

I'm giggling like a young girl. I can't stop, and I really don't want to either. The entire salon joins in my giggle fest. 

Dragon Lady doesn't let up for a second. She is giggling too, and for the first time I see the young, innocent Vietnamese girl buried deep inside. 

Then I see the napalm and burnt village.

And all the rest of it...

I see and she sees. We each have seen... too much.

She smiles sadly. As do I.

My next appointment is in a month

I'll be there.

September 11, 2014

Copyright © Roy Jerden

Long poem by Edlynn Nau | Details |



What particles ARE, with this list of ARE NOTS,                                                     
ARE listed below to peruse in your thoughts.                                                                
Mesons AREN'T plural for multiple mice.                                                                  
Baryons AREN'T picked for a pie just to slice.                                                          

Neutrinos AREN'T Newts and Leptons don't leap.                                 
Muons AREN'T kittens that mew in their sleep.                                               
Electrons WON'T fry you to particle vapor.   
Gluons WON'T stick you, down to your paper.           

Gravitons AREN'T gravy nor dug from a grave.                                                              
Tachyons AREN'T tacky in clothes you won't save.                                                     
The Tau's AREN'T an Empire with power to wield.                                                   
Bosons AREN'T bossy while out in their field.                                                                                                        

Fermions, ALL TWELVE, while The MATTER endorse,                                                 
the Bosons, OF FIVE, are Carries of FORCE.                                                               
Fermions WON'T be, in same-place-at-same-time,                                                    
But Bosons WILL be, it's their paradigm.                                                                 

While some Quarks ARE Uppers and some let you Down.                                          
Some ARE true Toppers with Bottoms profound.                                                         
Some DO act Strangely, while others have Charm.                                                    
Mass, charge, spin, and color, ARE features they arm.                                                 

Leptons ARE in "flavors" that can be most tasteful.                                                      
What they ARE in decay is not at all wasteful.                                                           
There ARE three generations that change what they weigh.                                      
And they ARE very different in how they decay.                                                      

Electrons ARE stable with common precision.                                                                
While Muons and Taus ARE made in collision.                                                          
NO strong interactions these Leptons will take.                                                           
Yet they're subject to basics, make NO mistake.                                                            

Photons ARE particles AND waves of light.                                                                  
Gluons ARE binding in matter, just right.                                                                      
"W's" ARE weak in their force, it is true!                                                                      
So ARE the "Z's," who are last at the zoo.                                                                        

The Higgs, IS a boson that's so elusive.                                                                         
What boson it is, IS not so conclusive.                                                                          
We know IT's a particle with zero spin.                                                                         
IT's got positive parity from deep within.                                                                       

Now that you know what particles ARE NOT,                                                                 
And what some likely ARE, it can help quite a lot.                                                    
Some things ARE tiny and invisible too.                                                                        
They ARE dancing about in the particle zoo.                                                                  

So MANY zoo particles for you to know.                                                                      
In a zoo of a SECRET particle show.                                                                  
Come SEARCH for particles, if brave and you dare.                                                   
But DON'T feed the particles, while you are there!                                             

Edlynn Nau
May 26, 2015

Copyright © Edlynn Nau

Long poem by Tommy Boy | Details |

Three Blind Mice - The Interviews

three blind mice
three blind mice
see how they run
see how they run

they all ran after the farmer's wife
she cut off their tails with a carving knife
did you ever see such a sight in your life
as three blind mice
three blind mice

Dumpty here.  As in Sam Dumpty.  Another tale to be told, another mystery to be solved.  And I'm just the guy to do it!  After carefully considering all of the relevant facts, taking into account, of course, any mitigating circumstances, then factoring in miscellaneous possibilities, I have put together the pieces of this unusual and extraordinary puzzle and have come up with a working theory as to what actually occurred and why (deep breath).

I started my premise with a multiple query.  Three things I considered: (a) How did the mice become blind? (b) Why did they turn on the farmer's wife and (c) Were the aforementioned facts somehow related?

I interrogated the farmer's wife first under the hottest light I could find and with a menacing look in my eye (for intimidation purposes only, of course).  "Now look ma'am, I said, your story's just not adding up.  Now one more time and from the beginning!"

"Well Mr. Dumpty, sir, as I told you already, I was baking an apple pie, minding my own business, singing a happy tune when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, in ran these three ghastly mice, screaming obscenities and threatening me in the most vulgar of terms. Why, I had no choice but to run.  'Round and 'round the table I ran, when the glint from the carving knife caught my eye.  Well sir, never in a million years was it my intent to do any harm to those cute, disabled, furry little mice, no sir!  But a strange wave of giddy excitement overwhelmed me as I considered the prospect of cutting off their little tails (sniff).  I... I don't know what came over me.  I love mice, really I do!  I even keep their little tails in a jar on my kitchen windowsill as a reminder never, no never, to do that sort of thing again.  Ever!"

Dumpty here.  Well, now you know the story from the dame's point of view.  But I couldn't help but think that a piece of the puzzle was still missing.  So I decided to visit the three blind meese, er, mice, at the nursing home where they now reside.  Their story was hard to swallow, but I believed every word of it!

"Thanks for granting the interview Mr. meeses, I mean, oh whatever!  Now look, er, what I mean is, well, not literally look, what I meant to say is... no, hey guys I'm over here!  Okay, now that I have your attention,  I need to hear your side of the story, and please, just the facts ma'am, er, sirs."

"Well, the name's Ervin.  Ervin T. Shorttail III.  Who knew my last name would end up to be prophetic (sigh).  This is my brother Earl and this is my other brother Earl.  We just three ordinary barn mice, never hurt no one, no sir (thas right Ervin, tell 'im).  Now there we happened to be one day, mindin' our business, when the smell of apple pie entered our tiny nostrils (mindin' our own biz) and we just had to find out what all the fuss was about (wasn't hurtin' nobody, uh-uh).  So we climbed up the side of the house up that little hangin' vine and peeped through the open window (jus peepin', thas all).  Well, that crazy ol' farmer's wife took one look at us, let out a terrible shriek (we jus mice, thas all) and she done maced us right on the spot (can't see no mo)!  Now, Mr. detective, surely you can see that it was uncalled for!  We wasn't gonna eat the whole thing, no, we was only wantin' jus a taste (jus a taste or two).  Anyway, now we three blind ol' mice.  But the thought of retaliation was the farthest thing from our minds (no sir). Then, about a week later, there we was, stumblin' 'round the barn tryin' to find a scrap to eat when suddenly, and without warning, comes the smell of apple pie right up our nostrils all over again (we done jus got over it)!  So we thought, man, that crazy ol' bat be tauntin' us.  Now, we ain't havin' it, us already bein' blind and all (can't see no mo). So, in we went, jus to talk, thas all (tell 'im Ervin).  Man, you know she grabbed that knife and started whackin' away.  Now we three blind mice wit no tails, layin' here in this nasty old folks home.  You know, we jus mice (jus mice, thas all)."

Dumpty back.  Well, I took the guys' story to my captain, and it wasn't long before we had her locked up.  For good!  Now you know the true story behind this seemingly unsolvable conundrum.  

This is Detective Sam Dumpty, signing off!

*audio link for voice dramatization here:

Copyright © Tommy Boy

Long poem by Sarah Bryant | Details |

Everyone poops

I am playing with my dollies
And my princess pram all pink
I'm nearly 5
A big girl now
No more nappies
Or plastic pants
I think

I outgrew the potty
When I was only three
My mum says it's because I am brave
Now I go to the toilet all by myself
But today my bum didn't behave

My tummy was hurting
Making squidgy noises too
Blowing bubbles inside
I needed the loo
But it was too far away
I felt it coming
I knew I was going to poo

I couldn't stop it
It was runny and wet 
Dribbling down my legs
Err smelly poo
I stood on the floor
I shouted for mummy
But she’d already smelt it 
She knew

Mummy came in
Said “Oh deary me”
“Did we have an accident?” She asks 
I look down
“Only me” I reply
My legs were horribly brown

I started to cry
Mummy hugs me and says
“Everyone poops you know
Even the Queen
Let’s get you in the bath
Fresh new pyjamas
You’ll feel as good as new
Sparkling, fresh and poop free”

Fifteen years on
My first date a disaster
Oh yes, all thanks to my bum
I should have known better
A bad idea it transpired
A curry
The night before
With my mum

That morning I woke up
I knew I was in trouble
When I felt my feverish brow
My belly was bubbling
Making squidgy noises as before
I was really in turmoil now

This isn’t good news
I feel awful and sick
My intestines are angry and raw
Rebelling and furious
They are plotting their revenge
For the curry I'd had the night before

But I’m a big girl now
So my mum says
The rumblings I chose to ignore
Brave or stupid
Feeling nervous and scared
I walk nervously out of the door

I shuffle into the restaurant
A penguin walking on ice
My bum cheeks squeezed together
I smile, he looks really nice
Actually if I’m totally honest
It was a bit more like a wince 
But I was too scared to move
Too scared to breathe
It was all I could manage
I was convinced 

I resist the urge to pass wind
My bum and I are at war
Anxious to avoid a lethal escape
I feel the bubbling’s I remembered from before
I excuse myself from the table
Plead silently for my bum to behave
Walking penguin style
Across a crowded restaurant
I can do this
I am brave

I find my sanctuary
In the form of a loo
Sitting down I feel surges of pain 
Squelching noises galore
Sweating buckets I'm sure
My modesty I hope to retain  

With my elbows on my knees
I push just a little 
My bum explodes
I am shocked 
Poop expels from my body
A 100 miles an hour at least 
Making a terrible sound as it plopped

The smell is intense 
I want to cry
Poop has ricocheted off the bowl 
Splattered all over my bum
I've formed a seal around the seat 
This is a nightmare
I have no control

As I stand up the seat sticks to my bum
I unpeeled myself off
It crashes down to the bowl
I clean up
Feel a bit better
But into bed I want to roll

I flush the smell away
And I hope the disgrace
I look in the mirror and gasp
I look like a zombie
A lovely first date
Was that really too much to ask?

Leaving the ladies
I return to my date
He is still there 
What do I tell him?
My secret was mine to keep
Is honesty the best policy here?
What lie can I use?
But I take a deep breath and I speak

“I'm fine, thanks for waiting
I had a dodgy curry last night”
He laughs and I felt silly 
Who talks about poop on a first date?
He smiles 
He says “Hey don’t be embarrassed
Everyone poops, I relate!”

Shall we go somewhere else instead? He asks
 “Like a public toilet?" I joke
He laughs as he takes my hand
He is cute
I really like him
He is gorgeous 
He seems to understand

He walked me home 
Hmm no
It was actually more of a crawl
But a kiss on the doorstep
And another date next week
Maybe this wasn't a disaster after all

Seventy years on
I am living in a home
I married my first date
We had a family of our own
Wed sixty glorious years
He passed away last year
Now I'm back in nappies again
Oh what a cheer

Yesterday was my birthday
I am ninety years old and a day
I had a naughty curry last night
And I think I'm in trouble today
My tired old organs
Don’t work like they did before
My skin is all crinkled
My intestines are like straws

The nurse comes in to change me
Nappy filled with poop galore
She smiles
Says “Don’t worry my love
Everyone poops"
She's seen it all I'm sure

I smile as I remember
Those very same words spoken
To me when I was four
By my dear old mum
In the bathroom
In our house
So many years before

Copyright © Sarah Bryant

Long poem by DENNIS DE ROSE | Details |

That's Chuck, He's my Friend

What's that in your hand?. Let me see.. He said.
It's a picture; that`s Chuck; he is my friend... I said.
You pick your friends kinda young, don't you?... He said.
No, that was a long time ago. We were in college... I said.
I'd like to hear more about your pal Chuck... He said.

Okay... I met Chuck in New Paltz in `74... I said.
Oh, that's the pot smoking college, isn't it... He said.
Don't generalize, everyone's not the same... I said.
You're right. So tell me some more about Chuck... He said.
Okay, so you want the short version, or long one ... I said.
Whatever you like, I have plenty of time ... He said.

Well, this guy Chuck approaches me; he looks perplexed... I said.
So what was his issue. Why that look on his face... He said.
Chuck tells me "No one will stay with me in the room."... I said.
How odd is that? That doesn't make sense... He said.
You and I swing one way, Chuck swings the other. ... I said.
Now I see what the problem was; What did you do?... He said.
What do you think ? That doesn't bother me.... I said.

Hey, you want to hear a funny story? It's a side splitter... I said.
I've got time. I could use a good laugh right about now... He said.
Chuck had a 53 Schwinn bicycle, all chrome, red and white... I said.
You've got to be kidding me. I haven't seen one in years.... He said.
I'd hop on back. We`d go to town and chug down a few together... I said.
That's not funny. Where's the punchline? So what happened?... He said.
Well, one day Chuck failed a test and got super pissed off.... I said.
That's not funny either. You've got to do better than that.... He said.
He yanked on the handlebar so hard, he busted it clean in half... I said.
Wow ! Did they have "Funniest Home Videos" back then?... He said.

That's not all. We had so much fun together. There's more... I said.
Don't keep me in suspense. Lay it on me..... He said
There was this girl; unique with a special attribute.... I said.
What was so special? Three breasts instead of two?... He said.
No joke, her name was Madam Clittora! Enough said... I said.
I can't believe that. You gonna leave me hanging?... He said.

Anyway, shortly after that, I graduated. Chuck was younger.... I said.
So what happened to Chuck? Good friends keep in touch... He said.
We saw him two years later. We visited With his family, was nice... I said.
Ever see them again? You shouldn't desert a friend.... He said. 
You're right. But things don't always pan out... I said.
So what does that mean? You both seemed quite close.... He said.

I was married at the time with a lot of responsibilities... I said.
So that's no excuse. You should've kept in touch... He said.
After that, I didn't. Time changes things. Wasn't intentional.... I said.
So is there more to this story? There's got to be more... He said.
Oh, there is. Time moves on. 35 years later... I said.

It's 2010 and out of the blue, I think of my old pal Chuck... I said.
So you didn't forget him after all, but almost... He said.
It's a gamble, Chuck Drzal was in the phonebook; I called... I said.
Good for you. You took a chance, renewed a friendship... He said.
You're right. Just like old times. `74 again. What a feeling... I said.
So what happened next. Tell me quick, can't wait... He said.

We talked off and on, old times and new things; it was good... I said.
So it sounds like things are really working out for you guys... He said.
We saw Chuck, in the summertime; looked good for 52... I said.
Hey that's great news; Is there more to the story?... He said.

A little more... His friend died the day after we saw him... I said.
Oh, bummer. Sorry to hear that. How`s Chuck now?... He said.
Called him in November. His diamond ring was stolen... I said.
Wow ! That's a real downer. Did they catch the bastard?... He said
No !... I said.

There's got to be more than that. Call him since then?... He said..
Yeah... but... I called twice... he never answered the phone... I said.
Well, I hope you find out how he is doing?... He said.
I did. Saw his obit a few days ago. He died November 17th... I said.
 He looked at me. A tear rolled down his cheek... He said nothing..
I looked at him. Couldn't speak, all choked up.... I said nothing.
He looked at me. Gave me a hug, turned and walked away.
I yelled to the universe... "That's Chuck, he's my friend!"

Copyright © DENNIS DE ROSE

Long poem by John Beam | Details |

Dotting i's and crossing t's

I come from a family of high dots                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We did the same kind of things                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We look alike but they call me the underdot                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then I was used like a common comma                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like I could not make a statement                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Calling my brother the distinctio working with clauses                                                                                                                                                                              He is their center but I think he is just an interpunct                                                                                                                                                                                 Do I have the right to question                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I think yes and that is the bottom line                                                                                                                                                                                                        Invaluable to computers at .com  everyone knows me                                                                                                                                                                                    I go on excelling in math They call me the radix                                                                                                                                                                                         but they use my real name in their rings and rows                                                                                                                                                                                     My point is without me there would be no decimal point                                                                                                                                                                                 and I also work at times with foreign languages                                                                                                                                                                                                 They seem to understand me better than my own family who just belittle me                                                                                                                                           I think I will confront them and make a full stop of this                                                                                                                                                                            Tell ya the truth I think this will be                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a maturing point for me in around about way                                                                                                                                                                                                 For I am used more than all the other marks Period

Copyright © John Beam

Long poem by Dawn Fulmer | Details |

Castle Gate

It was the time before the celebration on Saint Peter’s day, when the noble page took a fine white scroll and was glad upon his way.
For a bird had whispered in this good page’s ear that what he bore might bring glad tidings near. Did he then hope too much for such as an extra ration or a copper penny to increase his fashion? 
Indeed he did not and when the lord Auz Zoo had read the scroll he patted the back of this good page and said with a voice from his belly that told of his age. “Oh hoe! My lad run thither hence and tell the cook that I want mince” And this was good for everyone knew that when in fine spirits he’d call for his food.
The news ran thus, that the high king, Prince had granted lord AuzZoo his one great wish, a plot of land with fertile soil with plenty of hands to turn the mill and work and toil. That one day soon he might raise his castle there. 
The feast was had and thus began many gold pieces spent and marvelous plans. The wood worker came and so did they all; chisel, hammer, axe, and, saw.
And when in court next day the high king, Prince did hear them say “Never before have we seen such a sight as this old bachelor knight.’’ 
For, many years he had saved his gold now giving him a wealth untold. So, fine jewels were engraved and a brilliant red carpet laid, a high backed chair of cedar wood but best of all, the kitchen stood where nothing entered save, the most savory meats and the sweetest treats.
Then the town crier cried and all stood silent with starring wide eyes as he proclaimed the first morn’s dawn upon this new castle Ugungawmon. 
But still in the happiness he lived Lord AuzZoo felt there must be something askew. He knew this feeling   to be right because of how he felt around the belt. And it is known both far and wide that those gut feelings never lie. 
He pondered hard but thus it seemed that all his thoughts were locked and bared. Till one day at the height of noon our good page thought that for cause of the heat he’d surely swoon. And thus it accrued to our good page that there was indeed no castle gate.
Therein on report when the lord AuzZoo asked how his trip had fared the page then lifted up his chin and dared, say “All was well my master dear but I inquire with greatest respect is your head quite clear?’’ 
AuzZoo did not ask or threaten but simply waved his hand for an explanation. 
“I fear…” the good page started again, “that I have found something wrong with you perfect castle.” 
“For, it is such in every way down to the last sliver plate, and there it is out and plain that we have no castle gate.” 
Lord AuzZoo had not interrupted he had let the page go on unheeded. But, when the page looked up a ghastly sight did meet his eyes for he thought his master might be in paradise. 
For Lord AuzZoo had gone a hideous white and all his clothes did seem too tight, no breath he took just looked, and looked. This sight did so upset and grieve the page he wept and called for help of any age.
But, none did come till twas too late, now the page was drowned in grief and still there was no castle gate.  The rest of his youth our good page spent in the service of the king till he himself could become a knight. And when he did for was fate he would no colors for a love he wore instead the glove of the lady determination he kissed so that there was only one burning desire in his breast and one thought that guided his lance and won his lot.
Thus, he returned to the home of his youth, the perfect castle Ugungawmon that he had bought and renewed.
Timber from the strongest trees and iron with the best of wrought was hither brought. Then for many years and everyday you’d see go by that way a small and vigorous party of the most skilled workers in that day. 
One fine twilight our good knighted page with tears upon his cheeks did gaze upon his life time work. Better than any before, stronger than the strongest oak door, and bigger than the castle front its self-there she stood magnificent and unmovable.
Today, if a traveler will pause upon his weary way he may look to the east and see the glistening castles of Ugungawmon which stands before the open sea and the wind will blow but never shake the strong proud planks of the castle gate. 

Copyright © Dawn Fulmer

Long poem by Kody Walters | Details |

A Dozen ways in which women confuse men: A Sarcasm Piece by a Confused Man

A Dozen ways in which women confuse men: A Sarcasm Piece by a Confused Man

I set out to accomplish what’s considered by most to be an impossible feat
I somehow wanted to summarize the ways women confuse me
As you all know this is quite the task
A challenge which may not have an answer
In actuality there could be a text entitled
The Infinite ways in which women Confuse men

As I obtained a massively excruciating headache
I pondered the o’ so many ways women confuse men
Miraculously I boiled it down to a mere dozen
A dozen which I have so kindly compiled here for you
The order they are delivered is of no importance
What is though, is the message this simple man is trying to get across

Confusion #1 is that you say you want a nice guy
But your choices show otherwise
As you always choose the bad boy
For there is a reason the saying nice guys finish last was invented
And still exist today

Confusion #2 is you women and your hormones
Women’s hormones fluctuate more often that the South Carolina weather
We poor men are neither intelligent enough nor hardwired 
 To deal with someone that is happy one second
Then crying over their toenail polish the next

Confusion #3 is that Just like Jennifer Aniston in The Breakup
Women tell men, that they want them to want to wash the dishes
Ladies, what does that statement even mean?
What man in his right mind wants to want to wash the dishes?

Confusion #4 is that women say that they are or want to be independent
Yet they call us for little things
Like to kill a spider

Confusion #5 is that not all, but a large quantity fuss at their man about having a 5’oclock shadow
But yet during Winter
You ladies climb into bed with Sasquatch legs

Confusion #6 is that once again not all, but a large quantity tell their man he should bulk up
But then you gain a measly pound or two
Say you need to diet
So we, your man, too must now diet

Confusion #7 has to deal with women walking in during football games
You walk in, say, “You know I hat sports,”
Grab the remote, change the channel to Gilmore Girls
Then yell and handcuff us men to the couch
As we try to leave and watch the game in another room,
Saying, “We never watch what I like.”

Confusion #8 deals with how women subtly tell men thing
A woman casually buys a pair of jeans for her man the next size up for him to wear
Subtly telling him he is gaining weight
However, when a man does the same
Women yell, cry, and say we are jerks
(Guys trying to be nice this way results in a loss
It cost us males any sort of sexual intercourse
Possibly resulting in flowing tears from that male
As he cries confused as to why his woman is upset
It’s not as if he called her fat)

Confusion #9 deals with women and the favorite article of clothing
You say that we have a certain article of clothing that you love
When we do wear this favorite article though on a couple of date nights
You tells us we wear the same thing too often

Confusion #10 deals with sexual glances
You ladies fuss at us about staring at your breast
As you so casually gaze at our groins
(Yes for all you that did not know
Groin gazing is a thing)

Confusion #11 deals with deception
Women confuse us men so much
That when you cheat on us
We want to fight the other man
While this may be the result of male stupidity
More so than the genius of how women confuse us
Arguments can be made either way

Confusion #12 deals with vanity
See you ladies tell us men that looks don’t really matter
That personality tis what matters most
But in your purse you carry
$200 worth of Lancome makeup

After compiling this list
Once again another thunderous headache arose
I consumed a Goody
And reflected upon the words I did write

Then I did ponder
What would be on a list composed by thee?
What about men confuses Women?
As I thought, I came upon a sad realization
Women would not be able to compose a book
In fact all the probably could create is a list

See, men are much more simple and complacent 
In other words, we me are too simple
Too simple to be confusing

One day though I hope to read such a list
Though I think it will be half as long

Copyright © Kody Walters

Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details |

New Neighbors

I am just finishing my morning meditation when I hear my doorbell ring. It actually sounds more like that buzzing sound you hear if you fry a fat fly on one of those electronic bug swatters. On my way to the door I hope it's not my new neighbor who just moved in the first floor apartment below me yesterday. Nobody wants a too friendly neighbor, right? I'm from the "fences make good compassionately mindful neighbors" school of thought about neighborly interdependence, much less intimacy.

I open the door to a 60-something blotchy, ashy, white-skinned man wearing grey polyblend sweatpants, slightly too short, over a pair of black Crocs, screaming "I gave up on myself years ago," and a lighter grey zip up the front, grimy hoody with a ripped left pocket, sleeves pushed up over old-red-haired-man, possibly ex-athlete, thick  creepy hairy forearms.

Before I have a chance to let him know this feels invasive to me, or even say "Hello, who and why are you at my door during my meditation time?" the new downstairs neighbor starts flapping his jaws as if my ears were born to listen to his cheery wisdom.

"Hi, I'm Oliver. My two neurally challenged teenagers, Ivy's the bratty girl, and Daquan is the perfect, but sometimes a little loud, sort of like a really ticked off roaring lion, but you'll get used to it, son, and I are your new downstairs neighbors, and I wanted to meet you right away because I don't want you to freak out and call 911 when you hear us yelling or screaming or crying or jumping endlessly hour after hour because Ivy is really hyper and because Daquan can't speak but often seems to have a lot to bark and roar about what sometimes seems like its just gas and sometimes means he's wet and is trying to tell me I need to put the novel down, or stop writing that dreadful sad poetry, or writing predictable lyrics for country-western songs, much less living them, and sometimes he's just playing Tarzan, yodeling in his make-believe jungle. He's legally blind and uses a wheelchair for school but at home he scoots and thumps around, surprisingly athletic, on his butt, kind of like an upside down inchworm if inchworms had feet and arms, which of course they don't."

I don't have the first clue where this is going but we have no time, and apparently not the least commitment, to discern my own thoughts about Oliver's communication and rationality skills, or lack thereof.

"My husband lives about a mile upriver in our cottage that we are trying to expand before the rest of us move in. He is tall, dark and handsome in an AfricanAmerican kind of way and is usually depressed, at least when he's around us, which I can't really blame him because Ivy is Oppositionally Ordered, I don't know why they keep saying Fetal Alcohol kids have Oppositional Disorder because her capacity to oppose everything is most certainly not out of order, or in any way under-developed. She will pitch a fit if all you're trying to do is get her up from her feeding trough to help her out of a poopy diaper. You would think that somebody was going to eat her food after she has already marked it with her drool. I have no idea why they would call that Oppositional Disorder. No one I have ever met has been more oppositionally wired synaptic than my daughter."

"Anyway, Valentino, that's my husband, he suffers from chronic depression which is too bad because he used to have this really nice soft sense of humor and romance, if you know what I mean, but now he's just quiet and sad and afraid to retire because then he won't have any friends that don't drive him crazy like his family does, including me."

"He complains that we're too loud and stinky and the house is always filthy and my cooking is terrible but he likes to cook and clean so I don't really get it why it's not OK for me to not like to cook and clean, or do the laundry, or the dishes. Do you know what I mean? So, tell me about you."

Finally, a question other than the parenthetical "do you know what I mean."

"Ditto. Except mine are named, respectively, Yang, Yin, and Attila. Do you happen to like Ginseng tea with lots of honey?

Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck

Long Poems