A Food Truck Explodes in Lakeville, Minnesota.


(Based on a story in the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper)

The Sixth of March in Lakeville will not soon become forgotten,

When the food truck blew up – shredding metal into cotton.

Nothing but the steering wheel remained in place that day;

Ev’ry other particle was blown to Mandalay.


The ev’ning had been peaceful, with most folks tucked into bed,

While visions of the Weather Channel or hockey round them sped.

Sidewalks had been shoveled, and a thaw was on its way;

The quiet bourgeois neighborhood in guiltless stupor lay.


But forces beyond man’s control were working late that night,

Preparing to give man and beast a brobdingnagian fright.

(Of course the ladies are included in this epic tale;

Common gender nouns in English tend to often fail.)


The clock had struck eleven when the detonation brought

The residents of Lakeville underneath a juggernaut

Of sound and fury so severe that many thought a rocket

Had targeted their wardrobe down to the very pocket.


Condiments in packets fell like sleet, and bread rolls too;

Had there been a sheep about there would be Irish stew!

But miracle of miracles, although the wreck was vast,

Not a living soul was injured in that lusty blast.


The angels, or the dybbuks, or whatever you may please

Protected all those innocents from looking like Swiss cheese.

But sadly not a one of them was ever heard to claim

That a higher power had preserved them from the flame.


The crater quickly filled with slush and ketchup, while the smoke

Of the embers glowing still the firemen did choke.

Shards of glass lay scattered round about like gemstones freed

From the hoard of misers who repented of their greed.


Authorities swarmed over the explosion site with care,

Examining debris under the microscope’s stern glare.

They broke for coffee often (and to have a little smoke)

And with their rods and rulers they did prod and they did poke.


What caused this fulmination is debated with contention;

Was it cooking gas or was it terrorist invention?

Was there sabotage by a competitor’s paid lout,

Or had there been a discontented jar of sauerkraut?


No one knows for certain why catastrophe made sport

Of such sober people who but rarely did cavort.

But just remember food trucks, though they serve a menu broad,

Can suddenly and noisily become the hand of God!




I am the measles virus, and I visit everywhere;

No country is untarnished by my tender, loving care.

I hope to visit you someday, if I haven’t been there yet.

I’ll leave you with some memories you will not soon forget.


A sneeze, a cough, a runny nose – that’s all I do require

To slip into your body and set it all on fire.

I’m fond of little children; they are such a joy to sicken.

My Koplik’s spots will make the doctor’s fees rise up and quicken.


Don’t bother to get vaccinated – it nearly is a crime;

You and I are meant together to spend lots of time.

And if you get pneumonia or go blind as a result,

Please know it’s just my job and is not meant as an insult.

The Pedestrian’s Curse.


I am sick and tired of the perilous degree

To which our sidewalks come to when the weather is icy.

Like a baby glacier, all the snow lays unremoved;

My chances of a nasty fall are certainly improved.


My curses on you, householder – whoever you may be,

For neglecting all the shoveling that is your first duty.

May icicles impale your lazy heart, and polar bear

Invade your laundry to rip up all of your underwear.


Because of you I have to wear a pair of crampons now,

As over frozen rivers and crevasses I do plough.

I ought to have a dog sled to traverse my daily round.

(And have my huskies leave you little presents on the ground!)

Eavesdropping Doll.


Little Suzy got a doll at her birthday party.

It could sing and dance and talk, so she named it Smarty.

In her bedroom all alone with Smarty, Suzy harkened

To the tiny dolly voice as the shadows darkened.


“Look in Mommy’s wallet for her credit card pin number”

Said Smarty to sweet Suzy as she began to slumber.

“Does your daddy pay his taxes?” Smarty asked next day.

(Suzy was quite sad when the police took him away.)


Suzy and her Smarty went together ev’rywhere,

Recording who said what to who at home and at daycare.

Ms Rodriguez, Suzy’s friend from the dollar store,                                                                                                                                                    

Was picked up by the sheriff and was heard from nevermore.


One day poor Smarty’s battery began to fade away.

She whispered to her Suzy to go down to the parkway.

And there a van as black as night took both of them inside,

And now in a large dollhouse underground they do reside.


From a story on Yahoo News

The Termite.


The termite is a friend to man, although he may not think it.

They aerate all the soil around and make of dung a trinket.

Their social order splits them into workers and defenders,

Without a thought to happiness or specific genders.


They can digest things that other creatures do abhor,

Like a kitchen table or expensive teakwood door.

They thrive in ev’ry clime except the frigid polar regions,

And multiply continually in their crawling legions.


I guess God made the termite to give mankind an example

Of how to work together with efficiency quite ample.

I’m glad I’m not a termite cooped up in a mound all winter,

Surrounded by a fungal wall and snacking on a splinter!

The Einstein Cross.


(Based on a science article by Dennis Overbye)

We neither light a candle nor curse darkness anymore,

But through the Hubble telescope track ancient stars galore.

A supernova that occurred before the earth was formed

Is seen not once but many times, a hive of light that swarmed.


That swarmed, and still is swarming, seen in diff’rent places since

The Einstein Cross is working (this whole theory makes me wince).

The supernova Refsdal only blew its top just once

(as anyone will tell you who is not a stubborn dunce).


But we might see it, off and on, for centuries to come,

Moving round the heavens like a piece of bright pond scum.

I’ve read the explanation till my head begins to ache;

But still the physics that’s involved appears to me opaque.


Astronomy is noble and I wouldn’t kvetch about it,

Except when the astronomers with jargon have to tout it.

So much of what they’re writing is to me just idle chatter,

Since I can’t tell the diff’rence between Big Bang and dark matter.

A Message from the Next Dalai Lama.


I’ve had this funny feeling lately that reincarnation

Will make me Dalai Lama for the coming generation.

The current Dalai Lama’s getting on in years, you know;

 When he kicks the bucket I believe I’ll get his glow.


No need for monks to go to sacred lakes or dream their dreams;

I’m the boy they’re looking for, without undue extremes.

I’m the 15th guru, and to Zhu Weiqun I’m stating

I’ll wear the yellow hat without your frivolous debating.


My reign will be a peaceful one, with colored sand design.

Prayer wheels will keep rolling inside ev’ry Buddhist shrine.

The Communists can rant and rave about my blessed state;

I’ll simply smile upon them as I start to levitate.   

(Inspired by an article in the New York Times)

Dog Poop Policeman.


My name is Larry Higgins; I’m a pooper scooper cop.

Patrolling through the parks and trails I make offenders stop.

And if I do not catch them in the act, forensics tells

Just who is the culprit by the DNA (and smells).


I’ve tracked the wily dachshund and the careless Labrador;

Collared fierce French poodles on Lake Como’s pristine shore.

I’ve been bitten till my ankle looks like sirloin ground,

But the mutts all know that Larry Higgin’s been around.


Sure, they try to bribe me, or make goo-goo eyes instead;

Me, I write the ticket and then tell them to drop dead.

When the day is over I go home and drink my Blatz.

(And feed my darling, precious little cutsey-wootsey cats.)


(Based on a story in the StarTribune)

The Procrastinator.




Never do I hesitate or vacillate at all.

Procrastination never causes me to drag or crawl.

I am the very model of a forward moving chap;

I’m full of vim and vigor, and a goodly dose of snap!


To seize upon a thought takes but a moment of my time.

To act, a nano-second – any longer is a crime!

I plan my work and work my plan, and always do arrive

At my destination with spare time to shuck and jive.


I’m never in a hurry; nothing hasty spoils my day.

Like the Mississippi I refuse to stop or stray.

In fact, I pounced upon the writing of THIS like a lynx

(and now before I finish it I’ll just take forty winks . . . )


Ode to Hot Sauce.



O, hot sauce I can write about until the cows come home;

How some of it will burn your gums and turn your tongue to loam;

And others have a subtle way of sneaking up on you,

Delaying their eruption until the day is through.


It comes in little bottles with red caps or corks of wood;

It really is a condiment by most misunderstood.

Its flavor should bring tears of joy, not tears of membranes wracked

With searing heat as if by devils constantly attacked.


It can turn a heavy dish into a charming meal,

And give to lifeless casseroles a ringing, sincere zeal.

But use it with discretion, for all love and mercy please!

Otherwise your palate will become a hive of bees.

(Inspired by a story in the New York Daily News)