Provo poet lives to make people laugh


For more than 20 years, reporters around the world have been receiving poems from a Provo man who reads their work and has something to say.

“It’s an obsession for me,” Tim Torkildson said. “Whenever I read something interesting I just have to respond to it in verse.”

Sometimes sent electronically, other times in the mail, poems range in length but are always witty and always rhyme.

He subscribes to at least seven papers — ranging from The New York Times to his hometown paper the Minneapolis Star Tribune — and responds to anything that “tickles” or “outrages” him.

The first poem he remembers sending was back in 1993, a serious poem about the Waco, Texas siege.

Since then the 61-year-old has written thousands.


During an average week, he’ll write and send five poems to various reporters and news outlets. About 90 percent of the time he doesn’t hear back, but the few times he does is what keeps him going.

In January, Rachel Abrams from The New York Times wrote about the curiosity and persistence that eventually led her to interview Torkildson and publish three poems he sent her.

More recently, Torkildson said he received feedback from a reporter in Europe who called him a “genius” and told him she would “treasure” what he had done with her stories.

To hear feedback like that from a professional writer is gratifying, Torkildson said, especially as a college dropout. He likes the friendships it forms, and hopes someday his hobby could lead to a full-time poetry-writing career.

“I miss doing something that makes people happy,” he said.


For a good chunk of his life, Torkildson worked as a clown for the Ringling Brothers. His poetry writing started years ago when he was a young father traveling with the circus. Since his kids were home in Provo, he’d write them poems as a way to stay in touch and let them know he was thinking of them.

After arthritis forced him to leave circus life, Torkildson spent 15 years teaching English in Thailand before finding his way back to Utah Valley.

In July 2014, Torkildson received some press from multiple national news outlets after being let go from his part-time job in Provo for supposedly promoting a “gay agenda” through teaching about homophones.

In between jobs, he’s searching for something that makes him and others happy.

“I’m not made to cause people unhappiness,” he said. “If I’m not entertaining people I’m not happy.”

(From an article by Keri Lunt Stevens in the Provo Daily Herald, Wednesday, March 4. 2015)

Alma; Chapter One.


When the Judges started reigning in the Nephite lands

Men and women for the most part toiled with their own hands.

Nehor and his followers, who preached for gold and glory,

Were quickly made irrelevant to the Nephite’s story.


Instead the members of the Church, under the direction

Of Alma tended their own fields and lived in great affection.

Equal with each other, they did not put on grand airs;

They shared with all their neighbors as they bore each other’s cares.


While those who stayed unchurched indulged in worldly revelry;

They paid themselves with folly from the devil’s currency.

Murder, rape and bondage came to them without surcease,

Because their hearts were not attuned to hear the Prince of Peace.

13 Ways to Get Publicity from a Journalist.


Journalists may not be dyslexic, but they often seem to have short attention spans. Or maybe they are just fussy like little kids. Be that as it may, when you want a journalist’s attention because you have a product or service or story you want them to take notice of, you just may be out of luck. Breaking news may keep your interesting item from ever being noticed. Unless you know how to grab their attention.

1. Offer them money.  Oh sure, there are some finicky people who think such an offer is unethical. But who said it has to be cold hard cash? Offer them a free wine and cheese bar at your new branch office opening. Print your story on a nice t-shirt and send it to several reporters; one of them is bound to follow up with you.

2. Join Alcoholics Anonymous. You’ll meet a lot of journalists there. Ask one of them to be your sponsor; then they’ll publish your story.

3. Forget the journalists. Start your own blog and make your story go viral. It happens all the time.

4. Offer a free timeshare to the first journalist who writes about your real estate company. (Of course, the timeshare is in Hoboken, New Jersey — but so what?)

5. Get hired on a newspaper so you can write the story yourself; journalism school takes four years, so START NOW.

6. Bypass the journalist and go to his or her editor; review steps 1 and 2 above.

7. Create a snappy headline to focus their attention.  Something like “I AM CHARLIE SHEEN’S LIVER” or “WE INTERVIEW THE CORPSE OF P.T. BARNUM!”  You’ll hear from some writer, no doubt — even if it’s only one from MAD Magazine.

8. Picket your local newspaper, with a sign that reads “This Pewsnaper is Ufnair to Dyslexics!” You’ll be interviewed for your story on your way to jail.

9. Did you know journalists are underpaid? Why don’t you give them a cushy job in your company?  All they have to do is write their last story about your product or service. (Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.)

10. Buy your local newspaper. At the rate they are failing, you can pick one up for a song — and then have the journalists working on it sing your tune.

11. Hold a press conference. Invite the mayor or other politician to it; they will make sure it gets covered for you, the big showboaters . . .

12.  Outsource!  You can outsource customer service, manufacturing and technical support to some third-world country very inexpensively — so why not get a journalist from, say, Cambodia or Nicaragua to write up your product?  Of course, only people who can read Khmer or Spanish will know about it.

13. Start doing family history. You will inevitably find a distant relative, still living, who is a journalist or who has some connection with a journalist. Look them up, take them to dinner, give them a sad story about how your company desperately needs the attention of a good journalist, and let them do the rest. And if they don’t . . . well, at least you can fill in another part of your family tree.


Minnesota Writers.


(Inspired by a story by Kim Ode)

I do not think the weather is conducive to fine arts

Here in Minnesota, with its ice in fits and starts.

Whether you’re Fitzgerald or Charles Schultz or Frances Gumm,

Minnesota is a great place to be COMING FROM.


Writers most especially find winter such a bore;

Even Sinclair Lewis couldn’t take it anymore.

Dour and oppressive are the people and the climate;

Writers here go crazy – you can very nearly time it.


John Berryman had ev’rything a poet could desire,

But came the day he had to take a real aesthetic flyer.

The study of dead writers from the Midwest is depressing;

When I get the palm, off to Hawaii I’ll be progressing!

Book Review: “The Bishop’s Wife”, by Mette Ivy Harrison.


Hoo boy, your inclination to think Mormon men do rule

In their homes, or elsewhere, is as shaky as fine tulle.

Experience at first-hand, and my years of observation,

Give me leave to say that it’s the women give dictation.


A man may be a Bishop or an Elder, but despite

Any priesthood calling he is in for quite a fight

If he figures he can rule the roost without consent

From his helpmate (and the unofficial President).


Women who are LDS are so secure in power

That a whispered word or two makes the menfolk cower.

That is why the Temple marries us eternally;

Cuz it will take forever to learn true equality!


Ode to the Angler.


Fishing, to Americans, is taken as a right.

We fish our rivers, lakes and streams with all our hungry might.

And when we’re balked of water rich in piscatory wealth,

We feel it prejudices all our happiness and health.


The fisherman is noble in pursuit of finny prey.

He (or she) spends millions ev’ry single angling day.

And all to put a hook inside the mouth of something scaly,

Besides which job, romance and gold become distractions palely.


“O, do not fence me in” is what the fisherman implores,

As he casts his line upon the everlasting shores.

For if you take away the pools of bass and shark and trout,

What will the poor fisherman have left to lie about?




This piscatorial post is brought to you by King Oscar.  They are to sardines what Tiffany’s is to jewelry!

Our Busy Congress.


Congress is as static as a glacier under glass.

As slow to move as granite, as immovable as brass.

Passing legislation is no longer their for-tay;

They only live to lollygag the goshdarn live-long day!


Of course, they’ll rename post offices or pass a resolution;

As long as it demands no thought or slightest convolution.

But major legislation is not something they’ll consider;

They treat it like a leper or a piece of trash or litter.


This feckless inanition isn’t partisan at all.

It comes from PAC donations that are really quite a haul.

Why should a legislator put himself out on a limb,

When in a pool of money he can softly, safely swim?




This trenchant blog is brought to you by the Bank of American Fork.  It’s your money; we only keep it safe and sound.




(Editor’s Note:  Our friend, Phillip Hinckley, recently sent us this perceptive book review, which we are happy to pass on to all our readers.)

The book is well written, well documented and printed on very good paper. There is a picture on almost every page. It contains a wealth of history which, sadly, documents the Apostasy from the teachings of Jesus Christ and those who sought to reform the Catholic Church.


But I thought Christianity started with Jesus Christ, not with Rome’s takeover of the Christian movement.

The book is subtitled “Christian Civilization” because various rulers were quick to seize the power and control of the various splinter groups to make themselves head of the ‘church’.

  • Chapter One is interesting – it quotes scripture from a modern translation of the Bible that sullies the meaning by the profound dumbness of the phrasing, and “by the precepts of men”.
  • It infers that Jesus was not the Son ofGod who gave the Old Testament Prophets his word for men.
  • He didn’t have to learn the scriptures; he is the one who gave them!
  • Page 30 talks of Jesus’ baptism by immersion and on page 31 is a painting of a wimpy little man standing in a mere six inches of water, having water poured over his head. (The giant leap from baptism by immersion to sprinkling). Jesus would have been a muscular man, working long hours with the crude tools, shaping wood into useful objects  No wonder the King James Version of the Bible  lists 25 scriptures on Apostasy in just the New Testament.
  • Chapter  One contains some great bursts of conjecture. When Jesus was baptized did he see the “Heavens open”(King James version) or did he see “the heavens torn apart”?
  • Another good quote:  when Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb a young man in a white robe told her “Jesus of Nazareth . . . has been raised.”  The King Jamesversion says “He is risen.”  The Son of God had power to lay down his life and he had power to take it up again.
  • The Apostasy from Christ’s teaching and from the way he organized his church started before the apostles were all killed.  The National Geographic book goes on talking of different groups following what they think Jesus taught, mixed with a few pagan ideas.  It appears to be written to pacify the Universal Church, mentioning things that may have led to many of their strange practices which are never mentioned by Christ as being part of his church.
  • I have gone through the book page by page and noticed how some of the major Christian churches came about.  Mostly about protest of what the Catholic Church, the Church of England, and other state churches were doing.
  • On page 34 is a short paragraph on the RESTORED Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I resent the very brief and uninformed description of it.
  • To this day we are not mentioned as the restored Church of Jesus Christ because this would be the only church necessary when Christ returns.  If ministers told the truth they would lose their flocks and jobs; hence they lie and say we are not Christian.


In the state of New York in 1820, Jesus Christ and God the Father appeared to a 14 year old boy in answer to a prayer. Joseph Smith had been chosen to be God’s prophet, not unlike the prophets in the Old Testament. Over the next 10 years he was schooled by the Angel Moroni, who you see a statue of, on our temples. Moroni gave Joseph some Gold Plates, the record of an ancient branch of the house of Israel, that he had buried when he was a mortal. Joseph translated them by the power of God into the Book of Mormon. Joseph ordered 5000 books bound in leather, seven months before the church was organized. (You think he wasn’t a Prophet ??) John who was called the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver Cowdery and gave them the keys and powers of the Aaronic Priesthood. Peter, James and John appeared to them and restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. Jesus Christ caused his church to be restored by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830. There were 6 members and the same organization as his original church with Apostles, Prophets, and divine authority from Jesus Christ. The true church must bear the name of Jesus Christ and be a restored church. It had baptism by immersion, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those in authority, no paid ministry, the power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils. It had modern revelation and is a missionary church. Nonbelievers would not call them “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.
Ministers and others said the Heavens were closed. There could be no more revelation. Persecution eventually drove the “Mormons” to Ohio, then on to Missouri. Their numbers increased and mobs started to burn their homes and crops and steal their animals and wagons. They were forced out in the winter and many walked through snow to Illinois. Hundreds were killed or died on the way. In Illinois they drained a swamp and built the largest city in the state. Mob violence soon led to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother being shot in Carthage Jail. They volunteered to go there because Governor Thomas Ford guaranteed their safety. As soon as they were locked up, Governor Ford left Carthage and didn’t return until after they were murdered. Another of Joseph’s brothers died a month later from the injuries received from the mobs trying to kill him. The mobs drove the saints from Nauvoo in the winter and they were able to drive their wagons across the Mississippi River on the ice. In 1847 they entered the Salt Lake Valley, a barren desert where they would be unmolested for a time. Brigham Young colonized over 350 cities in the western United States over the next thirty years. The Church has over fifteen million members worldwide and will soon have 171 temples worldwide. We are hastening the work, preparing for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

For questions contact Phillip Hinckley at

A Portuguese Court Decision Rendered Limb from Limb by My Poetic Muse.


This is gonna be a classic; I can feel it in my bones.

A European court rules in a way that calls for groans.

I cannot fail to scribble something whimsical and sly

That will catch and hold the reader’s lewd and quite discerning eye.


I need a rhyme for Portuguese, which I can hardly spell;

Something for the Women’s Lib and maybe Taco Bell?

No, there’s nothing in there about tacos, not at all.

I been watching reruns – I might just use Lucille Ball.


Okay, I’ve wasted all the time there is – now get to work!

Make a rhyme that gets a laugh and causes a great smirk.

This is gonna be a classic – it will lead to approbation.

All I need is motivation and some inspiration . . .

Ode to Smith’s Bar.


Another bar and grill has bit the dust, I’m sad to say;

It had its boozy moment in the sun, and then away . . .

They say it stood for sixty years, a monument to vice;

Where virtue ambled in and staggered out none too precise.


The patrons were a potpourri of local color that

Might give you a Wall Street tip or puke into your hat.

You had to watch your wallet but if you’d the gift of gab

The bartender would offer an elasticized bar tab.


I don’t know why I’m teary for that godforsaken hole.

The floor was filth incarnate and the john as black as coal.

They corrupted youth and bled old age of all their ready cash.

I guess my memory can’t tell the treasure from the trash.