Thoughts on Walking Through the Neighborhood at Dusk.


When I was but a slippy youth, impelled by lusty flush

To run and skip and hide and sing like any careless thrush,

The boys and girls around the street joined in my serenade,

Or fought with clods of earth or set up stands for lemonade.


The slightest hint of mildness in the weather caused adults

To open all the windows for some gossip (or insults).

We yelled our silly heads off as we scalped each other like

The Westerns on the TV, or went on an oval hike –


Around the alleys, past trash cans just full of won’drous tripe,

Scuffing on the clinkers as we rolled a broken pipe.

Mrs. Berg put up a sign that said “Stay Off The Lawn”.

Old Benny on the corner drank his Schlitz and gave a yawn.


Cranky Mrs. Hannigan put out her wash to dry

(They said she beat her husband so until he’d start to cry).

Nozzles on the hoses sent the dew upon the grass,

Held by men in t-shirts with their arms as stiff as brass.


The cavalcade of bikes and trikes and hopscotch-playing girls

Made the sidewalk squirm just like a box of baby squirrels.

To sit inside when sun and wind made love to all the trees

Was just about as stupid as a snort of anti-freeze.


Even Mrs. Henderson, as old as Herbert Hoover,

Smiled upon the bedlam through the chinks of parlor louver.

The noise was a cocoon that wrapped the neighborhood in fleece;

Underneath the woofs and tweets there lay a modest peace.


Today – today, I walk by neighborhoods and cul de sacs

Where fam’lies park their minivans and figures made of wax

Sit inside the windows playing games intensely bright

While the beauty of the world fades into unmourned night.


The quiet doesn’t cheer me or promote much peace of mind.

The lack of noise, like lack of sight, is something dull and blind.

The yards are neat and comely, and the children are well-bred;

A lemonade stand here would get you handcuffed by a Fed.

The Barge.


(Inspired by an article by Ron Nixon)

A barge is something so immense to little boys who view

Them from a Mississippi bridge as they pass two by two.

Filled with coal or sand or oil – or cavernous with space,

A barge majestic on the roll of water has spare grace.


Before the semi trod upon the asphalt highway lane,

Before the horse-drawn wagon crossed the honeysuckled plain,

The river and its cargo went their solitary way;

Full of mud and thunder on a sultry summer’s day.


I could wish to be upon a barge by tugboat prodded;

The envy of the world and by all little boys applauded.

Navigating locks and dams, a Huckleberry Finn –

Baptized daily in the flood and innocent of sin.

The Defective Defector.


(Inspired by an article by Choe Sang-Hun)

The USA has always welcomed those with lurid tales.

Of torture for no reason in abominable jails.

Our jaded media wants blood and gore in ev’ry byte;

Paying beau coup bucks for all those ready to recite.


We want to be diverted from abuses here at home

Worse than anything they used back there in ancient Rome.

And so when some escapee from a prison camp abroad

Comes to us with wagging tongue we never call him ‘fraud’.


Encouraged by our appetite, the refugee may pander

To our lust for outrage with a lack of total candor.

Can you blame him for his ebullient exaggeration,

When we will ignore him if he uses moderation?


Charlie Hebdo.

charlie hebdo

You can kill the humorist, but not their cheeky essence;

Murder doesn’t darken laughter’s searching luminescence.

Throughout all the ages, and especially in France,

Humor has stayed rosy-cheeked despite the censor’s lance.


Rabelais had so much wit, and that of such a style,

That his Pantagruel would force a gravel pit to smile.

And Moliere raised laughter with such farcical delight

That audiences didn’t feel his universal bite.


Those who were made martyrs by today’s craven attack

Are probably now telling old Saint Peter he’s a quack.

And those that pulled the trigger to enforce an iron stillness

Are monsters that prove once again that censorship is illness.

Eulogy for Ellie May Clampett. (Donna Douglas)


I had a crush on Ellie May when I was but a lad;

That rope tied round her dainty waist gave me such raptures – gad!

I fantasized I was a pup or rabbit in her lap,

Where I settled in for a delicious steamy nap.


How could they let a babe like that cavort on TV screens,

Messing up the libidos of millions of male teens?

I looked at girls around me, with such acne on their faces,

And knew that I would never want to feel their fond embraces.


O, Ellie May, you put a cruel clampett on my heart.

Although you were a Christian you did practice the Black Art,

And cast a spell that made me think enjoying other gals

Was about as awful as a batch of root canals!