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!


Axel Goes to Mars. Uff-da!


(Inspired by an article by Bob Shaw)

Vell, me and Helga yust applied tew go tew Mars vun day;

Ve sent dem lots of money fer our Martian hide avay.

I tot as how da gravity vas so much less up dere

Dat Helga vouldn’t need her girdle, floating tru de air.


And maybe dey has got a lake vhere fish is big and mean,

And taste yust like good lutefisk (wid maybe scales of green).

Yah, dat vould be a humdinger – to be an astro-nut.

(But uff-dah, how much vould it cost to order Pizza Hut?)


But den I get a ledder saying ve ain’t qualified;

It came widdout a refund check, and Helga nearly cried.

But I don’t care if dose darn snobs tink ve ain’t da right genus;

I yust paid fer our tickets on da next flight out tew Wenus!    

Poverty: The One in Ten.

second harvest

(Inspired by an interview on the Jordana Green Show)

I’m the one in ten that people think does not exist;

The one who lost his job and finds it now hard to subsist.

I delivered papers till the weather froze my car.

I have had to make a feast from one granola bar.


I have told my children that there is no Santa Claus

When the bank met my request for assistance with guffaws.

We lost the house last April and have bunked with distant kin,

And I discovered that the world treats poverty like sin.


The wife no longer goes to church – she can’t afford to dress

The way the other ladies do; she now has godly stress.

‘Tomorrow will be better’ we have chanted ev’ry day.

But the wolf is at the door and settled down for a long stay.


I’m the one in ten, the neighbor you have barely met;

Struggling to keep my head above a sea of debt.

If I seem a little mad, please do not blame yourself –

It’s just that mac and cheese is all they had at the food shelf.    

The Minnesota DNR.


(Inspired by a story by Doug Smith)

The Minnesota DNR is like a fairy tale;

Without the magic sticker they will toss you into jail!

If you a just a peasant from another state who tows

A boat through Minnesota, they have trolls that grab your nose.


They will not let it go until you spin some golden yarn,

Or guess their middle name or agree to paint a barn.

Yes, the DNR has witches who do flit about the skies,

Peering down your chimney and then snitching all your pies.


The purpose of this sorcery ain’t hard to comprehend;

The laws are made to emulate a Kingdom of Pretend,

Where princesses and ogres caper round ten thousand lakes

And ev’ry bureaucrat leads snowmen out to find more flakes.



Paean to Jordana Green.


(I was on the Jordana Green Show Monday evening; we hit it off like a couple of old pals.  She will be reading my topical poetry on her show from time to time, so naturally I had to compose a little something in her honor.  NOT brown-nosing, you understand — just a little gewgaw to show my appreciation . . . )

There’s Minnesota nice, and then there’s Minnesota NICE;

Jordana Green’s the second – she’s a gem, to be precise!

She read my verses on the air – and bade me do the same.

Is it any wonder she’s achieved such rampant fame?


Of course this is sheer flattery, as fulsome as can be;

But poets have been doing it all down through history.

You catch more flies with honey than with sour tropes indeed.

And blathering on ‘CCO is all the fame I need! 


The “Bad” Mom.

(Inspired by a story by Aimee Blanchette)

My mother never loved me, cuz she never would supply

Me with probiotics or a knotted Windsor tie.

She often tucked me into bed and left me in the dark

Without a bedtime story—which I think was pretty stark.


I always felt neglected when Art Linkletter was on;

She wouldn’t bother to get up and fetch me a pecan.

And when I said a bad word I did not get therapy;

A bar of soap inside my mouth was good enough for me.


She liked to use Chef Boyardee when she was in a rush,

And poisoned me with sugar in my cereal and mush.

She let my laundry pile up, let my shoe laces all fray.

You never would mistake her for a stainless Doris Day!


She gossiped with the neighbors when I needed a nose wipe,

And didn’t care when I ate apples green and quite unripe.

My mother fell down on the job of making me behave.

I’m sorry to report that she was NOT the perfect slave.    

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!