Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michael Ratcliffe: Five Poems


Claudia greets me in the morning
with coffee and half a smile,
eyes downcast somewhere
between sadness and a different place.
I am there also,
only closer to sadness,
knowing no other place to be.

I stare out the café window,
at all the purposeful people
on their way to purposeful days;
it hurts to look at them
in the morning sun’s glare,
so I follow Claudia
as she shuttles between tables and kitchen,
taking orders, pouring coffee,
delivering food,
while the manager shouts her round the restaurant—
“Claudia, pick up!”
“Claudia, new customer!”
“Claudia, clear that table over there!”

Claudia looks my way.
I sense a glance that says
take me away from here,
take me to another place,
and I want the same from her,
but neither of us says a word
as Claudia pours me another cup of coffee.


Dead roses lie on the table,
still bundled as they came from the store,
for want of water, they withered.


Rain falls from a somber sky,
our parched world now made green again.
The lawn sheds the brown of summer’s drought,
and resumes a green that again will fade.

When I saw you at summer’s end,
my garden greened again.
Then, I met him at your house, and now I know
that what never was, will never be.

The rain blasts the peach tree’s last leaves to garden,
where they mingle with the rotting pits of summer.
The rain-letting rage of the fractured sky brings autumn,
harbinger of winter’s gun-metal death.

A hard rain falls from a somber sky,
spring’s green merely a dream;
autumn’s barrenness, reality.


Sitting in the brown rocking chair
next to the window in my bedroom
waiting for the afternoon sun to stream in again,
I read Li Po.

Cold wind gusts outside,
whips round the eaves,
rattles the front door.

Outside the window, a shutter flaps against the house—
the same shutter I thought would fall off last year.

The afternoon sun streams through the window.


Age pares away the fruit of life,
to the heart,
to the kernel of spirit,
to be sown anew in the second spring.

The parts once thought tastiest
now lie discarded,
no longer digestible;
they do the soul no good.

The seed,
though hard and once thought bitter,
now is prized,
for it contains new life. 

Michael Ratcliffe writes in the suburbs of Baltimore and Washington.  He has had poems published in You Are Here:  The Journal of Creative Geography (U.S.), Little Patuxent Review (U.S.), and Do Not Look at the Sun (France).  His poems can also be found on his blog at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Elasticity / Cement Buddha

by Mark Weber and Ronald Baatz

Chapbook # 67
Zerx Press
725 Van Buren Place SE
NM 87108

Poem 4 Mark Weber's in this split chapbook asks 'Has the invention of the book/ become passe?' and proceeds to answer its own question in the negative: ' [...] it never breaks down, you/ don't have to pay a monthly fee to read it,/ no On & Off switch, it's your friend [...]' Terrific! and true. Perfectly illustrated by the pleasure of sitting down with this chap yesterday, holding it in my hands by my window in the afternoon (though Weber counsels not to sit at windows), no laptop overheating on my thigh, no headache-inducing screen glare as I stared a while, looking at the words, listening for Mark's voice or Ronald's voice to come out of the deceptively simple, deceptively unstructured (these fellows are artists) patterns on the page.

Weber provides 15 ruminations on music, poetry, art, the mind, winter (the poems were all written between December of last year and this February, so it's a new production), and the ageing of the body, which makes his half sound - if you don't know Mark - like the constipated labours of some TLS regular fulfilling a book contract; but it's all executed in this gloriously eccentric, seemingly casual, ruminative, funny style, like a story told by a half-drunk, recently-laid-off but philosophical genius in a bar. Some poems are short, some are long; some lines are short and some are long. If you're dull and over-trained and hung up on form and all that you may think his technique is slapdash but that's only your lack of understanding about where Mark's coming from artistically. Like the original Beats he has a musical ear, big jazz fan so I understand (I've never met him), but "Elasticity" namechecks John Cage and Chopin too. There's a wider range of structures and rhythms than you can find in the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, kids, whatever your lecturers tell you.

Ronald Baatz's section, which you get to by flipping the book over when you finish Weber's, is a sequence of linked poems with a Japanese influence, territory he's made his own before - Ronald is the best haiku writer in America, at least the best one I know of - only these use a form something like a looser tanka to describe, in separate but linked (if that makes sense) stanzas the complexities of a mature relationship, one that seems to be struggling to survive: she thinks his poetry is 'a pile of self-indulgent crap', their life seems to be affected by his inability to make money from writing, their lovemaking has dwindled away almost to nothing - and yet when she isn't there he's lonely. He says she is 'sensuously domestic' as he considers her, in her absence. This ambivalent, to-and-fro love is what everybody gets when they've been together for a few years and Ronald describes it wonderfully. Especially since it's set against the backdrop of the mysterious and cruel beauty of Nature: animals living and dying - the Kerouackian image of Ronald brushing a dead beetle into the lap of the cement Buddha in his garden (which watches over everyone silently, despite being 'a poor excuse for a scarecrow') -  the 'toothless, unromantic moonlight' in which the narrator and Hedy, his love, finally have sex; and the news, on the last page, that sparrows sing in their dreams. Somehow the courses of love and the courses of Nature mirror one another in Ronald's remarkable, deft hand. And even if the thing about the sparrows isn't true, the whole collection is worth reading through just to reach that point and think about it for a while.

Both sections of the chapbook come with drawings by the authors, and there's a photograph of Mark's head, in case you're wondering what it looks like. Email Zerx for purchase information if you're interested in getting hold of a copy of the book, but be quick if you are because there are only 400 editions.

One day, if there's any justice in the world (which we know there isn't), these things will be priceless.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Donal Mahoney: Three Poems

Birds of Paradise
As you move toward the door
to open it so I may leave
I notice how your Levis cage
the anacondas of your thighs.
One more move like that, I say,
and I’ll toss my briefcase to the floor
and bring you yipping to the couch
and kiss your breasts until they rise
like startled Birds of Paradise.

Two Appliqués

If the greatest of these
is charity
then tell me again
why it’s gauche
if this young man
in a booth at a bar
dives under the skirt
of the farmer’s widow
smiling across from him.

There he will find
what he’s after
and get that big kiss
before driving her home
through jackhammer rain
and flying with her
through the windshield
making a turn.

Now they're a legend,
the talk of the town,
emblazoned forever
for pickups to see
as two appliqués
on a viaduct wall,
their Rorschachs
bright red,
whatever their ages.

Women Who Walk Like Men
They seem to be everywhere now,
women who walk like men.
With hair cropped in a paint brush,
bullets for eyes and knives for noses,
they walk long halls, hips so still
they can have no pelvis.
Then one day you meet one
and become her friend.
A week later you still wonder:
Are all the women who walk like men
wildflowers, really,
locked in a hothouse, craving the sun?

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Beatnik (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), Catapult to Mars (Scotland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Calliope Nerve, Asphodel Madness, Pirene's Fountain (Australia) and other publications.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Craig Firsdon: Five Poems


Dreams Of Nuclear Napalm
As a child I would lay in bed
and dream of pumpkin pie and napalm
My innocence was lost forever
amongst forever nothings
sent as serialized nightly visions
Little Orphan Annie raped
by experiences never felt
never seen, never alive

She would continue on oblivious
afraid of nothing.
Too bad it all comes
to her as nothing
packaged in bloody Versace
and Sachs 5th Avenue somethings.

Anthrax and diamonds
forged with the crushing hammer
called idiocracy taking form of democracy
and cooled in the geyser of hate
that will set the world on fire.
It was nuclear napalm
erupting from a radioactive wet dream.

Little Orphan Annie rides by in fallout skies
on her shotgun vibrator set on high.
Boom! Boom! Pleasure for the masses!
Let her scream!
Let us all scream!
And then after the fallout and hate,
after the nuclear napalm and shotgun dreams,
there is silence and innocence.

American Truth Chronicles Part 4: Toy Soldiers
They exchange babies for bullets
trained little toy soldiers
just wind them up
and knock them down.
Kindergarten Marines with runny noses
passing on sicknesses to enemy soldiers
Anti-aircraft slingshots
and bottle rocket submarine launched missiles
Entire crews of boogiemen lay dieing
They call themselves pirates,
sword in one hand,
pacifier in the other.
Prisoners of their customs.
We are warned of evil terrorists
and defended by a kaleidoscope of colors.
Oh look! Its a red day,
get to your bunkers,
grab your automatics.
Terror hits home
as rattles and binkies
and five year olds plant i.e.d.'s like tulips
watering the harsh soil
with tears and blood of American mothers.
The mission is all that matters,
only some of their babies
will come home.

Mission codenamed murder
don't mind the brightly colored ribbons
in her hair
or the muddied pigskin
in his,
they are only remote controlled assassins
masked as preschoolers
by protege programmers
whose only goal in life
is making weapons of mass destruction easy,
a dirty bomb with pigtails and a bottle,
after all it's hard to kill a target
when it's teething
and justifying an explanation
for the use of deadly force
when the victim is only three.

Suicide bombers, suicide infants,
suicide toddlers crawling for the first time
on their knees in front of tanks and convoys
like marbles rolling across tabletops
c-4 packed diapers worn perfectly
never to be changed
blowing away fellow toy soldiers
fallen down never
to be picked up once more.

The reality of today
is trust is dead
truth is dead
innocence is dead.
You can't trust a toddler
to not be packing heat,
a clip or two
hidden by a cute smile
and your afraid to walk
down the street to the park
scared you will see a little boy in Batman
or little girl princess in pink
strapped with dynamite
enough explosives to level a playground
waiting to see the surprise in your eyes
then pressing the button
back and forth
like the swing set creaking nearby,
but much deadlier.

These days educating our children
seems unnecessary
when they don't need
to learn how to count to ten.
Ten seconds would be more than enough time
to kill you or I,
their mothers, our fathers,
teachers, doctors,
priests and Buddha himself.
No, they have no need for school itself,
no need for math, social studies, language or art,
no need with lives predestined
by the hand of the toy makers,
our own hands.

The ten digits on our palms
assemble the bombs,
cock the guns,
wind up each toy soldier,
aim and let go.


Let go..

Each little life we have aimed
at adult targets
and let go,
washing blood from adult hands
and no matter how hard we scrub,
how much we wash
the blood is eternal,
a reminder of each and every
little toy soldier.


Out on the city streets
passing by every unforgiving streetlight
wondering what it would be like
to feel without a high
to see through unblurred eyes
to be one with every child's laugh
                        every homeless gaze
                        every street whore
                             making that one last buck
                             to be free
                             to be happy
                             finally happy

Faceless symphonies mute for too long
drowned out by political laughs
and the sound of the almighty dollar
finally crashing
down into obscurity
better known as the poor
the huddled masses
we, the people.

Remove your trench coats and cardboard shades
the down pour is over
the world has spit on you enough.
Millions of unanswered prayers,
sleeping under neon Jesus'
Every night
you salvage every disappearing skyline
only enough to have some sort of chance.

I believe we've had enough trying to save the world.
Did you hear me?

One Word

The other day you asked me to write you a poem.
I tried to say no, but I couldn't.
Your desperate gaze said all I needed to hear.
So I thought
and leaned over.
I brushed your hair aside,
put my lips to your ear,
and whispered one word
just one

At that moment your eyes lowered,
head fell flaccid from sympathetic neck,
and one tear ran down your cheek,
just one

I had never seen you so vivid
as you were at that exact moment
Your blackest nights were now shades of gray.
Every self-inflicted scar no longer runs red
leaving a trail of fear and hopelessness behind.
Your counter once cluttered with open bottles
is now filled with open bibles
and it was then that I realized
that one word,
just one
could save a person's life
and, possibly, even save
this one

Painting Liberty

Health care, marijuana, flip-flops,
conservative signs of the Apocalypse.
The anti-Christ sits at a computer
in boxers that cover the naked truth
while waging a holy war.
His vision is sparked by syllables,
words, lines, poetic essence
and fed by societal combustion
exploding onto the screen
as common sense in an age of idiocy.

I slide my fingers over the keyboard
and begin to type, black on white,
on a canvas of hopes and ideals,
a colorblind Picasso attempting
to master the Mona Lisa.
Every line inside waiting
to come alive.

We live in a gray world
amongst gray lives
existing solely on gray morals
as red innocent blood
is spilled by black hearts
for just a little more green
in their pockets.

One word, and then another,
bringing truth to light
a homeless child on Cherry Street,
a gangbanger on Erie.
Seen, but never seen,
a poet's calling in the flesh.

Red, white, blue, purple, green,
We are all poets of the mind
living technicolor dreams
and painting liberty
in a colorless world.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rodney Nelson



no rain that winter night in a kind of wartime
and more than it could hold were there
                     wanted to see
and hear the poets if they could
                     mainly to be
at the reading and in a velveteen jumpsuit
Ferlinghetti strummed an autoharp and intoned
                                       get the hell outta
                                       here Doctor Hare
                     McClure in
a leather jacket ran the word out to the crowd
in the street
                     Levine did not have a blue collar
Brautigan did a navy p-coat and were smoke
and words and gallon jugs of wine but no mention
yet of the wanted hunted hero they meant to
raise money for
                     the wife’s late arrival brought that
word and from the lectern sumptuous Levertov
handed out syllabi that no one could pocket
                     the very short
poem Brautigan read had the
                     in it and a Bishop of too much
elegance and dignity got up also with
a cant on an earlier marked dark hero in
and all had come to the hall this one time
in this time and city not only for a man
but to decry the kind of war going on in
the night around it and with smoke and wine and loud
poetry to celebrate the light they would make
                     so everyone belonged
it seemed everyone had moved toward
                     many would not belong again

Friday, March 04, 2011




All night long
I roam the premises
the financiers are sleeping
the football champions are sleeping
the movie stars are sleeping
the ruling coalition is sleeping
the party of the opposition is sleeping
multinational corporation executives
famous artists—all media—sleeping
the distributors, middlemen of all sorts
store-keepers, traffic managers
data miners, customer handlers
sleeping, sleeping
the innovators of electronics & code are sleeping
the lungs move in & out, all’s well
strength is ebbing from the viscera
of the weak & impoverished
the tide moves in, then out, all’s well
inflation, deflation
expansion, consolidation
confidence, uneasy doubt
the intestines do what they do
catabolism, anabolism
the cells decay & are rebuilt, all’s well
the dreams make their rounds
you get your nth instantaneous glimpse
& before you know it
you’re transported to another time, place, form
or you’re already putting on your pants & making breakfast
the bacteria live life-time after life-time
presumably they can tell youth from elder
the stars rush away from one another
dimorphic hormones & courting
then gradually becoming aware of consequences
tomorrow’s publicity is being arranged, all’s well
those who have rebelled against injustice
have been duly slandered
& prevented from fracturing the pyramid—
their tactics far from perfect
more than a hint of desperation
ruthless thugs & myopic, calculating fools among them
as much as among any other subset or set—
& those who work at the base
fixing the food & cleaning up afterward
& absorbing & processing the propaganda
are resting up for their next assault
on the beach of competition
for enough of the leftovers to go on
all’s well
breathing in, breathing out
catabolism, anabolism
death, birth
& I’m trotting around
the brainstem controlling the movement
of my hips, thighs, calves, feet, little bitty toes
no need to be aware of myself or will anything
watching, watching
behaving myself, keeping out of trouble
oh, maybe barking a little subversively now & then
so someone stirs in their sleep & grumbles
nothing likely to stop or re-route any inertia
or fracture any structure
maybe something will bend a little
but it’s resilient
it’ll resume its previous form, all’s well—
that’s what I report
to those who pet me on the head & say, Good dog.



They don’t own who Jesus was—or what he did or said
they don’t own creation or the beating of your heart
or the past or the future or your breath or your era
they don’t own kindness or righteous indignation.

They don’t own Moses, Muhammed, or Gautama
or Adam Smith or Karl Marx.
We can value whatever we value as much as we value it.
They can’t corner the market on trading
however many markets & trades they control.
Their troops, weapons, & officers aren’t stability.
Their clever algorithms & devices
aren’t the only clever algorithms & devices.
They don’t own struggle, jihad, kampf.
What they have agreed to agree on is a desiccated husk.

They don’t own imagination, longing, or resolve
or the ability to sort, prioritize, organize.
They don’t own strength, innovation, bliss.
They don’t own the American Revolution.
They don’t own flower petals or snow flakes.
They don’t own enlightenment, peace, the possible.
They don’t own Van Gogh’s paintings
tho they may have paid millions to hang them in their rooms.
They don’t own fire or color or movement
or the water, hemoglobin, or adenosine triphosphate molecules.
They don’t own photosynthesis or glycolosis.
They don’t own restraint or audacity.
They don’t own rhythm, raga, the blues, octaves.
Even Bob Dylan doesn’t own Bob Dylan’s songs.
They don’t own Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Goethe
or Confucius, Plato, Schweitzer, Gandhi.
They don’t own cunning.
They don’t own Voltaire or Nietzsche.
They don’t own learning, compassion, or medicine.
They don’t own thunder, lightning, delight, the night.
They don’t own sober reflection, balance, will
or memory, friendship, humor, or exultation.
They can say what’s what, but so can you, so can I.
They don’t own poetry, integrity, reason, discipline.
They don’t own harmonious development.
Their laws, courts, & prisons aren’t justice.
They don’t own justice.

They overlook seeds they imagine are weeds
& they don’t own Shiva, the catabolic vulture.
They may own the State—but not for long!
& they sure as hell don’t own culture.

They don’t own electrons, or the colossal set
of combinations & permutations of symbols.
They don’t own the intellect, love, or courage.
They don’t own language, they don’t own grace.
They don’t own strategy or perseverance
or knowledge, dawn, spring, this moment, or foresight.
They don’t own resourcefulness or concentration.
They don’t own the air or Space.
They’ll sell you Time if you’re gullible.
They don’t own the stars or the genes.
They don’t own the history of nations, or the nations—
however much they act like they do.
They don’t own the Sun, Moon, seas, winds, tides.
They don’t own arithmetic, algebra, probability.
They don’t own the Pythagorean or binomial theorem.
They don’t own differential or integral calculus
or magnetism or electricity or your hands.
They don’t own the Earth even if they show you a deed.
They don’t own mass or gravity, vibration, decisiveness.
They don’t own thrust or parry, acceleration or surprise.
If they owned every lever ever made, you could make another.
They don’t own you, or me, or your loyalty, or mine.
And they aren’t as formidable as they pretend to be.
They own their pretenses
& however much belief they can induce in others.



Body’s tired—shoveling snow & chopping ice
eyes tired—Service’s 600 page biography of Stalin
filling a blind spot
Russia 1917 to 1989
how Stalin & Hitler inspired one another
slaughtering millions
& ruining the lives of more millions
who were obstructing realization of their visions
& what Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-shek, & Mao
& Musollini & Franco
& the Japanese admirals, generals, & political patricians
& all the non-famous people who were attentive
factory workers, housewives, farmers
scientists, artists, bank clerks, & the unemployed
the slaves in the Gulag & German concentration camps
& my parents & their neighbors
struggling to adapt to the Depression
& the controversial experiments of the New Deal
in stockyard-pungent Chicago, for instance
must have been thinking about what was happening—
what it means to totally mobilize the will
Machiavelli, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Napoleon, Nietzsche
General Sherman, Crazy Horse, General Custer
Bismarck, Lenin, Geronimo
cool kings of the drug trades
& desperate drug smugglers, death squads, assassins
drunks fighting with broken bottles in bars
police with ulcers patrolling hostile neighborhoods
teenagers planning a heist
or assessing whether to apply for admission
to a school, mafia, or corporation
prophets, revolutionaries
who triumphed briefly or long-term
Cromwell, the round-heads
Sam Adams, George Washington, Tom Paine
Alexander Hamilton, Toussaint L’Ouverture
& revolutionaries beaten back & executed
Wallace, Danton, Robespierre, Kautsky, Emma Goldman
Russia in 1905
when Grandpa deserted the Russian army
dictatorship of the proletariat
jihadists, & the most determined entrepreneurs
robber-barons & gangsters
& fierce counter-revolutionaries
the Restoration, Ku Klux Klan, Shah
the meek who are to inherit what’s left of Earth
& those who want to be famous
“it’s only up to you,” says the song
fame the goal
not what, good or bad, you’re famous for
“justified” by a cause, at whoever’s expense
if you fail, what drove you to rebel will continue
grinding down everyone like you
more generations, more injustices & hypocrisies
more hunger & sickness & despair
& you & all you’ve tried to do will come to nothing
& who the various imitators—
Mexican & South American general-dictators
Saddam Hussein, the oil emirs
& petty potentates propped up by the CIA
or by investments by the Chinese so-called communists
the sahibs of the Roman & British empires
Myanmar’s junta, Pol Pot, Joseph McCarthy
were imitating
or they had the same impulses & opportunities—
& how USA rightists mirror Stalin
& are pale imitators of Hitler
while leftists replay the flailing impotence
of the Weimar Republic
unwilling to do what is necessary
to prevent what they fear & detest—
& who I am in the spectrum
from those who are defeated
for lack of understanding, strength, will, & power
or because of poor programming
or poor decisions, bad habits, & stubborn pride
plus always good & bad luck
every mode, key, flavor, direction, volume, intensity
affecting each & everyone, never-endingly
to those who rise to the apex of pyramids
politically or economically—
Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Clive, the Rothschilds
pharaohs, popes, kings, queens, dukes & duchesses
local political bosses or the owner of the town’s factory
slave-owners, war-lords, bully of the 3rd or 6th grade
Andrew Jackson, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Rhodes
Eisenhower, Warren Buffett, King Saud, Tata
Reagan, Deng Xiaoping, Thatcher
bin Laden, Gates, Lula, Putin
& who’s young & next?—
when it’s appropriate to fight & how
when it’s appropriate to retreat & how
what to fight for, & what to refrain from fighting for
not worth the cost, or not winnable
power too great, pervasive, intolerant
delusions & traditions glaciers irresistible
who to ally with, if they’ll have me
who to refrain from allying with
how best to use what’s left of my attention & resources.



Humans are a species
among whom are some who slander humanity
humanity is a species
like horses or mice
humans vary
check out the children
& among the adults
there are tyrants
sometimes one dominant tyrant per society
sometimes, as in the society in which I live
many dominating tyrants
as well as the many petty tyrants of any society
& many who are timid & dominated
victims of tyrants
& those who manage to live
among tyrants & victims of tyrants
without being tyrants or victims themselves
however much they are inevitably involved
in the tyranny & victimization
some who are clever, for good or ill
some who are good, tho they’re rare, it’s true—
you wouldn’t slander gazelles, would you?
because they don’t stand up to & fight the lions?
& you don’t slander the lions, I suppose
for yawning & heading out into the world
to try to kill & eat gazelles or wildebeests?
humans are far from as perfect
as we allow ourselves to imagine
our reason, sympathy, self-discipline, empathy
rarely outrank
our vanity, lusts, jealousies, fears, fantasies
our lazy plodding along according to habit
resistance to seeing where the path we’re on leads to
therefore our flaws
aren’t so far from what’s to be expected
that they should shock us so
& throw us off
from what we can do that is wise & good
even great
with our lives
we humans live amid humans
who do as we wish they wouldn’t do
foolish & cruel
who refuse to see themselves for who they are
& discipline themselves for the better
grumble however much you might
& who oppose us more for what we do
that’s wise & good
than for what we do that’s foolish & bad—
we are always tempted to give up on other humans
as much as we are always tempted
to murder someone in order to be declared a citizen
of a country or mafia or gang
or to participate in something not quite so terrible
but nearly as terrible
as a result of which
at least in the long run
people & other beings, too, will suffer & die
in order to be respectable
& to live with less friction
among those we live among
& therefore have a better chance to survive & thrive
humans are good & bad & mainly just going along
with the program of the strongest
humans are weak & strong
wise & foolish
some humans can take care of themselves, mainly
for some decades
& others can’t
fellow human, don’t slander humanity
or, if you must
don’t do it in my direction
I’m busy, I’m struggling
to change what I can for the better
for myself & anyone else I can.  

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hal O'Leary: Two


                MY SON SEAN

I guess when my son Sean was six...or five,
I thought, just like all dads, here is a kid
Who certainly not only would survive,
But be the best at anything he did.

One day I had to undertake a chore
For which I had no taste, and my son Sean.
Cream of the crop, as I have said before,
Was playing there beside me on the lawn

With patience running out, as well as light
I told son Sean to fetch a tool for me.
With little thought of making it polite.
With nothing else to do, his time was free.

I can't, he said, I'm busy, can't you see?
Good God, I shouted, Busy doing what?
Pray tell me. Let me know what that could be.
He shamed me with the answer that I got.

The answer and the lesson rang so true.
But Dad, there's so much playing I must do.

                    MY SON SEAN
              (A regrettable sequel)

All fathers love their sons a lot.
I'm no exception, no I'm not.
And when he was a little tot,
My good son Sean, or so I thought,
Would be, of ties, a real Ascot.
I beamed with all the joy he brought,
For he was everything I sought.
Of course, I thought that my son ought,
To be the genius I was not.
Although in math he wasn't hot,
He showed that language was his slot.
At six, he read of Camelot
And of his hero Lancelot.

So, as reward for him, I bought
A beagle pup for his mascot,
And he would name him, should he not?
I told him just to take a shot.
I knew it as I watched him squat,
And knowing that his mind was fraught
With names like Good Sir Lancelot,
For the exotic he would opt.
I thrilled in wondering just what.

But then I trembled, quite distraught,
When looking up. the little snot
Said, Dad, I know, I'll call him...Spot.