Oct 31, 2014

Halloween Horrors

On this, the darkest night of nights
Of beastly dreams and ghostly lights
I try to dodge the Devil’s host
And ponder on what scares me most
A poet, I’m a timid fellow
The streak that spans my back is yellow
If you say, “Boo!”
I have a hunch
That’s quite enough to lose my lunch
I don’t let ravens near my hearth
Or heavy breathers known as Darth
I see a threat in every shadow
I’m scared to death of Rachel Maddow
I don’t care what my father said
Monsters lurk beneath my bed
And when I peek, I pause and posit
If they’re not there, they’re in the closet
If I don’t see it, still I fear it
That nasty creaking!  Don’t you hear it?
Yes, every sound can raise a hackle
Like Hillary’s annoying cackle
Now comes a thought
That’s far more troubling
That scars the lungs
Like brimstone bubbling
A throbbing thought that far exceeds
The claws that reach, the brain that bleeds
That speeds at night from hell’s own vortice
And grips my soul like rigor mortis
What scares me most?
Here’s my confession
The Senate
In a Lame Duck Session
Spare us spirits!
Hear and Heed
Deliver us from Harry Reid

Oct 24, 2014

October. Surprise!

The VA mess
Where did those crises go?

The few rebukes
To Iran’s nukes
Come from a TV show

There was that plane
In the Ukraine
And one more flight that vanished
But any thoughts
Of those reports
Have from our brains been banished

The story’s gone
And we move on
To film the next disaster
You know my views
On breaking news
The cycles just come faster

And when I’ve had
A day that’s bad
Amidst a bleak and blues week
I think with joy
How, as a boy
I’d read my Time and Newsweek

The only bleat
They all repeat
Concerns the next election
As we advance
We have the chance
To pause for some reflection

I’ve heard the shouts
From those with doubts
And, on the web, the chatter
It’s just a game
They’re all the same
It doesn’t really matter

Don’t think that way
Resolve today
To let your vote be counted
With Congress filled
By some more skilled
Our ills can be surmounted
No pol can make
A path to take
That’s strewn with palms and petals
But I prefer
The way things were
To dust that never settles.

Oct 17, 2014

May I Have a Word...

I don’t have any evidence
And can’t produce the stats
But I’ve seen a steep decline these days
In water-cooler chats

Whether manager to manager
Or boss-man to his minion
Everyone’s reluctant
To express their own opinion

Where once the nations issues
Were discussed daily and freely
We barely say a word or else
At best, our mouths are mealy

We don’t want to offend
Or to appear to be a bully
And so, across the nation
Not a thing’s debated fully

We’re warned the wrong opinions
Are akin to verbal violence
As such, mature Americans
Are all maintaining silence

I'm foursquare for forbearance
I know what awaits the meek
But today’s another story
And the time has come to speak

If you think winning the Senate
And some House seats might be nice
Follow, heed and listen to
This poet’s sage advice

Find just one soul you know
Who disagrees with you politically
Take the time to make your case
And get him thinking critically

Appeal to his emotions
Or deploy some common sense
Tell him now is not the time
For sitting on the fence

Give him all the facts you can
And with those facts you’ll find
The thing about Progressives is
They often change their mind

Efforts that eventually
Lead nations to the prize
All started with a single word
A word...said to the wise.

Oct 7, 2014

Musical Chairs

They have a guiding principle
To use when times are tough
But somehow still they manage
To keep doing stupid stuff
But here’s the change we didn’t see
How things are not the same
For all the stupid stuff they’ve done
No one gets the blame
Libya’s a nightmare
And Crimeans all speak Russian
But in assessing Hillary
That’s not part of the discussion
The Secret Service blinked
And now the scrutiny’s intense
Some guy shot at the windows
And another hopped the fence
All the statements they put out
Had lies and junk and jazz in them
And yet the President asserts
The confidence he has in them
OK, the Secret Service
Has just lost its latest leader
But the story isn’t over
As I predict, Dear Reader
So if I see the tea leaves right
And I’m a shrewd discerner
In just about a week
She’ll be replacing Lois Lerner
This attitude eludes me
And I find it sort of strange
Let’s hope that this November
That some things will start to change

Sep 30, 2014

Song for the New Campus Romance

It Isn’t Anything At All Like Love

 Can I kiss you?
Did you say yes?
Can I say
I like the way
You look in that dress?
Can I hold you close and cuddle you tight?
All night
Does that look in your eyes mean that you might?

While I waited for you to answer
I stopped and I thought it through
Is it worth all this aggravation?
So here’s what it comes down to

It might be special
It could be nice
It could be sugary
There might even be spice

But it’s nothing now
I’d be covetous of…

It isn’t anything at all like love

They’ve taken the love from loving
It’s only a masquerade
We’d come to an understanding
Except you’re not getting paid

It might be special
It could be nice
It could be sugary
There might even be spice
But it’s nothing now
I’m covetous of

It isn’t anything at all
Not anything at all
Nothing at all

Sep 13, 2014

No Comment

I once advised great legal minds
To shut their doors and draw their blinds
To hide their views and mask their wit
If, on The Court, they hoped to sit
For nominees were known to fail
Because they left a paper trail
But paper fades and so does ink
Time marches on and mem’ries shrink
If what we wrote or spoke was rotten
It’s likely both were long forgotten
A poor remark or choice of words
A slander on the Turks or Kurds
A joke, that got too closed to race
Was breathed and gone…without a trace
Now everything that’s vile or sordid
Is saved and easily recorded
The world can see the trail you’ve left
It’s posted and you’re *.pdf’ed
And old e-mail makes quite a mess
Unless you’re with the IRS
So have a thought and then, amend it
Edit it before you send it
Then look both ways before you walk
And think things through before you talk
This is the day that progress brought--
A world with no uncensored thought.

Aug 15, 2014

Make Love Poems not War Poems

Poetry is meant for Love
And meditations, sage
The poetry of anger
Might just make me turn the page
And only Dylan Thomas
Ever begged a Muse to rage

But every week I’m tasked
To put in verse what’s on my mind
Alas, it’s all toward anger
That I find my soul inclined

 What are you so mad about?
I hear my critics scold
You’re living in Tarzana
And you’re comfortable and old

Even though I’m Catholic
Confession’s what I’m bad at
I find my passion most inflamed
When it’s me I’m mad at

I have a weekly platform
To amuse or to persuade
I didn’t make it happen
And that’s why I’m dismayed

Whether you think 43
Was blundering or deft
The world he had to deal with
Was the one that Clinton left

And likewise for Obama
Now, there’s just no route around it
He needed to address the world
Exactly as he found it

It’s great to be a leader, friend
But here’s the little catch
In terms of foreign policy
No one gets to start from scratch

Although you wouldn’t have gone there
And you didn’t want to stay
You can’t just close your eyes
And wish your enemies away

Isis is out slaughtering
Yazidis, Kurds, and Coptics
While back on Martha’s Vineyard
You’re just dealing with the optics

And oh the optics we have seen
The visions that we’ve shared
Where cruelty’s not cruel enough
No innocent is spared

I trust the oaths of enemies
And ends to which they’ve vowed
And that’s what leaves this poet mad
And crying…out loud

Aug 8, 2014

Freedom Tower

O, to see my city like a mall gone mad
Macy’s with no marble
And full of flat screens
The Museum Store
With its reproductions of Etruscan treasure
By Starbucks

“The Cellar” looking like just any other floor
Where once I went to work out
Lifting the lids of Le Creuset skillets because I couldn’t afford a gym
I am a visitor in my own home
Standing in my old backyard
Where even the grass has changed

The city streets seem the same but not at all
Hang on, you t-shirt shops
Hang on, you grey market electronics merchants
And counterfeit luggage dealers
Sellers of souvenirs and genuine Brazilian hair

Sadly, you are all that familiar remains
But sadder yet
Sadder still
Saddest of all
Is a brand new building
Tall, beautiful and bright

But like no building ever before--lonely

Aug 2, 2014

Prose and Cons

Some think that strength is weakness
And that borders are for breaching
Or that our country’s like a whale
That’s set a course for beaching
Regardless, heedless leadership
Won’t hear what we’re beseeching
At times, I feel my poetry
Is to the choir, preaching
I balance rhyme with reason
When effects might be far-reaching
And I believe a whisper
Has more influence than screeching
Lest we be roundly criticized
For vastly over-reaching
My reputations stained enough
And may not take more bleaching
But times will make a moment
And this moment’s made for teaching
And so the subject of my poem
Quite clearly is…impeaching
Wise men say the republic
Is secure and quite-long-lived
They point out painful Presidents
The nation has survived
That sure is smart I grant you
But I’ll say something smarter
Eight years of Obama
Is like sixteen years of Carter
The Framers raised a mansion
With the strength designed to take it
But every day that passes
I’m not certain we can make it
The only piece of comfort
Is each morning I remember
That if we trust the polls
We only need to reach November
Then more new paths are opened
And all our options widen
Among which is the prospect
Of President Joe Biden

Jul 25, 2014

1914-2014 WWIII?

O, wither thou world?
Like a ship, un-helmed
Led by the wicked
Or the overwhelmed

Armies are fighting
Of all shapes and sizes
And they’re not impressed
By those Nobel prizes

Every dreary day now
Defeats the last
With each red line crossed
And each deadline passed

Talks have been extended
For an extra inning
Anything to keep
Those centrifuges spinning

All the while planning
For some greater glory
High atop a rocket
--End of story

China caught a cold
Vietnam is sneezing
Tensions in Korea
Sure are easing

I haven't seen the planet
Quite this hot
Since a century ago
When the Duke got shot

I’m a very happy poet
And I like to smile
But I haven’t done it much
For quite a while

It’s hard not to develop
An intense foreboding
In a week with churches
And planes exploding

I wouldn’t trust a truce
As far as I could throw it
We’re in World War III
And we just don’t it

Jul 11, 2014

Cleveland Really Rocks Tonight

A brand new day has dawned
Another era has begun
We welcome the return
Of Cleveland’s second-favorite son

No more will those Ohioans
Complain and moan and grumble
No more will they disdain the drive;
Obsess about the fumble

There’s something on the news today
I’ve not seen for a while
The sun came up this morning
And I saw a city smile

The science ISN’T settled
Fortune CAN be brooked by men
Thomas Wolfe was wrong
Because you can go home again

I read the words the athlete wrote
I read the words and cried
If any man says that he didn’t
I say that man just lied

How rare and wonderful a thing
Dear sisters and dear brothers
That someone pondering their path
Should think so much of others

And how amid your triumphs
Find the courage that it takes
To stand before the world
And to acknowledge your mistakes

Now I’m ecstatic too
Because as everybody knows
Our nation’s outlook turns
The way the Cuyahoga flows

The Cleveland streets are joyous now
But soon we may all learn
How happier “C-Town” can be…
Should “Johnny Radio” return

Jul 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, America

Each birthday sees another year
We put into our past
And we remark, as they approach,
“This year’s gone by so fast”

We gain a little wisdom
And we lose a little hair
And vow we’ll do more exercise
And eschew he ├ęclair

We’ll learn to speak a language
Or to play the bass guitar
But birthday resolutions
Just don’t get us very far

Our nation has a birthday
And we mark it every year
With spectacles and speeches
Both the raucous and austere

With cannonades and concerts
Folks at PBS are staging
While failing to appreciate
Our country, too, is aging

We’re one more year removed
From when our founders filled the hall
To sign a piece of parchment
And together risk it all
They had, if you look carefully
But little chance of winning
And hardly a conception
Of the battle just beginning

The way is long and dangerous
And struggles seldom cease
In the fight to nurture liberty
And insure domestic peace

No year will go by quietly
And each tomorrow brings
A testament of tyrants
And a cast of would-be kings

Those who want the power
But ignore both law and letter
Who defend such usurpations
By asserting they know better.

They say they love the nation
But have funny ways to show it
And one by one like birthdays
Freedom’s gone before you know it.

So resolve to serve your country
And the threats now placed upon her
By pledging your...attention
And, of course, your sacred honor

Jun 27, 2014

The Ballad of Big Thunder Mountain (And Duane)

I'll tell you a tale of a man and a town
And the town's tale I'm telling you first
But it don't matter much
Cause to tell you the truth
Both the man and the town have been cursed

It's a great thing to live
Amongst people who give
Of corruption, there wasn't a smidge
And the town got its name
From an afternoon rain
So they called the old place Rainbow Ridge

Then someone said, "Gold!"
As the story is told
And the people by riches were blinded
Then they dug and they poked
But the spirits they woke-ed
Were upset and malevolent-minded

Well, it may have been greed
But they didn't take heed
And the taste of the hooch they were swiggin'
Made 'em go in too deep
And they started to weep
Stuck down in that hole they were diggin'

Well, they never returned
And you'd think we'd have learned
But gold has a hold over men
There are those who take pride
Out of takin' that ride
And they do it again and again

There was one, name of Duane
Who kept taking that train
Said he didn't give a darn about curses
Now, I know it's quite late
So I'll sum up his fate
Right here in a couple of verses

For the sake of these rhymes
Over 100 times
He defied every ghoul and each ghost
It’s a common mistake
Trying records to break
Which he does at behest of the host
Scared half out of his wits
Finally Duane called it quits
Though his teeth are now quite a bit looser
If he hadn’t said, “Whoa!”
Then the Hugh Hewitt Show
Would have had to go find a Producer.

Jun 20, 2014

Lies and Lessons

The lies we’ve heard
This year, to date
Are multiple and myriad
There’s not a grain of truth
In any sentence, phrase or period

The climate’s warming faster
And the atmosphere is hot
Except that every measurement
Suggests that they are not

Bureaucrats get bonuses
While vets are losing sleep
Waiting for appointments
With the doctors they can’t keep

The summer’s put on hold
With every regulation set
For coal is quarantined
As is the bar-b-q brick-ette

It’s hard to know for certain
When it all becomes a fog
But hard drives were recycled
And the homework ate my dog

Congressional committees
Have shown patience and restraint
The Fifth Amendment’s sacred
If the First Amendment ain’t

And every morning brings
The same old questions from reporters
What terrorists?  What scandals?
What immigrants?  What borders?

But now we face a crisis
Neither hyped nor overstated
Terror’s on the march again
And that can’t be debated

The planet’s made of granite
But even stone can break
Lives are in the balance
And there must be no mistake

The buck stops at White House
Where from a crowd of voices
The President alone is left
With nothing but hard choices

And though it seems instinctive
That we find some way to thwart him
This time I'd like to find a way
To rally and support him

OF all the League of Nations
Only one is a deterrent
That Truth is often painful
I’d be lying, if it weren’t

Retro Poem of the Week - The Fence

Congresspersons, gals and guys
Exalt the art of compromise
They sit, they talk, they schmooze, they chat.
You give me this. I’ll give you that
And usually what they intended.
Comes out horribly amended.

I have it from the best advisers
That stars weren’t built by compromisers
And though I know that in my heart
I’ve decided now to do my part
For on the issues of the border
A compromise must be in order
So let the give and take commence

Take what you want
Just give us the fence

Take amnesty for all transgressions
Take all our worldly possessions
Use parchment for your documents
Just give us the fence

Take the Yankees to Mexico City
Take the entire Senate Judiciary Committee
We bow to your omnipotence
Just give us the fence

Take every “mench” and every “schnorrer”
Take Michael Chertoff’s hair restorer
Take every Pez we can dispense
Just give us the fence

We’ll give up sections of Ohio
And celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Capitulate, for all intents
Just give us the fence

Take all our cheese
From Brie to Stilton
Take Paris, France, Take Paris Hilton
Take everything and take it hence
Just give us the fence

Take both the tiny and immense
Just give us the fence
Take both the passive and intense
Just give us the fence
Take both the fluffy and the dense
Just give us the fence

Take heart, take flight or even umbrage
Free yourself from all encumbrage
What do we ask for recompense?
Just give us the fence!

May 23, 2014

In the News

When I was young, my father read The Times and The Tribune
The Times came in the morning and the Trib, the afternoon
He poured over their pages in his goal to stay informed
And he often uttered expletives while dinner rolls were warmed
He didn’t have a laptop and he didn’t use a mouse
But all the news we needed Cronkite brought into the house
On SATURDAY at 10 PM, he’s pocket a few dimes
And get the first edition of the SUNDAY New York Times
We’d drive down to the candy store and if we had good luck
We’d grab The Times (and Daily News) as they came off the truck
The Sunday Times was massive; a real marvel of the age
But my father wasn’t daunted and he read it page by page
I feel a little sadness
Maybe just a little shame
I can’t count on the President
To stop and do the same
I know the news is out there; I hear it every day
But all those trips and t-times must be getting in the way
Some may call it politics and some may call it lies
But it’s clear that every scandal always comes as a surprise
I heard an explanation or it could be just a fable
They trimmed the White House budget and they had to cut the cable
On every breaking story and on every super scoop
I guess that’s why the President’s been left out of the loop
Those old days weren’t half as bad as everyone alleges
When newsboys on their bikes tossed folded papers in our hedges
But if those newsies try it now, they’ll go down to defeat
For the front porch of the White House is just too far from the street.

May 16, 2014

Poet's Progress

I sit up nights in my abode
Trying hard to pen an ode
Praying that the week’s events’ll
Find their way down through my pencil
Looking, from this chair I’ve sat on
For some hook to hang my hat on
Hoping then that listeners say,
“I’ve never heard it put that way.”

Sometimes it’s just like tap-in puttin’
Sometimes I sit for hours—and nuttin’
This week, when inspiration struck
It hit me like a ten-ton truck

Among Obama’s many messes
We look in vain for his successes
But working hard to be objective
I’ve tried to see from his perspective

They did things and they did them fast
The ACA was pushed and passed
The work force now is light and leaner
The Green Police are getting meaner

And through their policies, so clever
More folks get food stamps now than ever

They took the helm and held it steady
And soon we all were shovel ready
And then of course, they saved GM
Now, how’s that working out for them?
A battle may be won, but lost
If vict’ry comes with too much cost

Way back when Plutarch wrote that lyric
They called a vict’ry like that Pyrric

Now call it anything you chose
When this regime succeeds, we lose

They see a goal and go for it
We’ve got the scars to show for it

Apr 25, 2014

The War on Women (Men)

They’ll tell you this tomorrow

‘Cause they told you this before

All across this country

On our women, there’s a war


Men don’t want their women

To be regal or be regnant

We want them in the kitchen

Barefoot, meek, and pregnant


Ms. Clinton says that men like this

Have outraged and incensed her

She must include Obama here

Because he ran against her


If he believed what he says now

And harbors no ill-feeling

I think he should have stepped aside

And opened that glass ceiling


They’ll beat you with statistics

‘Til you’re almost black and blue

As if the more your say something

That somehow makes it true


For every dollar Ben takes home

The take home pay of Bess

No matter how she does her job

Is twenty-three cents less


Now you can argue back and forth

Debate, cajole or quibble

But never reach agreement

On the pay of Stan or Sybil


But there’s one thing you can’t dispute

An argument that’s stronger

Women, on the average

Than men live five years longer


So here’s the little secret

That my poetry’s exposed

Women get our SSI

While men mostly get hosed


I didn’t want to lead us down

This deadly primrose path

But in the name of equity

I went and did the math


That’s fifty bucks on average more

That Stella gets than Steven

But we won’t raise a big to-do

Come on, let’s call it even


Apr 3, 2014

Impossibly Good News

Seven million sign ups
Ain’t that swell
Baghdad Bob is alive and well

He changed his name
For just one Day
From Baghdad Bob to D.C. Jay

The ranks of the uninsured have shrunk
We met the target; Who’d a thunk

Just last week
We had no clue
Now it’s seven million
Sixty-seven thousand
And thirty-two
(Who knew?)

In other news
Even more surprising
The world’s at peace and the seas stopped rising
We’ve entered an era
Of great good felling
The weapons were surrendered and the planet’s healing

All the bad guys just left town
And the unemployment rate went down

Merkel may be playing hard to get
But our role with Russia has been re-set
Putin’s plans have all been thwarted
And looked at all the people that we’ve deported

All is joy and peace and love
Everything’s been gotten to the bottom of

Sun’s in the sky
And the sky ain’t fallin’
Osama’s dead
And GM’s…recallin

I’ve met or exceeded all my goals
Now why don’t we go play eighteen holes.
Last time I played..ain’t it a wonder
You might not believe it but I shot six under.


Reporters all like brouhahas
They sure are lots of fun
You don’t know what’s a brouhaha
Well, Watergate was one

Bridgegate is another
And those cable guys pursue it
Asking ol’ Chris Christie
What he knew and when he knew it
It’s as if every anchor
There on M S N B C
Lives or has a cousin
Stuck in traffic in Ft. Lee

It’s what across the nation
All the media enjoy
Except for in Hawaii
Where they call them brou ha hoi

The Russian word for brouhaha
I just don’t want to try
I know that in Jerusalem
They call them HAZARAI

The problem with a brouhaha
You never know when stuff’ll
Blow up from a (you know what)
Into a real kerfuffle

You issue a denial
Your spokesman shouts and stomps
And what was a kerfuffle’s
Now a full blown contre temps
Today’s administration
They sure have had their share
Of fracases, to-dos and rows
As you might be aware

A tumult and a hub bub
Lesser powers might defeat
But far beyond the notice
Of the media elite

The strategy they’ve seized upon
Like none that came before it
Presented with a crisis
Quite simply, they ignore it.