Villanelle in V

Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
virile vampires violate the virtue of their virgins
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile

Vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile
Virtue vaunts her value in a void
villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile

Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
vacuous victory vindicates vengeful vice (and vice-versa)
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile

Virtue’s vacant villa, like a virtuous vegetarian,
veers into a verdant vale of voiceless valerian.
Villains vie with varlets in the Village of the Vile
vigorous villagers vent their views in voices volatile.


My handyman, he’s been and gone,
My handyman, he’s been and gone,
Run fetch a pitcher get the baby outta here,
Run fetch a pitcher get the baby outta here,
— the bath is overflowing!

I got peppermint stick stuck in my hair,
my handyman — well, he don’t care.
I can’t even find that little brass band,
my handyman — he’s in his van.

My handyman, and his name was Reg,
my handyman, he left real fast;
now I’d give everything in this Godalmighty world
to kick my handyman’s ass.

(with apologies to Donovan)

The Ballad of Badboy Landing

We rode through Badboy Landing
as a storm was closing in.
‘Ho,’ cried Captain Tanner,
‘since a storm is closing in,

let’s explore the dining options
this here Landing might afford
to a band of desperadoes
that’s in need of Bed ’n’ Board.’

‘The Hilton looks expensive,
(though the table linen’s clean);
let’s try the Badboy Marriott
— that’s more our kinda scene.’

We ordered up some milkshakes
and then a plate of peas;
Dang! they tasted tastier’n
a swarm of killer bees!

Well, soon we reached satiety,
and loosened our gun belts;
we leaned back on the counter
and commenced to thumb our welts.

The Mâitre D’ came up to me
and handed me the bill;
I said to Captain Tanner:
‘Think it’s time we hit the hills!’

The Captain coloured visibly
when he perused the bill
(he chafes at being ballyragged
— suspect he always will).

But the Captain is resourceful,
and he’s seldom in a stew;
he said ‘Daddy gets off work at six,
he’ll fix it up with you.’

Then to a boy, we moved real coy
out through the vestibule;
we climbed up on our bicycles
and headed back to school.


Love in a damp climate

Let me be the sandbag
that protects you from the flood,
let me be the raincoat
that shields you from the mud.

Let me be the plastic wrap
that clings to your melonia,
let me be the parapluie
that guards against pneumonia.

Let me be the sealant
that keeps out rot and fungus:
oh if you let me love you,
that would really be tremungus.

Let me be the bitumen
that works in any weather:
once I’ve dried you out, my love,
we’ll always be together.

That fateful day

Let’s see if Osbert Mostyn
can recall that fateful day,
when all the day was full of fate
as earth is full of clay:

‘I do recall it, very well,
though I were just a lad,
the day that fate filled up the day
and made that day so bad.’

‘Fate was all around, that day,
we couldn’t move for fate.
Fate from early morning
till the day grew very late.’

‘The early fate was bad enough,
but the later fate was worse:
I stayed at home all day, that day,
and cowered beneath fate’s curse.’

‘Then lo! the fate just disappeared!
It held no longer sway!
Since then we’ve been pretending
that the earth’s not full of clay.’

Love bout

Can we not re-capture the rapture
that we knew
when the bedspring of our love
was as fresh as morning dew?

— I’ll see if I can find it,
if you’ll just turn off the light:
you look like Sonny Liston
when he lost his final fight.

I was adored once too, you know
and — strange to say — by you.
I could lay you on the canvas
before we reached Round 2.


‘What comes next for Gideon Twilb?’
the headline writers scream.
‘Can he save his marriage
now his horse has spilled the beans?’

Gideon Oh Gideon, My Heart Beats Rapideon
has been a tremendous success.
Folks love a hot scandal and you can’t hold a candle
to a horse tale of wicked excess.

Gideon’s took to Twitter,
and to CNN and cable:
‘It’s all just fake news, everyone,
our relationship is stable.’

‘My wife stands right beside me
— I tell ya, she’s tremendous!
We can deal with anything
the media can send us.’

Like any man, I’ve done some stuff,
that cannot be denied,
but I’m a stable genius
— the horse it was that lied.’

On this day

Tommy (‘Tosser’) Doyle was born in Wakefield, CA, on this day in 1902. He was sickly from birth, and was diagnosed with Kaempfer’s Dropsical Palsy (KDP). His mother gave him strong doses of beetroot juice in his early years, and blueberry baths every day. By the age of ten he could lift both his parents and a mule with just one hand, and in a single graceful motion deposit them on the roof of the family barn. News of his prodigious strength spread rapidly in Wakefield and beyond, and throughout his teens he  made a living by depositing heavy things in unusual places. At the County Fair in Misery, TX, he tossed six Baptist preachers and a Model T Ford a distance of 3.2 miles, a record that still stands today.

His big break came in 1921 when Hollywood mogul Lou (‘The Screw’) Carew spotted him and signed him on a five-picture deal with Megamug Movies. It was then that Tommy adopted his screen name, ‘Tosser’, for a string of low-budget movies, including Attack of the Toxic Tossers (1923), Toss Me To The Moon (1924), Toss That Cabbage! (1925), and Toss or Be Tossed! (1927).

In 1926, he married starlet Dolores Twilb, but the marriage didn’t last. In a freak accident during their honeymoon, Tommy picked up his bride and tossed her two miles out to sea. Her body was never found. Tragedy struck again when he broke a fingernail on the set of Alien Tossers (1928). From then on, his fortunes declined and he fell into depression, alcoholism, penury, prostitution, perdition, paranoia, and a large uncovered manhole on Pepper Street, Pensacola.

He spent his final years making occasional appearances at county fairs and hillbilly hoe-downs, but his heart was no longer in it. He died in 1942. Near the end, he confided to his diary: ‘Beetroot juice and blueberry baths. Gonna kick your ass, Momma’.


H. D.

I was fixin’ some eggs when the phone rang:

— Hello?

— If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

— What?

— Old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Leave those eggs alone!

— How can I fix em if I don’t break em?

— They don’t need fixin’ if they ain’t broke. Outcome of the old adage mentioned earlier.

— If they was broke, I wouldn’t fix em.

— Like I say, they ain’t broke, so don’t fix em.

— But I wanna fix em, so I broke em.

— You fix lunch without breakin’ it, don’tcha? You fix a sandwich without breakin’ it, don’tcha? Got something against eggs?

— I got nothing against eggs! In fact, I love eggs. That’s why I’m fixin’ em.

— I suppose you beat em too.

— Sometimes.

— Funny way to show you love em. Trust me, you can’t fix eggs.

— Can if you break em first. That’s why it’s called breakfast.

— Real smartass, ain’t ya?

— Who is this anyway?

— You wouldn’t believe me.

— Try me.

— Let’s just say I’m anthropomorphic, but with eggular features. And I go way back.

— Narrows it right down, thanks!

— And a morbid fear of high walls.

— You crack me up.

— I knew you’d say that, eventually.


Workin’ man’s blues

The pigeon of perdition
done bemired my workin’ coat:
the bank done raised their interest rates
and won’t give me a groat.

They’ll come and take my car away
and take my beldam too;
don’t mind about the beldam,
but I love my Subaru.

All I want is one more chance
to make an honest bean;
pigeon of perdition
never shits on Bruce Springsteen.

Goin’ down to the river,
drivin’ my ol’ wreck,
gonna wash my workin’ coat
and wring that pigeon’s neck.

Life lesson

‘It’s bad luck to meet twins before noon, or to find a pea pod that holds nine peas;
for good luck, carry a boiled scummel in your left pocket for three days and bury it near a cairn on the fourth day.’ 

My old dad was a trove of wisdom such as this, and I have thrived on his trove all my life. I have never been hit by a bus, and I was just one number short for the Lottery jackpot last Saturday.

So listen to your parents: they are just as crazy as you are.