Monthly Archives: July 2014

“Get Well Soon (for a coworker)”

A Tasteless Greeting Card

“Recover soon,” is what’s polite to say,
But—while I hope you’re feeling fine—
I like it best by far when you’re away
[Where I don’t have to hear you mope and whine].
Although you do a slack and lousy job,
You think you’re one of Foxe’s martyred saints,
And—while you’re idler than a cab’net’s knob,
You criticize the rest and file complaints.
I want your bout of feeling ill to end,
[…Of course, I’d rather that you didn’t die]
But saying more would cause the truth to bend
Until it stretched into a twisted lie.
I’m confident that you’ll not get the axe
For taking time to heal up and relax.

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“Don Juan”

“I’ve been Narcissus–gazing at the pool,
Enchanted by the ghost reflected there,
Manipulating others like a tool
So they’ll assure me that my type is rare.
Those beautiful faces that have tempted me
Have never earned their share of guilt and blame.
They’re mirrors showing what I want to see,
Illusions forced to fit inside my frame.
The Siren songs I always curse and scorn
[Once pleasure’s poison has destroyed my ear]
Are like a skillful servant on a horn
Who’ll play the melodies I want to hear.
The charming predator inside’s been loosed,
and I’ve become seducer and seduced.”

FRIENDSHIP

[a Tasteless Greeting Card from PaulMark] [I would hope it goes without saying that these sonnets are jokes which parody sappy Hallmark and Blue Mountain cards…]

What earns a friend the lofty rank of “dear”?
A friend insists we always ask for more.
…She’ll make us drink another round of beer
Although we’d rather stop at twenty-four.
A friend is like a loving sis or bro
[Or other relative you think is nice]
…Who’s always there to say, “I told you so!
If only you had taken my advice.”
A friend’s our confidant and closest bud
…Until the day our bosom buddy meets
A gorgeous mare or handsome, single stud
To share the space between the bed and sheets.
The sort of friend a person calls “the best”
Displays these traits more fully than the rest.

Queen

A fragment (in progress) from “In the Underworld” by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess
“Elizabeth I”

“His* famous child, Elizabeth the First,
Was never his intended royal heir,
But—though her mother Anne was killed and cursed—
Elizabeth possessed a gift that’s rare:
She rose to reign–a ruler far from worst–
Despite a youth that’d drive some to despair.
Though, like all people, Bessie had her flaws,
She helped advance her struggling kingdom’s cause.”

*Henry VIII’s

My guide’s nostalgia caused my mind to ponder
The art of world-dissecting and division
Into “Our Land” and “Countries over Yonder”.
The human race has marked with great precision
Where people may and may not dare to wander,
And when the boundaries require revision,
The sage solution favored by this race
Is wiping people off the Planet’s face.

“The Truth” [An Honest Spouse]

An “Honest/Tasteless” *Paulmark* sonnet from the Tasteless Greeting Cards Sonnet Sequence

You’re always asking, “Have I put on weight?”.
I’d set myself at liberty with truth
By pointing out the weight you’ve gained since youth,
But truth’s an arrow deadliest when straight.
I’ve never seen a meal on any plate
In which you’d hesitate to sink a tooth,
But saying so would be a bit uncouth
And ill befits a peace-desiring mate.

To best avoid a long and bitter fight,
I’ll keep on grinning that beguiling grin
And saying, when your clothes become too tight,
“My dear, how do you stay so very thin?”
…Or compliments [just as overused and trite]
About you being slender as a pin.

Will Preaches [to Saint Nick]

[Part III of “Santa in the Underworld”]

“How Rumor’s spell enchants adult and youth!
On what they hear, they’d gladly place a bet
Since what’s said first ‘must surely be the truth’.
To act on whisp’rings, folks expend their sweat
But labor not to play the searching sleuth
[Who’ll keep no fishy facts inside his net
Instead of being like a mockingbird
Which sings whatever song it’s lately heard].

The gentlest saint who ever lives and dies
Can’t know what disrespect he might be paid.
The World might see, with its distorted eyes,
Mistakes where prudent choices had been made
[…And dream up faults or magnify the size
Of real but minor flaws] throughout its raid
On people’s bastions built of kindly acts.
[A better jury might prefer the facts].

Perhaps that’s why a wise and ancient sage
Advised his pupils to expect no praise.
Results of deeds are difficult to gauge,
And fog of time will thicken more the haze
That clouds the acts in which we all engage
While stumbling through this snaky social maze.
To be less hurt when hearing no applause,
Expect no cheering for your noble cause.”

The moment William took a breathing pause
His sermon, not yet ended, was assailed
By Santa, who despised the final clause:
“You think expecting cheering’s where I failed?
I’m weary of your proverbs and your saws.
My name was furiously flayed and flailed.
I don’t lament approval that I lacked
But rather being sliced, impaled, and hacked.

Despite your words, you’re seeking approbation.
Perhaps you hoped you’d get me to concede
The wisdom of your moral recitation
And boost you with the self-esteem you need
And try so hard to earn with each oration.”
I didn’t know where their debate might lead
But thought I’d better keep it calm and short
By asking Santa ‘bout his fav’rite sport.

An Angry Saint

[“Santa in the Underworld” pt. II (selections)]–please read pt. III (to be posted immediately after)

I’d loved him well as any other child
And hated seeing Santa mope and grieve.
Throughout our talk he’d never laughed or smiled.
It was apparent that he’d not relieve
His pain by raging like a beast that’s wild.
To mend his mood, I asked of Christmas Eve
And hoped the change of topic would delight
A man who’d lived to do his work that night.

With eggs we find we rarely can be sure
About which sort of beast might later hatch,
And strangers’ cats when stroked might gently purr
But are as apt to give one’s face a scratch.
Intentions and what might in time occur
Aren’t always made into a merry match.
The phrase I’d deemed a light and harmless query,
Ignited anger that I found quite scary.

He shouted, “So, you really want to know?
You’ll hear: of ev’ry groundless accusation;
Of trials that I had to undergo;
and endless months of loathsome litigation
I faced each time I moved my little toe.
In short, you’ll hear a tale of defamation.
So, take a seat and make yourselves at home
While learning of a fall like that of Rome
*

*[Alternate line: While hearing woes enough to fill a tome]

[I get so angry that I nearly faint
When thinking of the ghastly, gloomy light
And misleading coat of morbid leaden paint
Which people used to twist and then indict
The things I’d done for years without complaint
Or being threatened with a legal fight.]
Attend me well, for now I will begin
A catalog of my alleged sin.

We’ll start with fusses made about my deer.
One group demanded that the deer be freed
From ‘cruelly flying for one night a year.’
The group declared I’d treat the cervine breed
As harshly as a heartless overseer
[…Who liked to whip a back to make it bleed].
And, when I showed the loving care I gave,
‘Twas said, ‘A happy slave is still a slave’.

Another group that gave my rear a spank
Was less concerned about them being free.
Although I’m German (not the least a Yank),
‘Support Detroit and auto industry’
Was screamed by ev’ry Cletus-Bob and Hank
Who ever spoke of having liberty.
[‘It’d help the people selling cars and oil
If cars, not deer, did Santa’s Christmas toil’.]

Some other pesky folks proclaimed me vile
And said my list of Naughty and of Nice
Appeared to be a voyeuristic file
For cats who prey upon the baby mice
[In other words, the creepy pedophile
Whose virtue is a mask to cover vice].
They also claimed I robbed their privacy
And was committing data piracy.

…and nearly ev’ry place I’d try to go,
Protesting packs would keep me from the door
While crying, ‘He’s a sexist ‘so and so’!’
They thought I’d called some little ladies ‘whore’
Because I often chanted triple ‘ho!’
[Which was a jolly laugh and nothing more].
It seems a man who’s merry in these times
Is apt to be suspected of some crimes.

Note: This ‘catalog of alleged misdeeds’ will eventually grow. For now, this section is an unfinished bridge between the “Part I” and “Will Preaches [to Saint Nick]”.