Tag Archives: capitalism


[SANTA IN THE UNDERWORLD (pt II) By Paul “Whitberg” Burgess]

“There, dead of sorrow fed by sad defeat,
Is Santa Claus—beloved of girls and boys.
His elves and he no longer could compete
With companies who specialize in toys
[Whose makers overseas can barely eat
On wages earned for bringing children joys].
The War of Toys was one which Santa lost
By failing to reduce his products’ cost.”

The empty sleigh on which he sadly sat
Reflected eyes of kids who’ve lost a pet.
He didn’t look too merry, jolly, fat,
or [please insert another epithet].
From slippered feet to faded Santa hat,
He’d weigh not fifty kilos soaking wet.
The times had weighed so heavily on him
That he’d become extr[a]ordinar’ly slim.

“I was as close,” said Santa, “to my elves
As any sword is to its sturdy hilt.
They put a part of me and of themselves
In ev’ry crafted toy they ever built.
But now our toys aren’t found upon the shelves,
And elvish sweat’s no longer being spilt.
…[and folk who left the elves without their jobs
are often heard to call them ‘mooching slobs’].

“But Santa,” said my ghostly guide,
“What matters is what people can afford
…Not whether toys were made with elvish pride.”
“Your head’s as empty as a swollen gourd
With little more than putrid air inside,”

A red but not-so-jolly Santa roared.
Then after finishing some breathless panting,
The saint began a round of angry ranting:

“Consumers shopping at retailers’ stores
Today will often pay as high a price
Though people viewed as creatures on all fours
Are paid a penny for the sold device.
While Captain Corp’rate’s swollen profit soars,
The local labor force is squashed like mice.
Still, lots of pious people often say
That Captain Corp’rate’s bound to save the day.”

I thought, “At home, the Poli-Pundit Clan
Might claim that Santa was a socialist,
But I’d suggest he’s just a broken man
(Or ghost) who has become extremely pissed
Because the bus’ness that his fam’ly ran
Evaporated like a spray of mist.”
Although his rage was getting out of hand,
Its causes weren’t so hard to understand.




Santa Claus in the Underworld [pt I]

“There, dead of sorrow fed by sad defeat,
Is Santa Claus—beloved of girls and boys.
His elves and he no longer could compete
With companies who specialize in toys
[Whose makers overseas can barely eat
On wages earned for bringing children joys].
The War of Toys was one which Santa lost
By failing to reduce his products’ cost.”

An Honest CEO

[He’s honest…but he’s still a bastard;)] [“Honest Greeting Card #2 from The Tasteless Greeting Card Sonnet Sequence]

You’ve been “involuntarily retired”
…ours is a slyer way to give the boot
[and thus avoid a not-so-civil suit]
Than saying, “Father Time, you’re being fired.”
The lawyer whose advice I have acquired
Suggests I act as though I gave a hoot
[Instead of calling you a “moldy coot
Who was by Abraham or Adam sired”].
We’re tired of underoverpaying needy teens,
And older folk like you have had their day.
Our future jobs will be for new machines
(which need no benefits and take no pay).
So, here’s a card and sev’rance bag of beans.
Enjoy your life, and go the hell away.


[from “In the Underworld”]

“In modern wars to satisfy ambition,
The weapons aren’t always deadly arms
With slicing blades or piercing ammunition,
Nor anything that norm’lly kills or harms
(In all but wars of stony, cold attrition).
It’s lack of shame and wealth of cool and charms
That now can make a money-moving don
Of one who knows the Art of Clever Con.

That dandy fellow, looking overfed,
Is Bernie Madoff (who made off with a sack
Of cash)…” I stopped to say, “But he’s not dead,”
And Will replied, “Those bringing utter wrack
And ruin—cons with victims in the red—
Abound. Their count’s too high for me to track.
The name I thought he donned, we now may doff.
What’s key is that he’s eating at a trough.”

I waited for my guide to speak of greed
And carry on about this evidence
That seemed to show a human’s sinful deed
Avenged by holy wrath and Providence.
Instead, he said, “This man will always feed
But never feel fulfilled. Will penitence
Arise from tortures that will never stop
(Like feeding souls until they’re fit to pop)?

How could this torture ever benefit,
Enlighten, or—as some may hope—deter
Those never seeing or believing it?
Despite the righteous wrath this might incur,
I’ll say this torture’s neither right nor fit
For Hades’ worst-behaving mongrel cur.
The foulest people still deserve release.
They’ll find no bliss—at least allow them peace.”

Captains of Industry and Finance

An “Underworld” scene from *The New House of Fame* (by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess)

His type is one we all too often find:
The sort to spoil a parrot or a pair
But sleep without a hint of troubled mind
When other parrots soaring through the air
Are casualties to orders, which he’s signed,
To strip the creatures’ leafy homes ‘til bare.
He’s one to lavish love upon the boar
Who’s mascot for his ham and bacon store.

He’s not—to use a popular cliché—
The type to beat a dog or harm a fly,
But, though his gentle hands aren’t apt to slay,
They’ll cause a distant swarm to starve or die
If it begins to slow or block his way
To owning all the Planet’s land and sky
[…resources which preserve his mental health
By showing how he bests the rest in wealth.]

To state the case with greater clarity:
His noble breed is one which often awes
The world with acts of private charity
Despite supporting policies and laws
That nurture social class disparity
As ill effects are nurtured by a cause
(…Or causal web of threads that intersect—
Since there’s no simple chain of cause/effect].

Before we ventured further down the hall,
I asked him, “What’s the fellow’s bloody name?”
At first, he changed the theme to Adam’s fall
To prove that ignorance should cause no shame
But soon confessed: “In sooth, I don’t recall.
Precision’s never been my fav’rite game.
My speeches are a peaceful compromise
Between the warring clans of Truth and Lies.

A bard ensures a story never starves
By seeing that it’s generously fed
With meaty bits the skillful teller carves
From flocks of sheep inside his head.
In winter, he’ll bedeck a tale in scarves
He knits from wool those mental sheep have shed.”
His speech, though crammed with sheep ‘til nearly full,
Contained, as well, a hefty share of bull.

“…and when the frost of Father Winter’s gone”
…I cut him short and said, “You have abused
My ears enough. It’s time for moving on.”
Despite my words, I often was amused
By madness that his addled brain would spawn.
He seemed a clever clown or sage confused.
His wit, at times, was straight as jets in flight,
But, other times, it was a flailing kite.

“Disease: a Villanelle” by Paul Burgess

This is the first villanelle I have attempted since 2006–the year in which I began an 8 year break from writing poetry. I am not sure if it is any good, but I am certain that it is a villanelle:)

Although his thoughts would make a person freeze,
He often rants about the Justice scales.
…he’s not alone in having this disease.

He’s known to translate “smoke” as “foggy breeze”—
To choose the proper phrase he rarely fails,
Although his thoughts could make a person freeze.

A flashing dollar sign is all he sees
When shown his admen’s stylish faerie tales
He’s not alone in having this disease.

His corporation gives to charities
A nominal percentage of its sales,
Although his thoughts could make a person freeze.

The people whose support’s obtained with ease
By one who speaks of Christ, the Cross, and nails
Are not alone in having this disease.

Though spending Sundays praying on his knees,
His acts would land some poorer men in jails.
This gloomy thought could make a person freeze:
He’s not alone in having this disease.

“Egalitarian” [Devil’s Derivations/Etymologies from Hell #5] by Dr. Burgess

“Egalitarian” was originally a term of ridicule employed by a capitalist who accused his socialist opponent of “consuming the eagles soaring above the herd.” This word, meaning originally “those who eat eagles,” was coined by analogy with “vegetarian,”* meaning “those who eat primarily vegetables and avoid eating animals.” Undergoing a type of transformation common in the history of languages, “egalitarian” became a word with positive connotations thanks to social changes and its fortuitous similarity to “equalitarian”.

*Some might suggest that “aquilavore”—“Aquila” + “vor[are]e,” modeled on “carnivore” and “omnivore”—would have been a more appropriate term than “egalitarian.” “Vegetarian,” the word on which “egalitarian” is based, raises an interesting question: “If vegetarians eat primarily vegetables, why don’t humanitarians eat humans?”