Of Rumor’s motives I’ve become suspicious
And found them things we frequently misjudge.
The gossip least correct and most pernicious
Is often spread by those who hold no grudge.
A lie’s propelled by people called “ambitious”
[Who sling a sewer full of slimy sludge].
It’s hard for hands to earn a lawful crown
But not for tongues to tear one’s wearer down
An Italian Sonnet about Chinese* Restaurants (Written in English by an American) [*Chinese restaurants in America…Chinese immigrants often choke on the fortune the first time they eat a fortune cookie.]
What did the slips inside my cookies say? “The dish of life contains a lot more spice
For people eating dumplings, pork, and rice
At San Francisco’s China House Buffet.”
“Ours is the only place to spend your pay. At Chang’s the chicken’s mixed with chunks of mice, And waiters’ heads are breeding grounds for lice [Which like to mingle with the beef fillet.]”
“You’ll live to see another creature’s year If eating only China House’s food.” “A person who believes that life is dear Won’t let these words be lost or misconstrued: Those eating Chinese food that’s not from here Are nailed inside their coffins and/or screwed.”
“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.
[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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.