Archive for category literature

A Prairie Home Companion Cruise, 2017

A not-so young comedian of New York
On a cruise of not-so Norwegian ports
Made half the guests smile
The rest he bribed
To laugh and pee in their shorts.

 

(With thanks!)

 

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Fireplace Concert in New York City

Sunday, February 5:

I will be playing a set of original songs at the L.I.C. Bar in Long Island City, Queens.

The show starts at 5 pm with Pete Lanctot & Ginger Dolden.

I will be on at 6 pm, followed by Maya Sharpe at 7 pm.

Come and be warm by the fire and hear some tunes

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Happy Thanksgiving

Dave: No politics over dinner, okay?

John: What do you mean, no politics?

Dave: I mean, don’t mention the election…

John: Well, you just did…

Dave: Let’s have a nice time together, okay?

John: A nice time? With that moron you voted for?

Dave: You don’t know who I voted for?

John: I do too.

Dave: Let’s just have some turkey…

John: And talk about the weather?

Dave: Yes, let’s talk about the weather.

John: And global temperatures and rising sea levels?

Dave: Like I said, no politics?

John: So now we can’t talk about the weather?

Dave: We can, but not like that.

John: You decide how we talk about the weather?

Dave: I really wish I could explain this to you…

John: Why can’t you?

Dave: You wouldn’t get it.

John: Why not?

Dave: People like you never do.

John: What do you mean people like me?

Dave: Let’s just have some turkey…

John: You mean Republicans?

Dave: Ha, so now you’re a Republican?

John: Oh, I thought you said, no politics?

Dave: I can’t believe you voted Republican.

John: Look, it’s snowing. So much for global warming…

Dave: I really thought you were smarter than that, John.

John: Who says I voted Republican?

Dave: You did.

John: Maybe I changed my mind.

Dave: You can’t change your mind after the election.

John: The president-elect can…

Dave: Let’s just forget about it.

John: Say, was that a Hillary sign on your lawn?

Dave: You know that was a joke.

John: You can say that again…

Dave: My neighbors are all pro-Trump.

John: So you put out a Hillary sign but didn’t vote for her?

Dave: I’m not going to talk politics…

John: You’re such a bad loser.

Dave: How is that?

John: People like you always are.

Dave: What do you mean people like me?

John: Let’s just have some turkey.

Dave: Oh, now you want turkey?

John: Sure, I’ll even carve. Where’s the knife?

Dave: Just forget about it…

John: No, I’ll carve.

Dave: Better let me do it.

John: Wait a second, Dave…

Dave: What?

John: Did you hide the knife?

Dave: It’s just a precaution.

John: Wow, this is not the America I grew up in.

Dave: Yes, it is, because you must have been born yesterday.

John: That’s rude.

Dave: So is ruining America.

John: Well, let’s be Independent then and eat with our hands…

Dave: It was just to be on the safe side, John.

John: Give me that darn knife.

Dave: You can’t be trusted with a knife.

John: Why not?

Dave: For one, you can’t tick the right box with a pen.

John: I’ll carve the damn turkey with my pocketknife…

Dave: You brought a knife to my house?

John: Second Amendment, Dave.

Dave: You can’t even spell amendment…

John: Forget about it, I’m not having any turkey.

Dave: Why not?

John: Just not having any…

Dave: Why not?

John: Well, it’s cold by now.

Dave: The thermometer says 165F…

John: You can’t trust that.

Dave: Guess you really are a Republican…

John: You know very well that I trust science, Dave.

Dave: Well, have a bite then…

John: But the thermometer, it’s made in China, you can’t trust it.

Dave: So is your iPad.

John: No, it’s not…

Dave: Where then? The coalmines of Appalachia.

John: Just not made in China. Period.

Dave: Come on, let’s have some turkey…

John: Just look at this meat…

Dave: What‘s wrong with it?

John: You had one chance to get it right…

Dave: Better get used to that.

John: Used to what?

Dave: Let’s just say it’s a Trump turkey.

John: What is that supposed to mean?

Dave: You’re stuck with it and you won’t like the taste.

John: I thought you said, no politics.

Dave: I changed my mind.

 

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Nobel Limerick

Honorable Nobel Committee
When you award me for being witty
Don’t share the prize
With three other guys
Or my mother will say, What a pity!

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Let There Be Light Verse

When facts are scorned
And lies prevail
It’s Hell on Earth
And Heaven in Hell
 
For common sense
Is quite amiss
Where ignorance is
No longer bliss
 
We need now, people
More than ever
The blueprints for
The Tower of Babel
 
To build it high
And let those climb
Who poison the minds
With guile and slime
 
Good riddance, we chant,
Now truth shall blossom
And let there be light
It’s totally awesome

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The House of Dying

Here I am, in a Brooklyn backyard, reading Donald Hall,
A book of 1970s poems called “Kicking The Leaves”
From around the time when he moved back
To the old New Hampshire homestead where his
Great-grandfather farmed from after the Civil War

Until the year before the so-called Great War.
I’m told he still lives there, frail and old,
And recently The New Yorker published
What one could only read as the poet’s note of farewell.
Yet here I am, watching the birds in April

While the trees are budding and the difference
Between a male and a female sparrow becomes apparent:
The males marvel, posed but alert,
As the females shake their wings and asses,
A call for assistance from the reproductive branch.

On the pages, I return again to “the house of dying”,
A phrase written in the middle of life
And a terrific title for a book
That a person could write when he is done
Jotting down the lines of this poem and the next

With a cheap plastic pen from the Algonquin Hotel
And done sitting here, in this cathedral of spindly maples,
As cardinals, robins, finches, and brown thrashers
Descend from on high, like prayers
No one needs to answer.

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Elements of Style

I don’t use emoticons
Or exclamation marks
And I don’t capitalize words
To make them brawl and bark
I use italics sparingly
Like fish sauce or Danish Blue
Lest my paragraphs become
Potpourris or cheese fondue.
 

Language is like music
With precision, grace and mojo
Exaggeration makes the world
Pocket-sized and so-so
From Shakespeare to Updike
They never needed an air hammer
The real power-tool for the job
Is a little thing called grammar.

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