Rhymes & Ditties for Middle Size Cities (4)
Entry for 2016-09-26

My humble apologies to inhabitants of all the cities memorialized in this section. Facetious verse about a city has got to be nasty or it just doesn't work, which is why Chambers of Commerce employ so few poets.

These verses are also outdated. Most of the Rhymes & Ditties appeared in the
Saturday Review in the 1960s -- before Seattle had Starbucks or Microsoft, before Pittsburgh had cleared its skies, before Buffalo had done whatever Buffalo did about being Buffalo.

So if you live in a city with problems, take heart -- and take up your pen. Write a nasty verse about it and see what happens.
I think I'll visit Decatur.
Fort Wayne
Only if you are in your car
in delicate health, far from home,
seized by unendurable pain
---twin babies, possibly rabies---
and one hospital stands alone,
the only one in a hundred miles,
only then, and only maybe
and only at night and in blinding rain
is it conceivably worth your while
to stop---briefly---in Fort Wayne
How to Pronounce St. Augustine
Earnest and holy, with mud brown robes and ruddy cheeks,

          ever trustin', St. Augustin'

miraculously appeared in a St. George Street curio shop
where a quaint frog is seen, in St. Augusteen,
to see how people are living sixteen centuries after his death
and said, as soon as he could catch his breath,

"What in God's name are all these boutiques
and cheap plastic trinkets at fifteen dollars each?

          "Disgustin'!" spat Augustin'.

And zippo, there went the great bishop of Hippo,
off like a rocket fleeing St. Augusteeing
on a southbound Harley-Davidson headed for Daytona Beach
Where Else?
What if you roamed the world
in search of The Truth
and found it all at one time:
the Lost Dutchman mine,
the Holy Grail,
the Golden Fleece,
the Abominable Snowman's trail,
and Hitler's niece,
the language that dolphins talk,
the secret of Babe Ruth,
and the Fountain of Youth
all on the same block
downtown in Duluth?

Memorandum on the Origin of Species
Entry for 2016-09-23

It takes time
to evolve from slime


Sound the Crumpets
Entry for 2016-09-20

Excerpted from Pyramids (filed under "Structurals")
If by some stroke of archaeological luck an ancient Greek home is unearthed with a loaf of bread still intact in the hearth, and if the loaf is roughly pyramidal in shape, it may settle the problem of where the word “pyramid” came from.
A papyrus scroll found in Egypt uses the term per-em-us to mean the vertical height of a pyramid―a possible source of the Greek word pyramis (plural, pyramides) from which the English language takes “pyramid.”
But there was already a purely Greek word pyramis of less doubtful origin. It means “wheat cake.” The first written reports of the pyramids come from Greek travelers who had discovered on the Plain of Giza objects unlike any buildings they had ever seen. If their shape suggested nothing so much as some then-familiar variant of the crumpet or cruller, then that might be the most descriptive term to use for the folks back home―in which case the pyramids were named in the same manner as the wedding cake buildings on Park Avenue.

Entry for 2016-09-17

Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee
Cream Cream Cream Cream
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh
Hi Harry
Howza baby?
Fine Fine
Gotta run now
What? Sure
Great Great
See you later
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you
sure sure sure sure
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh
No I Well I Yes I Think I
Yessir? Yessir
Surely. Yessir
Who? When? Right Right
Hold a second
Absolutely Absolutely
Wait Wait Wait Wait
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh
Cool it, Burt
Hold the taxi
Say I'm out of town 'til Tuesday
Shoot. What?
Good Good
Yello Yello Yello Yello
Yep Yep Yep Yep
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh
Kill that flight
Take a letter
Maybe later
Keep a secret?
Tim? Sam
Wait. Beth?
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh
Say I'm busy

The Logic of Flight
Entry for 2016-09-13

Pheasants idle at roadside,
one cock walking
among inattentive hens.
Something on the road
grows suddenly monstrous,
swelling with thunder. Panic.
Run---wherever there's room,
over the asphalt flats, run
in front of the car---Fly!
All it takes is motive.
One winter night a pheasant
darted across my headlights,
fell flat on his ass on ice.
Motive. It's hard to believe,
but a pheasant can take off
while sitting down