Condemned to Repeat

Didn’t vote for him in ’72,
thought everything about him C.R.E.E.P.y.
Bet you’d cast yours for Humphrey, wouldn’t you?
Especially with Agnew as VP.

But Dick got his Milhous caught in a door,
starting with the botched Watergate break-in.
The dirtiest of dirty tricks galore,
Step One in a demise of his own makin’.

I love it when pols go around thinking
they’re the smartest boy in any room they enter.
In this case it left ol’ Dick a’drinking,
his paranoia pushed front and center.

They say that Pride goeth before the fall
as slaves warned winning generals Roman.
Dick thought his powers were greatest of all,
’til Congress and the Courts left him moanin’.

Now I’m not one to be pointing fingers,
since I can’t cast even the thousandth stone,
but them what think their stink don’t lingers
may soon look around and find they’re alone.

Again, I’m not casting any aspersions,
but I believe I can tell wrong from right.
Seen my share of political excursions
to the dark side, where people lose sight.

Someone said something about history
and how not knowing it you could repeat it.
But that’s really not any mystery,
unless you’re too self-absorbed to heed it.

I guess there’s a moral somewhere in here,
about crooks and hubris not mixin’.
But if the shoe fits, I hope that it’s clear
history shows you could end up like Nixon.

This bit of rhyme was prompted by a call for a “name” poem. This was the second name to come to mind. Too many people still have not heeded George Santayana’s advice, I fear. And yes, you probably had to be there in ’72 (or seen/read “All the President’s Men”) to know what C.R.E.E.P. was. But for the rest of this piece? Nahhhh…

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A Clerihew? Who Knew?

David Bowie,
was dissatisfied with being born David Jones, so he
changed it for artistic purposes — no lunk, he.
Ziggy Stardust doesn’t happen if you keep your name like that Monkee.

John F. Kennedy
Wasn’t quite sure he had the remedy
To put the brakes on a ride to World War 3’s brink,
But Dr. Jack’s ballsy cure worked, because ’twas Khrushchev first to blink.

George Armstrong Custer
knew his troopers to victory he could muster
if it was he who always led the charge.
But his tactic never ran into an opponent four times as large.

King Richard, the Lionheart
left England, in a great Crusade to take part.
But while he was gone, his little brother, King John,
tripped over himself trying Richard’s too-big monarchy thing on.

Queen Marie Antoinette
abdicated her throne in the French Revolution, and yet
the mob wasn’t sated until they took her head
for insinuating starving people eat cake in lieu of bread.

Charles Dickens
knew his writing prospects would be slim pickin’s,
forcing each of his children to eat like a bird.
So, like Scrooge’s Christmas goose, his prose he often fluffed quite loose, since he got paid by the word.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley,
was a poet unafraid to invent, evidently,
a form combining biography and satire in rhyming verse.
At the first two I’m not bad, but the last I couldn’t be worse.

Joseph Andrew Hesch,
a writer turned to janky poet, I gesh,
When writers block brought his prose to an end,
an imaginary poet broke through, penning mushy verse to you, my make-believe friend.

Here’s a placeholder post until I can write something bigger for Day 14 of NaPoWrMo. In fact, these pieces, called clerihews, were prompted by NaPoWriMo.net A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light, or revealing something unknown and/or spurious about them.

Shills Like White Elephants

Two more stouts down here, honey? Thanks, love. So this is how it works, youngster. The pols will argue over when life begins, at conception or at birth. What the hell, the subject of their alleged debate could just as easily be Creationism versus Evolution. It’s the same churned-up, wormy loam that’s sustained the political phonies for more than a century. It’s what they hoe when tangentially preaching to the party-affiliated converted. We scribes would sit back and take notes, mainly gauging relative volume, totals of Biblical citations versus Scientific references and numbers of finger points. Though many now use their thumbs as pointers since the birth of Darwinian political exemplar Bill Clinton’s index finger-stabbing, definition-of-IS-is, white-lie, bad-optics hair-splitting during his own multi-hyphened product-of-a-sexual-encounter Dance of the Seven Berets. Oh, and we collected, crunched and consumed salty quotes like pretzels in our after hours bars. We were paid to fill open column inches or air-minutes between advertisements, with the implicit promise our bosses made to the advertisers of bringing X-number eyeballs to their come-ons for pharmaceuticals, automobiles or insurance. Judging which side is right or wrong rose above our pay grade, best left to the former reporters who soared or crawled over the broken egos of their colleagues to editorial or columnist positions either by hard work or something just shy of befriending (maybe just the journalistic equivalent of caddying for) publishers. Though some made it by outliving them. We ink-stained wretches are a cyclical lot who learned to somewhat compartmentalize our feelings as best we could without losing our edge, becoming totally numb. See, it’s not so much who’s right and who’s wrong on a specific argument as it is who those aforementioned editors and publishers choose to make right. We’d rather leave it out there in some artful, judgement-free, make-your-own-sundae bit of prose, like Hemingway did in Hills Like White Elephants. Hell, not once did he ever mention the word “abortion.” No one’s ever going to actually “win” these debates, combining science, culture, politics and religion in a danse macabre where Defeat/Death inevitably collects the dramatis personae and Victory/Life is merely Intermission, one last chance to pick up some Sno-Caps, Raisinets and nuclear containment vessel-sized containers of Coke and popcorn before the house lights go down for the final act.

I was asked if I could contribute a piece for the next edition of THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN’s Be-ZINE related to Science in Culture, Religion and Politics. I can’t cop to any of those subjects truly being in my wheelhouse. Nevertheless, I sat down and imagined a one-sided conversation by someone who looks a lot like me and has seen and chronicled the bloody confluence of those subjects–a retired news reporter. My career on that side of the news business was not so long as the friends I made during my reporter years, but I readily admit it quickly grew a husk around me and opened a vein of acid-tinged cynicism and indifference that I fight to this day. I took no stand about these subjects (well, maybe politics) in this piece, but thought it might be interesting to dive back into the deep end of my primordial news ooze to see if it still makes me smell of sulphur. It does.