Time, time, time. I think it’s time. Yes, that’s what it is. The next subject for a poetic reflection. No, no, no. Scratch that. Well, it is high time for a new column. I mean, here it is the sixth year of writing them (having passed the fifth anniversary ten months ago). It is nearly the seventh year, in fact, and I’m just getting around to it? I would say this is long overdue. The clock has been sprung, and the pendulum has flown off the handle with the cuckoo bird. It’s a lot like that time-changing nonsense where we are instructed to set our clocks forward or backward to lose or gain an hour. An entire sixty minutes! It just happened again. This month. Right now, the very day I am getting around to my next column. I lost an hour. No wonder I feel confused. And it’s not as if there are too many or any to spare . . .
I have a serious problem with there not being enough hours in the day. I would join a group for it, but I am not that good with groups.
Now I will probably obsess over losing an hour. I should start a petition to end this madness, before they swipe any more of the time I have left. I’m not getting any younger! But if I started a petition I doubt that I could finish a column this month, which is more important. Next month it will be a full year since the last two.
Wow, I have been busy. With all sorts of busyness. Such as skipping months, along with skipping to the loo, skipping rope . . . Nonetheless, I am back. You can pinch me, or yourself. It isn’t a dream. My apologies in case you are among the few who might have missed these rambled sojourns into the dark and light side of verse. There is usually a good deal of contrast, as well as general absurdity. An unstable mixture of extremes, like a science experiment gone wrong. Or a witch’s cauldron, where who knows what was thrown in and what could crawl out. Yes, that pretty much describes it.
What have I been doing? Why do you ask? What have you been doing? I’ve been writing stories and poems . . . for anthologies, magazines, my latest horror collection. Oh, and I released the second volume of my poetry series last year, The Queen Of Hats. For Twenty Fifteen (which is the present, in case you’re reading this from the future) I plan to wrap up Volume Three, Blood On The Moon. It’s in progress. It still needs a bunch of additional poems, and more of my peculiar illustrations . . . but hey, the cover’s done! That’s something! And its thirteen chapters are half complete since they begin with previous columns. I hope to wrap it up this year, in spite of the missing hour.
Oh sure, they’ll give an hour back in the Fall. By then I’ll be way behind with everything as a result of losing one now, so nice try!
I was also busy cramming columns into the fourth volume of the series, which still needs a couple after this one. It’s all very exciting. To me, anyway.
I have been more off than usual in keeping on track. Sporadic as they may be the past two years, I do hope to be more consistent with these poetic prattles. And I hope you will bear with my erratic tendencies. It is best not to force any form of artistic endeavor, or it can become a labor of labor rather than a labor of the heart and soul. I never want it to become just “work” for me. I prefer it to be inspired. So I beg your indulgence as well as your patience. And your attention span. I do not necessarily require your understanding, since I dabble in nonsense as much as sense.
Harumph. The above has nothing to do with the current theme, which is —
Wait, I just realized this very column is a milestone. Let us bang a drum, crash a cymbal, toot a horn. Are you ready for the big announcement? Are you holding your breath with anticipation? Stop that right now! I don’t like to be rushed.
Here it is. Drumroll, please. Monkey . . . somebody wind up the monkey! No, not the cymbal monkey, the drum monkey. Oops, the drum rolled away. Oh well. Enough monkey business.
Here it is, again . . .
This is my fiftieth column.
(Insert eerie music. No, a fanfare. Hmm, perhaps an ice-cream-truck or calliope tune? Yes, that would be odd. Maestro? Where did the maestro go? Nevermind. Forget the music. I’ll just hum a bit, off key. Or not. My throat’s kind of scratchy. You’ll have to imagine the humming because one cannot really itch a scratchy throat.)
What’s that? “Nevermind” isn’t a word? It is if I say it, and I just said it. I say it all the time. Most of the time. I say it, I will have you know, whenever I say it!
What was I saying? Oh, fifty! That’s big, isn’t it? What do you mean it’s only half of a hundred? I can count. I have fingers and toes. It’s still an event, worth celebrating. Who invited that wet sock? And that peanut gallery? The wet blanket did? And who invited the wet blanket?
Nevermind. (See?) Maybe I was cold. Or too dry. The point of all this is that it’s time for a celebration. Something special. It’s an occasion, which only happens occasionally. Or just once in this particular instance. Send in the clowns! Let there be cake! A nice chocolate vegan cake. And balloons! It calls for ducks too. I love how they quack. Not that geese are anything to sneeze at. Or mongooses. Mongeese. Unless you’re allergic to that sort of thing.
WARNING: The following three paragraphs are off-topic remarks.
In the midst of not writing this preamble, writing a prior preamble that wound up unfinished, two cohorts and I stopped at the San Diego Central Library to pick up a medal from my first Local Author Exhibit in Twenty Fourteen. Browsing at the gift shop, I found a button that said READ and another saying BEST-SELLER! so I got them, although I cannot in honesty wear a Best-Seller lapel label as of yet. They didn’t have one for the lapel level I am at, more of an UN-Best-Seller; possibly a Worst-Seller. I’ve saved the button on my desk as inspiration. I shall literally keep hoping for the BEST. When you write out of love, for the sake of art — and because your head would burst from ideas if you didn’t — whether you are a Best-Seller, a Better-Seller, a So-So Seller, or a Least-Seller like me seems irrelevant. What matters is that you are read, and therefore I can proudly wear the one that says READ, for it can also imply that I am Read. Thank you for that.
On the same day, my sons and I stopped to see Godzilla at a theater — sitting in the front row like I used to as a kid when I would go to matinees alone and get lost in the stories on the screen. (Between reading countless library books.) Godzilla harkens to Sunday matinees at home when the original Japanese films were shown on the tube, attended with my brother and mother, a cherished piece of nostalgia. These moments are a quintessential part of who I am as a creative spirit. And the big green monstersaurus has long been a favorite, so I cried at the end of the new Godzilla. Monsters are wonderful.
Visiting hat shops made it a perfect day, because hats are another facet of who I am and have been since I can remember. While she sat through the Godzilla movies, my mother did not comprehend my monster and hat passions. She took toys and hats away that people gave me if she felt they weren’t appropriate for a girl. I stubbornly developed my own style in wardrobe as much as in writing or art. And I have plenty of cool toys!
Okay then, back to the matter and the column at hand. What shall we talk about now? I’m not even sure I still have an audience after the last column (eleven months ago) with the antiquated Shakespearebabble. There have been loyal readers who weathered the thick and the thin times, whether I made up my own words or digressed from the subject (not to mention any subject whatsoever) into the nothingness of sheer jabber. I marvel over this more than any comic-book hero or villain, if you get my drift. It simply astonishes me. What were we talking about again? Or better still, what weren’t we talking about that we should be?
Hat shops, Godzilla, Central Library . . . ah, it must be books! Of course. They are very close to my heart as an author, poet, illustrator, and reader-slash-bookworm. Okay, I don’t actually eat them, but I do relish gobbling a good tale. I have lapsed as a reader, unfortunately, since I spend most of my time doing the other stuff. Even in my sleep, which is very disconcerting when I awake to find that I didn’t actually get any of it down. I guess I need to learn how to sleep-write. And sleep-edit. Maybe sleep-read!
I miss reading books. Paradoxically, I am surrounded by them. Many are reference tomes, primarily word books. I love words. And I do read those in snippets. Books often have words, whether a lot or a little. Some have more pictures than words. But if each picture is worth a thousand words, then I suppose they do have a fairly good amount of indirect language. The word books I am referring to, if you will pardon the pun, although it was entirely intentional, are very special for they contain a large number of rare words. Too many folks these days only like the commonest of terms. I adore the strangest and most peculiar.
I really went off on some deep-end diving-board tangents here. I’ve been saving the babble too long. Oh dear, look at the time. And the calendar! It’s already Spring! There was a Supermoon and a Solar Eclipse on the Equinox. Then it was the International Day Of Happiness, and World Poetry Day! It appears there are any number of reasons to celebrate this month, including that tradition about wearing green. And the Fifteenth, the Ides Of March, was my mother’s eightieth birthday. She’s been gone fifteen years but is not forgotten. It is truly an exceptional month. The perfect one to publish my fiftieth column.
Speaking of which, you may have noticed up there at the top of this ridiculousness that I typed “Horror Limericks”. There is an explanation. I promised a friend I would write some limericks, as that is the main form of poetry she likes. And, believe it or not, I have not written any limericks since beginning my poetic reflections. You know, these columns. I could have written some as a child. That was ages ago. Many ages. Some very Dark Ages. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
I can be quite nonsensical, so it amazes me that I had not yet turned my poet’s wit to the topic of Limericks. Great absurd limericks have been penned, though not by me. This is a tragic oversight, and I am grateful to a friend for bringing them up. Then I thought: I should do some Horror Limericks! I’ve never heard of those. I’ve done Horror Haiku, which I had not heard of either until I did some. It was rather popular. I will, of course, do some nonsense limericks as well. How could I not? I am nothing if not absurd. I may even throw in some anti-limericks.
Confession: They will probably primarily be anti-limericks.
I may not be the best limericker, but I will try my best whatever that may be.
Without further ado, here are some limericks for Vix.
(See what I did there? Clever, eh? Wink, wink.)
Okay, this might not be what she meant. It is, however, what I would write. And so I did.
Egad, where did March go? It has slipped by (thanks to that missing hour). Soon it will be April Fool’s and I will have to say I was just kidding . . . . .
They are frightful, exciteful, often inane.
While they could make you laugh or plain go insane,
They would rather you scream
For they’re all a bad dream.
Horror Limericks are like smoking a chain.
What’s with those birds singing outside while I’m sleeping?
Have they lost their little minds? Why so much cheeping?
It’s freaking me out! My grip is slipping . . .
Don’t they ever have problems? I’m flipping . . .
Too late, they’ve done it, I’m up! Back to grim reaping.
On the eve of a lunar crescent roll’s somersault,
A pepperish pair crept the cleaver edge of a fault.
Baring a maw that would gape rather wide,
Guilt gulped the salsa and his blushing bride . . .
The sweet unseasoned lady could have used more salt.
There once lived a mad Jack who liked to chop
He hacked with a vengeance and couldn’t stop
Till he cut down a town built upon stilts
And the furious folk, clad in vests and plaid kilts
Drew their hatchets and each gave the crazy a lop.
Treachery tiptoes in the threadbarest socks
With the soft careful stealth of thieves picking locks
And the gentlest touch
Betraying so much
That a leopard would not even miss his spots.
A few monsters living under a bed
Disagreed on the story about to be read
So they crawled out to fight
About which one was right
The poor fellow above is now dead.
There was a nasty crassty from Kersplucket
Who collected bad vibes in a rainbucket
So crummy was he
That he made ogres flee
And gave goosebumps to ghosts who couldn’t duck it.
There once was a devil-hearted grungeon
Whose appetite was born in a dungeon
He enjoyed a good codger
Especially named Roger
Eaten with a pitchfork while lungin’.
Big Bly was a monster with a despicable curse
Who did not know which option might be worse
To be extremely grotesque
Or chained to a desk
So instead he lives under a bright yellow hearse.
(to be read from either end)
Oh dear, I fear I have gone utterly berserk!
The trouble is, it seems like such a lot of work
What a terrible crying shame
And I have no-one else to blame
I do dislike when people think I’m a jerk
I keep losing my mind, which can be so hard to find
It’s like I’m stuck in a revolving door of some kind
Or trying to go forward in reverse
I keep misplacing my universe
I am really out of whack, off track, in a turned-around bind!
Sinister eels may lurk in the shallows
Of the puddles that line these stark avenues
As you walk in the dark
On the whim of a lark
So beware when the dropped rain begins to ooze.
Bucktooth Henry was a terrible tyrant
So awful he could mortify a Fire Ant
Until he choked on a stick of gum
And the red-faced end of him did come
They would bury Bucktooth near a hydrant.
Nothing is more satisfying than a nap
But death is too long, like a bear-tooth trap
Sleep can be a waste of valuable time
Shutting my lids feels akin to a crime
I ask that you give me a most vigorous slap.
Out of every night comes a chance to dream
Or the possibility of a nerve-wrenching scream
We may be helpless to choose
Whether we win or we lose
For life is the opposite of a plot or a scheme.
In slumber we are captive to the mind’s egresses
And the unplanned randomness of inner stresses
Provoking these oddest of wanders
Contrarily opposed to daily ponders
We dream the worst or best that our brain confesses.
The soul is bared when we lie undefended
Vulnerable and still, or thrashing suspended
In a state of fantasy
Where minds roam free
And hearts take leaps like dolphins ascended.
I have long stayed awake in the hours of Twilight
To write, watch a film, view life in black and white
When the world has a calmer pace
Minutes dangle or run in place
And the years seem to vanish on the face of Night.
Once upon a tale came a garbled allegory
Whose moral was that borrowers would be sorry
Until the plot was forgot
And the conclusion was not
In time the poor fable would be his-story.
There once was a gent with an allergy
Whose doctor advised that he swallow a bee
The buzzing was bizarre
So he puffed a cigar
Now he’s worse than before with a skreigh.
A far cry from the rubble-rabble
Of the broken brook that would bubble-babble
With a creeky croak
And one cheeky choke
There are many things that lead to trouble-trabble
Away from the city lurk vipers and beasties
Yet the urban jungle harbors other feasties
Where stalkers prey on the meekish mild
Picking off the solitary like a weak-kneed child
We are all the targets of these walking deceasedies
Every shadow shines with heebie-jeebie eyes
The glowing orbs of furtive goons and guys
Who value life as shallow and cheap
Crawling out of a naked deep
Their blood as cold as the top of the skies
With knives and bullets like teeth and claws
We are caught between their feuds and draws
Or feed their unwholesome appetites
With thuggish snacks and bites
Reducing our lives to mere tatters of gauze.
I once knew a birdbrain who lived in a tall sycamore tree
Though a touch confused, he seemed much happier than me
I would hear him chirping quite merrily
And fear he could tumble out scarily
I’ll never know since he flew off with a flock of Wannabe.
Along the road to Perdition walked a recluse
Who had the oddest aversion to a mock-goose
No such creature existed
Yet his phobia persisted
So he feared that his fear was just a sad excuse.
There once was a sea-diver from Splotney
Whose left foot had a corn he named Motley
They were very close friends
Till the diver got the bends
Now his diving is off, like as knotly.
There was a Grim Reaper who was a poor sleeper
And accidentally poked out his left and right peeper
Then could not find his way
Or distinguish night from day
So he was re-assigned as a blind landmine sweeper.
In the state of being neither here nor there
An idle maniac decided not to care
If he tried juggling thirteen crystal balls
While ignoring a series of weird phonecalls
Now he’s playing with half a deck and doesn’t share.
Once there was a cuckoo-bird who was the word
Until a random dictionary labeled him absurd
The cluck demanded a complete revision
And expanded his clockwork precision
Now he pops out every hour on the second or third.
There once was an artist with a shiny new chainsaw
Who thought that cutting was another way to draw
He trimmed every beard
Then it happened as he feared:
All the statues in town have a clean-shaven jaw.
Jibbledee mibbletee bloo
My wish is coming true
This rhyme has no meaning
The clocktower is leaning
And the gobbledegook’s full of glue.
Somewhere outside of Muncie I left my left brain
Then felt the lost marbles were driving me insane
And pulled the right half out of my ear
Now everything is balanced and exorbitantly clear
I am happy getting nowhere in the fast lane.
There was a silly man from North Worse
Who had nothing to do with this verse
When it came time to rhyme
He had nothing to add
So he moved to a town called Not Much Worse.
I tend to wear my hat’s brim a trifle canted
For the angle is quite rakish and enchanted
Which does lend a nice effect
And helps to hide an unsightly defect
Of seeing the world as if the ground were slanted.
There was a big meanie from Knock-Knockitz
Who bore minor grudges in his pockets
Till another gearhead for goodness sake
Invited him to jump in the nearest lake
Now the fish have to deal with his sprockets.
I once passed a town in the heart of Kidney
Where everyone had a cousin whose name was Sydney
And they walked with canes that were not umbrellas
For it never rained on the ladies and fellas
Yet the puddles there rose as high as mid-knee.
Not everyone is quite as normal as they seem
There are those who have escaped from a terrible dream
While they might look ordinary
They are more apt to be scary
And like nothing better than to hear you scream!
A cave-dwelling purple bruta-bagey
Was visited by a rude dorphen-haggy
Who brought so much old luggage
That her host felt too buggage
And pitched all of it off the closest craggy.
There was a jolly old jester named Lester
To whom the bells of his own cap did pester
With every step the shrills resounded
Their mocking notes of irk abounded
So he cursed the dingalings to fall and fester
It happened the way he wished when they dropped
As if by miracle, these sly tinkles plopped
From branches like rotten berries
Fit to frighten starved canaries
Thus Lester in sheer befuddlement stopped
Away they rolled with a jinglesome clamor
That caused the harlequin to shuffle and stammer
In sorrow when the fool realized
A jester was just a man disguised
Unbelled, he was but a carpenter with no hammer
All his lines without punch, his mimes in a crunch
Bereft as Quasimodo without the slightest hunch
Lester recognized his folly
And pursued those bells, by golly
Trailing a stream of cats who thought they were lunch
The clown pitched a heated tantrum as he skipped
Behind the tiny bells that tolled and flipped
Poor Lester’s temper would be lost
He vented frantically the cost
Of replacing the ring-dingies wishful thinking had stripped
The follower gambolled like the clumsiest ox
After the chimes that sped quicker than the slickest fox
Downhill they spilled and bounced
To an alley where Lester pounced
For his bells had come to a dead end, landing in a box.
A circus of clownfish paddled up the proverbial creek
To visit Shytown and give the locals there a peek
At the sleek and ditzy antics
Of flipping, flopping, dripping frantics
And an aquarium sideshow with an eight-legged freak.
The fangs of the backbiting Slingsnatch
Will stab your spine and your nerves attach,
Then into your courage sink cusps like pins . . .
While those teeth flash a few thousand grins,
Out of your flesh will its legions hatch!
There once was a crazed poet named Du Bard
Who preferred doing everything too hard
When composing a limerick
She attempted a gimmerick —
Now that poet doesn’t know it but she needs to be on guard
For one dark and stormy night the verses purpled
She killed off her darlings which turpled
Poetic license expired
Her muse up and retired
Then the darlings returned, zombidly extirpled.
Under the twinkling stars of a punch-drunken sky
Lurked a lionhearted snake with a spit in its eye
And a cold midnight gleam in its lengthy tooth,
That could bite much worse than a tiger-shark truth —
For daring to exist without a good reason why.
The grim writher thrived in a fey ambiance of doom,
His ego sinister, with a quantity of gloom,
Abiding in shadow, safe from the arched necks
Of rabid appetites and feverish pecks . . .
Not a hair on his head, the thief burgled many a tomb.
Yet his nature called to be more than a woolly wyrm;
This compulsion ached at the apple-core of the squirm,
So he set out to devour the true undead
With hearts still beating, a warm brain in their head —
To transform, the portly man-eater’s diet must be firm.
Bald and plump, wearing a kingly bristle-patch beard,
This snaggle-jawed whiskered chomp stalked the night most feared.
His belly grumbled and growled the more he prowled;
Incensed, the creep left city and village fouled —
As he crawled amuck, the garish bandit gobbled and leered.
He possessed no remorse for these dire banquets and feasts;
Considering humans the lowest and vainest of yeasts,
He fed as if he deserved far more than others,
For he had no sisters, no friends or brothers —
A solitary hairy monster, remotely wilder than wildebeests . . .
He gulped down the sleeping and chased the night owls,
Relishing their horror, the sharp pitches of men’s howls,
Then curled in a cave to sleep it off, a bloated slug,
The binge’s weight like an overdose of drug . . .
At last the brimming scourge boasted twelve chins and jowls.
The serpent had gorged and burgeoned till he couldn’t move,
Then encased himself with a shell; tucked securely in his groove,
He would slumber and change to another shape:
A huge Buzzard Moth, each wing like a cape —
The worm had turned as if through magic, with a lengthy poof!
He was back to eating carrion, the decaying flesh of mortals,
While his flapping all in vain earned him choruses of chortles.
No longer feared, he was an object of contempt;
Being oversized did not make the moth exempt . . .
Too heavy to fly, the wretch must wait to feed like Bladderwortles.
March used to be so fierce with a lionic tempestuous roar
Of furor and chill, the final waves blustering from Winter’s shore.
Now most of it lies subdued, a mere bleat;
Even Antarctica has felt the heat —
Once the champion of cold, its vast iciness can thrive no more.
The ranks of Doomsday parade ever onward, full of grievous pomp,
With no trace of mercy, no compassion, the black army will tromp
Over flower and leaf, every plant . . .
All creatures must dread the sound of its chant
As the march led by Man rumbles forth — a grinding glorious stomp!
Wrought by intelligence, blind ambition and progress, day is done
And the night will be long; a harsh season of discontent shall run
The race of time and consequence for all,
Extremes unknown before this Roman fall.
A choir sings; I hear the knells ring; a violin plays for none.
Did we do enough when the hour was upon us like a glutton?
Or ignore the alarm, its gongs and chimes, and push the Snooze Button,
Along with the red nuclear launch switch,
As if possessing self-destruction’s itch?
Were we asleep, unguarded? But now is past time for tut-tuttin’.
Too late to close barn doors? March off to peace, not war? Settle the score?
We must prevail, I implore; not tread footsore, lose esprit de corps . . .
We can rise above these dreadful errors,
Cast aside our lifelong childhood terrors . . .
Do what we can however tardy, and change our fate forevermore!
I weep for March; how meek its wail, how weak and frail it thunders now.
Perhaps we can turn things around. We mustn’t give up, this I vow.
We are not quitters, merely slow to wake!
Let us join forces and these causes take . . .
It is time to hear a different drum, a hopeful beat; no curtain’s call to bow.
We must not break, must not forsake the gifts of humankind in strife.
So blessed are we, so rich the beauty of our world, each precious life —
The creatures who share it we owe so much,
To protect like children, shelter as such.
How can we not revere the nature that surrounds, once sweet and rife?
March on, let us! Not to a funeral dirge but a spirited fighting song!
It isn’t over until the battle is won; let us at last, each of us belong
To the right side and resist Abysmal’s tomb;
Give in to the just — grant Evil no room!
Here on a dismal landscape, let us do our best to amend the wrong.