Pawn with a Cribbage Peg Leg

Games are mathematics diluted in imagination.
Backgammon a stepladder of pure numbers.
Checkerboard a diamond of bad hops.
All war games are spawn of great lord chess.
Monopoly is the capitalist Candy Land.
Dominoes are playing cards’ plump children.
Probability’s bones made of dice and spinners.
Genetic odds and evens in a helix of competition.
An equation whose solution is dusted with distraction.
And the constant variable of passing time.
It’s enough to make one lose his marbles.

From Russia With Love

Does watching Snowden break the law?
The government knows what you saw.
Will they now brand you as a traitor,
haul you off to somewhere later?
Once you were a common Joe.
Now you’re in Guantanamo.
Siding with a whistle blower
equates you with a bomb thrower.
Standing up for liberties
now means exile overseas.
Every time you click your mouse,
Uncle Sam is in your house.
Trigger words might make him sore,
then a SWAT team’s at your door.
Goodbye wife and family.
I just wanted to live free.

Controlled Insurgency Act

Get a bunch of lying, cheating
billionaires together.
It’s a bet there’ll be a spate
of money-making weather.
Bonds will bury dupes in debt;
be the biggest bank heist yet.
Who the hell is pulling all these reins?
Benevolent leader’s not the brains.
What’s the price of selling all our souls?
Years of power on the jelly rolls.
Is there nothing we will pull up short of?
Kidnapping, death, rape and torture, sort of.
We play fast and loose with the convention.
Some say that subversion’s our invention.
One world domination’s our intention.
Like a child, you paid us no attention.

Rust Belt

A rusting pile of iron ore
lies on the floor for purposes unknown.
Down on the block an old gamecock
has found himself upon the clock and flown.
While whistles sigh and poets die,
the people cry for more or less the same.
Rebounding sound drifts to the ground,
is swept round into corners like a game.
The city’s streets are all swap meets
where cheats and grounded fleets waste precious time.
In theory things are dreary but,
like everywhere, one’s gotta make a dime.
It’s not enough when things are tough
to get by on just trickery and guile.
Sometimes when gods or demons call your bluff,
you’ve got to roam the underground awhile.

Quack Up

Elmer and Daffy were acting up again,
and, as always, sporting firearms.
They were at a rally in the ‘deep’ south,
a sea of bright red hats and dull pink faces.
Alcohol had made their speech incomprehensible.
Daffy: "Sufferin’ suckers’ tax."
Elmer: "Kill da wabbit!" (Roe v. Wade)
Many tee shirts advocated violence.
Daffy’s was the only black face seen.
Women carried signs which just said, "That Bitch!"
It was like a theme park for the mad.
"Build a wall!" and "Keep our guns," they shouted.
When out of a shining clown town car
a cartoon politician did emerge,
the roiling crowd quite simply went insane.

The Shadow Nose

Snuffling is not sniveling
except in certain cases
when said snuffler is grimacing
and making funny faces,
and saying things that sound like lies
and are, in fact, not fact,
and covering with alibis,
a crazed autodidact.
He sniffs because he’s so damned smart.
He snuffles ’cause he’s rich.
He sees the poor as servant stock
and women are a bitch.
Why should he pay his own fair share
when shares can well be stolen?
Why should life be sky blue and green
when it can be made golden?
He’s "wrong." He’s "wrong."
His head is filled with ghastly monarch notions.
His heart sings only greed’s dark song.
Protect the land and oceans.

Charley Antler Windsock

The song of the crow
was his raison d’etre.
He’d climb a tree, dressed in black,
and recite the words, written in bird.
He never did experience
any great desire to fly.
But every time he passed a cornfield,
he felt a burning hatred of straw men.

Vermicelli Botticelli

Put the needle on the noodle.
Listen to the pasta play.
It’s the whole kit and caboodle.
There is nothing more to say.
Get some penne and some paper.
Fill the tubes with marinara.
Writing this way is a caper.
Sign your work ‘Scarlet O’Hara.’
Use spaghetti as a paintbrush.
For paint, use alfredo sauce.
Flay the canvas in a great rush.
Critics will be at a loss.
You can be a pasta artist.
All it takes is attitude.
Just insist that those are smartest
who make beauty out of food.

Calibrations in the Terror Zone

John Cale was in the House of Anthrax
before we’d even heard that word called terror.
Terror is the unmoving phalanx of cars
stretched twelve miles short of the city.
Terror is a cloud you can’t describe.
Terror is the sound of engines silenced,
unlimited progress on a flat map.
Terror is the recoil of beauty,
a birthmark buried in hate.
Terror is the unthinkable act
played out eternally as afterthought.