Friday, December 31, 2010

Ignoble Experiments

    We saw you try to abscond,
    Thinking there were no witnesses
    To your carnage.
    Well, fat chance
    We caught a glance
    And what we beheld was

    First you guzzle our energy,
    Stamp "Cancelled" on our time tickets,
    You capricious jerk,
    And then you go and make
    The last month hard to take,
    Dark and horrible,
    Cold and bleak.

    Right, that's it. The above piece qualifies as a complete failure. No more poems should be written (by me, anyway) with the intention of creating an allegory for the concluding year. There are two good lines, "unpulchritudinous" and the part about "cancelled" getting stamped on time tickets and that's it. This is what happens when you're in a creative slump and try to force things. Instead, let's see what can happen with no preparation or agonizing at all.

    Towns, towns
    Speckled across the state,
    Anonymous and quiet.
    One million never-to-be-told stories
    Languish in the grain.

    Now that could go somewhere, though not anywhere terribly distant or notable. Still, it's better than the first heap of junk. How about some doggerel for good measure? *

    Even saintly monks in noble robes
    Lose patience with arachnophobes
    When they flail and melodramatize
    Over a spider 1/1000th their size.

    Welcome, 2011! Let's see what you've got. 

*What does "for good measure" mean, anyway?  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Your Asia


    She's a good kid,
    No thanks to you.
    Whatever she did,
    You failed to do.
    Now you've got trouble;
    She's grown up so fast.
    Demand's going to double.
    The good times won't last.

   Whoa, how very metaphorical! And deep. Is it a compliment when someone says your poem is deep or does it just mean the reader doesn't understand? It sounds like something I would say about a poem if I didn't get it. And it probably depends on what word the response to your poem begins with. If the literary critic (aka Kinko's employee) in question begins, "Dude, your poem is deep..." you know you're in big trouble.

    Another word to describe deep poetry is "lazy". Nothing frees the abstruse embedded in a cluttered and disorganized mind like sheer idleness. All that stuff you declined to employ before on the grounds of low quality or poor clarity comes pouring out now like rust in an old petroleum tank. And no, there isn't anything wrong with that. We all need a purge once in a while and it's fine to compose that type of poem. Just don't try to elevate its status with illusory depth.

     Fed up with fuel prices and weary of pay at the pump, I abducted a Saudi Prince. Phil and I get along great; he's got Stockholm Syndrome already. But don't tell anyone it's me who has him, you know RH, the guy who lives in Chic--no, Belfast, er, Pretoria. Anyway, I've requested a lifetime supply of gasoline and they have obliged. All I have to do now is raise money for a pipeline.    

Monday, December 27, 2010



    Clear the floor
    Hide the syringes
    Check the hinges
    On the door
    That old grumbler's rotten to the core.

    Run and hide
    Lie face down
    Just skip town
    Pretend you've died
    That old monster's coming for your hide.

    Kill the light
    Cut the power
    Jump the tower
    Damn the height
    That old devil executes on sight.

   Don't sing praise
   Do not flatter
   Simply scatter
   Savor your days
   That old ghoul destroys in many ways. 

    Just a poem today, no interesting commentary to follow. That makes it the same as any other day, except with less text.

   R (interpret that!) H  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blood and Trees

    Blood and Trees    

Born outside the House of Meat,
Gifts tossed at his tiny feet.
Wonder what he must have thought
About the trinkets he was brought.
Probably, how come no rattle?

Poor tot really had no chance
Against legions of sycophants
Stirring up some Holy War
With a catchy name to fight for
And chant amidst the battle.

    Whatever your religious or non-religious beliefs, from Christianity or Islam to animism or atheism, most of us can agree that the spirit of giving and renewed life are things quite worthy of celebrating. All religions, just like all people, deserve respect to a level commensurate to the respect they display for others. And of course, always begin under the assumption that said respect will be reciprocal and react appropriately if it is not. Just another bland version of holiday wishes. Oh, and all those are good, too. No need to sneer at Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or any of the other myriad salutations employed during this time of year. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is It Time for an Interview?

    Is It Time II?

Never a dream that wasn't truncated,
Broken off unevenly like a twig
Or chocolate bar rather than
The sharp, cauterized mercy
Of surgical precision.

Bound into wakefulness,
Into time to go to work,
Time to cut the grass,
Time for the bright sky to alarm you
Or the sun to make you squint.

Feed the pesky cat who scratches
On the door into the garage.
Placate the noisy kids who stir you
Early on Christmas morning.
Do something! Your opportunity

To do nothing arrives soon enough.

    With Christmas rapidly approaching, I landed an exclusive interview with Santa Claus. He joined me via satellite from his Polar home.

    RH: Good afternoon, Mr. Claus, thank you for agreeing to speak with me.

    SC: I hate the media.

    RH: Doesn't everyone?

    SC: Yes, it's one of the best scapegoats we've got. I always mark them as "naughty" on December 26th every year and never alter the status.

    RH: Do you really check your list twice?

    SC: Certainly not. Over the years, my job has become increasingly administrative. I don't spend a lot of time in the toy shop anymore; all that's gone too high tech for me. And with the increased population, management of the list has become my most important task, so I check the list far more than twice.

    RH: What about the whole "coal in the stocking" thing? Was that genuine?

     SC: It's based on a real incident, but I never intended it as a punishment. I put coal in a little boy's stocking one year because he asked for it. Cold winter, you see.

    RH: Most people probably don't realize it, but your accent is pretty much inscrutable. Seems to be a hint of Germanic but with American "Rs", maybe a little Scandinavian in there, too.

    SC: Well, I get around, don't I? And whenever a child wakes up and catches me with the milk and cookies, no matter what country it's in, I have to be prepared to speak the language.

     RH: Are there any languages you can't speak?

    SC: I struggled for a long time with any language that features palatal clicks, but now I'm used to it. I'm a dab hand at Zulu and Xhosa, but didn't bother much with Ndebele. It's very similar to Zulu and I got lazy.

    RH: So you can speak the Eastern languages like Mandarin, too?

     SC: Well, the Chinese government doesn't let me deliver, something about violating their airspace. And don't get me started on North Korea. A couple of the reindeer lost their antlers dodging missiles in 2007 and I haven't gone back there since. So it is possible that I'm a little rusty at some of those languages, but I have studied them. When you're immortal, you have a lot of time to do these things, even if you're usually busy with other matters.

    RH: Pardon my directness, but you don't seem to be very fat at all.

    SC: With the global obesity problem, I decided it was best to drop the weight. Mrs. Claus didn't like it much, not that she's still overweight because she lost it easier than I did. But she detests cooking with canola oil and checking things for trans fat. Bit of a nuisance, she says. I guess she's set in her ways.

    RH: Do you really have elves working for you?

     SC: Never did, actually. Anyone with a presentable resume' and high tolerance for cold weather conditions can work for me. It's true that in the early days I hired mostly short people due to the layout of the workshop, lack of headroom and all that. That's probably how the notion got started.

    RH: Thank you so much for joining us, sir. Will you say it for everyone, please, the catchphrase for which you've become so famous?

    SC: No one likes you.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Copy, Right?

    On this day, no poem is forthcoming. Whether this represents a failure of inspiration or discipline could be a matter of rancorous debate if anyone cared (it's probably a little of each, though) The inspiration, the muse, the unseen forces that drive creative artists are sometimes overemphasized in writing, just as the discipline, commitment to craft, and consistently productive habits can be undervalued. Still, there is no denying the importance of each. It's exactly 50/50. All right, so sometimes it's 61/39 and other times it's 44.4/55.6, but most of the time it's exactly 50/50 or 51/49. And those figures are definite and unassailable. It's been proven over and over in study after study. *

    Would this be a good time to ask other writers if they want their own poems to appear on this website? If you're looking to earn no money whatsoever and introduce your creative writing to an audience of several, by all means leave a comment including your E-mail address and we'll get back to you. Relatively short poetry works best and make sure you include whatever name you want credited. Also, it would be nice if the poems do not suck, but that last point is fairly negotiable.

    Monty Hall Can't Help You Here

The cat seems to think
If one door opens into snow and ice,
Try the other just in case
It leads into somewhere nice.
So far, she's been wrong
Every time, but some day
I hope to walk out of December
And directly into May. 

    I didn't lie. When I started to write I had nothing. Even that little number is rather derivative, based on genuine, observed feline behavior, but also reminiscent of an old Robert Heinlein story called "The Door Into Summer." Most poems are derivative. It's been proven over and over. **

*Source: None
**Source: Ibid

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nobody Cares About Your Analysis


With your fancy pants manners
And your too-polite hips
Would never sit with me
To watch the eclipse.

Would be daintily bobbing
Your head in a nod
To someone related
Very closely to God.

    Corporate Inspiration

The bottom line is,
At the end of the day,
Myself will go forward
In a proactive way.

    For short poems, it seems the rhyming variety works better. I don't know precisely why this is and it's all a matter of personal preference, but I've never been enamored of William Carlos Williams, who composed short, non-rhyming pieces about wheelbarrows, white chickens and plums. They seemed more like sentences to me. On the other hand, the short rhymes of Langston Hughes can be quite scintillating. It's not that I dislike poetry that doesn't rhyme; some authors do it very effectively and I have dabbled in it myself with varying success. But the shorter the work, the more prose-like it seems if there's no rhyme. Below is one of the few brief, non-rhyming pieces I've ever penned.

    Unfinished Poem

Sometimes I don't complete my poems,
Leaving them slipshod,
Like a little boy's bed.
I am not proud of this

    A reader need only examine T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" to determine how powerful non-rhyming poetry can be, but that poem is of middling length and was also conceived by a legend.

    Difficult to Interpret Statement of the Day: I'd be lying if I said I was telling the truth.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Don't Mask, Don't Conceal

            Don't Mask, Don't Conceal           

    I can't understand
    Why a straight man
    Would view gays resentfully.
    Whenever I
    See a guy with a guy,
    I think, that's more women for me,
    At least statistically.

    Now that the openly homosexual can serve in the military, what happens to the stereotypical cast of soldiers in war movies? You know, there's always the guy from New York, the redneck/hillbilly, the farm boy, maybe a surfer dude, the black guy or the Latino guy and sometimes both--if it's a really progressive film--usually an Italian guy, too, unless he's merged with the guy from New York, but then the New York guy could also be Jewish. Do they introduce the gay guy now? And will this be done at the expense of one of the other characters or in addition to? They could do a little combining and the gay character might also be from New York or a surfer. He could have a boyfriend back home that he wrote letters to but couldn't marry (in most States).

    To discuss this recent political development, I met with Massachusetts representative Barney Frank, the only overtly gay member of Congress (remember, I said overtly), and former head of the British National Party and ostensibly reformed Neo-Nazi Nick Griffin in a dark, smoky coffee house outside of Boston.
    "So what's the significance of this?" I asked the gay guy and the gay basher.
    But neither of them answered. They were too busy gazing (gayzing?) into one another's eyes. I left them alone and took the subway to Cambridge.

    (RHoid rage, suckas!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dwayne and Keith Get the Treatment

        Rock Ballad

We smell what's cooking.
Even after you finished
Rasslin', rhoidin', lungin',
You continued preenin' and plungin',
Drawing cringes for your
Alleged thespiatrics.
Do you smell the films you've been in?
At least you don't mumble like Vin Diesel
And I'm sure your bank account
Is as prodigious as your biceps.

               Ode to Keith Richards

18 December 1943, sleepy London town under siege
Baby Blitz accompanies baby Keith
The thunder, the lightning, the tremendous force
Explains it all, mate.

    A reader suggested the poem about The Rock and Keith Richards had to be mentioned because it's his birthday.

    Perfume and cologne don't make a lot of sense. Perhaps my olfactory palette lacks sophistication, but there doesn't seem to be much difference between one fragrance and another; it's all alcohol and essence of some floral aggregation. Nothing wrong with it, of course, but hardly worth $75.00 a bottle! Perhaps that could be the subject of the next poem. Or not.

    Listen to the Cheryl Scott Show on Crocodile Internet Radio, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 2pm and 6pm GMT, 9am to 1pm EST. If you want to know what time that translates to in Oklahoma City, Dar Es Salaam, or Kuala Lumpur, you'll have to figure it out for yourself.

(don't take any wooden nickels)

Friday, December 17, 2010

First Lines

   These are not finished works, but rather the first few lines of pieces that could be good if they had more content, or better phrasing, or were written by somebody else who was good at, well, you know, poetry.

Until the sun pokes
The big red corner
Of its eye into the horizon,
It ain't morning.

Farmer Kent's electric fence
Failed beside the graveyard.
Now cattle graze where headstones praise;
Caretaker's job got hard.

    I hitchhiked up to Huntington, Indiana this morning to speak with former Vice President Dan Quayle. At Thorpe Creek, near the Lapel exit, Julian Assange pulled over in his bass-thumping Escalade to offer me a lift. I climbed aboard, hearing moans from the back seat.
    "Enough," Assange hissed, "We've got company."
    Louis Farrakhan and Debbie Schlussel halted what appeared to be a torrid make out session to greet me, although he left his hand on her thigh. We rode up I-69 in virtual silence, the barren, snowy Midwestern fields spreading out endlessly before us.
    "Desolation row," I muttered.
    "No Bob Dylan references," said Assange, "I've already warned Farrakhan."
    We reached Huntington but former Vice President Quayle no longer lives there. Luckily, he happened to be visiting the Museum that bears his name so we caught up with him there. At first he only wanted to admit Farrakhan and Assange, but the former lobbied for Schlussel and Assange lobbied against me, which seemed to impel the ex-VP to be oppositional and let me in.
    The discussions were unforgettable but, of course, classified. Julian will be printing them next week but has until then sworn us to secrecy. We did eat some very flavorful potatoe chips, though.

Thursday, December 16, 2010



I don't really care
What you've done with your hair
Or what sports team you detest.
I don't really think
How much you drink
Falls in my realm of interest.

It hardly matters to me
That you never miss "Glee"
Or that your period's late.
I don't need your snark
Or your caustic remark
About a political candidate.

So you move right on;
Take your phone and get gone.
I'm sure you're all wrapped up in you.
But that's just as well;
Your life's a tough sell
Since no one else cares what you do.

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was recently named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Time's subscription numbers have been declining for some time, consistent with the diminishing influence of printed magazines overall. Yet, so many people who don't care about Time Magazine, don't read it, barely even see it, except at a newsstand or in a doctor's office, never fail to take umbrage at whomever Time names as person of the year.

     I objected wholeheartedly to Zuckerberg's victory, if one could call it that (perhaps recognition is a superior word), but instead of criticizing Time Magazine, I drove to Zuckerberg's house and punched him in the face! Thanks, MZ, for all the inane commentary, petty bullying, and nonsensical social groups; thanks for all the wasted time and ruined relationships. I know it isn't really your fault, but I can't punch everybody in the face, can I?    

    By the way, Zuckerberg attempted a counterattack but I had already left his property. That's what he gets for updating his status to "Has Just Been Punched In the Face" before trying to retaliate.

    I shall endeavor to compose several poems per week. Check back daily, either because you enjoy the verse or because you detest them and are looking out of morbid curiosity.

                                                                                                                    RH (that's right, fools!)