Thirteen Things the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know about Blackbirds

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1.
New rule in your city:
Everything you know about blackbirds
Is about to change.

2.
The blackbird told me
One simple trick
To get the IRS off my back.

3.
Check out these
Hilarious blackbird fails!

4.
Revealed: secrets
Of the world’s richest blackbirds.

5.
Click here to view
Celebrity nude blackbirds!!!

6.
I am Nigerian prince
Recently come to possession
Of substantial Blackbirds.
Transmission of a small sum
To pay Customs duty
Enables their release to you.

7.
Watch how this chance meeting
Between two blackbirds
Erupts into violence.

8.
The unblinking eye
Of the blackbird
Is our last bulwark
Against terrorism.

9.
Here are six wild predictions
That came true
About a blackbird.

10.
Yes! Yes!
Blackbird!

11.
Red wing; black bird;
The all-in-all.
It takes millions of colors
To make this clear
So buy a new phone now

12.
Secret brain pill blackbirds are using
May soon let them
Replace humans.

13.
True science:
This blackbird
Kept in a sealed box
Was both alive and dead
And neither.

 

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All Quiet for the Queen (a prequel)

(Being an account of the Peculiar Events leading up to the Monstrous and Notorious Tragedy of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds who were martyred by being baked into a pie; and of the Warning previously issued to all Fowl within the Royal Earshot, which these aforementioned Blackbirds roundly ignored, to their own Detriment and Ultimate Demise; written by one, Witness to the Aforesaid Events.)

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Go quietly, quietly! Quell every sound,
You geese in the air and you quails on the ground!

You ducks with your querulous ducklings in tow,
You may go as you like; only quietly go.

No quacking; no quarreling; quash every cry;
Not a chirp from you blackbirds who quarter the sky!
The queen is asleep:
If you cease not to peep
She’ll awake and demand you be baked in a pie!

 

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No ideas but in things

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“No ideas but in things.”
William Carlos Williams

All righty then
so say I want an idea
you’re saying I need to
bust open a thing
and find an idea inside
maybe a bunch of them
twisting like worms

and then what?
What the hell
am I supposed to say
about all these busted things
and all these twisty ideas?

Because right now
the place is littered with things I’ve busted
that don’t work anymore
and won’t even stand up
and the ideas
have got into the floorboards
and the bag of sugar
and the mattress.

I tell you
if this is poetry
it’s nothing like what I was led to believe
back when they gave us
that wheelbarrow poem to read.

So tell me
sage of Paterson
tell me
old witch
old doctor
tell me what’s the big idea
mister thing?

 

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The Second Coming (Variations on a Theme by Yeats)

(after William Butler Yeats and James Harbeck)

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First Gyre

The falcon circled, then flew off; the falconer was pissed.
Well, what did he expect she’d do, with everything so dis
-combobulated?

Second Gyre

There’s a book I read, predicted this: come
the millenium, and things would fall apart, get discom
-bobulated.

Third Gyre

As you see: just look at this rum job:
A riddling monster, shambling through the sand, has discombob
-ulated the indignant birds.

Fourth Gyre

Brother, it’s a bad job—who
can stand to swim? The bloody tide’s so loose and discombobu
-lated.

Fifth Gyre

While the best lack all conviction, haters hate;
No wonder everything’s so fucking discombobulat
-ed.

Sixth Gyre

It’s been more than twenty centuries our end’s been fated:
And now it seems the whole damned world is discombobulated.

 

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Why can’t we read anymore?

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1.

Can books save us?
Chapters? Paragraphs? Words?
Is that overoptimistic?

2.

I feel perfectly engineered, marvelous,
not limited to events.

3.

Our brains, wired to the beautiful universe,
are important: a kind of glue that holds together
the world. I think, and knot together the fabric
one word at a time.

4.

There is a special kind of tool that flattens one self into another;
there are, often, beautiful universes to be found on the other side,
though this constant hopping from one to another is also exhausting.
My days are exhausting days.

5.

I exist, holding together the world.

6.

So I started making changes. Random, usually.
The shocking thing was how I didn’t have to fight time and space.
What a wonderful feeling it was!

7.

My mind, however, remains a problem.
If you have suggestions for that, please let me know.

8.

(I am starting something new here.)
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The Promised Hand

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(with apologies to Bruce Springsteen)

Well, I had a little accident when I was just a lad
I burned my hand, and listen, man, it hurt real bad
A couple years later, I met Doctor McGee
He saw my thumb and he said son, I guarantee
If you just give me a chance, I’ll make it good as new
I’ll make your hand perfect, yes I swear it’s true
I’ve done it many times before, I know just what to do –

McGee, he’s gonna howl
He don’t understand
But the judge found it simple, so he put it on remand
He said, “Son, you’ll get the damages that you demand
’cause you believed in the promised hand.”

He told me that my hand would be one hundred percent
I thought because he said it, that was just what he meant
Now I will never recover, my whole life is a wreck
When I think of that day it makes me mad as heck
He said your hand’s okay, but you deserve the best
He took a knife and then he cut this skin from my chest
Now my fingers are itching and I can’t get no rest…

McGee, he’s gonna howl
He don’t understand
But the judge found it simple, so he put it on remand
He said, “Son, you’ll get the damages that you demand
’cause you believed in the promised hand.”

The jury monetized the difference, it was quite a lot
Between the hand that I expected and the one I got;
And I’ve come to find out that I’m a famous case
Prominently featured in The Paper Chase
But what is all of it worth, when I can’t sleep at night?
My hand is matted and unsightly and it looks a fright
If I could take it all back, I really think that I might…

But every graduate of law school
All across this land
They may forget my name but they recall my hand
I’m more famous than that guy who killed the fox and ran…

’cause I believed in the promised hand
’cause I believed in the promised hand
Yeah I believed in the promised hand.

 

 

This may require some explanation… Internet, take it away:

 

Also, the guy who killed the fox was Jesse Pierson (in case you’ve forgotten). The image illustrating this little fiasco is “The Beast with Five Fingers” by Dave Wild, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license. Finally, a big if belated Thank you! to MAD Magazine for establishing legal precedent, in addition to generally sticking it to the man.

Stealing Firewood on a Snowy Evening

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I thought I could
Just chop some wood.
No one was near,
So that was good.

My horse’s ear
Flickered with fear —
Or maybe chill,
It wasn’t clear;

She waited till
She’d had her fill
Of polar air
There on that hill;

And then my mare
Shot me a glare
And left me there
And left me there.

 

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The Limerick-an Constitution: Article I

The Constitution of the United States (A Limerick Cycle)

Preamble and Article I

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Preamble

The Union we hereby decree
Shall be Just, Blessed, Tranquil, and Free.
We establish, ordain it,
And herein explain it,
Presuming you all will agree.

Article I.

Section 1.

The power for all Legislating,
Resolving, and also Debating,
Inheres in the Senate
And the Representat-
ives, as we’re herein designating.

Section 2.

Representatives each State supplies
Proportionally to its size.
(There’s provision for Slaves
And for Indian braves,
But that language no longer applies.)

Representatives serve for the space
Of two years, then must run a new race.
If one of them dies
Their Governor supplies
Us another to serve in his place.

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In Praise of Adjectives, Adverbs, Asides, Verbal Gewgaws, Blandishments, Rhyme for Rhyme’s Sake, Flummery, and the Like: A Demonstration

Consider the alternative:
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The sun glinted off the waves. It was midnight.
The moon was up. Everything was still.
The Walrus and the Carpenter were walking.

-Damn, said the Walrus.
-Yeah.

They walked for a while.

-It’s a lot of sand, the Walrus said.
-Nothing anybody can do about it, said the Carpenter.

After a while they met up with some oysters.
-Why don’t you boys come with us, the Walrus said.
The oldest one shook his head No but the young ones came along.

They walked for a while then stopped by a rock.
The Walrus wanted to talk but the oysters wanted to catch their breath first.
-Sure, said the Carpenter.
-Time for a snack anyway, said the Walrus.

-But not on us! said the oysters.
And the Walrus:
-Nice night, isn’t it?
And the Carpenter:
-Pass the bread.

-Kind of tough on the oysters, don’t you think? said the Walrus.
-It’s tough, said the Carpenter.
-Hard times, said the Walrus.
He pretended to wipe away a tear but he was really hiding the biggest oysters behind the handkerchief for himself so he could eat them.

-All right, said the Carpenter.
-Ready to head back?

By that time they had eaten all the oysters and it was still again.

The end.

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