Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Have No Soul, You Piece of Shit

I was walking to the bank
To cash a check, when
Suddenly I heard commotion
From inside.

A young woman with
Her child stalked out
Through the door and
Yelled at who must have been
The loan officer:

You have no soul,
You piece of shit!

She slammed the door
And drove away
But left me thinking over
What she said.

Was it true,
Was she unfair,
Was it beyond the
Officer’s control?

You have no soul,
You piece of shit!

It rang out in my ears
As I imagined a sort
Of soulless, putrid shit pile
Laughing at the poor.

I swore I smelled
Its stench. My eyes
Burned with harsh

You have no soul,
You piece of shit!

The next day I went
To meet this person
And discover what
The woman meant.

I asked the teller
Where to see them
And they paused,
Uneasy saddened.

She hung herself
Last night, I’m sorry.

Moon Shot

If I did not shoot for the moon
I would never touch the stars.

If I did not dream big
I would not dream at all.

If I knew my limits
I would have to have some.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Spider

Bo was watching the floor intently. She had just lied down after walking around for a good ten minutes or so. Something seemed to be up.

I sighed, turned off the TV and went over to her. There, in front of Bo, was a spider. But Bo did not seem interested in eating it as usual. She simply watched as it crawled back and forth between her paws.

Almost immediately I got out a tissue. My hand moved slowly toward squashing the arachnid. I could see six eyes peering up at me, eight legs frozen in place. It was a moment in slow motion, I recall. Or one so fast, it could only seem to be. All I knew, microseconds from killing the spider, was my dog, leaping up at me and forcing its body between us.

I fell on my back and tried crawling toward the spider with my arm stretched out. Bo barked and grabbed the tissue in her teeth. I couldn’t wrest it from her as hard as I tried.

With me immobilized by curiosity, Bo got up and the spider walked back inside her mouth. I couldn’t understand. It seemed an impossible friendship.

From then on I didn’t come between them. Bo carried the spider with her everywhere. They ate together, they slept together, they did everything together.

Seasons passed, with snow and heat. Often in the colder months the spider could be seen huddled up inside Bo’s fur.  In the hotter temperatures it relished taking in the breeze felt underneath Bo's wagging tail.

But in the Spring, a year since they had met, things changed. Bo didn’t roam around; she simply lied outside. Underneath her was the slightest mound, and if you believe that dogs can cry, dirt wet with tears.

I grabbed a Milk Bone to console her. She ate it as I petted, said a prayer. But before I even finished, Bo was off. A caterpillar had caught her gaze somewhere in the distance. She brought it back to where I was and set it on the ground. A dog, both cursed and blessed to love and lose, I thought along our walk back to the house.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Haiku Ranting

I want to believe
I can put Humpty Dumpty
Together again.

I want to believe
The Easter Bunny left me
Baskets in my youth.

I want to believe
The Tooth Fairy was above
Having a fetish.

I want to believe
Santa came down our chimney
And ate the cookies.

I want to believe
Money doesn’t rule the world
Possess our spirits.

I want to believe
There’s some good in all of us
Despite reality.

I want to believe
World peace and other nonsense
That’s impossible.

I want to believe
In afterlife and heaven
But I'm rational.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gnomes of Coyûl in Paperback

Ben Ditmars' novel, Gnomes of Coyûl is now Available on Amazon for Kindle and Print.

It's finally happened. Gnomes of Coyûl is now available in paperback via Createspace.  So, enjoy this tale on 100% real paper!  Or, 90% real paper.  Either way, it's pretty good.

And just in time for the holidays!  That includes Kwanzaa, but sadly not Hanukkah.  Sorry Israel, there's always next year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Likens has been defanged
I realize as I drive the road
That once seemed vibrant,
Quaint, perhaps alive.

A silver bullet hit its heart
That day he moved away
And now a lengthy corpse decays
From 98 to somewhere off route 4.

I lay flowers by its marker,
County Highway 1-6-7,
Remembering the times we shared,
In concerts, parties, playing games.

I drive the old, forgotten route,
That’s snowy and unplowed,
In need of salt to melt the ice,
And dim from one less house’s light.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The God of Sex

I dreamed I met the God of Sex
A humpback trickster Kokopelli
Playing flute and charming women
As a rainbow serpent.

He called himself Tonacatecuhtli
Lord of Our Sustenance,
Who warmed the earth
And made it fruitful.

None argued when he changed his form
To Priapos and then Adonis
Bragging that his death brought on
The anemone and windflower.

It was, he, the young lover of Venus
With a permanent erection,
Two arms, a club and lotus
In his hands.

Yet it was also Inuus having sex
With different animals, and
Shalman off at war or
In the underworld.

These and all thoughts raced
As Gedi showed us fire,
And then became a faded
Drumbeat in our ears.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Down the Chimney and Stuck

The North Pole was foreclosed upon,
Eight reindeer repossessed;
The workshop’s now an auction house
Where children bid on toys.

Yes, the rumor’s true that Santa Claus
Went big red belly up.

Don’t blame the Candy Cane Bank
It’s not their fault Old Saint Nick
Couldn’t keep his snow white beard
And rosy cheeks above the ice.

Father Christmas was a bad investment
I heard one Bank CEO say to another
He gave too much away without
Collecting proper dividends.

I guess Old Chris Cringle paid the price
As now he’s holding out his hat
For cookies on Fifth Avenue,
And people call him drunk.

The right jolly old elf
Asks for cocoa in the soup line
But he never gets it,
Just his half-potato
With some broth and
This rancid looking
Piece of meat that’s
Floated there too long.

Hunger’s a good motivator
I've heard the politicians say.
But they've never huddled with
The garbage to keep warm
Like St. Nick and countless
Others like him.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fire Red

Stunning, shocking from a ball
To dominate your foes–
Gotta catch ‘em all.

Heeding the Professor’s call
Traveling the caves and fields and river flows–
Stunning, shocking from a ball.

Fighting Crusher girls in brawls,
Enduring rival and Team Rockets blows
Gotta catch ‘em all.

Running fearless down the Silph Co. Halls
Finding grunts and going toe to toe
Stunning, shocking from a ball.

Saving towns from villains great and tall
On foot or bike or bird through Kanto
Gotta catch ‘em all.

Climbing every wall
Turning every stone –
Stunning, shocking from a ball
Gotta catch ‘em all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Secret Agent Gnome

Krista:  Hey Hafrank, can we not have an adventure that’s topical or trendy for once?

Hafrank:  Of course; just let me finish sending these classified documents to Der Spiegel.

Krista:  Oh my!

There's a gnome who leads a life of quasi-danger.
To everyone he meets he’s friendly and totally not a stranger.
With every acorn-pie he makes, another chance at culinary excellence he takes.
Odds are with Krista, Nick and John Travolta around it won’t live to see tomorrow.

Secret agent gnome
Secret agent gnome
They've given you a red hat,
and taken away your fruit-cart.

Announcer:  This episode is brought to you by Mastercard… NOT.

Hafrank:  Take that diplomacy!

Krista:  Hafraaank, this is a bad idea!

Hafrank:  The world needs transparency Krista and I provide that.

Krista:  But at what cost?

Hafrank:  Shut up GW!  Now, to release these vulnerable places terrorists should attack.

Krista:  Oh, Hafrank, this is bad.  Why not expose real injustices like you used too?

Hafrank:  Like when my allowance didn’t meet the federal requirements for minimum wage?

Krista:  Exactly!

Hafrank:  I can’t Krista, it would ruin my ego trip.  Now, this hospital looks like a good place to bomb as does this life saving medicine manufacturer!

Krista:  You’ve left me no choice.

Hafrank:  What do you mean?

Krista:  I’m going to have to ground you.

Hafrank:  Noooo!  If you do a whole bunch of embarrassing documents about you will be released and I will be a martyr.

Krista:  To whom?

Hafrank:  John Travolta.

John Travolta:  Heck yes, he will!

Krista:  Johnny, if you support Hafrank, we’ll cut you off financially.

John Travolta:  That doesn’t seem very fair.

Krista:  It might not, but I’m the law in this house, and other houses… also England.

Nick walks in wearing a night cap.  Also, drinking one

Nick:  What’s going on in here?

Krista:  Hafrank’s becoming a super villain.

Nick:  Relax, Krista, it’s a toy computer.

Toy computer:  The cow says… Julian Assange did some great things with exposing Abu Graib, Guantanamo, despotism in Africa and other injustices but seems to have lost his way in breaking down diplomatic relations and exposing vulnerable locations to attack.  It seems he’s using information more as a weapon to fight his own battles anymore than something to enlighten the world toward greater understanding and cooperation amongst peoples.

Krista:  That toy computer says some conveniently ironic things.

Nick:  No, it’s completely random.

Toy computer:  Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids.

Nick:  See.

Krista:  Well, I guess you’re right…

Toy Computer:  Revenge is a dish best served cold… bitch.

Krista:  Oh, Come on!

Hafrank:  Oh, toy computer!

Gordon Gee:  Oh come let's sing Ohio's praise
And songs to Alma Mater raise
While our hearts rebounding thrill
With joy which death alone can still
Summer's heat or winter's cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely show
How firm thy friendship ... OHIO!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

King of Clubs

When every song’s about the club
Someone drinking, dancing, having sex
We forget the true ideals from playing cards
Where King of Clubs reflects
Good character and loyalty,
The realization of ideals.

When every song’s about the club,
Those outwardly cheerful,
But few inwardly reserved
We wonder if it’s lust or love
That draws them to the Diamond Queen.

How I Learned to Factor Fear: Version 2

A factor is simply a number that is multiplied to get a product
You must take apart the number, get inside and see its prime
Multiplying its existence in reverse to see the values, lessons learned
From one, three, seven, eleven, thirteen, seventeen, nineteen.

Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.
Whether the threat is real or imagined, you must get inside,
Reverse multiply to see the values
Of loss, vice, anger, anguish, sadness, solace, torment –

The roots of which we can’t compare
Or find a solid sum in anyway removed
From theoretical equations forcing and
Entreating us toward zero.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

How I Learned to Factor Fear

A factor is simply a number that is multiplied to get a product
You must take apart the number, get inside and see its prime
Multiplying its existence in reverse to see the values, lessons learned
From one, three, seven, eleven, thirteen, seventeen, nineteen.

Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.
Whether the threat is real or imagined, you must get inside,
Reverse multiply to see the values
Of loss, vice, anguish, anger, sadness, solace, torment.

Class is dismissed; leave your papers on the desk
Fate will get to grading them, if I do not
But it will be less kind.

There will be a pop quiz sometime in life,
And as always, a final that ends when you hear:
Pencils down.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Through the Waterfall

I went right through the waterfall
And saw a little creature rolled up in a ball.

I went up to him and I petted him
And he said oogie-woogie-dim.

So I looked up the words on my telephone
And it said I’m on my own.

The creature turned around and I saw his chest
It was quite unlike the rest.

Where humans have hair, he had a jewel
And I thought that was quite cool.

I tried to reach out to touch it some
But his face got angry like a plum.

He bit my wrist and he slapped my face
Saying huggo boggu slace.

Fed up, I turned and I started to leave
But his breath began to weave.

The little guy spun and fell down hard
Like a diamond house of cards.

For a moment it seemed his jewel would burst
But I quickly got their first.

With one arm I picked up and carried him out
To get fresh air and roam about.

The light shined his chest, it hurt his eyes
And I felt bad to make him cry.

Thankfully I had a scarf for his head
That worked to ease his dread.

But as I tied it on some hunters came
And ever were they lame.

One pushed me down, the other spat
Asking what was with the rat?

I tried to convince them it was a pet
But they’d seen the jewel chest set.

I closed my eyes as they came with a knife
To end the creature’s life.

With all of his might
He put up fight.

He kicked and he scratched,
The knife he snatched.

Yet, the hunters got it back
And shoved him in their sack.

I’ll never forget what happened though
As the bag lit up and started to glow.

Green jets began to break the seams
And on the hunters’ faces gleamed.

In an instant the creature and they were gone
Extinguished on a burnt black lawn.

My tears fell heavy, as my head made sense
How this was the creature’s last defense.

I looked wet-eyed toward the sky to see
What looked like raining seeds.

They fell to the ground
So small and round.

And next, as every, Spring
More creatures grew to sing:

Ogga bogie loe
Mogie yitti ho!


Love with the passion of the greatest wars.
Live with the foresight of the wisest men.
Learn with the prerogative that it is gold.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Dark Mark

We’ve all committed evil deeds
And longed to tell someone, something
In effort to reduce the weight.

In doing so it seems our souls
Flake off and cling to those
Persons, objects of affection.

Thus pains and hope live on
Inside a heart or surface
Of a prized possession

That will not break
Or age with time but
Rather stay a constant.

For emotions always
Leave their mark and
Seldom are undone.

And so it is, in real-life fairy tale
We’ve made a horcrux
Of our self.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mine Tokyo Rose

You were misunderstood mine Tokyo Rose
An outsider abroad and still at home
And now it seems your aura flows
Across the long, vast ocean foam.
Caught in the War because of a face
You reached out the only way you knew
Through waves that bounced in open space
To comfort those that sailed and flew.
But it seems the innocent will suffer most
In times of peace as well as war
Thus mixed with other voice-like ghosts
Courts tagged you as a treas'nous whore.

Your husband, your future stolen away
No solace met your Pardon Day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gnome Jong Il

Gnome Company; Always on the run
Destiny is the garden's rising sun
Oh Hafrank was born with a flower in his hand
Behind a root he'll make my final stand
That's why they call it gnome company
And you can't deny
Gnome company
Till the day we die
Till the day we die

Announcer: This episode of Gnome Company is brought to you by holiday cheer… the only liquor strong enough to get you through the season.

Hafrank:  I’m so happy we chose to have Thanksgiving on an island off the disputed coast of South Korea this year.

Krista:  North Korea!

Krista hits Hafrank with a chair

Hafrank:  Like I said, disputed.

Nick:  The turkey’s done!

Hafrank:  Yum, this is way better than the assortment of acorns my family ate in the old country.

Krista:  You were bred in captivity, weren’t you?

Hafrank:  I imagine the cage with plastic rocks to be my old country.

Nick:  I think the oven just beeped.

Krista:  You just took the turkey out though.

Nick:  Well, then that could only mean…

Hafrank:  MISSILE!

Nick:  Everybody get in the oven!

Krista:  Hafrank, where are you going?

Hafrank:  I’m grabbing the food.

Krista:  But Kim’s missile is coming right for us!

Hafrank:  If we see God hungry and eat all the good stuff at the heavenly buffet, he’s going to change his mind and send us to hell.

Krista:  True.

Nick:  Get the cranberry sauce!

Krista:  Mashed potatoes!

Missile hits, reducing everything but the oven to a crater; Nick sticks his head out

Nick:  Hafrank, we’ll need the gravy too.

Announcer:  And we’ll right back… when I get paid my holiday bonus.

George W. Bush:  Hello, I betcha ya’all heard about my new book that done come out.  It’s called Decision Points he he he.  And I’m here to tell you it makes for a good stockin stuffer.  You hearin’ that Mom?  They wouldn’t give me a free copy.  So, everyone, especially mom, better go out and get them some of this here litrary gold.  The profits totally won’t go to fund nefarious purposes, like a new war against Iran.  What’s that Cheney, it will?  You didn’t want me to tell them that? Well shit on a stick!

Announcer:  I got enrolled in the jelly club!  Those fucks!

Hafrank:  Ow…

Nick:  Is the gravy ok, Hafrank?

Hafrank:  I fell in it.

Nick:  But, it’s still good, right?

Hafrank:  If you like it off my ass.

Nick:  Beggars can’t be choosers, scrape it off!

Krista:  Wait, Nick… maybe we should find out who is responsible for the attack.

Nick:  That sounds like talk from someone who’s not hungry anymore.  Is that… a whole turkey you’re snarfing?

Krista:  Maybe.

Nick:  You can’t say maybe when you’re still eating the evidence!

Hafrank:  Ow…

Nick:  Stop your bellyaching Hafrank!

Hafrank:  I think a gravyboat is lodged in my kidney.

Nick:  Then sail it out!

Krista:  You should tend to his wounds, Nick.

Nick:  Oh all right, I guess I better… hey, you’re eating the casserole now!

Krista:  I thought the suffering of a loved one would be a good distraction for you.

Nick:  Well, you’re wrong.

Hafrank:  Missile…

Nick:  Yes, Hafrank, we’ve already determined that.

Hafrank:  Other, Missile…

Nick:  Everyone back in the oven!

Krista:  Hafrank, be a dear and get the champagne.

Hafrank:  But…

John Travolta:  Hey!  How dare you make the cute gnome take all the punches.  That’s my job!

John Travolta puts Hafrank in the oven with a candy cane; Krista steals it

John Travolta:  Now, bring me all you got missile!

Missile hits John in the crotch

John Travolta:  Ow… perhaps a bit less of all you got…

Hafrank sticks his head out

Hafrank:  This missile says South Korea.

Nick:  So, they’re bombing themselves?

Krista:  That makes no sense.

Nick:  It’s common in history for one side to feign hostility.

Krista:  There’s no such thing as history.

Nick:  Well… damn.

Hafrank:  I think you need to see both sides Nick.

Nick:  How so?

Hafrank:  South Korea didn’t do this on purpose.  There’s just naturally at any given time a bunch of missiles flying back and forth.  It’s been that way for fifty years.

Ben Ditmars:  Hafrank, Nick your histories are both off the mark.  There’s a frequency of testing and drills to prepare for war that in itself forces tensions closer to war.  The fact that there is no discernible way to settle border disputes only heightens a long-brewing sense of paranoia.

Krista:  I like my answer better.

Nick:  Yeah, I’m going with Krista.  Her’s is easier to get.

Hafrank:  Here’s to no history!

Krista:  Oh, Hafrank!

Ben Ditmars:  But you just saying there's no history makes Krista's comment void!

Krista:  Nah, that's just the past.  History is when a bunch of white-wigged Romans get on their Trojan horses and tear down the Berlin Wall.  Also, something about a fat man sitting on Nagasaki.  He was sumo or something.

Ben Ditmars: You are beyond help, child.

Krista:  To infinity and beyond!

Hafrank:  I love Toy Story! Let's go watch!

Ben: Oh, Hafrank. And Buzz.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Touching Fable

I’d like to write a touching fable
Where characters might grow
Above God-given labels.

The protagonist could work in stables
Sifting dirtied hay out by the row –
I’d like to write a touching fable.

His love interest, Jan, will wait on tables
In the South, when thrived Jim Crow
Above God-given labels.

Her skin would be a lovely sable,
As each day seemed a harsh tableaux –
I’d like to write a touching fable.

Together they would live like Abel
Through hate and segregation’s throes,
Above God-given labels.

Years would pass and wind would blow
But the candle of their love remained to glow;
I’d like to write a touching fable
Above God-given labels.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I’d slit my wrists
If there was any blood
Left in my veins.

I’d sink and drown
Within the tub
But my lungs seized up
So long ago and are
As barren as my heart
Which beats enough to mock
But not sustain a life.

I’d leap off a local bridge –
Though I’ve been falling
For some time inside
My mind –
And taste the salt,
A sweet release if
Gravity would but
Cooperate in kind.

I’d aim the pistol
Up inside my mouth
To blow my brains
From out my skull
But it happens everyday
Without a trigger.

I’d wait for time to
Slowly work, yet odds are
I would live forever.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Isn’t it ironic how the earth
Is like the other Nine?

Mercury, a side of barren flame;
The opposing end of ice?

Venus with an atmosphere so thick
That cool breeze will seldom make it through?

Frigid, dusty Mars with evidence of life
Yet never any solid proof?

Jupiter a ball of gas with storms
That border on the ageless?

Saturn, with debris and moons
Clashing, warring in a spiral haze?

Uranus, poisonous and dim
An ice giant, king of frozen gloom?

Neptune tinted blue from methane gas
And seeming often melancholy?

Pluto, a mere ball of ice with moons,
Cast off in the scheme of things?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I, Midas

I touched an oak twig and stone
One day to see them turn to gold.

The curse, this Midas touch
However was not new.

Everything throughout my life –
Had become a statue in some way.

The emptiness of gold
Was evident in all relationships.

My hands touched friends, romantic interests
And they went away.

My family I embraced but
To have them disappear.

Their gilded shines remained, of course
In memories as if they were the twig and stone –

But that is all they are,
All they are.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brain Storm

Ivan and I were playing catch in the backyard. Nothing extravagant; just back and forth. He didn’t even have a proper glove; just an oven mitt. My bat was an old paper towel roll I had managed to dig out of the trash. Our sorry excuse for a ball was a combination of rubber bands and grayish yarn we had twisted together. Parts of it flaked off every time it struck the ground after inevitably missing the small tube of cylindrical cardboard.

Our hands began to feel numbed from the cold after an hour or two of me not hitting the ball. We decided on one more pitch for good measure, however before going inside for some hot tea mom had begun fixing. We had smelled the aromatic boiling of leaves and it made us long to finish up our experiment in baseball.

I got into position and Ivan threw. The amalgamation of rubber and strings whizzed past my bat and bounced along the ground. I chased after it and Ivan followed. But we could not seem to catch up. When I slowed down the ball appeared as if it was doing the same. When I sped up, it did too.

This went on for a good ten minutes, with us going further and further from the warmth of mother’s tea, until we reached a rabbit hole at the end of the yard. I was sure we could grab the ball out of there as it inevitably got stuck. But it was not quite so simple. The ball broke through layers of dirt shorter than it and tunneled through clay of the earth.

I put my eye level with the rabbit hole in disbelief. There was a silver-green gleam of sorts. Maybe that was our ball? I reached my hand in through worms and hand-forming clay to find out.

There was a tugging sensation. I contemplated how a rabbit must be biting my hand. But, as the force pulled harder and harder it certainly had to be something more dangerous. A badger, a gopher, I couldn’t say. Whatever it was, was far from the worms and clay I had felt just seconds prior.

Ivan began to yank at my arm, in an attempt to dislodge it from the grip of the strange phenomenon. Despite his best efforts, things only got worse. The dirt-like clay was soon up to my shoulder blade. Eventually, my chest, my other arm and then… my head was covered. I saw nothing as the ground consumed me even faster, forming to the shape of my head. A vortex was soon pulling me, with Ivan clutching on my shoe, toward something.

We awoke on the cold stone floor of a cave. Yet, it clearly was not a cave. Enormous beakers stretched up to where you might expect stalactites might. Test tubes wound themselves in shapes of mushrooms. And, all around, tending to the cavernous laboratory were stout, bearded creatures bickering in what seemed like high-pitched arguments.

“Where is this?” I asked.

“Exactly, two meters North East of the earth’s core,” one of the small scientists said.

“And who are you?”

“I am a gnome, as are my companions. Who else would be at the center of the earth doing secret research? The Minotaur!?”

The gnomes laughed uproariously finding his jest quite humorous.

Work was not stopped, however, with their concentration being as stringent as before their merriment set in. Buttons were pressed and switches pulled causing bubbles to react both up and down within their beakers.

“Why have you kidnapped my friend and me?” I asked.

“We did not kidnap you silly man-boy, you knocked on our door with your token of friendship. A strange token it was, I must say.”

Several gnomes, leaving their posts, gathered around the mass of rubber bands and thread to lift it up. Their arms shook under the weight but they continued holding it until the signal to drop it was given.

I felt almost arrogant as I walked up and took it in my hand with ease. I had greater worries than their pride, however.

“Why did it roll on the ground, slower and faster, if you only knew about it after the rabbit hole?”

“We cannot say.”

“Does that mean you know and won’t say, or you really don’t know,” interjected Ivan, overcoming his momentary shock at the enormity of his surroundings.

“We… cannot… say.”

“Can we leave then?” Ivan argued.

“No, I’m afraid that is impossible. You will help us.”

“With what?”

“Mind your business, that’s what.”

The ball I was holding began to twitch inside my palm. I tried to tighten my grip, but it rolled out and bounced away much as it had on the surface. Faintly it appeared like it had gone into a circular depression at the bottom of a large electrical source, but I could not be sure. Gnomes around it were possibly attaching metal fragments.

“The key! The key at last!” I heard many shout.

I was not left much time to ponder. The stone beneath my feet shook violently and cracked. I, Ivan and various gnomes fell down. But, they, unlike us, rose cheering.

“What is going on? What does our ball have to do with this?”

“It was the key!”

“Yes,” began Ivan, “we have gathered that by now. What does the key do?”

“It is the first step in a long stride.”

“Will you stop with the metaphors!?”

My head felt suddenly as if it were exploding. Every thought I had ever had began to creep back into consciousness. Old crushes, math problems, regrets, hopes, dreams, lust, envy, greed…

A gnome in Bermuda shorts approached holding a mass of tin foil that practically covered his entire form. Ivan and I lacked sufficient energy to strike at him.

Gently, hats were placed on top of our heads by him. We could breathe once more. The thoughts were less overwhelming, though still stifling. What had happened? The pain seemed so close to incapacitating us forever, and then, in a mere instance the bulk of it was gone.

“You will want to keep those on,” the gnome said. He slapped us both and ran off giggling.

“Now, you two man boys will make us more of your wonderful electro-regulators” the leader spoke.

“You mean the ball?”

“Yes, make them or you die.”

“Was that pain we felt happening to other people?” Ivan asked.

“Of course, the gnomes won’t win a war of brawn.”

“What war?”

“The one humans began in the days they were apes. Dinosaurs died for them to have dominion, and their death will herald the age of the gnome!”

“Long live the gnome!” All chanted.

“But why does rubber and yarn make your scheme complete?” I asked, as Ivan was lost in thought.

“It does not. The creators did.”

“You mean our…”

“Deoxyribonucleic acid, correct. All matter will break at a certain frequency, and it would appear we have finally found yours.”

“You made one mistake,” Ivan said.

“And what would that be?”

“You gave us these hats.”

Ivan and I nodded at each other and moved toward the machinery. Our hands barely touched the first beakers before we fell down in agony, unrivaled by our suffering before.

“The hats only shielded you from stray frequency going to the surface. We have now unleashed the full power within the caves.”

“You… will… regret this,” Ivan stammered.

“Or you will… if you do not submit. We can keep this frequency alive until your minds implode, if that is your desire.”

“Why… not just… take our… DNA?”

“Our hands are not large enough to fix it to the necessary rubber and metal. Soon, our supply will run out. But we have more than enough left to murder the both of you, so I beg, keep that in mind.”

The gnomes continued to torture us. They would turn the frequency up throughout the caves until we thought we would die and then they would turn it off, leaving us to writhe in pain.

I do not know how long it took to finally break our will. It may have been days, it may have been weeks. But, most certainly as we began to absentmindedly fuse rubber and yarn together, with nearby tin it was evident the gnomes had won.

Our DNA was fueling a holocaust of epic proportions upon the surface and we could do nothing.

Gnomes frequently took their leave through the portal from which we had come down. They bore few weapons, merely having an occasional sword amongst them. Yet, this was enough for their purposes.

Ivan and I thought and thought of ways to sabotage, or even escape as cowards might during our imprisonment. But there was never an opportunity that was not preempted. Too many years had been spent plotting by the gnomes underground as man evolved into ever more threatening primates.

One morning, after a night of contemplation together, I pushed Ivan toward a set of test tubes to create distraction. For a moment it seemed as if I may get at the bubbling beakers but the gnomes as always pushed a damnable button incapacitating us both. I had soiled myself to my further embarrassment. There was great laughter as the smell permeated the room.

“Filthy human, go poo poo?” one asked in jest.

That night, still rank and unclean, I had yet another long discussion with Ivan. I decided it was best to let the frequencies kill myself, instead of working further toward the destruction of mankind.

Therefore in the morning, I refused to work. Naturally the gnomes unleashed the signal and my head began to tear itself apart. The pain, though incapacitating, I felt used to. It was an old familiar thrum. However, what came after I had never experienced before.

I was a babe once more held up in my mother’s arms. She rocked me and perception shifted to crawling, then first steps. I was riding with my arms out on a bike downhill. First kiss, dancing, lying on the grass in summer. My father saying his last words, stay strong, as limpness to his wrist…

Somehow, someway I woke up and the pain was gone. My head was still pounding but I realized there were no gnomes and the laboratory was in shambles. Glass was scattered and the stone caved in upon the various test tubes and beakers that had once curved so mightily.

Ivan was lying next to me. I put my ear to his heart: the beating was faint.

With strength I could not be sure from where I heaved him on my back. I took him with great effort to the spot we had come down from, and the gnomes had gone up. There was just enough power to lift us back up through the vortex.

I was not sure what might greet us at the surface. Perhaps armies, death or some combination of both?

Much too my chagrin, it appeared to be neither. Nothing was in sight but patchy grass and empty distance. My house had once stood right in front of us but now seemed as if it never had. Where was it all?

Ivan was beginning to feel overbearingly heavy. I set him down and continued to stare: partly gawking, partly searching. There was a strange glint of silver once more I noticed, as there had been the night we were abducted. I walked toward it, continuing to keep a watch on Ivan, lest a gnome or some other bizarre creature attack him. I was still of the opinion othat everything seeming much too quiet.

The glint was merely one of the balls we made below, however. I was unsure how it reached the surface. In many ways it seemed the exact same as the one that led us to our misery that day.

Ivan had managed to get onto his feet. I walked back toward him and he saw the ball. He smiled and I tossed it to him. Nothing extravagant; just back and forth.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Abercrombie Girls and Faded Glory (A Series of Haiku)

Abercrombie girls
With soft hands and long brown hair
They don’t sing the blues.

Abercrombie girls
Charging daddy’s credit card
They won’t sing the blues.

Abercrombie girls
Always getting sleep at night
They can’t sing the blues.

        Faded Glory girls
With course hands and graying hair
They do sing the blues.

Faded Glory girls
With children and the rent late
They will sing the blues.

Faded Glory girls
Never getting sleep at night
They can sing the blues.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Doctor Sonnet

From Rose to the Doctor, a sonnet

You took me in the Tardis to a distant age
Where you were all I had, and all I knew;
Of the eons you appeared a timeless sage
Of your origins I could not construe.
The first in my heart, the last of your kind
Regenerated to a perfect man;
Unmatchable, an endless mind
The universe it seemed to span.
In many ways you became my Gallifrey
Mysterious with history and isolated
Alone within the depths so far away
Yet never truly capable of being dated.

Even now I hear your voice come out the void
Despite the fact our link has been destroyed.

The First Traffic Accident

The first recorded traffic collision in the US occurred in May 1896 when Henry Wells, driving a Duryea motor wagon, struck and injured a cyclist. The cyclist wound up with a broken leg and Mr. Wells spent the night in jail.

The New-York Daily Tribune reported:

the wagon [automobile] operated by Henry Wells, of Springfield, Mass., wobbled furiously, going in a zig-zag fashion, until it seemed that the driver had lost control of it. Evylyn Thomas, of No. 459 West Ninetieth-st., was approaching on her bicycle, when suddenly the wheel and horseless carriage met, and there was a crash. A crowd gathered, and the woman was picked up unconscious, her leg fractured. An ambulance took her to the Manhattan Hospital, where last night it was reported that she would recover soon. Wells was taken to the West One-hundred-and-twenty-fifth-st. station, and held pending the result of the injuries to Miss Thomas. The wagon went on in charge of another operator.

I wrote this vilainelle about the occurence:

The wagon wobbled furious
Zig-zagging, no control
As Henry drove delirious.

The horseless carriage was mysterious
Thought Thomas on her bicycle –
The wagon wobbled furious.

A Duryea hit her leg most serious
Fracturing a part or whole
As Henry drove delirious.

Crowds gathered, they were curious
To see such mess without patrol–
The wagon wobbled furious.

Some picked her up with weariness
Wishing that the pain they might annul
As Henry drove delirious.

The smells became quite odious
Evylyn Thomas they could not consul;
The wagon wobbled furious
As Henry drove delirious.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Diwali Day

Firstly, I'd like to wish everyone out there a happy Diwali. Together, we may yet triumph over evil.

Secondly, much in the spirit of the day I would like to share a quote from the New York Times:

"In campaigns this year, Republicans assailed incumbent Democrats for voting to slash Medicare as part of the new health care law, though the projected reductions save money through insurance changes, not reductions in basic Medicare benefits."

I thought of the nature of evil when I read this.  Clearly those creating fear through misrepresentation are the dark ones, hanh?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Why there is Rain

A little girl asked her father why there’s rain. He told her because somewhere someone’s crying and the sky reflects it. She asked him why the sun’s not shining for the happy people. He told her that it is somewhere, but that’s it’s overwhelmed with sadness from the falling tears that it’s evaporated. How can I make the clouds happy once again, she asked? The father said by smiling, of course. She smiled and she smiled yet it stayed the same. The father laughed, and told her over time it will. So she watched the window, grinning ‘til a rainbow came. “The sky is happy now” the father said.

2010 Electionisms

And now a look into exit poll commentary...

"I had to hitchhike to the polls because I have no car."

"I've sold four of my kidneys and I just had the two."

"My wife took everything in the divorce... she's $50,000 in debt."

"I put panhandling on my resume."

"My kid loves camping. Now everyday's his favorite."

"I use my priest for therapy."

"Sometimes at night I stare at the TV and try to remember what electricity was like."

"Have you ever cleaned yourself with stolen soap in a Wal-Mart toilet?"

"Olive Garden was voted best dumpster by Zagat."

"I tried filtering my urine like Kevin Costner did to save on water. Long story short, Brita let me down."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Old Patriot

He has an American flag with twelve stars, just shy of the original thirteen.  It’s lying on his bedside table.  Some states have rubbed gramps the wrong way at one point or another and he’s etched them out.  You can still see the outlines of where they used to be.

I’ve asked him at his bedside if he can list those states he’s managed to hold dear.  Surprisingly he can, despite the beginnings of dementia.  Texas is one: gramps admires their independent mindset.  Tennessee happens to be another; not teaching that good-for-nuttin-evolution got him behind their back.

South Carolina was the first to secede and the first in his heart.  Naturally Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana follow close behind.  The civil rights movement never sat right with him.  He felt everyone deserved rights, sure but, the feds had no place telling god-fearing southerners what they ought [to be doing].

I recall the day Wyoming got his grace.  Mathew Shepard had just made the news, as he brings up now for seemingly no reason.  Gramps isn’t a cruel man but homosexuals are and always have been an abomination as he often said.  The more that got their due, the happier he seemed.  Perhaps hate and blame made the whittling away of his senses seem easier and less traumatic.

Since ’39 he’s loved the Wizard of Oz, even as it’s playing on the hospital television above his bed.  He watched it every time it’s came on television.  In our youth he’d take my brother and I to Kansas on vacation as he hummed Over the Rainbow along the highways.  I always hoped the peaceful message would make him more inclined toward acceptance of others but it never quite sank in that way.

For whatever reason, South Dakota and Nebraska remain on the flag he clutches with his weakened grasp.  He doesn’t have anything particular he enjoys about the two states but he’s never found a reason to dislike them.  I recall him saying once that the idea of the West and the swaying of the corn kept them flying with his favorites on the flag pole… when he had one.

West Virginia, he mumbles, stands for mountains.  The tall tips of the Appalachians personify a potent manliness.  Naturally, that’s kept their places for him on his patriotic tapestry.

Alaska is a new favorite and addition gramps made me add to his flag, since he no longer could.  He’s a widower yet in love with Sarah Palin.  She’s a feisty patriot to him, although he still isn’t sure if a woman should be out makin’ a display as she is.  He says he’d take exception just this once, though.

Gramps didn’t talk much after that.  His voice slurred unto a whisper, and his eyes slowly closed themselves.  The heart monitor had become quieter and quieter all the while.

A nurse broke the bad news to the rest of the family and me.  We wept and held each other for what seemed like forever.  But we eventually went home and began plans for the funeral, hanging his flag up outside the old house to wave in half-mast memory.  As its tattered remnants flapped to and fro it reminded of us the good in gramps, and helped us forget the values from another age he never quite let go of.

This is his eulogy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My People

My people are out there somewhere
Refusing to be judgmental.

My people are out there somewhere
Waiting to embrace me.

My people are out there somewhere
And I know that they will understand.

My people are out there somewhere –
They will have respect for who I am.

My people are out there somewhere –
They will get my sense of humor.

My people are out there somewhere…
But I can’t say when they’ll find me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Information through
a wire with no hub.
Signals that come close
yet never are received.
Messages that go on and on for years
To dissipate in space.
Busy signals ringing,
Numbers out of service.
This, all is now,
My ventricles and veins;
a bureaucracy of cables,
satellites and cells
coursing toward my heart
to mix with blood and
make me an automaton.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dead Deer on the Curb of Route 30

You saw the highway
And you thought that you might run it.

The cars would swerve and jackknife
As you leapt safely toward adjacent trees.

But, whether it was your reflexes that failed you
Or the sheer weight behind the semi’s speed

The tires cracked through bone like egg
And knocked you lifeless on your side.

Now, with copious last thoughts
The world will pass you by.

As commuters turn their heads
You remember being beautiful.

Running through the fields, past yards
And over rolling hills…

Stealing apples as the
Children pointed, gasped in awe…

Days on grass instead of stone;
Nights with breeze and not exhaust…

        Someone’s loading you inside a pickup
And slicing through your gut.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beloit Poetry Journal

I can't be sure why but I felt very heartened by a rejection letter for some poetry I submitted. Perhaps it's because it appeared that though they couldn't use it they enjoyed and took the time to read what I sent.  Either way, I would like to send out a sincere thank you to Mr. Rosenwald and the Beloit Poetry Journal.

Dear Benjamin Ditmars:

We shall not be using your manuscript. Thank you, however, for giving us the opportunity to consider it. I enjoyed your "Reality Check."


John Rosenwald, Co-editor

Friday, October 22, 2010

Better Man

There was a spider that
I wish I killed.

It was on her and
I backed away.

Should have been a better man.

There were times
Where I was selfish.

I could have offered
Her a drink.

Should have been a better man.

There were nights I
Didn’t call.

And now the
Phone sits still.

Should have been a better man.

There are things that
I regret –

Things remaining in
My thoughts

That speak to doubts
And tell me, always…

Should have been a better man
Should have been a man at all.