Friday, December 30, 2011

The Box

I play in the box
When reality fails expectations
And I need lift to outer space.

I play in the box
To remind myself that growing old
Takes being young.

I play in the box;
I hide away and be myself
Through crayons and glue.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A New Series?

The Old Man and the Alien

An old man seeking companionship and an alien learning what it is to be human.  
This is their story.

Old Man: It isn't just about conquering this planet and that planet.  There's a lot more to existence than blasting down lifeforms with your ray gun.

Alien: Like what?

Old Man: Like sunsets, love and all that junk.

Alien: I have a collection of sunsets.

Old Man: In your memory?

Alien: No, I stole them. [Silence.] What's love though?

Old Man: Love's a lot of things to a lot of people.

Alien: I have complications processing your vague platitudes.

Old Man: All right, all right.  Don't have to go thinking you're smarter than me.

Alien: But I am. My IQ exceeds your own by far more than the distance I've traveled.

Old Man: Then why are you here?

Alien: Because...

Old Man: Knowledge clearly isn't everything?

Alien: Yes. And I'm terrible empty as vast as it may be.

Old Man: That's right. So shut up and listen for a change.  Love can't be quantified; it can't be learned, absorbed or rationalized by any of the little doodads on your spaceship.

Alien: They're called gravitational distortion regulators.

Old Man: Whatever. The point is humans have a connection to one another beyond logic.

Alien: Is that why there's war?

Old Man: Hell no, there's war because one person wants some shit another has.  We'll cover that next time. Love is between a man and a woman, or if you're my grandson a man and a man.

Alien: It's not always for procreation?

Old Man: Have you seen all them ankle biters trolling around out there? You think we need more?

Alien: But would it not be logical to simply expand into another solar system?

Old Man: We don't have the money for that.

Alien: Yes, I find that curious as well. My species worked together for the common good of expanding into space.

Old Man: Yeah and that's why you aren't human.

Alien: I don't understand.

Old Man: I don't expect you to.

Alien: Does it tie into love?

Old Man: No, it ties into war. People don't like to share if they can help it.  Which I guess, ties into love too.

Alien: How?

Old Man: Well love is pretty selfish. You want one person and they want you.  Ideally.

Alien: Wow. I read nothing in the database explaining this.

Old Man: That's your first mistake. Go out and live!

Alien: Are you suggesting I copulate with an earth female?

Old Man: Slow down, tiger. Try polite conversation first.

Alien: Which would be?

Old Man: Damn, I've got so much to learn you, boy...

to be continued...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Legend of Joe Briggs

My shot at a folk tale.


Joe Briggs walked out of the polling place.  It was clear he wouldn’t be gone long from the look of him.  He was positively fuming; maybe even a little drunk.  The volunteer had told him in no uncertain terms his identification was out of date and unusable.  When he asked how much a new ID would be the worker had told him $40-50 easy.  Joe mumbled something about poll tax but the volunteer was adamant.  State orders had come down with strict requirements to prevent fraud.  Joe asked what fraud there’d ever been.  She wasn’t amused.  The volunteer threatened to call the police; Joe threatened worse.

The rest had happened so fast no one was exactly sure what went down.  The poll worker was out cold with a black eye on the table and Joe was speeding off in his pick-up truck.  In a few minutes the police arrived, surrounded the building and began questioning people.  The volunteer told them Joe’s name but the other people present gave no clue as to where he might have gone.

Things quickly escalated as the police wanted to examine the voting apparatus.  They claimed it may have been tampered with in the chaos.  Everyone knew it was bunk and an obvious power grab.

People surrounded the voting machines.  A cop fired his weapon in the air.  Several flinched but all managed to hold their ground.  A tense situation only became tenser as Joe pulled up outside with reinforcements.  His truck bed was full of good ole boys with automatic weapons.  The police had a few handguns between them at best.

An officer considered calling in the SWAT but in a scene reminiscent of the old West, Joe Briggs kicked down the door and shot the radio clean out of his hand.  The rest of the officers didn’t take long to surrender after the fact.  They were outnumbered, outgunned and scared shitless from the looks of ‘em.

All the authorities could do was watch as Joe let everyone inside to vote.  He still made sure no one cheated but he was fair about it.  At the end of the night he even let the cops cast their vote, provided they didn’t report anything.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Books are my friends
they won’t run away,
stop loving me. I hold them
and they don’t complain.
we spend hours talking,
traveling our worlds–
they take me through theirs
and I, through mine.
It’s unconventional but…
I proposed to ink and paper
with a paper ring and she wrote yes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And Now The Night Before Christmas!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the net

Not a blogger was stirring, not even Zeba;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that Punk Chopsticks soon would be there;

Annie and Marion were nestled snug in their beds,

While visions of rhyme schemes danced in their heads;

And Shreya in her 'kerchief, and Jack in his cap,

Had just settled their blogs for a long winter's nap,

When out by the laptop there arose such a clatter,

Wander sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the computer he flew like a sprite,

Tore open the browser and keyed up the site.

The moon background on the breast of the digital snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to icons below,

When, what to his wandering eyes should appear,

But a brand new post about eight tiny reindeer

With a Chinese-Malaysian typist, so lively and quick,

He knew in a moment it must be Punk Chopsticks.

To My Baby Niece, Isabella

You are young, so young
that failure seems impossible.
I pray you always find it is.
Some of us won’t make our dreams
Come true. I know you will.
You’re free to cry.
You’re free to think and be.
You’re more than me.
You’re you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Does Your Blog Say About You?

May I present the alphabet poem prompt.  I don't know if anyone will follow my lead with this, but I think it would be an interesting reflection on our selves if we created an alphabet poem on what our blogs say about who we are.  So, I'll give it the first go.

Impeccable, incredible
Craftsman of the

Lover of the

Ice cream lover
Cracked out on
Entertaining self.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Bad Luck with Fortune Cookies

Maybe I should stop opening these cookies but being the masochist I am, here's yet another installment.  Once again, the others at my table got encouraging words and I got this:

People forget how fast you did a job-but they remember how well you did it.

It would appear the cookie gods have a problem with my work ethic.  Not everyone can devote their time to making stale rocks, I guess. Maybe if you spent a little more time crafting your confections they would taste a lot better.  But, no, I'm doing my job fast and not cranking out five-hundred boxes a minute.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Does anyone have a Kindle? If so, you have a brand new way to read the Spice! That's right. Nice Old Spice is now available for subscription on your Amazon Kindle. Unfortunately, it's $0.99 a month. They wouldn't let me make it free. But, if you want to try out something new, look no further! Also, there's still my novel if you haven't read it. Wink, wink. It's in paperback too.  Double wink wink (that's four whole winks, c'mon).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unemployment Rate Hits 100%

No one is quite sure how it happened.  It may have been the result of a double dip recession turned depression; it may have been banks continuing to invest heavily in Europe.  Either way, it appears one-hundred percent of Americans are now unemployed.  The super-rich are even out of jobs, as nearly every company has failed or is in the process of bankruptcy.  Farmers have stopped harvesting; government employees have been suspended indefinitely.  Even this reporter is freelancing this story, hoping desperately for buyers in a hopeless market.  Basic utilities across the board have become imperiled as well.  Power and water facilities have no one to run them, and no money to operate.  Stores long since looted, city-dwellers are taking to growing their own food from seeds in the parking lots and abandoned buildings most have holed up in.  The President of the United States, long the last individual receiving a salary, recently resigned as his cabinet had months before.  He is now currently residing in a dumpster outside the Capitol Building.  His cardboard sign says THE END IS NEAR.  And he may just be right.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Over the course of the week I've gotten several Facebook ads from Pepto-Bismol mentioning by birthday  These are just a few:

"You have a birthday coming up. And no one knows better than Pepto how things can get out of hand."

"Hey, you don't have to have Pepto handy at your birthday gala. You also don't have to have snacks. Or drinks. Or fun."

"Happy birthday. If you had a Like button we'd Like you. But you don't. So instead, a friendly reminder: if you overdo it, Pepto's got you covered."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday's in about an hour. I could be celebrating but I wrote this poem instead:


I feel my head aching
and I see gray hairs;
brain matter seeps
through roots and
takes away my color.
I was once bright red
but now am faded to
the contrast of the wind.
When did I become a
wispy cloud of storms
with no mobility that I control?
The earth pulls me along,
shaping me to forms
those below can only guess.
I could be bitter but I’m tasteless
and your tongue is numb.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pebbles in the Lake

This poem is featured in Ben Ditmars' chapbook of poetry, Night Poems. Available on Amazon for Kindle and Print.

Pebbles in the lake are
Children of boulders
Sinking to the sand and
Seeing hazy sunlight
Through the surface.

Segmented beams
Become a glow at night
For those embedded,
Unable to escape.

We dream in stasis
As the fish swim by
And divers brush their hands;
Bring warmth in long,
Forgotten crevices.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Open Letter to Ben Ditmars from Death

Hey, I bet you think I'm losing my touch?  No chance!  I've killed two-hundred kittens in the last hour.  Thank Satan for Red Bull!  I don't give up, I don't take no prisoners!  Okay, okay, if I have something really important to do I might take a few.  You know like when a rerun of Seinfeld happens to be on.  I just love that Kramer guy.  Hey, he wasn't racist then!  He wasn't dammit!  Don't tell me what to like!  The point is, you made me look like a chump Ben.  People are going to start jumping off buildings for fun now, just to mock me.  What!?  They already do?  There's no way that's a sport!  I suppose they leap out of airplanes too for the thrill of it?  Mother-fuckers!  I've obviously got a lot of fear left to strike into the hearts of the human population.  Oh, wait.  Fox News has me covered.  Their viewers fear me ALL the time; from immigrants, leftists and all sorts of dark-skinned people.  Honestly they don't even have to be a race apart from whites; they just need to spend an hour at a tanning bed and Hannity will devote a show to taking their rights away.  All right, I should wrap this up.  I guess I won't kill you, Ben.  For now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Deal with Death

Death drew its scythe,
Slashed the air,
Absorbed the warmth,
But Tim refused to budge.
Not yet, he said.
Then when? Death drawled.
Whenwhite flowers grow
On trees in early Spring
And there’s the slightest chill,
But still the sun, warming just enough
Yet not too much. And I am old;
Stretched too far across my years,
Feeling thin while at the same time wide.
Knowing that my blood and words live on
Though I cannot.  I’ll be ready then.
Death laughed, smiling through
The empty void within its cloak.
Deal, it said, you’ll be ready then
And I’ll be there.
Tim shook the bony hand
As Death diminished.
He left his bed in tears
Of joy, walking home to see
His family; healthy, whole,
With years and years ahead of him.
Graduations, great-great grandchildren,
Weddings, kisses in the rain were his.
Rolling in the autumn leaves gave way
To making snow angels, putting up the
Christmas tree. But spring was just around
The corner and Tim knew it.
White flowers grew
On trees as he felt the slightest chill,
But still the sun, warming just enough
Yet not too much. And he was old;
Stretched too far across his years,
Feeling thin while at the same time wide.
It’s time, he thought. But where is death?
The hooded specter was nowhere to be seen.
Tim shrugged and started walking toward
The woods. He never noticed he had left
His body far behind.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ben Stone from Knocked Up

‎"Love? The most beautiful, shiny, warmy thing in the world? You can't accept pure love? You can't accept Debbie? She's chosen to give you her life. She's picked you as her life partner! But you play fantasy baseball because you can't accept her love? I could accept it, man. And Debbie's amazing, man. She's cool and she's funny and she smells good and she's nice and her hair always looks different. She's too good for you, man. You're disgusting. You know, you're an urchin. And she busts your balls 'cause you're a little bitch. You're a filthy bitch! And I'd bust your balls. Debbie wants to give her life to you, and Allison doesn't want to do that with me. And it makes me sad all day."* 

*Hopefully this full quote will show up on Google now.

Friday, December 09, 2011

My Bad Luck with Fortune Cookies

I'm a glutton for punishment so I went out with my dad for Chinese food.  We got clever though.  This time we switched cookies, hoping to trick fate and give me an encouraging fortune.  It was one step ahead of us.  My dad got ended up with:

No need to worry, you will always have everything that you need.

I bet you're wondering what I got.  Remember that scene in Jumanji when the boy tried cheating and the boardgame made him grow a tail?  Yeah, kind of like that.

Self-respect is the root of discipline.

Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking.  "I respect Ben, he's so cool."  But don't!  Buddha will come on you like a golden statue.  I don't have self-respect and I will never be Kung-fu Panda.  Also, something about discipline.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Butterfly Poem Inspired by Shreya

I was reading a post on Shreya's blog Carté Blanche about her photography and thought of some lines for a poem.  Thank you for the inspiration, Shreya!  Everyone be sure and check out her blog,

The butterfly will make you wait to spread its wings
Because it knows your time is worth it.
You see it fly away but it keeps watching,
Hoping that you’ll do the same.
That human’s wings could touch the sky!
If only they stopped looking at the ground...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

If the World were an Insurance Company...

“Poison control will now transfer you to the drain cleaner department. Please listen to the music while your party is reached.  I’m hooked on a feeling, I’m high on believing!  You used Liquid Plumber, correct?  Transferring you to the Liquid Plumber department.  Please listen to the music while your party is reached. I close my eyes only for a moment and the moment’s gone! Dust in the wind!  Before we give any more advice, we’re transferring you to claims.  Please listen to the music while your party is reached.  Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon, you come and go, you come and go!  Your claim number is 109998.  Transferring you back to the Liquid Plumber department.  Please listen to the music while your party is reached.  Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Remember me to one who lives there, she was once a true love of mine.  Sorry, it turns out your claim did not go through.  Are you still there?  The nerve of these dying people, I swear!”

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Parental Info on DirecTV

DirecTV offers info on practically every show for parents. I do mean, just about every show. Not only that but they have family discussion questions for the very worst of them. You know the ones kids should not be near at all, let alone with sane parents? Well, these are a few of the best.

Beavis and Butt-Head
All right, Billy, we're going to watch Beavis and Butt-Head and then we're having an intellectual discussion on its relevance to society. Think really hard on the issues it presents. Did you just laugh when I said hard? God dammit, Billy!

Families can talk about role models. Do you expect to find positive role models in the shows you watch? Which ones exist? What aspects of their behavior impress you? Do you think their characteristics are transferrable to the real world? Teens: Why do you think this show has been remade? Does it offer any positive content for viewers? Is its comedy style similar to any other show you watch? Do you find it funny? Are you familiar with the MTV shows that are highlighted in Beavis and Butt-head? If not, are you more inclined to watch them after seeing the clips here? How does intermingling shows like this serve as advertising? Do you think that factored into the plans for this series?

Daddy really likes this show. We're going to figure out why.

Families can talk about what it means to treat other people with respect. Does this show treat its subjects respectfully? Does it matter whether subjects are willingly participating in the issues and events the show covers (dwarf tossing, for example)? What messages does the show send about sex, alcohol, and other hot-button issues? Do you think producers hope teens will watch? Why or why not?

1,000 Ways to Die
Fictitious representations of death aren't teaching you anything. We laugh at real people's problems in this family. Even if they don't always live through it.

Families can talk about the pros and cons of featuring accidents and/or deaths on a reality show. Is it ever OK to treat these events as a source of entertainment? Does it make a difference if the stories are presented within the context of educating viewers? Families can also talk discuss how death and dying are treated in mainstream American culture. Did you know that some cultures incorporate death as a major part of life? How does this show treat its subjects?

The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Jessica, with any luck this will be your life someday. Jessica?  JESSICA!? Put down that book on the LSAT!!

Families can talk about the appeal of watching shows about wealthy, elite members of society. Why do you think the Real Housewives franchise is so successful? What kinds of messages do these shows send about people who have money? Do you think people really want to be like them? What would be the hardest part about living like these people? The easiest? Families can also discuss some of the featured on the show. Some of them talk about their troubled pasts. How do you think that impacts the way they live their lives?

Also, on a final note, they had this to say about Spongebob Squarepants:

‎"Parents need to know that this cartoon includes violent, dark satirical humor that will confuse kids who can't separate fantasy and reality."

Yes Spongebob is violent and dark and a mockery of sponges everywhere.  He will corrupt your mind as he washes your dishes.  Beware!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Eve v. God

Eve sued God today in federal court for damages cited under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  “I was a diabetic,” she said in a recent press release.  “I couldn’t just turn down an apple with my blood sugar the way it was.”

The defense counters Eve was not an American citizen at the time of the incident and therefore not entitled to the act’s protection.  Her lawyers responded she was the mother of all American citizens.  The defense paused for thought at having heard this and proceeded to scratch their heads at a loss for words.

“Her and Adam’s eviction,” Eve’s lawyer stated, “was unwarranted, unethical and illegal.  Would God have kicked a paraplegic out of Eden for taking a crutch?”

In further developments, the serpent is getting in on the action.  He also claims himself as a victim; of defamation from God.  He recently was quoted saying he had only prescribed Eve necessary medicine for her continued well-being.  “God has blighted my good name and reputation,” he told reporters.

Could this develop into a class-action?  Analysts are saying it might.  Stayed tuned to Channel 3 news for the latest!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Disorderly Love

This poem is featured in Ben Ditmars' chapbook of poetry, Night Poems. Available on Amazon for Kindle and Print.

Love isn't orderly.
It bleeds; it stains
In memories pinned up
On refrigerator doors.
Drawings and report cards
Stacked with letters, doodads
On an otherwise dull surface.
We sacrifice aesthetics
And our own reflection
In the glossy chrome.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Our bickering left breadcrumbs
That the other couples pecked
But couldn’t share.

Lightning struck a tree
And blocked the road;
I thought of you.

I counted snowflakes as they melted
On the ground in puddles
Like familiar tears.

Headlights only show more cloud in fog;
Truth we’re forced to live with.