Tuesday, June 29, 2021

the end

by dog e relaford

the apple is the worm
the banana is the boat
the children are the trees in the graveyard
the doctor is the white coat

the end is the beginning
the flower is the buttonhole
grandpa has been left behind
and grandma sits in a hole

i have always suspected
that justice is a sham
kindly remove your greedy gaze
from my lion’s little lamb

mary had a little lamb
no one expected more
omar had a bottle of wine
and knew what it was for

pardon my frankness
but you all are quite disgusting
you have too many rabbits in your hats
to make a soul feel trusting

i want to go back to the beginning
and sit on the shore like a pebble
where all the waves are empires
and all the foam are rebels

Sunday, June 27, 2021

frankie and clancy

by horace p sternwall

frankie went down to the station
to see johnny off to the wars
she was trailed by shefiff clancy brown
to see if she was breaking any laws

the sheriff had a passion for frankie
that burned like the midnight sun
he could have any woman in new orleans
but thought frankie was the only one

the train pulled out of the station
and frankie waved johnny goodbye
the sheriff stood in the shadows
with a gleam in his bloodshot eye

frankie went back to the bar room
with a knife stuck in her shoe
if the sheriff gave her any trouble
she knew what she had to do

frankie ordered a whiskey
with the money she earned so hard
the gypsy was playing solitaire
and turned over another card

any man could have frankie for a dollar
but the richest man in the world
would sell his soul to possess her
because she was that kind of girl

there were only three men in the world
that frankie would not entertain
the first was her evil stepfather
who was also the emperor of spain

the second was the richest man in the world
who had sent her to finishing school
and the third was sheriff clancy brown
because he was a natural fool

why was i born, thought clancy
if all my dreams go up in smoke
why am i destined to walk the streets
the butt of every rounder’s joke?

why was this creature created
to destroy my peace of mind?
who set her loose upon the earth?
that is what i wish to find

be that as it may, he thought
i have only one road to ride
clancy entered the bar room
with his pistol at his side

frankie, who could read any man’s mind
was ready to play her part
she hurled her knife across the room
straight into clancy’s heart

they carried clancy to the graveyard
in a coffin made of wood
no one can escape their fate
clancy finally understood

the jury took fifteen minutes
to set poor frankie free
she went back to waiting for johnny
because such was her destiny

Saturday, June 26, 2021

the dreamers

by dog e relaford

johnny was a joker
kenny was a klown
larry was a loser
and they all loved mary brown

mary worked for a living
all day at the mill
the men all gazed upon her
for her love they would kill

mary was a quiet sort
and never spoke of dreams
but still waters run deep
big fish swim in little streams

mary had a friend named jill
who was as plain as she was plump
jill dreamed of the big city
and leaving behind this dump

jill dreamed of being mary
and hitching to hollywood
and becoming a famous movie star
that would be good

but jill was trapped in her body
like a tiger in a cage
stuck in a bad story
and she could not turn the page

jill met a girl named named judy
who claimed to be a witch
jill laughed in judy’s face and said
how come you are not rich?

judy replied, an evil mage
is trying to gain control
of me and my magical universe
but he shall not attain his goal

i must use all my energy
to counter his evil will
but until my final victory
i must work here in the mill

jill thought this was gibberish
and said so forthrightly
do not use such big words, she said
you are confusing me

put your money where your mouth is
and make me a movie star
or at least get me a network show
if a witch you truly are

i do not care for your attitude
judy calmly retorted
but i see we must get back to work
or we shall be reported

the world is filled with dreamers
some more desperate than others
raindrops are their sisters
and grains of sand their brothers

Thursday, June 24, 2021

the meteor, part 4

by nick nelson

part four of four

to read part three, click here

to read part one, click here

but before james could step into the traffic, he felt a hand on his arm.

he turned and saw the gray haired thick eyebrowed old man he had been introduced to in the police station.

what had the policewoman called him?


thank you, sir, james addressed arthur, for saving me from sudden annihilation. i sincerely appreciate it, although - james started to speak of the meteor, but some indescribable force held him back. i must have had a slight dizzy spell.

not at all, arthur replied gravely. what you need, young man, is an ice cream cone.

yes, james agreed, an ice cream cone might be just what i need.

there is a park across the street, arthur continued. it blossoms in the spring and summer, and is barren in the fall and winter. as it is now summer, an individual dressed as a clown makes a round of the park at midday selling ice cream, on a stick, in a cup , or in a cone, as may be. let us find a bench, and wait for this comically attired and accoutered individual to appear.

again james opened his mouth to say something about the meteor, but what came out of his mouth were the words, yes, that sounds like a good idea.

james and his new acquaintance crossed the street without incident.

a narrow gravel path led into the interior of the park, and they discovered a park bench in a quiet and shady spot only a few yards from the busy street.

they did not have to wait long for a clown to appear with his ice cream, because there was just such an individual waiting beside the park bench. the clown had a little pushcart in front of him which did not look as if could hold a great amount or a great variety of ice cream or anything else.

good morning, big dave, arthur addressed the clown, as he sat down on the bench and motioned to james to sit beside him.

what will you have today? the clown asked.

i will have a vanilla cone, arthur replied, and my young friend here will have a strawberry cone.

james would have preferred a chocolate chip cone, but as it seemed to be arthur’s treat he did not say anything.

the clown opened the top of his cart and produced the cones. arthur gave the clown a bill whose size james could not make out, and the clown departed without giving arthur any change.

james stared at the strawberry ice cream cone. he seemed like a pleasant fellow, he said, just to be saying something.

arthur glanced at the clown disappearing around a bend in the path into the park.

oh him, he said. he is a dead apple pie psychopathic slam green good sad low church horse chestnut joker kumquat right female dad nasty anglethwop dreamer mark round sedentary country up dog. how about you, my friend. what are you?

i am, james replied without hesitation, a live apple pie autistic slam green bad sad high church water chestnut joker persimmon right male mom nasty ooglethwop dreamer sharpie round sedentary town up dog.

and what have you to say for yourself? arthur asked.

at last, james thought. he poured forth his story of the approaching meteor, not remembering that arthur had probably overheard the whole tale back in the police station.

arthur pointed to the scoop of strawberry ice cream that was starting to melt on top of the cone in james’s hand.

there is your meteor, he told james.

the scoop was not very large - james wondered how much arthur had paid for it - and james swallowed it in one gulp.

the cold ice cream made james’s head ache slightly and he winced and closed his eyes for two seconds.

when he opened his eyes arthur was gone.

a gorilla was standing on the opposite side of the gravel path, leaning on a cane.

did you see where that shabby old fellow went? james asked the gorilla.

shabby old fellow? the gorilla growled. shabby old fellow? brother, that was no shabby old fellow - that was arthur schopenhauer himself!

the end

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

the meteor, part 3

by nick nelson

part three of four

to read part two, click here

to read part one, click here

james found himself back out on the street, blinking in the bright sunlight.

he checked his phone, which he had been obliged to turn off when he had entered the central building.

it was ten minutes past one. less than three hours before the meteor would destroy the earth.

what now?

i could try the library, james thought. the women at the information desk at the library had always been polite to him.

but would anybody at the library really have any power to help him, or any ability to save the earth?

how about the local police station? james’s understanding was that since the total reorganization of society carried out by chairman-president x-jones, all power was in the hands of the central committee, and the local police only directed traffic and found lost dogs. and rescued kittens from trees. no, that was the fire department.

the fire department! he would try the fire department. he had an obscure feeling that the fire department might treat him more politely than the police department, even though the police department only directed traffic and found lost dogs.

but a police station was only a block away, and james was not sure where the nearest fire station was,

a young woman in uniform was seated at the front desk of the police station and politely asked james what his business was, and listened politely as explained that the meteor was hurtling toward earth.

the young woman checked something on her screen and asked james,

how fast did you say the meter was running?

at the speed of light. and it is not a meter running, it is a meteor traveling.

if it was traveling at the speed of light, the young woman observed calmly, and was about two hours and forty five minutes away, it would have passed neptune and be clearly visible from just about any observatory on earth.

but, james patiently replied, it is not traveling through the solar system, but through a hole in space which will bring it within the orbit of mars twenty minutes before it strikes earth.

hmmm. that does not sound very promising. are you sure of your calculations? do you have a way of accurately measuring holes in space and their entry and exit points?

i do not rely on the so-called scientific methods taught in schools, james replied. i have recourse to the wisdom of the ancients in these matters. the ancients, of course, knew things of which we dare not dream.

excuse me, a voice interrupted, but i could not help overhearing your conversation.

oh hello, arthur, the young woman in uniform said. how are you today?

very well, thank you, the personage thus addressed answered in a gravelly voice.

james turned and beheld an elderly man dressed in what james took to be an “old-fashioned” suit (though james could not have said exactly what “old fashion” it was, or if it dated from twenty or two hundred years before). the old man had a head of wildly sprouting gray hair and the thickest eyebrows james had ever seen.

this young man seems to share some of your interests, arthur, the young woman said. maybe you could take him aside and have a nice conversation with him.

and what might those interests be? arthur growled, casting a glittering suspicious eye on james.

he says the world is coming to an end, just like you, the young woman told him, as she favored james with a friendly but pitying smile.

in that moment james experienced a moment of the most terrible thing that can happen to a living creature, perhaps only excluding death - seeing himself through the eyes of another being.

he must have turned and fled, because he found himself out on the street, almost stepping into traffic.

part four

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

the meteor, part 2

by nick nelson

part two of four

to read part one, click here

james perused the questionnaire. it began as follows:

which of each of these pairs of things are you? you must choose one of each, even if you do not know the meanings of the terms.

alive or dead

apple pie or blueberry pie

autistic or psychopathic

bang or slam

blue or green

good or bad

happy or sad

high church or low church

horse chestnut or water chestnut

joker or clown

kumquat or persimmon

left or right

male or female

mom or dad

nasty or nice

ooglethwop or anglethwop

poet or dreamer

sharpie or mark

straight or round

tardy or sedentary

town or country

up or down

cat or dog

james counted the numbers of pairs. twenty-three! and what nonsense. a meteor was headed towards earth, and he could not be bothered with such nonsense.

he decided to not even look at the rest of the questionnaire and to wait until henry ward beecher or some other flunky or functionary came back and he would tell them he was having none of it.

when the thirty minutes had expired, henry ward beecher reappeared, looking nastier and more ill-tempered than ever.

as james was not filling out the form, and did not even have the number 2 pencil in his hand, henry ward beecher greeted him with, ah, i see you have filled out the form. did you find the questions interesting or informative?

no, sir, james retorted hotly. i did not find them at all interesting or informative and i refuse to waste the small time the planet has left to live in answering them.

i see, henry ward beecher answered with surprising mildness, glancing at the unfilled-out questionnaire. well, in that case, our business is finished here today, and i must ask you to leave the premises.

leave the premises! i demand to see someone in a position of authority!

but there is no - henry ward beecher began, but stopped. come now, be a good fellow and don’t cause a fuss. i don’t want to have to call a security officer, and you would not care for that to happen either.

very well, i will go. but the day of reckoning comes, you will be held to account, along with all the other bureaucrats and bumbling mediocrities who have coalesced to destroy the earth.

fair enough. now, please follow me. it is a lovely day outside, i am sure you will enjoy the sunshine.

part three

Monday, June 21, 2021

the meteor

by nick nelson

part one of four

it was a bright sunshiny morning.

all the productive people in the world were up and about their business.

james entered the central building.

a security guard at the front desk looked up as he approached.

may i help you, she asked james.

yes, i have something i would like to report.

and what might that be?

a meteor is approaching earth and will collide with it and destroy it at four o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

that is four o’clock on wednesday, june 23, 3078?


please take a seat, someone will be with you shortly.


james took a seat on a long bench against the wall.

the morning passed. a few people came and went.


finally an individual appeared and approached james. he was a tall thin man, wearing a green tie with a pattern of little pink pigs heads. james thought the tie in poor taste, but did not say so.

the tall thin man said to james, follow me.

james followed him.

they passed a corridor full of elevator doors and care to an unmarked green metal door.

it looked like the door to a stairwell but entered into a small windowless office, which was furnished with a desk and two chairs.

please take a seat, the thin man said to james, and james did so.

the thin man did not take a seat himself but opened a drawer of the desk and took a file folder out of it. he handed the folder to james along with a sharpened number 2 pencil.

please fill out this questionnaire, the thin man instructed james. someone will be with you shortly.

james was no stranger to questionnaires, but he could not refrain from interjecting plaintively, but a meteor is going to strike the earth at four o’clock tomorrow.

please fill out the form, the thin man repeated with a touch of asperity. he started to go out the door.

very well, james replied resignedly, as he scanned the first page of the questionnaire, but before you go, may i ask your name?

my name? how dare you! why do you want to know my name?

because, james answered politely, if someone asks why i am filing out this form, i wish to be able to tell them who gave it to me and asked me to complete it.

no one is going to ask you that, the thin man responded icily. just fill it out and get it over with it.

i believe, james continued doggedly, that as a public official you are required to give me your name if a citizen such as myself requests it.

oh, very well then, the thin man sighed. my name is henry ward beecher.

james was taken aback. henry ward beecher! but i had always pictured you as rather a portly individual, but i see that you do not fit that description at all!

be that as it may, henry ward beecher replied, that is my official cognomen, and i bid you good day. you have exactly thirty minutes to fill out the questionnaire, and i strongly advise you to get cracking.

and with that henry ward beecher finally made his escape, leaving james alone with his thoughts, and with the questionnaire.

part two

Sunday, June 20, 2021

still life

by bofa xesjum

a black dog ran down the street under a blue sky.

the blue sky was filled with white clouds.

a woman in a yellow dress came out of her house.

the house was painted white. it had a red roof.

the woman was annoyed when she walked around her green lawn and saw the rabbit holes in it.

the woman went back inside the house and made herself an ice cold drink.

sipping the drink, she remembered the days when she had more to worry about than lawns and rabbits.

the black dog ran back up the street.

it saw a small gray rabbit on the woman’s lawn and chased it.

the rabbit ran away and got under a fence and into a hole in the lawn of the house behind the woman’s.

the woman heard the dog bark when the rabbit disappeared under the fence, but she paid no attention to it and continued sipping her drink.

when she finished the drink she debated whether to look up a pest control company online in order to deal with the rabbits, turn on the television and watch the news, or make another drink.

the dog sniffed under the fence a few times and then gave it up and went back across the lawn and back on to the street.

the dog, of course, was not supposed to be running around loose and up and down streets on its own, but it belonged to a man who considered himself to be a rebel and an outlaw.

nobody told the man or his dog what to do. they were wild and free.

the man lived on the street next to the one the woman lived on.

the man and the woman had never met.

Friday, June 18, 2021


by dog e relaford

a dog ran down the street
and its owner chased it
the dog wanted to be free so bad
that it could taste it

a lady watched the dog run by
as she sat at a cafe table
she wished that she could help the dog
but she was not able

she calmly sipped her latte
as the owner hurried by
and nibbled at her muffin
and looked up at the sky

she never knew if he caught the dog
but assumed he must have done
oh what an evil world it is
where no one can have fun

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

mickey and dusty

by bofa xesjum

jenny had a hound dog
kathy had a cat
she tried to crawl out the window
but she was too fat

jenny’s dog ran down the street
with an apple in its mouth
the dog’s name was fernando
and he was headed south

fireman fred was a hero
he came to rescue the cat
but by the time he freed her
she was wearing kathy’s hat

the cat’s name was mickey
she hitched a ride on a rig
she had a sordid history
and wished she was a pig

the driver was called dusty
a name to conjure with
his license said his name was jones
but he wished that it was smith

mickey confessed her deepest wish
that she was made of pork
dusty missed the exit
and they ended in new york

dusty went to a bar room
and left his rig outside
later they found his wallet
washed up on the riverside

mickey ran for mayor
but did not receive one vote
and so we end our little tale
on this unfortunate note

Saturday, June 12, 2021


by dog e relaford

roses are fake, violets are true
the grass is green, and the sky is blue
the sun is yellow and the clouds are white
curfew must not ring tonight

flies are green, spiders are black
horses run around the track
jockeys play poker when it rains
some things are hard to explain

roses are pink. lilies are white
something here does not seem right
dogs are poor, and cats are rich
but i do not know which is which

whales are blue, and sharks are gray
i saw casey jones the other day
he was coming around the bend
but he had no cash to spend

the water is blue, the waves are white
the sun goes down, and then it’s night
now the seashore is deserted
and all the heathens are converted

mary, mary, quite contrary
dogs are sad, and cats are wary
the light is green, and then turns red
some things never should be said