Tuesday, February 28, 2023

the serpent

by horace p sternwall

on their 33rd wedding anniversary, gus and sarah endicott decided to take a trip to the garden of eden.

to their surprise, they could not find any listings for such trips on the internet.

they did find a couple of travel agencies still doing business, but when they phoned and e-mailed them, they were told they had no trips to the garden of eden available, nor did they know of any other agencies that did.

do you know why that is? sarah asked the polite woman she talked to, at the last agency they called.

no demand, i suppose, the woman said. i guess the garden of eden just is not what it used to be.

my mom and dad went there about thirty years ago, edith said. i remember it well because our cat snuffy died when they were gone, and i had to give it a funeral and bury it all by myself. it was so sad.

well, thirty years is a long time, the polite woman replied. time goes by and things change.

sarah relayed the polite woman’s messages to gus when she got off her phone.

i guess we will just have to go someplace else, gus sighed.

no, sarah replied, i do not think we should give up so easy as all that. just because we can not find an agency does not mean we can not go. did christopher columbus need a travel agency? or daniel boone?

i guess not, gus replied, with a hopeful smile.

the next morning sarah went to the library, where her best friend jenny rogers was the librarian, and took out a world atlas and the latest edition of the world almanac, in order to find out where exactly the garden of eden was.

after checking the two books out, sarah spent a couple of hours chatting with jenny rogers, and when she got home gus was gone.

that is strange, sarah thought, he must have met someone at the donut shop and gotten into a long conversation with them.

unbeknownst to sarah, gus had for many months been corresponding by e-mail with zena bradley, an old high school girl friend of his who lived in the other side of the rocky mountains.

when sarah had gone to the library, gus had packed a suitcase and called a cab to the bus station where he bought a ticket to zena bradley’s town of residence. he did not call or text zena to tell her he was coming, hoping to surprise her.

gus was never seen or heard from again, by zena bradley or by anybody else.

in no way deterred, sarah made her plans to visit the garden of eden by herself.

according to the world almanac, the garden of eden had been relocated from southern turkmenistan, where it had existed peacefully for six thousand years, to a small island halfway between the tip of chile and the coast of antarctica.

i don’t think there was anything in the news about that, sarah observed to jenny rogers.

that is the mainstream media for you, jenny replied enigmatically.

although it cost half her life savings, sarah managed to get to the island where the garden of eden was now supposed to be located, without being kidnapped by terrorists, or shipwrecked.

sarah was dropped off at the island late at night (and it was night, and dark) by a small boat which picked up and delivered passengers every four months. she was the only passenger getting off.

there was no sign of the garden of eden in the darkness, only three one story barrack like buildings.

one of the buildings had a light in the window and sarah approached it and entered it after knocking.

inside it looked like a bus station, and a man stood behind what looked like a ticket counter, although there were no signs indication destinations or ticket prices. the man wore a sport jacket and string tie, and had a pencil mustache.

he looks familiar, sarah thought, and he dresses neat, not like the slobby men you see these days.

began explaining herself and the object of her trip, beginning with her childhood.

the man smiled when she paused for breath.

but i know all about you, sarah, he said.

you do?

my name is sam smith, and some people call me the serpent although i am not really such a bad fellow. in a previous life i was snuffy, the cat you were so fond of. i hope that we can be friends again.

i thought i recognized you, sarah exclained.

look here, sam smith continued, in a few days i am due to go back to my own galaxy. how would you like to go with me, see a bit of the universe?

that sounds good to me, sarah replied promptly. she had always wanted to see more of the universe.

and she did.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

a wasted life

by nick nelson

joe bixby, tom brown, sid johnson, and bill brady hung out on the corner together for many years.

one day tom brown died.

the other three got together on the corner later that night.

poor tom, joe said. he wasted his life, and never amounted to anything.

what do you mean?, sid replied indignantly. how did he waste his life?

he never amounted to anything, joe repeated. he never even got his name in the paper.

it will be in the paper tomorrow, bill said. in the death notices. his wife told me so.

that doesn’t count, sid said. everybody gets their name in the paper once, when they die. he was never famous like michael jordan or hitler or taylor swift or some real famous person.

what is a real famous person? bill asked. a real person who is famous, or a person who is really famous?

bill was always asking dumb questions like that because he thought he knew everything, but joe and sid ignored him.

i bet , sid continued, tom never said one original thing in his whole life, or thought one either. not that it made him a bad person.

look here, bill said, according to wikipedia 117,000,000,000 humans have lived on earth since the beginning of time.

assume an average life span of each person of 33 years, or about 12,000 days.

suppose each of the 117 billion produced at least one original or witty thought - just one - every day.

this would result in a total of 1,404,000,000,000,000 witty and original thoughts.

suppose a book was to be produced recording these thoughts.

let us assume 3 or 4 of the thoughts would fit on one page.

the book would be about 400,000,000,000,000 (400 trillion) pages long.

it would take one person reading 400 pages a day a trillion days, or about 2.7 billion years, to read the book.

that is really interesting, bill, sid said.

joe nodded. he had not listened to a word bill said.

a police car swung by, catching joe, sid, and bill in its headlights, and moved on without stopping.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

same dog bit me

by genghis gilgamesh

all i wanted was to be free
because all i wanted was to be me
clouds roll across the sky
to tell me i am going to die

everybody hates me - it’s sad
forget the friends i never had
gargoyles leer from every door
with hands out in clutching implore

i awake in my little room
just in time for final doom
the king of spades slips me a note
the last ship out is now afloat

the magician shines his rabbit
the nun sews patches on her habit
the octopus lights a cigar
the platypus puts gas in the getaway car

quickly the scene changes
the lone ranger rearranges
the snake in the jewel box
the three wise men begin to talk

under the winding stair
victory is in the air
who dares to say otherwise
may expect a terrible surprise

youth must be served
zoom - my blue soul swerves
all around me angels and saints observe
how strangely the demons wings are curved

Friday, February 17, 2023


by genghis gilgamesh

albert had an einstein
billy had a kid
captain kidd had a map of the world
that showed where the treasure was hid

confucius sat upon a bench
and listened to the birds
daniel boone in the forest
was a man of few words

darius was a mighty king
and was called the great
he had an elephant made of gold
but it was not worth its weight

jonah fell into the sea
and was rescued by the whale
sinbad met them on the beach
and lived to.tell their tale

st anthony was a hermit
and saw demons in the skies
st francis talked with dogs and cows
and it made him very wise

columbus sailed the ocean blue
and was much admired at the time
montezuma asked him for a nickel
and he threw him a lousy dime

ben franklin tamed the lightning
and wore spectacles on his nose
george washington cut down the cherry tree
and struck a noble pose

abe lincoln wore a crown of gold
and hid it in his hat
crazy horse had a big black dog
custer had a calico cat

jeese james was an outlaw
and only wanted to be free
he was shot in the back by his own best friend
a lot like you and me

i could go on like this forever
like a barker at a fair
but if you want true wisdom
you must look elsewhere

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

culture war blues

by timothy t jones

i don’t want to bake cookies like a woman
i don’t want to hunt moose like a man
i don’t want to catch fish like a polar bear
i just want to be who i am

i don’t want to make billions on wall street
or live in a commune in a tree
i don’t want to be a squid or an octopus
i just want to be me

i don’t want to go on tik tok
and convert the world to my views
don’t want to hold a sign at a rally
i don’t want to watch the news

i don’t want to wear a suit and tie
or a uniform of blue
i just want to collect my welfare check
and do what i have to do

if i can’t be brad pitt or tom brady
i would settle for being bill gates
or just an ordinary billionaire
but such is not my fate

i don’t want to get up in the morning
though the system tells me i must
i would rather sit by the side of the road
and talk to the bugs in the dust

they ask me all these stupid questions
that don’’t do me any good
i can’t fly away on a rocket to the moon
but every day i wish i could

Friday, February 10, 2023

53, or the dawn

by timothy t jones

it is my privilege to serve you
please do not tell a joke
i know it is only natural
and will not cause an international sensation

in your heart you are not a hypocrite
but you take your power for granted
you remember the old days
when humans ruled the earth

it is important to understand
that freedom is a gift
the revolution has no gratitude
and humans have no memory

53 was an important individual
and stood on a balcony
he heard the cheers of the crowd
a crowd filled with his enemies

the cheers contained a message
that his ears could not hear
also he got bad advice
and did not see the dawn breaking behind him

Friday, February 3, 2023

tomato sandwich

by genghis gilgamesh

the wind whistles down the highway
blowing apples off the apple trees
a hurricane forms on a distant planet
a serpent sleeps in the sea

i am not the tomato sandwich
nor am i the gabardine suit
i am not the fugitive from justice
or the hound in hot pursuit

i am only a lonesome hobo
on a park bench in the rain
i have told my story many times
and am ready to tell it again

i was born on the third planet
at the corner of south and main
but i never meant to do so
if you will just let me explain

i woke up one morning
and knew i was alive
they poked me with a stick
and said, you must work nine to five

the words meant nothing to me
the numbers even less
all i wanted was to be free
but i obeyed, and got dressed

in a thousand story building
gleaming in the sun
they told me i was number 4967076432785 -6
but i knew i was number one

with my fingers on a keyboard
and my back to the wall
i sat at my desk for fifty years
waiting for the call

angels flew above me
and heroes clashed outside
but i was only a hamster
along for the ride

one night i wrote a poem
and taped it to my desk
when i came back in the morning
you can guess the rest

a wanderer went wandering
singing a song
the sun was shining overhead
but not for long

they gave me a tomato sandwich
and sent me on my way
the wind whistled down the highway
and night followed day

i am only a lonesome hobo
on a park bench in the rain
i have told my story many times
and am ready to tell it again

Thursday, February 2, 2023

boarding house

by dog e relaford

apples are red
berries are blue
johnny was false
but mary was true

bananas are yellow
broccoli is green
mary did the dishes
johnny made the scene

mary loved johnny
with all her heart
johnny tried to rob a bank
but did not know where to start

the sheriff shot johnny
shot him just like that
mary’s heart was broken
she took in a stray cat

the cat’s name was elmer
he accepted his fate
he watched the world from his window
and put on weight

mary took in boarders
some of them were nice
others maybe not so much
but she gave them good advice

mary lived forever
or so it seemed to me
she never had a little lamb
or ran wild and free

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


by horace p sternwall

kenny had a biscuit
lenny had a dog
lenny’s dog stole kenny’s biscuit
and hid in a hollow log

kenny heard the hound chewing
and flew into a rage
he went to call on old man mose
and thus spoke the sage

cats were born to whistle
snakes were born to moan
possums were born to talk all night
on the telephone

buzzards were born to laugh
badgers were born to pray
dogs were born to read the bible
they all lost their way

everything is all mixed up
everyone is a sinner
call anybody what you want
but don’t call me late for dinner

the wise man’s words rolled over ken
like a turnip off a plate
the road runs on forever
but the moon sits up straight