I’m sitting here eating crackers,

I dip ‘em in something bad for my liver.

The branches outside move in the wind;

And I reach for my sword when they quiver.

The Xboxes whir in the night-time

As I wait for the red ring of death.

I don’t suppose anyone knows

How long I can go without breath?

The creatures all over the mansion

Hide in the shadows when I look around.

But I feel their presence upon me,

And twitch upon hearing their mockery sound.

I don’t think the lights will stay on in the storm—

I don’t think we can get pressure on Brady—

I don’t like the fact that there’s ground on the snow—

I’m losing my mind for the love of a lady.

My paranoia has gone to extremes;

I think Wikipedia’s telling the truth.

I think that some monarchist penguin

Is judging me for the sins of my youth.

Mister or Miss, don’t misjudge or dismiss

This missive of awful inanity.

For as bad as it is living like this,

I’ve found I prefer it to sanity!

Roone Howard was the best strategist to ever write a political ad.

He could convince starving men that entitlements were bad;

He could make you self-disenfranchise to prevent voter-fraud;

It is said that he made the Holy Spirit believe there wasn’t a God.

If you employed him, your head would lie easy underneath of its crown;

Because he would lie easy to cut all of your challengers down!

But if you opposed him; then may Heaven have pity on you,

For he’d tell your fam’ly and friends  you weren’t anything like who they knew.

 

Oh, no one likes to hear it said,

But he could paint McCarthy “Red”

If that’s what was needed to serve the empowered.

By stroking feelings barbaric,

Or stressing facts esoteric,

No one persuaded like that Devil, Roone Howard!

 

One day, his most prominent client, a National candidate, came to see him and ask

Him to set about working on what he reckoned a well-nigh impossible task.

His opponent, it seemed, was lovely and charismatic with a great reputation;

She wore her good deeds and record like armor against character assassination.

She spoke like a Cicero, and was quite incorruptible; her personal life was above suspicion;

While Howard’s client was deficient in every category but that of ruthless ambition.

So old Roone Howard set straight to work on how to stain and destroy and annihilate

The political chances of this candidate with the resume seemingly so inviolate.

 

                For weeks on end did he toil,

                Burning each night the midnight oil

                As for any shred of a scandal he scoured.

                But never even a trace

                Of shamefulness or disgrace

                Ever met the eye of the clever Roone Howard.

 

At last, just when all hope seemed utterly lost, Howard hit on an ingenious scheme.

He at once called a meeting to announce  the whole plan to his political team.

“’As ours is a business that’s dirty and vile,” this political Clausewitz reasoned,

“A lady this good has no place in it–let it go instead to a man tough and seasoned.

This, gentlemen, I feel is a message which our cynical populace is bound to feel true!”

He proved to be right! In a matter of weeks, the lady in question up and withdrew.

Howard’s man could then run unopposed, and his targeted office he easily won;

Howard was given a government job, and the lady they’d beaten could find herself none.

 

                O, Howard took comfort, I’m sure,

                That he’d destroyed someone so pure;

                And laughed at her whose votes his campaign devoured.

                For even perfection complete

                Couldn’t hope to compete

                Against the devious mind of that scoundrel, Roone Howard!

(more…)

The hour was late, and the guardsman held his lonely vigil.
A moonless night, disturbed only by things which might be;
The imagined things which almost don’t exist, but leave their sigil
Imprinted on the black depths of humanity’s genetic memory.

As the guard gazes into the night, what monsters may be there?
Whence come the phantasmal sounds that make him raise his gun?
Is the darkness populated with fiends, lurking everywhere–
Or are the beasts loosed within his brain, content therein to run?

Is it a comfort to say that tales of these abominations
Are products of our minds; some mentally abhorrent whim?
If the vilest of monsters are the works of our imaginations,
Then what kind of things are we who have imagined them?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a draft of a song I wrote for a never-finished musical. It was to be sung by a football coach character loosely based on Bill Belichick, Mike Martz and Gus Malzahn.]

A strategist like Clausewitz or Bonaparte,
If he survived into the modern age,
Would choose to demonstrate his art
With a hundred-yard gridiron for a stage.

Take tomorrow’s game for an example:
Should we try to run the ball,
And see if their line’s one we can trample–
Or should we throw it, and not run at all?

I plan to come out in the “I formation”
And fake the handoff to the back.
And they will fall for it on some occasion–
And then we will unleash the deep attack!

Of course, we still will run it now and then,
But with receivers, or perhaps the quarterback:
As is known by all great military men:
“Outnumber ’em at the point of your attack!”

We must disguise formations, put the ‘backs in motion;
To figure out the matchups that are in our favor.
And if we pull that off, I have a notion
That this victory is one our fans will savor.

It’s not just gladiatorial playing–
In spite of what the journalists will claim;
I think I am quite justified in saying:
“Football is a Thinking Man’s Game!”

All of us dressed in our Witch-Sabbath best
To celebrate Halloween’s coming.
There was the Countess Villette and her one-eyed pet
Hosting that mad night of mumming.
There was the fiery hell-cat, in her black pointed hat,
And a lumbering mountainous man.
There was the old gypsy crone, and a creature unknown
Who looked like a doll from Japan.
O! Not even the Devil could imagine that revel;
That cosmic costume soirée of the weird.
Its ghoulish appeal was so very surreal
And nothing was what it appeared.
We laughed and we danced, and all were entranced
As if by some powerful hex.
The fiendish fell spell could be felt down to Hell;
A cocktail of madness and laughter and sex.
Then the clock struck thirteen, and with that, Halloween
Had ended as fast as it came.
And everyone vanished–the occult magic was banished,
And once more, all was quiet and tame.

In the warm October e’en, the young man sits

And dreams of her he set his heart upon.

By the fading light of the fire pits,

In the gentle wind, all low and wan–

He fancies she is here with him

As his companion and his lover.

And though the light grows ever dim,

And the blue and gloomy clouds roll over–

For a moment, it’s as if they are together

Cuddling close beside the pulsing embers;

Braving all the world’s forbidding weather.

But then–alas! The lad remembers–

Remembers ev’rything that went before.

And dwells upon what he regretteth most.

And then he is alone again once more;

And she is gone, like a fleeting Autumn ghost.