Dead Tree at Night

A train whistle blows
And echoes over the forgotten graveyard.
In the dark of night, the West wind
Sweeps across the fields.
What gloomy tidings ride
Upon that ancient gale?
What long dead spirit voice
Cries out from the forgotten forests?
A shape, silhouetted against a sky
Faintly orange with distant city lights,
Moves slowly across the rise.
The colorless leaves fall
From the arms of their decaying towers.
And then the wind subsides,
But a dread chill persists
Upon this haunted land.

[Inspired by a suggestion Thingy made in the comments on this post.  It kind of wound up being completely different than I expected when I started it.]

Of all the monsters men detest, one that stands above the rest

Is none other than the dreadful VAMPIRE!

By day a suave aristocrat, at night it turns into a bat;

Who can deny the fear that they  inspire?

But though frightful are these ghouls, they’re governed by some rules

That are overly complex and convoluted.

Bram’s well-publicized account of an evil, charming Count

In their mythology is deeply rooted.

Garlic is their kryptonite; put it ’round their crypts at night

And you’re safe from Dracula and from Carmilla.

When to destroy ’em it suffices to expose ’em to some spices–

Well, what happens if you feed ’em some vanilla?

And none of them appears in such surfaces as mirrors–

A property of theirs which is very unexpected;

Because it does not apply to the normal human eye

Into which their light is properly reflected.

If you’re writing vampire fiction, there’s a good deal of restriction

On the powers of your Nosferatu.

So, you’ll have to pick and choose from the rules you want to use–

Or at the very least, you sure ought to!

Where vampires are concerned, if there’s one thing I have learned

It’s that they can be whate’er you want.

They need not be tall and sleek, with a striking widow’s peak,

Nor need they be all pale and gaunt.

And if you think it’s queer that in mirrors they don’t appear

That’s a feature you can readily exclude.

They can go out in the light, have a normal appetite,

And just sit around a lot and brood.

Or again, if one desires,  they can make all their vampires

Behave like a roaming zombie horde.

Yes, there’s many ways of writing of these monsters so affrighting–

I just wish for one of which I wasn’t bored!

Say “hullo” to Oswald Spengler,

The philosopher of doom.

 Step out of your offices

And listen to his prophecies

And you’ll be overcome with gloom.

Say “hullo” to Oswald Spengler,

Sit with him and drink some wine.

Listen to him quoting Goethe

As you look out on the Erde,

And watch the West decline.

Say “hullo” to Oswald Spengler,

World’s first Prussian Socialist;

He called for interactions

Between these sep’rate factions,

And alas, he got just what he wished!

Say “good-bye” to Oswald Spengler;

He’s a rather Gloomy Gus.

I don’t like him, nor need you,

And I think it’s also true

He would not think much of us.


[To be sung to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Modern Major General]

In microeconomics, S and D curves must equilibrate;

It’s a fact which ev’ry laissez-faire economist must celebrate.

Under classical assumptions, as set down by Dr. Marshall,

Markets always clear, although the equilibrium is partial!

And with perfect competition, to the best of our ability,

Then the quantity and price are such that maximize utility.

And although the notion may seem so simple that it’s risible

Even so, the market‘s guided as if by a Hand Invisible.

And at the risk of being just a little bit repetitive

This is why we mustn’t intervene when markets are competitive—

It’s a fact which ev’ry laissez-faire economist must celebrate—

In standard economics, S and D curves must equilibrate!


So effective is the model at describing price behavior,

There are those who’ve come to see it as an economic savior.

As a market functions best when its preserving its autonomy

They use this very model for the whole macroeconomy.

And according to the principles which I already mention,

Conclude that never is there need for a market intervention.

Recessionary gaps” they will dismiss as sheer vapidity,

And they will see no sign of traps constraining the liquidity.

But there’s a little problem, in that when they do extrapolate,

The similarities with micro will, alas, evaporate.

But even so, ev’ry laissez-faire economist will celebrate:

In economic models, S and D curves must equilibrate!


There are analogues in science that I’ll tell you if you want ‘em:

Physics, for example, has mechanics classical and quantum

The former is for apples and for other common articles,

While the latter is designed for use with sub-atomic particles.

Although in single markets laissez-faire is unassailable,

That doesn’t really mean that it is infinitely scalable.

For when on a certain field is where all of your reliance is

You hope that it would have the rigor of the other sciences.

And so my final verdict, I’m afraid, is very critical:

As long as economics is so thoroughly political

The best that we can hope for is economists who celebrate:

In economic models, S and D curves must equilibrate!

Supply and Demand

I like the sound of this:

It is relatively simple to search for designer discounts
on the web. Lady Gaga wore a bright magenta shirt and teamed it
with a simple square pattern. If strange symbols are replacing the real ones,
you’re surely looking at a house and it’s just looking at a house and it’s just looking at a house the whole time.

This is almost existential, I think.  “If strange symbols are replacing the real ones”–I could see T.S. Eliot writing that.  Granted, he would decide it wasn’t very good, but I could see it.

This set me thinking that someone should create poems compiled from spam comments.  Well, some searching revealed that, in fact, someone has, and it’s quite funny!  Check it out.

I’ve sat here refreshing my statistics all the live-long day,

But the Internet has yet to send a single view my way.

And however much I try

Still nobody’s stopping by

To see what I have got to say.



When you write a lot of stuff in cyberspace

Your page view count is how you know your place,

And I’m afraid that mine

Is not exactly fine–

It’s a particularly sorry case!



Now, there have been other days, it’s true,

When every other minute I would get a view;

It made me feel important;

Even though perhaps it oughtn’t

Since they were all spammers from Tartu!



My average view count’s just a little over six,

But after this it will sink just like a bunch of bricks.

This might not seem much to you,

But I am an obsessive blogger who

Has just got to get his fix!

(To be sung to the tune of the English sea song “Brave Benbow“)

Come all you football fans, and draw near, and draw near,

 Come all you football fans and draw near.

 It’s of a QB’s fame,

 O brave Tebow was his name,

 Why he will not start again,

 you shall hear, you shall hear.

Brave  Tebow he dropped back

 For to pass, for to pass

 Brave Tebow he dropped back for to pass.

 Brave Tebow he dropped back

 For to throw a speedy slant

 But, as you well know, he can’t

 Miss the grass, miss the grass.

 Said John Fox to his men:

 We will run, we will run

 Said John Fox to his men, we will run.

 For I value no disgrace,

 nor the losing of my place,

 But if we can get McGahee out in space,

 We’ll have won, we’ll have won.

 The marvelous Tebow  took the snap, took the snap

The marvelous Tebow  took the snap.

And when he did, he’d try to throw

To somebody on a “go”,

 To somebody on a “go”,

 Incomplete, incomplete!

 Brave Tebow to the Jets

 By a trade, by a trade

 Brave Tebow to the Jets by a trade.

 Brave Tebow to the Jets,

 And all his fans give Sermonettes:

 “Tebow by Elway’s camp

Was betrayed, was betrayed!”

Rex Ryan welcom’d him,

 Cries Tebow, cries Tebow

Rex Ryan welcom’d him, cries Tebow.

But they got him out of haste,

 And the Quarterback was placed

(While Mark Sanchez was disgraced)

On the bench, on the bench.


I’ve been wanting to do another one of these after I had so much fun with my political and football ones.


Mass Effect (series)

The Reapers are bad

Because they will kill us all–

So let’s kill ourselves.

Fallout: New Vegas

Why would you gamble

In a wrecked economy

Based on bottle caps?

Half-Life 2


With gravity guns, crowbars–

And more depressing.

Metal Gear Solid

Two days to prevent

A nuclear disaster.

But let’s chat some first.

Halo (series)

Generic soldiers

Fighting generic monsters.

The Fans will love it!

Call of Duty (series)

Generic soldiers

Fighting with one another.

A Halo killer!

Deus Ex

A million choices;

Branching paths and decisions;

All destroy the world.

Doom 3

U.A.C. has guns,

Teleporters and ships, but

“No duct tape on Mars.”

Perfect Dark

A female James Bond

To be the next Goldeneye?

More like Moonraker.

Knights of the Old Republic II

Take away the Force

And Jedi are incomplete.

Much like the ending.

Feel free to add your own in the comments.

Down beneath the deepest vaults;

Down beneath forsaken wells;

There are places undiscovered;

Protected by unholy, ancient spells.

In a fever dream one winter night

I made the subterranean climb

To seek the old forgotten relics

Of a dreadful bygone time.

Down into the dark descending,

After hours lost in seas of black

I felt as if some hidden gulf was crossed

From which there was no turning back.

I emerged amidst an endless plain,

Covered with a strange, grey sand

As an evil star hung redly o’er me

And threw its vile tint upon the land.

I headed for the distant city

That on the far horizon loomed,

Whereat I knew the Ancient Things

Lay solemnly and silently entombed.

Once inside that twisted ruin

Through the winding streets I pressed.

Once or twice, a chill shot through me

When I thought I heard wings beating to the West.

At last I came upon a strange machine,

Designed to turn and twist the city’s gears,

All overrun with vines and fungal growths

Of unfathomably many years.

I sought a way beneath the site

To seek what had been built before,

When in my bed I suddenly awoke

And clutched a tome of ancient lore.

The desert


“Apocalypse ‘12”,

So the Mayans had said.

“Mark on your calendars

That you’ll all be dead.”

And ev’ryone came

To the center of town,

To look at the clock

As the minutes ticked down.

We all knew it would end

But we didn’t know how.

“Be ready” we said,

“For anything now”.

They primed all the missiles,

The oceans did rise,

The sun started growing

To no one’s surprise.

Bob Frost, he took bets

On “fire” or “ice”.

I said “10-to-1 water”

And he said “no dice”.

A relieved Harold Camping

Lit a vict’ry cigar;

And even  Cthulhu

Drove up in his car.

Behind him by barely

So much as a step

Came old Yog-Sothoth

And Nyarlathotep.

As twilight approached

We only could stare

And wait for the horsemen

We knew would be there.

The sky opened up

And there they appeared,

Looking as awful

As everyone feared.

There came a grim hush

To all of our chatter’n’

As those four moved into

Their last landing pattern.

Then one of the riders

Lost hold of his steed,

And the blasphemous bronco

Was off at full speed.

The Unearthly rider

Into space he was thrown;

‘Twas like the “Ghost Riders”

Meet “The Strawberry Roan”.

The next day the feeling,

As the headline explains:

Was “Apocalypse Called

On Account of the Reins.”