Friday, April 27, 2012

Los Alamos

Los Alamos
New Mexico
Birth place of
The atomic bomb
The world’s first
Atomic explosion

Mary had a little lamb
Little lamb
Little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
Whose fleece 
Was white as snow

The events that
Took place
In that remote area
During the predawn
Hours of
July 16, 1945
Forever changed the world!

And every where 
That Mary went
Mary went
Her sheep was sure to go!

On that day
In the wake of
A fireball that burned
Hotter than ten thousand suns
What had been
Merely theoretical had
Suddenly become
The ultimate

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water

The Trinity test
Was the culmination
Of three years’
Planning and development
Within the super secret
Manhattan Project

The project was headed by
A  four star career officer
Named General Leslie R. Groves and
By one of the world’s
Most renowned physicists
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer

Together they made
The two atomic weapons named
Little Man and Fat Boy!

Together they made
An isolated corner of
The Alamogordo Bombing and
Gunnery range
Into Hell on Earth
(Even though doing so
Brought the two of them
Everlasting fame!)

Under the super secret
Code-name of
Groves and Oppenheimer
Baptized the Atomic Age!

Ring around the rosie
A pocket full of posie
Ashes, ashes
All fall down!

(The Holy Trinity
Is another name
For the Father
The Son, and
The Holy Ghost)!

Even before the
First bomb was tested
A second bomb
Was secretly dispatched
To the pacific
For a planned attack
On the Japanese city of
Hiroshima (Fat Boy)
(A third atomic bomb named
Little Man  would later
Be dropped on Nagasaki)
Hundreds of thousands
Of Japanese men, women and children
Would be brutally
Killed in both attacks.
The Allied price of Victory and
The war policy goal of
Unconditional surrender.

Look Jane!
See Spot?
See Spot run?
Look Dick!
See Spot jump?
See Spot jump and run?

Preparations for the test
Included the building of a steel tower
That would suspend the bomb
One hundred feet above the ground

London Bridge is falling down
Falling down
Falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady!

Many were apprehensive
There were concerns
That the blast
Might launch
A cataclysmic reaction
With the upper atmosphere
Leading to total
World destruction!

Rock a bye baby
On the tree top
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock!

Some feared the consequences
Of radio active fallout
On civilian populations
Surrounding the test site

And when the bough breaks
The cradle will fall
And down will come baby
Cradle and all!

Still other feared
The test might fail
And the bomb would
Turn out to be one big dud!
The biggest fizzled
Firecracker on

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the  world ends
Not with a bang
But a whimper-
T.S. Elliot

Finally the heavy rains subsided
And in the darkness
Of that early July 16 morning
History was made

Everyone knows
The world is 
Coming to an end
But no one knows
Quite what to do
Everyone knows
The world is
Coming to an end so
Buckle my shoe!

Philadelphia, pa. 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Absalom, Absalom

How extravagant you are
Tossing away the precious
Gift of love
As if you were
Just taking out
The morning trash
How extravagant you must be
To be able
To be so cavalier
With my paltry offerings
Of undying affection

You must have hoarded away
A treasure trove of love
Hidden away somewhere
In buried treasure chests
Like so many stolen
Golden doubloons

A king’s ransom of
Pirated love loot
Safely buried away
(Or so you
Would like to think)
In some
Private pirate cove
On some uncharted island
Somewhere in the Dry Tortugas

It is best that you
Guard your hidden
Treasures well
For looters and
Scavengers and
Treasure seekers
Are everywhere

I should know
I am one of them

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

Un Film Sans Titre - Une Vie Sans Permission

Outside the window
There is a howling of wind
A major snow storm
A good old fashioned
New England nor’easter
The kind of storm that
Makes one instinctively
Want to search out places of
Warmth and safety
And to double check
The pantry shelves
To make sure that
They are well stocked
With survival canned goods
Just so that there is
No necessity to have to
Venture forth
Into the raw elements
In order to fire up
The old Volvo
For the drive to the nearest
Super market or neighborhood
Grocery story
To forage for food and
Other basic necessities
Though I am sure
That there are those
Brave, hardy and
Intrepid souls
Who would venture out
Into the blinding snow
Like Shackerton
in search of the
South Pole

Well good for them
Just so long as it
Doesn’t have to be me!

Despite my reluctance
To venture outside
I soon find myself
Dressed in my warmest
Winter gear
Trying to shovel
The walk
To clear a path
From the street
To my house
So that the junk mail
Can be delivered
(God forbid if the junk mail
Doesn’t make it through!)

As a homeowner
I am required by law
To shovel the
Sidewalk in front
Of my house
So that passersby
Can safely
Go about their business
Without having to
Walk in the road
Risking mayhem and death

I am not the only one who
Is out shoveling the snow
My neighbors are also
Out in force
And the scraping sound
Of shovels hitting sidewalk
Can be heard
Up and down the
Residential neighborhood
This is one of the few times
That I get to see
All of my neighbors

We wave to each other
Soldiers and comrades in arms
Against the wind and the cold
Stamping our feet and
Clapping our gloved hands
To keep the blood flowing
To keep the life force
Trying to ward off
Frost bite
And frozen hands and
Frozen toes

Later there will be time
For hot chocolate and
Hot tea and coffee
With maybe a shot or two
Of bourbon whiskey to
Warm our insides
Against the frost and the cold
While inside our homes
Furnaces and fire places
Are working overtime
To maintain a cozy and steady
Seventy degrees

Our legions of
Pet dogs and cats
Have by now
Curled up to sleep
In their favorite
Warm spots
And their snores
Are keeping pace
With their dreams

As I bend to the task at hand
My mind drifts back
To an earlier time
In my life
When things
Were far from being
so orderly and predictable
When things
Were a far cry
From being so orderly
And nice

She was upstairs
In the bedroom
I could hear her sobbing
From the foot
Of the stairwell
I went up to her
To see what was the matter
She was screaming
At the top of her lungs
Her purple swollen face
Buried deep into a pillow
Absolutely hysterical
Totally apoplectic
A complete psychotic break!

She was squealing
Like a full grown sow
On the way
To the slaughterhouse
Nothing I could say or do
Would or could comfort her
Finally I gave up
For chrissakes I said
I get it already
I really do get it

It took another year
For the divorce
To become final
But at least
I will never again
Have to listen
To that god awful
Psychotic squeal fest
Ever again

She claims that
When she was
A young girl
(Around twelve years old)
That she happened
To have stumbled upon
The hanged dead body
Of her next door neighbor’s son
Who at the time
Was also her best friend
(And perhaps her first crush?)

The boy was found
Hanging from the rafters
In his father’s basement
An apparent case of suicide
(After the police were called
Alerted by her hysterical screams)

She had volunteered the details
Of this story
One night at the dinner table
Quite out of the blue
While we were making
Polite dinner conversation
During the early days
Of our courtship

I had simply asked her
To please pass
The carrots and peas

Instead of the carrots and peas
She passed along
This nightmarish
Tale of blood and gore

I should have known then
That she was damaged goods
But I forced myself
To not believe it

After all she was just
Trying to make
Polite dinner talk

I told her that I was sorry
That she had to experience
Such a tragedy
At such a young and
Impressionable age

In reply
She merely
Shrugged her shoulders
Oh well she said
(This time passing
The carrots and peas)
It all happened
Such a long, long
Time ago

Such a long, long
Time ago indeed

The snow
Has finally stopped falling now
And I kick off the frozen
Snow and ice
From my gloves and
Water proof timberland boots
And I place the snow shovel
Back in it’s
Customary resting place

I look around
And survey my handiwork
Satisfied that I have done
A good job
Of clearing off the path

I am no long snow bound
I once again have access
To the glorious outside world
(Still covered in a pristine
Winter cloak of freshly fallen snow)

It is almost evening
And my porch light
Clicks on automatically
I return to the warmth and comfort
Of my living room
Careful not to disturb Katrina
(My sleeping pet cat)

I settle into my comfy
Reclining chair and
I take account of my life

My world is comfortable now
My world is peaceful now
And neighbor
If there is ever anything
That I can do about it
That is the way
Things are always
Going to stay

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Score And Ten

The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty
yet their span
is but toil and trouble
they are soon gone
and we fly away-
Psalm 90:10

According to the Bible
the number of years
that a man can expect to live is
Three score and ten
I assume it’s the same
for women
As I am
65 years old
By this calculus
I can expect to live
for another five years
or so

This notion
is very sobering
to say the least
though I am not complaining
for by and large
my life has been
something of a
moveable feast
(Ernest Hemingway
ain’t got nothing
on me!)

And we all know by now
just how Papa Hemingway
decided to exit this earth
(By blowing his head off 
with a double gauge
shotgun! An extremely
messy way to go!)

And we all know by now
just how Vincent Van Gogh
had decided to leave this earth
By first cutting his own
Left ear off
Before finally
Exiting this world
with a small pistol shot
through the right temple
of his forehead.
(Less messy
but equally as effective!)

I could go on and on
listing the famous and
infamous mad geniuses
throughout the eons of
human existence
who have chosen
to take their own lives
rather than to accede to
nature’s more leisurely
their impatience
exceeded only by
their all consuming need
to silence once and for all
the incessant howling of
their individual demons

Let us please be clear
I am in no way
recommending or
as the sure cure all
for all the ills that
ails modern man
but neither am I
suggesting that I
recommend or endorse
nature’s alternate
exit strategy of death by
planned obsolescence
(Where the clockwork orange
inner workings of our
own bodies
begin to decompose
allowing shafts of sunlight
to shine between our ribs
while all of modern science
marshals its resources
to ward off
the inevitable
demise of all
of us who
are mostly made
Of mere
flesh and bone)

There is a third alternative
which to me does seem
to be the more humane
by allowing us to choose
death with dignity
at the time and place of
our own choosing
on our own terms and
at our own pace
assisted by those
we trust the most
to guide us all
to a much better place
without at the same time
ever having to forfeit
either our love of god or
god’s good grace

I suppose that
when push finally does
comes to shove
there is nothing that
can prevent us all
(short of sedation)
from getting a bad
case of the crazies
at the sobering prospect
of the sheer necessity of
Having to push up the daisies!

Philadelphia, Pa 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Need A Breath Of Fresh Air

I need a breath
Of fresh air
I need more air to breathe
Right now
I feel like a        
Gold Fish out of water
Because I need
More air to breathe

I need to do
like the little doggies do
and go take a piss
on the nearest tree
Yes I need to do
like the little doggies do
and go and take a piss
on the nearest
available tree

Just the other day
I met a little grey squirrel
who looked me straight
in the eye
Yes, I met a little grey squirrel
the other day
who had the unmitigated gall
the unmitigated chutzpah
to dare to look me straight
in the eye
Just what do you mean
by doing that
Or are you just looking
to get a black eye?
Because I’m feeling
just mean enough
right now
to cook you
in a pan of grease fry

Some nights
I just feel like going out
to start howling and
screaming at the moon
like a Siberian grey wolf
to just sit outside
under my juniper tree
just a howlin and a bayin at
the too goddamn big
harvester moon
and I’d like to see
if anybody would
open their doors to
just try and stop me
(just think
the next howling neighbor
that you might hear
some moon lit starry night
might just be you)

I haven’t been feeling
much like socializing
these past few days
sort of like a bear
holed up in his cave
best to stay away
and leave the bear alone
at least
until the winter
comes to an end
and the river
again begins to flow
maybe then
I’ll want to wander
back outside
to grab me
a jumping salmon or two
If I’m feelin
once more
in the mood

I need a breath
Of fresh air
I need more air to breathe
Right now
I feel like a        
Gold Fish out of water
Because I need
More air to breathe

When I was once
a much younger man
I once met
the great surreal
painter and
surreal artist
Salvador Dali
by a freak accident

I get to catch
a glance of myself
in the living room mirror
(also by freak accident)
I can hardly believe that
I was ever
that kind of a man

Philadelphia, Pa., 2012


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Lady With The Two Penguin Feet

I get to see her
Most every day
On the way to work
The lady with
The two penguin feet
And I can’t help but
Feel sorry for her
Every time that
We cross paths

She has a medical condition
That causes her feet to
Splay apart  
And that makes walking
Difficult and awkward
(And painful and slow)
And she walks
Like a penguin walks
Lurching from side to side
Like the pendulum
On a grandfather clock
Tick Tock
Tick Tock

I am a collector
Of human oddities  
A result of my
Early childhood conditioning  
Growing up in the back lots
And side streets of
Old Coney Island    
When she was
Well past her glory days
Like an aging prostitute
With her smeared lipstick and
With all of her wrinkles and
Varicose veins and
Sagging sacks of flesh
Plainly visible for all to see

Back in those days
They still had
The old boardwalk
Carnie shows called
Freak shows
Where people with
All kinds of
Physical deformities
Were put on display by
Unscrupulous con men
Who were out to make
A quick sordid saw buck
On the physical miseries of
Their fellow human beings

Outside the big tent
There were these
Huge garish overblown
Painted posters
That depicted the
Exaggerated deformed features
Of the human attractions that
Could be viewed inside the
Big tent
For a mere dollar or two
(Popcorn and cotton candy
Not included!)

Hurry, hurry, hurry!
Step right up!
Don’t be shy!
Bring the kiddies along!
It’s educational!
It’s sensational!
It’s the greatest
Show on earth!
Yelled the loud mouthed
Gaffers who were
Known as Barkers
Whose sole job was to
Snare the suckers and
The gawkers and
The onlookers and
The morbidly curious
Into shelling out
Their money to
Buy tickets
To see the human freaks
On display to satisfy      
The public's insatiable demand
For ever more egregious forms
Of exotic and erotic displays of
Human excess
All in the name of

Yessiree folks!
Step inside to see
The most amazing
The most incredible
The most shocking
Collection of human freaks
And oddities
On the entire planet!

These freaks of nature
Will amaze you!
They will astound you!
They are guaranteed to give
You fits and nightmares for
Years to come!

You there!
Yeah you!
The snot nosed
Kid in the red T shirt!
Buy one ticket
And your sister can
Get in for free!
You’ll scream!
You’ll cry!
You won’t believe
Your own eyes!

Come and see
The amazing
Elephant lady!
(Pleurisy of the legs!)
Part human
Part elephant!

Come and see
The amazing
Donkey Face Boy!
(Severe deformation
Of the jaw bone
With protruding dentition!)
Part Human
Part Donkey!

Step right up!
Step right up!

I wonder if
My lady with
The two penguin feet
Was even aware
Of the fabulous career
She could have once had
As a Coney Island
Side show freak?

Or am I just
Being nostalgic
For the good old days?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012