Friday, July 13, 2018


i used to be wild, i used to be free
i loved everybody, and they loved me
i was the king of the road and the queen of the may
and woke up with a song in my heart every day

i had a message of love in my heart
and took to the highway the message to impart
friendly strangers in volkswagen bugs
gave me rides and i gave them hugs

it was time to turn the page
and greet the dawn of a new age
war and hatred belonged to the past
the new kingdom of love was built to last

life was one long celebration
of the gathering of the tribes and nations
one night in the throes of ecstasy
i passed out on the shore of a shimmering sea

how long i slept i do not know
but i woke up covered with snow
the night was dark and covered with clouds
i sat up and cried aloud

where have all my comrades gone
where is the rainbow, where the dawn
what is this ice that covers my bones
where is anybody - am i alone?

i forced myself to get to my feet
rain fell on me and then sleet
i had no hat upon my head
and wondered if i was not dead

then i saw a light in the distance
and summoning some persistence
and a desperate flicker of hope
through the darkness i did grope

to make a long story short
i ended up in court
charged with murder in the first degree
oh what, i thought, will become of me

i saw and heard the judge from afar
as he cried, o prisoner at the bar
what have you to say in exculpation
of your exercise in widespread desolation

will you show a sliver of repentance
before i pronounce sentence?
but i had no reply
except to hang my head and cry

poor boy you’ve got to die
poor boy you’ve got to die
dawn lights up the jailhouse
and rain falls from the sky

Monday, July 9, 2018

true story

by horace p sternwall

everybody has a story to tell
everybody has something to sell
a story has a beginning and an end
that does not mean you are my best friend

i was mistreated as a child
and so i started to run wild
and took up with a bad crowd
but then i heard a voice from a cloud

saying, ————, you are unique
a fate-appointed freak
you are not like others
you have no sisters or brothers

of the universe you are the center
it is your kingdom they must enter
if you decide that they can live
that is in your power to give

this message gave me hope
that i was not just some mope
that people were right to despise
and to fame would never rise

i proceeded down the street
with a new bounce in my feet
but suddenly i was not alone
a gentleman with a microphone

said, i don’t want a nickel or a dime
but just a moment of your time
if you could spare a few words
for the members of the human herd

now that you are the ruler of the world
with your teeth so white and your hair so curled
will you allow humanity to flourish
or do you in your heart still nourish

an implacable hatred of the miserable race
that has punched you in the face
and knocked you down
and on your face put a permanent frown

or will you find it in your heart
to give the planet a new start -
as the man with the microphone continued to blather
a crowd around me began to gather

and then the people in the crowd
started to chant my name aloud
and all their faces began to blend
into a road that had no end

and i was walking down the road
toward a sun beginning to explode
and then awoke to my true story -
a rat in a laboratory

professor smith smiled down at me
little fellow, i’m glad to see
you looking bright this happy morn
are you not glad that you were born?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

ars poetica

by horace p sternwall

take a piece of paper
write some words upon it
look at what you have written -
it’s a poem, doggone it!

mary had a little lamb
johnny had a panther
alice did the crossword puzzle
but didn’t know all the answers

it rained on billy’s birthday
mary didn’t go to his party
henry wanted to drink champagne
bur settled for ale most hearty

the world is filled with humans
and also cats and dogs
some folks climb up mountains
others fall into bogs

that is all the wisdom
i have for you today
meet me on the sabbath morn
and we will kneel and pray

Friday, June 29, 2018

the truth

by chuck leary

listen, my friend


no, don’t run away


i have something to tell you

something very important

something that must be said

it is just this - just this -

life has no meaning!

life has no meaning!

life has no meaning!

yes, you heard me -

i said it and i am glad

the truth is out now

i am sorry, deeply sorry

if ii have destroyed your life

and forced you to face reality

but i could not help it

i have had it burning within me

all these long years

i could not hold it in any longer

i just could not

and now it is out

and you will just have to do the best you can

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

the four passengers

by chuck leary

a dead bird
blows down the street
in the wind

a styrofoam cup
follows it
in the same wind

a leaf shakes on a branch
above a park bench
but stays on the tree

night falls
and a bus arrives
with three passengers on it

one looks out the window
another reads a newspaper
the third stares at his own feet

the new passenger
takes a seat
and takes a snickers bar out of his pocket

and begins to unwrap it
as the wheels of the bus
roll over the dead bird

but miss the styrofoam cup

Thursday, June 21, 2018

the void

by chuck leary

a bird flew across the sky

then another

then another

a pigeon landed on the roof

then another

then another

juan delivered a pizza

then another

willie delivered an american grinder with fries

maurice got up

then went back to bed

then maurice got up again

maurice remembered carol

i’ll kill hat bitch, he said to himself

actually he said it aloud, but nobody heard him

down the hall jack got up

then he went back to bed

a pigeon landed on the roof

then another

juan delivered another pizza

willie took a break and called charlene

a bird flew across the sky

and then another

an ant crawled across the sidewalk

and then another

this is just a small sample

people say life is mysterious

but what is so mysterious about it?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

kitten up a tree

by chuck leary

o mother mother must i die
yes my child and here is why
birds no longer fill the skies
and the seas begin to rise

kittens no longer climb up trees
or butterflies float on the breeze
grandma’s recipe for cherry pie
is lost and forgotten (sigh)

i fear that since i saw you last
the present has destroyed the past
humans have run out of room
and are ruled by an empire of doom

i have to say this makes me sad
you were the only child i had
living in the only universe
and things are steadily getting worse

i can’t remember, though i try
if i was the kitten or the butterfly
if you were the tree i climbed
or only the blue sky i left behind