Thursday, September 29, 2011

Live TV trials

What is it about live TV trials?
My interest would be low
but for the art of precision that the judge
maintains between the lawyers' mano a mano —
Billy Wilder's Witness for the Prosecution

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On why the Bible is a B-rate script

The Bible is full of stories of a vicious, genocidal God, of heroes venerated for killing other tribes' women and children, and of people who have different beliefs being condemned.

But it also has some poetry and poignant verse.

I think even Nietzsche might have liked Ecclesiastes.

And it has some really captivating, fascinating stories that can be turned into some A-rate movies:

Moses leads the Hebrew tribe out of captivity in Egypt, and after wandering the desert for forty years, leaves it for them to invade another country, Canaan, and kill its inhabitants.

Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, is bullied by a bunch of crazy, orthodox Jews into executing Jesus, a reform Jew.

The Sermon on the Mount's not bad.

I don't get liberal Christians who try to "rescue" the Bible from conservatives by reinterpreting it to fit the way they think it should be read. They leave their brains at the door.

Leave bad enough alone.

Added after first post:
The Bible should be read literally and it is fantasy to read it otherwise. The writers actually believed in what they wrote when they were writing narrative. They believed God told Moses and Joshua to commit genocide and that the miracles actually occurred. Overall, the Bible is a pretty vicious, horrid book.

Some liberal Bible re-interpreters like to say that the Sodom story (Genesis 19) is about God punishing it for 'inhospitality'. They ignore Jude writing it was because "Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion."* Or ignore that Paul wrote "men who have sex with men ... will [not] inherit the kingdom of God." (And that includes both bottoms and tops.)

The point is: Liberal spinners trying to protect the "Holy" book will make up all sorts of things. Don't leave your brain at the door. Leave it edgy and spicy like it is!

* Although it's from a Christian apologist site (, the article What was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? is accurate in its textual analysis.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The teaching of 'maths' should be banned!

It's "I studied math in college,"

NOT "I studied maths in college."

'Mathematics' is used with a singular verb.

'Mathematics' is a mass noun.

"The mathematics of quantum physics is complicated" is CORRECT.

"The mathematics of quantum physics are complicated" is INCORRECT.

"Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields" is from Wikipedia.

You can substitute 'math' for 'mathematics' in each sentence in American English. Try that with 'maths'.

Math is fun.
Maths is fun?
That's hard to say. :)

'Maths' should be taken with a grain of 'salt' — another mass noun!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stage fright

The stage: fretting and strutting
people, distracting from the text that wants to float
upon the screen in my imagination,
like in the silents before all they opened their big mouths.
But I close my eyes and I see what they say:
the words alone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello, I'm Google Plus. And I'm Facebook.


GP   Google Plus (Google+)
FB   Facebook

GP:   Hello, I'm Google Plus.

FB:   And I'm Facebook.

GP:   I see you've got a lot of users there, but all the cool people are moving over to me.

FB:   But everyone already has their friends and grandmas here with me who would never move over to you.

GP:   Yeah, but with me, you get to interact with thinkers and trend-setters. How are you ever a "Friend" with some writer or artist you don't know anyway. That's not the way it is in the real world. You might have someone in your Favorite Authors circle. They might have you in their Faithful Fans.

FB:   Hey, I'm based on the quaint idea of college facebooks. Didn't you see the movie? You have to give me a break.

GP:   Or you get to interact with people based on a common interest or subject. That's what circles do.

And with me, you can edit your posts after you post them. Heck, you can even edit the comments you make on other people's posts.

FB:   I'm working on all that. It's just on the long list of other things I'm working on to catch up to what people can do with you.

GP:   And check out my video Hangouts. You can share all sorts of things with people there since they're all in my cloud.

FB:   I haven't gotten this cloud thing pinned down yet like you have. But I'm working on it.

GP:   I can run circles around you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The soldier butterfly is out and proud



Once on his belly crawling trenches, hidden low
beneath the dying fallen leaves of old,
he perseveres with hardened resolution so
the secret life inside he can withhold.


And then, a time of dormancy, a time of wait,
upon a branch of close proximity,
until what gods above there be decide his fate,
he lies, too long, in anonymity.


The final day has come, the ugly casing splits.
The once forbidden wings are now allowed.
When on patrol or joining comrades in a blitz:
The soldier butterfly is out and proud.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ended today.
A once hidden soldier comes out:
photo: Brown Soldier Butterfly by Tom Newman

placed in Poets United Poetry Pantry #68

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hitchcock's trains of thought

Clickety-clack goes Hitchcock's brain.
Is the vanished lady found?
Should those strangers on a train
beyond a shadow of a doubt be bound
north by northwest?
The train is filled with See men
chase unlucky protagonist
"Won't you come into my cabin?"
What's the locomotion of the shot?
Get the story all-aboard.
Get the hero in a real tight spot.
Get the music Herrmann-scored.
A tunnel fast approaches, train on track
to enter in. Clickety-clack.

Alfred Hitchcock is the director of such classics as The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, North by Northwest.

placed in the dVerse ~ Poets Pub: Poetics—Trai_n_n_n_n_n_n_n_n_s

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lexadecimal poems

 Ba1b0a 1a5505 5a1ad5,
 1e5b05 f01ded f1eece.
 10ca15 c0bb1e ce1105,
 fab1ed ba11ad cea5ed.

What is that?

Balboa lassos salads,
Lesbos folded fleece.
Locals cobble cellos,
fabled ballad ceased.

A lexadecimal poem is one made from lexadecimals. If you take a hexadecimal color code that has only a, b, c, d, e, f, 0, 1, or 5 in each of its six positions (e.g. #bada55), and turn 0 into o, 1 into l, and 5 into s, and if that's a word, it's a lexadecimal*.

Great way to make a colorful poem.

The two background colors are #ca55e1 #5ab1e5 (chosen to make the others readable), or "Cassel sables".

*Lexadecimal was created by Jonny Richards, Peter MacRobert, David Somers & Amanda Dredge, with a nod to Ben Griffiths for the original concept.

placed in Poets United Poetry Pantry #69

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sigh of a house made of glass

I wish they hadn't
freaking made me of glass with
all those rocks around

placed in Poets United Thursday Think Tank #66 (Glass Houses)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To: Miss Emily Dickinson

To: Miss Emily Dickinson
From: Philip Thrift, Esquire

My poetry has just begun.
I would like to inquire

if you could help me with my poems —
and be a bard like you.
You mastered words right from your home —
your travels were but few.

Still I feel kinship to your keen
analysis of all
things cosmologically seen —
It's here that you stand tall.

I think that you could mentor me —
through transcendental doors.
The poems I write will always be —

Very sincerely yours.

placed in the imaginary garden with real toads (Epistle Poem)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

They would crucify him

Oh, they would crucify a Jesus, man,
when he says feed the poor before tax cuts,
when he says "What that old script says, I pan,"
what right-wing preachers preach he just rebuts.

Oh, they would crucify a Jesus, dude.
"A communist and secret Muslim, he,"
the Tea Party would say as they collude
with FOX News-manufactured 'Liberty'.

Oh, they would crucify a Jesus, yo,
Republicans who like to say his name,
while bashing gays and raking in the dough
from Corporate Polluters Hall of Fame.

Oh, they would crucify a Jesus, dawgs.
They'd nail him up on some of Lincoln's logs!

placed in dVerse Poets Pub: Poetics ~ Say It Again, Sam

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


'To compromise' holds promise to
communal benefit.

That is a dictum that's held true,
almost like holy writ

in politics of Reps and Dems:
A bargain must be struck,
while singing strained concordant hymns
before they're all lame duck.

But can the snake and mouse agree,
or will the snake just eat
the mouse for lunch just after he
serves tea to him faux-sweet?

placed in dVerse ~ Poets Pub

Sunday, September 11, 2011


a poemmentary     

People say it was "the day we'll never forget."
Others say it was "the day America changed forever."
Many remember their family members and friends
(sometimes in the dozens)
who were killed in the falling towers.
Or just seeing it firsthand on those New York streets.
Or the heroes who saved lives,
or went selflessly in only to die,
who did not know the towers would fall.
Those memories must be burned-in to them all.

But for the rest of us:
there is the memory of the first post-9/11 decade,
with wartime-Bush 2001 (and all that entailed thereafter)
and of a later president who managed to head off
a complete financial collapse
but did not bring the shrink-wrapped change from heaven
people wanted, or were not sure they wanted,
and that many became worse off
(though the rich have lower taxes)
and that we are now poised to enter the second decade,
with a Congress more conservative even
than then,
and are even contemplating a next president
who would be more like business-Bush 2000.

With all those memories:
what is it we are really supposed to remember again?
While change in some overseas lands may have come to pass,
I don't think America has changed all that much
(are we about to repeat in 2012 what we did in 2000?)
even though everyone today on TV says it has.

placed in dVerse ~ Poets Pub: Poetics — In Memoriam
and in Poets United Poetry Pantry #66
and in the imaginary garden with real toads

Saturday, September 10, 2011

They say there's no really bad limerick

They say there's no really bad limerick
unless there's the Pope on a pogo stick:
The nuns he would shun
but went right for the buns
of the altar boys he'd chase 'round oh-so-quick.

placed in the imaginary garden with real toads: Bad Poetry

Friday, September 9, 2011

The window is a bitch

The wind owes me* an apology.
Stop trying to blow through me!

The hail, it tries to crack me up.
Think I'm a some sorta chump?

Hey light, think you can go through me
without paying some sort of penalty?

The dirt just wants to cling.
It's such a filthy thing.

Where's that rag that wipes me clean?
Inattention makes me mean.

Loud noises, think you leave me rattled?
Pecking birds ... Skedaddle!

The rain just makes be blue.
The wind—oh, did I mention you?

* Sometimes I can be a pane.

placed in Poets United Think Tank #65: What do you think of when you imagine a window?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


in evening light, the crickets turn

my  clause
into claws

my  sentence
into sin tents

my  punctuation
into punt to ā shin

my  paragraphs
into pear of grafts

my  metaphors
into mutt of whores

. . .

my  poems
into pomes

placed in the imaginary garden with real toads, where the question was asked: Can a poem be like an Impressionist painting?

Monday, September 5, 2011

old man alone

old man alone rests by a pool
young man arrives to clean —
hot college boy away from school
takes off his torn blue jeans

young man takes hold a long stiff pole
its basket stirs the blue
eyes of old man that young man stole
beneath the pool bamboo

old man's fat pecker springs to life
points up towards the sky
young man's own eagerness is rife
he straddles old man's thighs

the pool lounge creaks like grackle birds
young man rides old man 'til
he shoots a steam of milky curd
and grackle birds are still

old man eyes open wide and look
nowhere young man is found
a pool-side dream old man mistook
... as grackles make a sound

appeared at dVerse Poets Pub

Sunday, September 4, 2011

That touch of zinc

knocks at red-stained Martian soil,
feels that touch of zinc.

Giddiness and excitement swept over NASA scientists Thursday after a small rover discovered a rock on Mars that could suggest life on the red planet ... Opportunity, NASA's small exploratory rover, treaded over Mars' 13.6 mile wide crater called Endeavor in early August ... Mission scientists have described the rock as "full of zinc and bromine, elements that, at least for rocks on Earth, would be suggestive of geology formed with heat and water" ... HuffPost Tech

placed in the Poets United Poetry Pantry #65

Saturday, September 3, 2011


The Poets light but Lamps—
Themselves—go out—
The Wicks they stimulate—
If vital Light
Inhere as do the Suns—
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their

                 Emily Dickinson

What atoms of Democritus—who left
few fragments, it is said,
averting fires of Plato's ponderous heft—
within my cells embed?

The ancient dust of dwarfs or giants might
thrive in the food I eat,
and when I die my orphaned atoms slight
the death I could not cheat.

But what I'll leave is particles that dance
between electric planes:
the supercharged electrophor—by chance—
is what of me remains.

Forgotten texts go in—then out—of print,
but mine I will enshroud
in particles—though not to Heaven sent—
forever in the Cloud.

placed in the imaginary garden with real toads

Thursday, September 1, 2011


[ The following interview of me by writer and poet Shen Hart appeared today in the imaginary garden with real toads. ]

You say in your preface that you studied mathematics, do you see the world from a mathematics standpoint or has poetry changed your outlook somewhat?

I think I see things pretty much the same way. I was a mathematician in my school years, and then I was a software scientist for over twenty years. Writing a poem is in some ways like a writing a proof in mathematics or a program in software — in fact, the way a poem looks on a screen often looks like a computer program. There's a certain "correctness" and "completeness" that is involved in writing all of these, and, depending on one's point of view, "aesthetic". And the feeling of satisfaction on completing each of these is very similar. Writing poetry though has indeed increased my interest in language usage — especially figurative language and metaphor — and in words themselves, and how effective they can be in doing things that are both useful and entertaining. Of course, poems are used to express one's feelings and passion and stuff like that, so that's indeed a difference. Still, if I pick a book of prose to read, it is likely to be a book on string theory or something like that.

How did you feel in that space of time where you made the transition to writing poetry?

At that point (in early 2008), I saw a talk by Robert Pinsky that was re-played on C-SPAN where he talked about the structure and sound of poetry, and something really clicked. I was looking for a creative outlet, and poetry looked like a form of writing (that wasn't proofs or programs) that would suit my makeup, so I thought I would try it out. I found I liked it.

You have quite the range within your poetry! Do you feel this reflects something of your personality?

Having been writing poems for just three years, I feel like an experimenter and explorer again. (Some would just say dabbler.) That's in terms of experimenting with various poetic forms. In terms of subjects that are in the poem, I am drawn to things I'm interested in.

Is there anything in particular which you find your mind wandering to within your poetry? For example, the nature of the human psyche, nature.

I'm definitely drawn to figuring out how to explore and exploit in a poem my interests: the latest scientific findings; the latest tech trends — especially in the Internet; politics and pop culture; the homoerotic.

You have quite the knack for forms within poetry, is there a particular form you favour? Why?

I don't think I have a favorite, though writing a sonnet (of whatever scheme) has a feeling of completeness to it. I am drawn several times to the "ballad stanza", a form Emily Dickinson used quite a bit. (If I had to pick one, I would say she is my favorite poet — her poems are known for incorporating science and philosophical themes.)

I think writing free verse is harder than writing formal verse, since with free verse you really need to make your own internal structure within your poems, and that is hard to creatively do well. Free verse though is a dominant form now, so of course I would like to do more of that. I would also like to do a long-format story (narrative) poem. I did something of that in "The Geek Poets Tale" (a poem on my blog).

What is the purpose of your poetry and the reason you write poetry?

The primary purpose is to entertain myself, and I hope that some of my poems can be entertaining to others. (I like the idea of poetry being approached as entertainment as well as a form of literary art.) The other purpose is to be able say things succinctly in a way that one can't say as effectively in a philosophical or political column of prose.

How would you describe the non-poet side to your persona?


Would you be so kind as to share with us, your favourite memory to date?

The day I graduated kindergarten. I hated fingerpainting.