January 30, 2017

Ol’ Shep

If you got a dog like my ol’ Shep, You’ll never be alone,
Shep don’t need no riches, Just an old soup bone,
He’s always glad to see me, Friendly as a lamb,
Never tries to judge me, Takes me as I am;

I was playin’ hands of five-card stud, Doing the best I was able,
But I lost two-weeks’ paycheck At Bailey’s poker table;
I guzzled too much Guiness And got a little woozy,
Then got a little side-tracked, Flirtin’ with some floozy;

I got home ‘round 3:00 A.M. And parked my pick-up truck,
Thought I’d find the door locked, That I’d run out of luck,
But the front door was standin’ open, Much to my relief,
So, I took off my cowboy boots, And snuck in like a thief;

I knew if Myrna heard me, My name would sure be mud,
(Ol’ Shep was there to greet me, Always my best bud)
When I turned on the hall light, And looked around the room,
The whole durn place was empty, Quiet as a tomb;

Myrna had cleaned the place out, Took everything we had,
I must’ve sure done somethin’ wrong To make her awful mad;
Myrna had up and flown the coop, I wasn’t sure what for,
But right then I knew that Shep and me Would be sleepin’ on the floor;

She probably wasn’t happy, That was plain to see,
Myrna wasn’t patient, Like a woman ought to be,
I thought she had religion, And hung on when things got tough,
You suffer to get to heaven, Hell, women know that stuff;

She should’ve been more grateful, I treated her like a queen,
I bought her a brand new dust mop, And a good used washing
I got her a stove for Christmas, And an ironing board last week,
I thought she read the Bible, That she’d be mild and meek;

Maybe I ain’t perfect, But I ain’t gonna mope,
Women ought to be loyal, Ought to know how to cope,
Myrna had some girlfriends, Always on her case,
She started gettin’ uppish, Like she didn’t know her place;

She was workin’ waitin’ tables, And thinkin’ about her rep,
She should’ve been more humble, Behaved more like ol’ Shep;
Now and then I think of her, When I’m at the park,
Wonderin’ why she left me, Then Shep will start to bark;

He tires me out from playin’, He’s got a lot of pep,
I ain’t had no luck with ladies, But I’ve always got ol’ Shep.

–January 2017

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January 22, 2017


Come on with me, Myrna, Leave that poker table,
The dealer is a shyster, ‘Cause winnin’ is a fable;
Every night in Vegas, We watched them tinhorns lose,
Throwin’ caution to the winds, Swillin’ lots of booze;

Gamblin’ is like dreamin’, And sometimes dreams come true,
But you got to play the cards you’re dealt, Life ain’t a sneak preview;

I never tried to run through fire, Or shoot kewpies off a shelf,
When I stepped out on that stage, I was bettin’ on myself;
So, Honey, let’s just bank on us, You yodel and I’ll croon,
You and me can beat the odds, We’ll sing and shoot the moon;

Twang that beat-up banjo, That’s what I love to hear,
I’ll tune up my ol’ Gibson, And load the travel gear;
Put on that sexy skirt you got, You’ll really make a splash,
I’ll wear my ol’ cowboy shirt, Just like Johnny Cash;

We’ll play the honky-tonks and bars, And the Clark County Fair,
Some rodeos and ball rooms, And hotels everywhere;
We’ll be winners, Myrna, When we play and sing,
Makin’ music ain’t a gamble, It’s always a sure thing.

–January 2017

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January 16, 2017


Come with me, Matilda, It’s tough here on my own,
Bring that beat-up guitar, I’m no good on stage alone;
I don’t want to sing a solo, Let’s have some harmony,
I can sing the bass notes, While you sing melody.

Your voice wakes up memories, As only you can do,
When you’re yodeling and hummin’, You make the old songs new;
Keep swayin’ to the rhythm, And strummin’ that guitar,
When the cowboys hear you singing, You’re going to be a star.

Come with me, Matilda, We’ll try some unknown trails,
You’ll like it on the open road, Freedom never fails;
You’ll love the limelight, Honey, Don’t you pout and fret,
When you play in front of footlights, You live without regret.

Music is our world, Girl, We’re born to sing and dance,
Life is just a one-shot deal, We get no second chance,
Your folks will try to keep you, When you try to scram,
But we’ll escape their humdrum, Like prisoners on the lam.

It’s us and music, Sweetheart, While we’re young and strong,
When heartaches try to catch us, They’ll find that we’re long gone.
We’ll be happy, Darlin’, Working as a team,
With our love and laughter, Living out our dream.

–January 2017

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I didn’t know how to love you, Never knew what to do,
I never let me be me, Never let you be you;
You were like an angel, One that I couldn’t touch,
While I was longing To hold you so much.

Love was a dance, girl, I couldn’t go with the flow,
My steps out of rhythm, Too fast or too slow,
I couldn’t get with the music, Never heard that old song,
Didn’t know the right notes, dear, And could not sing along.

You wanted me near you, I tried to believe,
But I stayed in the shadows, And caused you to grieve;
I didn’t tell you my feelings, Afraid of your frown,
Didn’t let you love me, Feared weighing you down.

I didn’t want to be needy, And hid my heart on a shelf,
I should have been selfish, And thought of myself,
You offered your kisses, You wanted to share,
I should have been bold then, And taken the dare.

I was false to you, dear one, Not honest or true,
Never let me be me, ` And never let you be you.

I didn’t know how to love you, Didn’t know what to do,
Never let me be me, Never let you be you…

–January 2017

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March 12, 2016

When much could yet be said and done,
With November flocks you fled and flew;
(The pity Time can’t be outrun)
Gold memories, Mom, will not be you.

In the mist, the duel of joy and strife,
And secrets that I knew not of;
The struggles proved your love of life,
And gave to me a life of love.

Thoughts of you can soothe–or swirl
About my mind and heart, Sweet Girl…
But look! A new day has begun,
You’ll always be my morning sun.

–for Kathi Assar, on the death of her mother,
Kathleen Niemer.

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Who’s this of shaggy head and fearless brow,
With backbone and the posture still of youth,
(Not like a willow that will bend or bow)
Who long has sought the path that leads to truth?

On hearing wiggle words of evil hissed,
(By philosophs who hide behind their lies)
He stands and faces monsters in the mist,
With ugly creeds whose grins and guile disguise.

Marxists cease to promise Paradise,
Kant’s witchdoctors lurch toward distant shade,
Where dreary dogmas reek of sacrifice:
Rackauskas has unmasked their foul charade.

The thinker can’t escape adversity,
His wisdom won’t be stricken from the chart;
In fleeting hours he fights for liberty;
In blood the love of freedom holds his heart.

October 2015
Related stanza for an e-mail to the Group:

If shaman chants assuage the tyrant’s lust,
Or mystics lure the innocent–so what?
A leader may appear that men can trust,
Someone to hoist the flag–or maybe not…
Clouds of darkness loom–we cannot wait;
No perfect moment beckons to begin,
Oyez! Only ”never” is too late,
With geezer wisdom we can fight and win.

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She surely was the Golden Girl,
With sparkling duds and hair aswirl;
With her long legs and dancing feet,
She felt the distant drummer’s beat.

In concert hall or dim canteen,
Her song and laugh would steal the scene;
Hushed house or to raucous roar,
She’d traipse and tap across the floor.

The fandango and the samba,
The can-can or the reel,
The cha-cha or the mamba,
Her moves with toe and heel,

The tango and the conga,
The salsa or the shake,
Her body’s lissome shimmy
Would keep the men awake.

Not one to wait for things “just right,”
For her ‘twas always opening night,
For her no dreams of “The Ideal,”
Which oft’, she knew, obscures the real;

She never cast a backwards glance
When it was time to sing and dance:
Props misplaced, the script unclear,
The piano tinny, the pay austere;

The director sloshed, cue cards gone,
The show, says she, will still go on.
Kathleen will watch the setting sun
At peace away from dance hall din,

When the goddess gig is nearly done,
She’ll not ask what might have been;
Instead, with a last twirl and twist,
She’ll laugh and dance into the mist;

We’ll smile a bit, and we will cry,
The curtain’s down, Sweet Girl.
Oh, to have lived a life so bold,
With precious memories left to hold;

Not blaming fate, or cursing cost
Of wasted years and youth we lost.
Congregations shout, “Encore!”
Kneeling, as they pray for more;

The tragedy of vanity:
To trick or cheat reality;
Existence is a one-shot deal,
Not a rehearsal, no appeal.

Dreamers travel in a trance
And never find each day’s romance;
They pine for heaven and sing the blues,
(The dancer has no time to lose).

To be (she asks) just to survive?
Awaken now to thrill and thrive!
Shake a leg, escape your cage,
Ready or not, step on the stage.

“Curtain’s up!” (we hear Kathleen)
Footlights beckon, don’t hide unseen;
Audience seated, it wants to know
Who you are in your solo show.

Every morn the spotlight sun
Focuses on “Number One”
When you choose to take a chance
And hit the boards and start your dance.

Your drama is unique and new,
Only you can be like you;
You are, says she, who you are:
The Star.

This poem is to the memory of Kathleen Neimer, the mother of my friend Kathi Assar, Ph.D. Kathleen died on November 9, 2015. A great lady. She was a former Vaudeville dancer and lover of life.

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His face content enough for now:
No frowns upon the furrowed brow,
No tears of sorrow or regret,
And from his mouth no curse or threat.

Memories of a homeland lost,
What the heart-ache? What the cost?
The past looms darkly like a morass,
A crumbled world, like broken glass;

Injustice reaches like a snare,
When faith was futile and fate unfair.
Slipping the bonds of yesterday,
Into the Tucson night he’ll stray,

And gaze at stars for sights sublime,
Like ghostly galaxies that spin and race
Toward the blurry edge of Time,
To a place that has no place;

Finding riddles for us to chase:
What can be outside of space?
A cosmos finite–but how so?
–Answers that we cannot know.

(Certainty may be his aim,
Casting shadows is his game.)
Mysteries that we can’t avoid:
Matter uncreated, undestroyed;

(Churchmen ask us to pretend
That existence has an end)

Such airy puzzles he’ll postpone,
And return to his lair in the nano-zone,
To ponder the wispy fringe of matter,
Where established laws of nature scatter;
Where quarks and pions whirl and whiz,
(Yet are the perch of all that is?)

A chaotic realm we cannot see,
The eerie foundation of reality.
Where one must think outside the box
And everything’s a paradox;

(The scholar sifts the facts from fiction,
Yet likes to play with contradiction.)
A backward glance at the rosy dawn,
With hungry heart, he hurries on;

His quest for knowledge just begun,
He snoops for truth, below, above,
And grasps how ruthless the fleeting sun,
How little time to learn and love.

A spirit free–a man of the mind,
A friend like this you’ll seldom find.

Written for Christmas 2015, this poem is about Frank (Farhang) Shadman, scientist and friend, who adds to the lives of all who know him.

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At first it was vague,
A false warning of harm,
But as events now unfold
It deserves an alarm!!

Here comes a bad story
Of how things in our town
Were made to happen illegally
By our King The Clown.

It’s gone on long enough,
We can’t stand no mo’;
The Mariner is wondering
When it’s his time to show.

Yes, The Clown has done stuff
And he’ll do still more;
No one seems to stop him;
We may send in the Corps.

Who did this fine piece?
I want to thank him;
Who could it be
But our good friend Jim!!

–Frank Hayes, Patriot

To Jim from Frank Hayes

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January 14, 2016

I wrote this ballad for my friend,   Frank  Hayes,     Marine and  patriot.

Tiny Tina came a-running to her Mommy at the stove,
She said, “Mommy, come and look, there’s a Monster in the grove.”
“Stop it,   Little Tina, and don’t exaggerate,
Go, wash your hands,   then come and get your plate.”
“But Mommy, it’s a Monster,   green and huge and oozy,”
“Tina,   go wash up.   Your stories make me woozy.”

Mommy heard some noises and alarms  began to ring,
Out the kitchen window she saw people scurrying.
People poured from out the streets into the village square,
Fear was on their faces and there was panic in the air.

It was clear to Tina’s Mommy that the din would not abate,
She said to Little Tina that her food would have to wait.
The two joined fearful faces flowing toward the outer   wall,
The   flow became   an eddy when   it   splashed   at   City Hall.

For politicos,   the Monster   was like manna   from on high,
Rushing to the podium,   they would milk the crowd’s   outcry.
On the public  platform,   the mayor was first to speak,
He’d sent for information to help with his critique.

His scout told him the Monster would try to kill them all,
It was  drooling on the grassland as it neared the city wall.
It has raided, robbed, and ravaged,   and drenched the earth in dread,
It destroys   all   law and order,    with terror in its stead.

Shouting over murmurs,   the mayor said, “I’ll do all I can.
I’ll appoint a committee that will recommend a plan.”
A Congressman was next and said, “We must compromise.
To confront the Monster at this time simply is not wise.”

A diplomat came forward,   a spokesman from the past,
“If we say that we’ll surrender,   it might kill us last.”

Professor Kant stepped forward,   from the local U.
“Hold on, everybody!   How do we know what’s true?
The Monster may be in our minds–there’s nothing to resist;
If we refuse to think of it,   it will not exist.”

(Tiny Tina,  hugging Mommy,   said,   “Mommy,  please don’t cry,”
Mommy heard the experts   and knew that she would die.)

A Churchman  raised his arms for calm and said, “We must pray.
Our loving God will care for us and make it go away.
But if not,   remember:   we were born to suffer,
To fight like haughty sinners will only make things tougher.
If we’re humble and submissive and turn the other cheek,
The Creature will be touched to see that we are mild and  meek.”

Kruggly, an economist, advisor to the great,
Admired by philosophers, and by heads of state,
Told them in his speeches what they wished were true:
You can have your costly cake,   and can eat it too.
He spoke as an oracle,  with humor, zest, and zeal,
He said that two plus two makes ten,   that reality isn’t real.

“As for the   Green Invader,”  he told them with a scoff,
“We’ll mortgage everything we own,  and simply pay it off!”
They’d   pay the debt   “Somehow,”  he said,   “Someone”  will atone,
“To Owe”    is just a concept that   they could  postpone.”

The people weren’t persuaded,    they wept and gnashed their teeth,
They felt the evil growing,   out there on the heath.

A  pacifist  eating salad looked up from her plate,
She said,   “If  it’s green as I am,  we can negotiate.
We may lose some freedom–who knows what’s ahead?
Once its power- lust is quenched,  well,  better  green than dead.”

At last a weathered Mariner came upon the scene,
A sudden hush and pundits stopped their babbling routine;
His  face was lined and punished for deeds outside the frame,
And   though he had been battered,   he played nobody’s game.

They knew that he was trouble–what was he about?
The mayor said,   “Let’s keep calm,  we have to think things out.”

The pacifist munched a carrot and said,   “Let’s try to be kind.
Take a white flag to the gate and see what’s on its mind.
Maybe that Hulk has issues,   maybe we’ve been unjust,
We know that we’re not perfect,   let’s try to earn its trust.”

The Mariner interrupted,   in tones both loud   and clear,
The mob cringed at the tirade they didn’t want to hear.
“Power is the Creature’s  lust,   we’ll   have no recourse,
Brainless as all evil is,   it fathoms only force.
You  assholes know what must be done,  no  matter what you choose,
I’m going to kill the Monster now,   there is no time to lose.”

“Wait!”   exclaimed the Congressman,   “Let me call the roll.
To make the right decision,   we have to take a poll.”
“Yes,”   chimed in the Mayor,   “Consensus is the way.
This solitary malcontent will lead us all astray.”

Kruggly added his two cents,   “He’s  vulgar and   uncouth,
Claiming to know right from wrong,    he’ll corrupt our youth!”
“He’s  an enemy of the people,    against the Common Good,”
And the pacifist tossed a tomato over where he stood.

The Mariner ignored the taunts and started toward the gate,
Frowning faces glared at him–was it fear or hate?
The blob of bodies held together like a mucous mass,
They wavered like weeds in wind,  but wouldn’t let him pass.

The Mariner raised his sword and it was gleaming in the sun,
The pacifist dropped her salad  plate and wondered where to run;
“I’m going to kill the Beast,” he shouted.  “Clear the goddam path!”
The mob parted like the Red Sea waters when Moses raised his staff.

He stepped up to the city wall and didn’t vacillate,
He paused and took a breath of air,   and opened up the gate.
Sure enough, a giant heap,   there the Monster loomed,
An ordinary mortal would know that he was doomed.

The Creature’s  eyes were empty,   and could not comprehend,
The courage of a man alone,    who would not bow or bend.
It moved to crush the upstart with its tree-like limb,
But the Mariner swung his lightning sword  like a Cherubim.
The huge Hulk hissed its hatred and gave a fearsome roar,
But the Mariner kept slashing,   and the air was filled with gore.

The wounded  Blob retreated,   its mind now full awake,
To attack a seasoned sea-dog   had been a grave mistake.
It called for arbitration–the Creature had a voice!
“No need for conflagration when we have a choice.”

The Mariner soldiered on,  all through the bloody spray,
Worn and weary as a slave,   still he hacked away.
“Peace!”   the Monster shouted,   “Peace–I am no fool;
Turn your sword to plowshare,   Peace will be the rule.”

“A lesson for you,   Monster,   from the scroll of history,
Peace is not  born of words,   it’s the child of victory.”
This the Mariner’s  bold harangue,   not to yawn or yield,
He  readied  for the final charge on the battlefield.

“Wait, wait,”   the Monster pleaded,    “You have won the day;
You   can reap the honors,   and I will go away.
I’ll   give you   all I’ve looted,  all that I am worth,
Riches give you power,   enough  to rule  the earth.”

The  Mariner answered with his sword and cleaved the Monster’s  head,
He hacked away for hours to make sure that  it  was  dead;
He saw his   fate was in the   fray   wherever it may be:
He long had   grasped  the painful truth that freedom isn’t free.

The townsmen heard the happy news behind their safe stockade,
The town was like a theater,  with actors in charade;
None understood the Mariner,   how the unshackled man behaves,
Without the lust for  liberty,   they lived half-lives of slaves.
Most walked and worked  like puppets,   living in a daze,
Relishing  dependence–freedom   just a craze.

(Mommy returned to her kitchen and set the stove on   “Bake,”
Tiny Tina at the table poured syrup on her pancake.)

The Mariner heard  moaning,   winds   whispered,   “Nevermore,”
Farewell   to   Armageddon,    the war to end all war;
‘Twas   time to ponder over   just what he had done,
To muse on good and evil,   and the victory lately won.

But   the eternal foe lay  waiting,   like a  twisted  spawn,
–Evil stamped on nature   at   Creation’s dawn;
It may rise once more,   he knew,  here on this terrain,
Or another place,   eons hence, on some  far planet’s plain,

Where a lone figure will appear,   as if called on cue,
A   sentinel of the brotherhood,   of the proud and few,
A   warrior with a righteous soul,   though murder if he must,
Who’ll meet the ancient enemy and crush  it into dust.

Will   he be celebrated,   by parade or song  or pen,
Who   gathered up all broken hearts,   and saved   a world again?

Bless the untamed brawler,    who keeps  his honor clean,
Blare the eerie  bagpipe,   clang  the   tower bells,
For the timeless   Mariner,    ever at the scene,
When monsters come,   and there is no one else.

–To Frank Hayes,   Patriot

New Year’s,   2016

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