Friday, 15 August 2003

In Castle-town at the salty docks
the pirate rats sit on the rocks
and peer about the piers in search
of a certain longshoreman known as Lurch.
Who has often been known to provide
some cheese to these rats?on the side.
It is easy to find him, you?ll know him on sight
in every tavern he is ready to fight
only two gapped teeth are left in his face
his hair smells like seaweed, his nose a disgrace.
Most folks will tell you his mind ain?t all there
But if you mention it to Lurch he?s too dumb to care.

Yet when it comes to unloading a ship new to port
Lurch is the strongest, I have to report.
Crates full of spices and Indian teas,
barrels of whale oil straight from the seas,
bales of rich cloth and ingots of gold –
all manners of wonder from a ship?s hold.
Along the way some bits fall in his pockets
small rubies and sapphires and golden lockets.
Many weeks later when those ships have gone
he?ll take his booty to a well-known pawn.
When he enters the shop his pockets are crammed;
by the time he leaves he?s been royally scammed.

The greedy-eyed pawnbroker has known Lurch for years
and this strange friendship is good for his career.
When the big oaf spreads his loot on the table
the pawnbroker eyes it and starts with this fable
?These rubies are garnets, the sapphires are glass
this locket, ain?t gold, ?tis nothing but brass!
I wish you?d done better By Gad and By Cor!
I?ll give you two dollars and not a cent more!?
Lurch ponders this in his ponderous way
then takes the money and goes to the bay.
He uses one dollar to buy a cheap beer
after he drinks it he walks toward the pier.

With the last dollar he buys bits of cheese
and feeds the pirate rats – who are mightily pleased.
For though Lurch might be short on good looks and morals
a bit slow in the head and with hands tough as coral
In Castle-town at the salty docks
he has his friends – the rats on the rocks.
They wait patiently as he unloads the ships
and wrestles new cargo with grunts and strong grips.
The rats don?t judge him with contempt in their eyes
they just appreciate the cheese he supplies.
And so would you too if you were a rat –
though Lurch is an idiot, he?ll keep you quite fat!


Thursday, 14 August 2003

i’m busting my way through more of the top 50 sci-fi/fantasy list. three books in two days. i’ve also applied to a few more jobs – in chicago, bloomington, cleveland, whiteland, indianapolis. two seconds ago the fedex guy delivered my tix to my Notre Dame games – Michigan State, the game against USC where i will receive my national championship ring, and the Monogram Club game against BYU. i’ve completed all of the materials to be a state certified substitute teacher and i’ve been running lately with phil. last weekend i was up at my aunt and uncle for their garage sale. they made over $1k in one day. also hung out with my cousins a bit and saw American Wedding, which pretty much sucked – but i didn’t have to pay for it so big whup.

my life is an exercise in busy tedium. the reason i haven’t updated is because no one cares to hear about tedium. tomorrow though you may expect the next edition of Castle-town. i’ve also barely begun a short story tentatively titled “Convenience Charge.”

a military maxim: when in doubt, empty the magazine.


Tuesday, 12 August 2003

I finally got around to seeing Adaptation, which has been recommended to me for about the past year as a flik I should see. It was pretty good, I was amazed by Chris Cooper, impressed with Nicholas Cage but not really with Meryl Streep. As an added bonus, the lovely Judy Greer was in the film as well. I believe I have a slight crush on her.

It is a movie about making a movie about making a movie about flowers.
Continue Reading

Miz Grumblewort

Friday, 8 August 2003

In Castle-town in the groping slums
where rats hope for food, for crumbs
there is a house, a hovel dark
of toadstools and crumblebark.
Lives in it a hag of terror fame
Miz Grumblewort is her fearsome name.
Her eyes are yellow, her teeth are green
her warts are hairy and quite obscene
her cat is black and very cunning
the sight of it sends most folks running.
For they know the story I?ll tell
when once Miz Grumblewort was a girl named Nell?

Nell was young many years ago
she laughed at sun, she laughed at snow
her eyes were green and very bright
her hair was yellow her teeth were white.
She had a kitten of pumpkin hue
with a ring on its tail and eyes of blue.
She would run and play with girls or boys
and was not shy about sharing toys.
Her favorite place was the candy store
with its sweet smells and painted door
and it was here one fateful day
that Nell came to eat and play.

The storekeep had a surprise this time
a candy toad from an exotic clime
Nell?s eyes lit up as the took the treat
eaten, it went straight to her feet
then the tingling left her toes
and she felt something grow on the tip of her nose.
A tiny wart with one thin hair?
From a candy toad? This was not fair!
Nell tried oils and potions fine
then fire and even turpentine
despite all she did the wart grew and spread.
Nell became a witch to keep herself fed.

The older and larger her hairy wart grew
The less Nell was the girl we once knew.
She turned to dark arts and grew quite thin
and became Miz Grumblewort to kith and kin.
Her kitten became a cat black as sable
and now that we come to the end of this fable
of Castle-town and its groping slums
where rats hope for food, for crumbs
Remember next time when you try strange candy
make sure to keep a doctor handy
or you might end up with Grumbleworts curse
you could get warts or something worse!

Castle-town Mark I

I seem to be better at telling stories than anything else in my poetry, everything else seems a bit too forced, whereas telling stories comes a naturally. I don’t really have the inclination to write long things like novels or even short stories, so instead I am going to work with what many pompous people refer to as ‘doggerel.’

Since modern poetry is not really appreciated by Society At Large, I want to write things that are easily accessible by those folk. In order to accomplish this I have decided to start with so-called ‘children’s literature.’ More precisely fables, or fractured fables in my case. I sort of have Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes in mind, but I want to make up my own stories instead of retelling fairy tales.

Thus, I have come up with the Castle-town Idea.
Continue Reading


Thursday, 7 August 2003

Minutes ago I finished reading Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is, undoubtedly, one of the best science fiction novels I have ever perused. It makes no bones about its status as allegory [which I, like Tolkien, have cordially disliked for some time]. But it does not strike me as an allegory about humanity as much as it is for humanity. The story is about universal potential. It also works as a good accompaniment to the film.

Sir Arthur deserves his knighthood for Contributions to Literature from this book alone. The writing is superb, concise, and poignant. He is able to keep a theme running for over three million years by the use of a simple symbol and a remarkable grasp on basic human impulses. Perhaps hardest to fully appreciate is Clarke’s intimation that an extrasolar entity is responsible for the the success of humanity. Although it could very well seem insulting to standard man-ape that we are merely an experiment, Clarke somehow manages to convince the reader to be proud that we are an experiment – mostly because we are a successful one.

This is definitely a book I plan on purchasing at the next available opportunity.