Poems

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Here are some of my poems. I love jokes, rhymes, and wordplay, and I savor the challenge of fitting ideas into metric verse.

Milkshake Sonnet

My milkshake is a peanut-butter treat
With chocolate, too, appearing in the mix
A glass so large, so sickeningly sweet,
That I need less than half to get my fix

I'm in a diner with a weighty tome
Great English Poems, edited by Briggs
Across the table, Adam looks at home
With Murakami, and with coffee swigs

There comes a sudden motion from below
As Adam lays a tickle on my knee
I jesterize, responding, "Nandato!"
And Adam laughs at that most heartily

It's Wednesday. We have nothing much to do.
This morning we had rain; now we have blue.

Poems for Friendship Villagers

Half a dozen friends of mine live in a group house called Friendship Village. The first time I hung out with them as a group, I wrote a Chinese poem for them all to express my gratitude at meeting such lovely new friends (I’ll add that poem at some point).

About a year later, after a joyous night of homemade pizza at Friendship Village, I decided to write poems for each of them. A week later my project was complete. I hand-wrote the poems on cards, and delivered them at Ian’s going-away party on 2019-06-13.

Ian

Sneaking round the house at night
The prankster man comes giggling
Laughing to himself with all
Ten fingers splayed and wiggling

Reaching into every cranny
(Not a man for strictures)
You won't see him come or go
But you will find his pictures

AJ

Guaranteed to brighten up my day-J
Hugs me when I go off on my way-J
Emits every color except gray-J
Friendship Village saint? I vote for AJ

Rory

To me you come off as the coolest housemate
Can it be true that you're the illest villager?
Skate on home, then rouse up that guitar rumpus
"Cool" is too weak: from now on you're a chillager

Hanna

Hand-painted
Wholesome winter scenes on
Christmas cards.
How? How does
Someone come to wield such
Skill at arts?
Long, hard work
And a smile for all the
"Not-quite-rights."
No other
Way to learn to paint such
Winter sights.

Keely

A cottage on a hill
A flower patch
A tree of fruit
A mound of herbs
A bunch of beans
A pile of plerp
A bag of blegg
A tin of twomp
A sack of snoob
And a sign out front, big-lettered:
WITCHY WONDERS
"CHAOS, MADE TO ORDER"

Fedora

I tried and tried, but couldn’t come up with a poem for Fedora. Instead, I made for her a bite-size videogame called Fedoradventure, which you can play online.

The Bunghole

2019-11-03

A parody of William Blake’s “The Tyger.

Bunghole! Bunghole! Clenching tight
On the toilet, in the night
Curse you, bowels! Set me free!
Has my poo no place to be?

In a distant land of glee
Somewhere constipation-free
Man may poo most joyfully
He knows not of agony

He knows not the price we pay
Pants round ankles, there to stay
As we grunt and swear and pray
Pooing in a toilsome way

For what reason, in God's grace,
Did He make man squat in place?
Wasting time without his say
On a poo's extended stay?

What immortal hand on high
Moved to make our poo so dry?
Whither Bunghole and his fee?
Whither constipationry?

Bunghole! Bunghole! Clenching tight
On the toilet, in the night
Curse you, bowels! I don't see
What I've ever done to thee!

A Gift for Gadi

While traveling with a group, our guide was an amicable man named Gadi. When the group played Secret Santa and I received his name as my beneficiary, I decided to write him a poem.

Please excuse any awkwardness in the pseudo-literary Chinese. The gift was completed in a hurry, for a non-Chinese-speaking audience, so I judged rhyming more important than phrase construction.

Gift for Gadi, Original

Gadi Gadi Gadi
我队队长
样子很帅
哥们超爽

人才之峰
留一大胡
教人何为
天天为酷

Gift for Gadi, Rough English Translation

Gadi Gadi Gadi
Captain of our team.
His style is way fresh,
This Chiller Supreme.

Of eminent talents
And big-bearded too,
He teaches all people
His everyday cool.

Poems for Hayley

Hayley, AKA “Blue” or “Bloo,” was my roommate (or “shmoom-mate”) from September 2018 to September 2019. I started composing poems shortly before I moved in with her, and soon found that life in close quarters provided many poetic inspirations.

Presented here are my two favorites from this period, “The Goodbye Poem” and “Hayley and her boy toy”.

  1. The Goodbye Poem

    I was delighted that you called me mellow
    I'm certain that you count as mellow too
    I testify to you that this Max fellow
    Will just as certainly be missing Bloo
    
    Our shmoomery is done but not forgotten
    When thinking of me please don't hang your head
    We shan't forget each other 'til we're rotten
    No need to eulogize before we're dead
    
    If by some chance to SoCal comes a Hayley
    In Snoop's hometown you know you have a pal
    Transmitting good cheer to you on the daily
    What's left to say? You rule! Go get 'em, gal!
    
  2. Hayley and her boy toy
    In the night they giggle
    Fingers go exploring
    Interlocked they wiggle
    Fingertip on her hip
    Tracing out a squiggle
    This is love, no doubting
    Not even a niggle
    

Ryan Quest Win Poem

Those who win at Ryan Quest get to see a special poem! What are you waiting for?

Two Thirds of a Sonnet for Chance

Written in response to something nice that Chance, a new friend, said to me. This is “two thirds” of a sonnet because a real sonnet needs a third ABAB verse.

Has it occurred to you that you deserve
To be called not just chill, but chill supreme?
I have a softness in my heart for those
Who follow through - who realize the dream

Of living in a world where effort's fruits
Are by most sincere comments justly met
Much thanks, for 'tis upon my horn you toot
Exchanging digits was a winning bet

A sonnet, or two thirds of one, for thee
With gratitude from You-Know-Who and me

Poem for Cameron and Felix

Written late at night on 2019-10-11, after getting to know these two fellows at a meetup. If you join the second and third lines in each stanza, the meter becomes iambic quadrameter (save for the line beginning “Knowledge”, which must be read as a trochaic substitution.)

Tonight I've met a pair of men
Whom I hope I may
Call new friends

Two buds, pointed at PhDs
Knowledge sets both their
Means and ends

Two dudes, united by one car
Stick-shift - they're off! in
Homeward flight

Let's meet again, cognition crew
To pass another
Pleasant night

After The Farewell Lunch

Shortly before moving away from Portland, I got the chance to have a farewell lunch with Professor Hyong Rhew, one of just three or four people whom I call “my most beloved teachers.” Also present was my long-time friend Chris Stasse, whom I similarly call one of “my most beloved friends.”

This poem commemorates the mischievious post-prandial activities of that day, 2019-08-20. I believe this is the first poem I’ve written for Chris; it probably won’t be the last.

最后一杯
干了之后
老师告别
哥俩要走
笑着回家
大麻便抽
疯狂假想
做双朋友

Island Vacation Poem

With step-fam'ly
And Sis and Dad
A week on an
Island was had

From the main house
By gravel road
Ten seconds' walk
Reached my abode

This hermitage
Was now to be
For one week my
Dormitory

I dreamt I would
Accomplish much
While living in
This monkish hutch

By day there'd be
Activity
And on each night
A writing spree

But I fell ill
Just one day in
I could not hike
Nor could I swim

Though I was sick
I could still write
I dripped out words
Most every night

Healthy at last
My poetry
Will fix this week
In memory