The blinding glint of armor in the sun
Might terrify a lesser band. The blaze
Of Betta, though, outshone them, ev’ry one,
Each foe-worn helmet, breastplate. Her fierce gaze
Gave courage to her fighters as they charged
And shouted, Betta’s hammer in the lead
(A captured weapon she had much enlarged
While at the smithy). Not so much for greed
As for the rights of all who dared to stand
Upon two legs, did Betta’s side crack skulls
(Though some of them might now and then demand
Some minor spoils shared out throughout the hulls
Of Betta’s ships). Commenceth thus the war
Against the slaver-wizard Mallajore!
When Charlie was a boy, he met the guy
Who first invented tracing ’round your hand
To draw a turkey. How the years did fly
Until in college, Charlie joined a band
Whose songs were coded messages about
The meaning of those drawings. They conveyed
A secret to the wise. As it turns out
They signal to our overlords who trade
In humans that Thanksgiving’s coming soon,
That day when tryptophan clouds all our minds,
Slows down our bodies, causes us to swoon,
And makes us easy pickings of all kinds.
Before the band could cut its record deal,
The guy showed up and crushed them ‘neath his heel.
His first day on George Fox’s high plains spread,
They called him “kid” e’en though he was fourteen.
Kid he remained for days and weeks, his bed
Out ‘neath the stars, where kids sleep. In between
Those chilly nights he worked hard, but still “kid”
Was what they called him. Then, one scorching day
When he had had enough, he stopped amid
Shit shoveling and other chores to say
To the old supervising hands “You know
I’m not a kid.” “You ain’t a cowboy yet,”
The hands all told him. “You got far to go.
We ain’t seen you do what you’ve gotta. Get
The irrigation shovel. Go five miles
Then we’ll tell you what’s next.” “There’s more?” “Oh, piles!”
My life long, I’ve been cramped and stuffed and trapped
With others of my kind, a thousand strong
Or maybe more. We’ve eaten and we’ve crapped
All in the same location. Something’s wrong
Though. I can feel it, smell it, we
Are somehow doomed. Oh wow! We’re on the move!
All in a crowd of feathers, dust and pee!
Hey, neighbor turkey, what you tryin’ to prove
By shoving? I don’t think we ought to rush.
Don’t think we really should anticipate
What waits for us when we’ve got through this crush.
I’m pretty sure we’re gonna meet a fate
That few would envy. Oh god, I smell blood,
Hear scary sounds and oh no, something — thud.
“The sportsball men keep running back and forth
Whenever we see any TV screen.
They run from east to west, or south to north
But we cannot determine what they mean
To gain by this. It’s endlessness defies
What we know of your logic.” “Attache,”
Began the aide, one hand over his eyes
(The being he addressed was in the way
Of maddening if seen) “It’s just a game.”
“When do they rest? They sometimes get to change
Their clothing, but we see, much to our shame,
The chase breaks only for the sponsors. Strange!”
“Wait, you do know there’s more than just two teams?”
The aide said. “It’s not as cruel as it seems!”
Surprises, when they’re kept well, do amaze,
Though they can often backfire, we all know.
This can add tension to the holidays
That do not need them, as the threat of snow
And closed-down roads do loom. A fam’ly trapped
On either side of closure gates is one
Who’s sad for Turkey Day. E’en so they mapped,
The sisters Jones, a secret trip, for fun.
Kristine would fly cross country to the town
Where dwelt her sister, then they two would drive
To their hometown. Their folks knew one was bound
But not the other. Then, that day at five
They pulled it off! Their mother cried out “Oh!”
When Krissy passed the green bean casserole.
“He needs to choose a vector and then stick
To it,” the caller screamed. “He’s going to kill
Somebody!” “All right, calm down ma’am, but quick,
Describe it. Make and model? Color? We’ll
Do all we can, but there’s a thousand cars
In all those air lanes. Which of them’s the one?”
“The one that’s flying drunk! Oh no, my stars!
He’s pointing upwards now, towards the sun!”
“How many lanes above him?” “Um, a lot.”
She disconnected then. “All units, we
Have yet another wrong-way flyer, plot
And course unknown, with no description, the
Last vector upwards.” “Dispatch, it’s right here.
I’m giving chase, and Happy damn New Year.”
Her new wand fit her hand quite perfectly,
So sleek and slim and light, it felt a part
Of her, a fine extension. What should be
The first spell she would cat with it? A fart
Resounded; her sharpei was off his feed
Again. With one quick flick, the sulphrous smell
Was gone. Delightful! Now, what did she need
To do next? Seelah felt like raising hell!
She soon found she was stymied. Each attempt
At something awesome ended something lame,
Somewhat her will, but dainty, light and kempt,
Destruction quelled, and forces conjured, tame.
Her hopes and asperations ‘gan to sink.
She should have known: her tool was seashell pink.
My mistress bought it, but she could refuse
Me nothing in my last days, so the book
Was mine to read and love. I could not choose
A finer final storytime — and, look
I was a dog of taste, somewhat refined
But still enjoyed my thrillers now and then.
When Cities Fail — now really, that’s the kind
Of milieu that I like. I would have been
A great street preacher, or a femme fatale,
Or maybe both, in black and white with such
A noble profile, don’t you think? I shall
Come back as one next time. I have the touch.
At any rate, Matt Wallace is a scribe
Worth following, a credit to his tribe.
Said Poncho Pug to Lefty Pug, “Let’s go
Before the Federales find our trail!”
Said Lefty Pug to Poncho “We don’t know
That anybody’s chasing us, but they’ll
Not hurt us. We’re too cute!” He snorted, then.
“You think they’re kind like that?” asked Poncho, “I
Think we are outlaws! Let’s be bad again!
Let’s poop in football stadiums, let fly
Our farts in banks and shops! Let our crime spree
Go into stinky legend!” “Poncho, you
Are so my hero,” Lefty said. “Can we
Hit old Fort Collins first? And Provo, too?”
“Sure! Look out, Albuquerque, and I’ll say
That San Diego’s not out of our way!”