After an academic career stomping out metaphors, Roy Adams heard the muse and has now published several poems most recently in Vallum Contemporary Poetry and in Feathertale Humorous Literary Journal.
Bigger than Weather
An act or article possesses it or not.
There is resiliency in planting a tree,
in reading a book
but, in the thirty-third degree, give me
survival value first hand.
Give me Bindings Rare and Beautiful:
Limp Life Lessons with Shakespeare
Elbert Hubbard half-pig with strap
and copper buckle
Tall Copy in Domestic Clarabarton
Famous Board Alice --
(Based entirely on copy in “The Philistine, A Periodical
of Protest,” December 1913. Most of the scrambled text is
from advertisements for “Roycroft Books for Christmas”
and for Ostermoor Matress Company)
Bulwer-Lytton Praises Scott
Tired of waiting for better tides
I seize the present to express
The character your genius laid,
who can emulate?
The halo your moderation sets,
who shall forget?
Your playful art has conciliated the French
enemy, soothed the envy that -- for better
desert -- pursues calamities
Your fame has attained that undying flame
which glories bright
my humble, dark and stormy night
(Based on a dedication to Sir Walter Scott included
as a preface to Bulwer-Lytton’s 1832 novel Eugene Aram.
The phrase “dark and stormy night” is from Bulwer-Lytton’s
1830 novel Paul Clifford. Except for the phrase “dark and stormy night”
all of the text is from the dedication; it has been thoroughly
mixed in order to come up with a poem that does justice to the author
who inspired a contest whose challenge is to “compose the opening
sentence to the worst of all possible novels.”)
Like a Bartender
…off the clock, she’ll go in
and have a cupcake or something, hear
a ton of gossip. Sometimes the husbands
will charge too much and put their mail
on hold so their wives won’t find out.
People tell her who’s cheating
and who are behind in their mortgage.
Like a bartender,
they open up, tell her lots.
“There’s definitely dirty laundry,”
she admits, “Still,” she insists:
“we’re all too old for hate...”
(Note: Adapted from Bringing Mail and Hearing
Secrets on Staten Island, by James Lowe,
New York Times Magazine, April 26, 2015, p. 34.)
The Rules Have Changed
What we have created is a global
postmodern Salem Witch Hunt:
zealous inquisitors, not nettled
by doubt, exert a relentless violence
to conjure up a fool’s inferno born
of the collective terrors of their
We know from where we came.
And we know where we are.
We don’t know yet how to get back.
Adapted from a review by Mark Danner of
“‘Guantanamo Diary,’ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi”
published in the New York Times Book Review,
20 January 2015.