I’m currently working on revising and rewriting my first novel, tentatively entitled Chasing Demons. I have worked as a full-time writer of social science and history test prep manuals in the past, and my job at Georgia Tech also involved some writing and research. I occasionally do freelance jobs in addition to work on the novel, stories, and my website. To date, all of my publications have been in the realm of nonfiction, and so my experimental foray into fiction represents uncharted territory for me.
Here are a few of my more popular poems:
It’s 2011 Already, Come On!: Where’s My Ray Gun?
H.G. Wells foresaw the bomb.
Never prouder was a mom.
Sci-fi gets it so rarely right,
says I, sans boots that take to flight.
Year 2001 saw no HAL,
just Tamagotchis to be your pal.
Yes, computers at chess could win,
but they couldn’t kill unless plugged in.
On victory humans have a lock
because we can pick up a heavy rock.
There reigns no army of machines
except the ones that carpet clean
You can always tell robot from man
by the part they install on your minivan.
No green chicks did Spirit find.
No helmet yet can read one’s mind.
No five-course meals in capsule form.
No planet-devouring super storms.
I’ve never known a car to hover.
I’ve never taken an alien lover.
(Aliens really come a billion light-years
to probe bums and stick bugs in ears?)
I’ve never worn clothes of foil,
or used a ray-gun to make pasta boil.
Not all errors favor high technology.
Sometimes they overplay anthropology.
Isaac Asimov had his male lead
using a typewriter at warp speed.
Is it too much for a guy to ask
for our society to stick to task,
and give us a freakin’ car that flies
so I can drive the friendly skies.
A Day in the Life of Kim Jong Il
Dear Leader wakes not by crow of cock,
but gets up at precisely five o’clock.
His alarm is a dissident he doesn’t know
taking a 10-penny nail through the big toe.
Out of the bed and feet on the floor,
he primps his helmet-like pompadour.
He wriggles into his beige onesie suit
as minions lace up his black shiny boots.
Once again he primps his pompadour,
then stops again at the mirror by the door.
In the mirror he pumps double-guns
then makes scowly faces just for fun.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall
“Who’s the brutalist dictator of all.
“Well, sire, I’d have to say Pol Pot.”
“Take that mirror out, and have it shot!”
At breakfast jokes are cut by Kim
as the cook’s reverie is throttling him.
Post-Eggo it’s time to inspect the troops
because our Dear Leader never poops.
Though he does stop by the ole latrine,
but just to read the new L.L. Bean.
After finished grunting and bemoaning high prices,
Economists tell him what the new cost of rice is.
On the way to see his military formations,
he makes his own rough calculations,
and decides killing the economists is cheaper
than admitting the depression grows ever deeper.
The military inspection goes quite well
just four men are shot for linty lapels.
Then he’s shown a nuke that’s state-of-the-art.
Relax, it’s made from old snowmobile parts.
At four, he meets with a human rights group head,
but by four-oh-five that leader is mysteriously dead.
This leaves time open for an afternoon nap.
He says, “wake me at six with a soft wrap.”
He oversleeps when his minion too lightly knocks.
The same man “volunteers” to test a virulent pox.
In the evening, dinner is done in great style.
You can hear stomaches growling for mile upon mile.
After dinner Kim does karaoke to Elvis,
but throws out his hip rolling his pelvis.
Then it’s back home to get tucked into bed;
he reflects upon the day’s count of the dead.
He says to his Teddy, “a leader can’t be too nice
“or, the next thing you know, people will want rice.”
He drifts off into the most bizarre dream
in which people don’t like him and think he is mean.
My Poetry is Lowbrow
My poetry is lowbrow, you can tell it by the rhyme.
There’s no sound of silent thunder, or crossing of the Rhine.
No, my topics are pedestrian, not polo-brunch-equestrian.
English teacher fits, my grammar surely gives.
I’m never shy to boldly split all my infinitives.
Needing a corrective spanking, I make participles that dangle.
But I like to think they do so always at a jaunty angle.
I never remember all the parameters of poetry in bloody iambic pentameter.
Determinations about which foot gets stress
are made by dice and random guess.
Sometimes its fast and sometimes its slow
Because good meter would require I know
I’ll make no apologies for rhyming like a rock star.
You mean you can’t rhyme “red scare” with “hot tar?”
Yes, my poetry, it’s lowbrow. If you don’t like it I’ll understand.
There’s no deep symbolism or vast descent of man.
But if you don’t like it, you can spare me all the sass.
Rather than tell me about it, you can kiss my wriggling bass.
Blossoms dance in air
Savoring the brief moment
Between limb and earth
Cat-style Kung Fu Guru
I flew away the other day,
and left the world I knew behind.
In a trance, as natives danced,
I tried to seek but could not find.
“Your mind ‘s too strong, you’re doin’ it wrong.”
I heard the shaman in my mind.
“Just let things be, and then you’ll see.
“It’ll slough off like a useless rind.”
I went back home; now all alone.
turned the lights on in my flat.
So sad to say I’d lost my way
But then reflected on my cat.
He sat there still, not bent to will
and purred and starred right up at me.
He didn’t budge, but bore no grudge.
a poster-child of tranquility
I’d flown for hours in search of powers
that only the old masters had.
But there he was, all shedding fuzz,
a master residing in my pad
I sat upon the parapet wall
Watching arrows rise and fall
They did besiege us on that day
But in the end their lost did lay
About that field of sodden Earth
Where we denied them a place of berth
When the fog glides in overland, one never knows what comes in with it. The blanket of gray lies in striations such that in some pockets of elevation one can see clearly while at others one can’t see hand before face. Oh, they do love to lay in wait in those fluffy layers. You may see them as a glimpse of movement out of the corner of your eye, but their beastly gray bellies blend into the ephemeral wall. They are insubstantial and cannot attack body, but do prey upon a hapless mind. Sometimes, in the distance, you hear:
Oh, the beast she keens and moans
in such beastly sing-song tones.
A Less Than Smooth Criminal
Makeshift Manny was a poor crook.
He went to the library to check out a book
about how to thieve and how to rob
wanting to improve his skills on the job.
When he got home the police were there.
Seems a cop’s wife cut the librarian’s hair.
“Reading a book is not a crime.”
“I know you’ve not yet stolen one thin dime.
“But it looks like mischief is headed your way;
“best stay out of trouble or you’ll rue the day.”
“I hear what you’re sayin’.” Manny said with glee.
Not knowing all could see his duplicity.
The cop shook his head, and away did walk.
Manny called his friend for a nice long talk
about how he’d rob the old Farmer’s Bank.
Listening in on the line was Mrs. Judy Crank.
Now Crank was a gossip and the town operator.
She heard him talk about wearing ‘a mask like Darth Vader.'”
Crank called Gladys Miller, who called Evan Finn.
Evan called Mildred, and said, “The kids are living in sin!
“And, oh yeah, Manny ‘s robbing the town S & L.”
Mildred thought long about who she should tell.
Who would Mildred call but that same cop’s wife.
Who said, “Honey, Manny ‘s gonna end up doin’ life.”
Officer Willis went around warning the banks
“Bankers lose money!”, now their hearts really sank.
“Don’t be heroes, just let him go.
“We’ll have your money back as quick as you know.”
Manny plotted his crime both night and day.
He saw the problem was making a clean get away.
Those gleaming cop cars were faster than his truck,
and with radios and guns they didn’t need luck.
He thought about it hard and about it long,
but every idea seemed to turn out wrong.
Then it came to him like a bolt from the blue.
“Fast cars and barricades? There’s a way on through.”
Manny went to the bank one day at noon,
and withdrew money to rent a hot-air balloon.
By his way of thinking the police couldn’t fly,
so over their heads he’d sail through the sky.
On the appointed day, the time did come.
It didn’t occur to Manny that his plan was dumb.
He said, “Give me the cash, or you’ll soon regret…!”
Though without a gun this was just a puny threat.
Still, the cashier complied and handed him cash,
and up to the rooftop Manny did dash.
Up-up-and-away the balloon slothfully crawled.
Through squawky speakers the cop’s voice called,
“Manny, get down here this very instant.”
Manny replied, “I applaud you’re bein’ persistent,
“but I think I’ll head on down Mexico way.”
“Manny, I can follow you all night and all day,
“and if the time comes that I reach the shore,
“there’s the Coast Guard, the Navy, and many more.”
As it turned out Manny was afraid of heights,
so he couldn’t raise the balloon up out of sight.
Instead, he flew only just above the trees.
Not knowing a sturdy hook could stop his flee.
So went the slowest ever slow speed chase,
and so happened the dullest ever bank robbery case.
So You Think You Want Superpowers?
Superheroes conjure glitz and glamour
putting arch nemeses in the slammer.
But heroism has its moments mundane.
It’s not just a life of bringing the pain.
The Hulk can’t get his deposit back
because his ceiling has a nasty crack.
What’s Wonder Woman hear with her truth lasso?
“You’ve got a nice rack, but you dress like a ho.”
And the FAA insists she use running lights,
foiling the gain of a jet defying sight.
Superman’s library book is long overdue,
entitled “Kryptonite Poisoning and You.”
Librarians take these matters seriously,
bullying the Man of Steel imperiously.
Through a school zone, Flash did a million.
His ticket was approximately $6.2 billion.
The fish went on strike against Aquaman
when they found Tilapia bits in his frying pan.
Batman and Robin are getting hate mail
about rumors of a lifestyle male on male.
Tony Stark’s patent recently expired.
Now you too can be Iron Man attired.
Wolverine has been terribly teased
because of a losing battle with fleas.
Captain Atom has been seeing a shrink.
Being really tiny isn’t as cool as you’d think.
So before you step into that Gamma ray
you should listen now to what I say.
If you want to live a life of tranquility,
choose for your power… invisibility.