The Flawed Concept.
Mr Ford viewed the tiny cars flooding in with fear,
Gutting sales of the gas-guzzlers Henry held so dear,
So into the new geeko-friendly no-smoking atmosphere
Henry trotted out his Pinto, with its pertly kicked-up rear,
So cheeky, chic and cheerful- and so cheap to engineer.
His Pinto putting dents in imports sales elicited a grin,
But making a profit on compacts means making 'em thin,
So, skinnier welds here, there, replace heavy steel with tin;
Ford's salesmen lightly told customers 'take 'er out for a spin,'
Is emphasising gas mileage over driver safety such a sin?
In harness with rising gas prices, sales of the sippy Pinto rose,
In his boardroom see, along with his profits, how his smile grows?
Until a rash of memos brought about a wrinkling of Henry's nose;
It's safe to say a Pinto's economy is great, as far as gas milage goes
But in a tail-ender one is not safe, as any crash dummy knows.
Was it a question of saving lives or saving on the cash?
Placing a gas tank waaay back was more dumb than rash,
The Pinto was a pain in the ass when in a nose-to-tail smash;
Percolating Pintos were hotly looked at by Police, Fire and Crash-
Hank's cheap-ass petty penny ante profits tanked, and in a flash.
(Mockery aside, a case of money over humanity. Apparently, for the sake of a few nickels and dimes per vehicle in producing these bombs cars Ford could have redesigned and alleviated the problem. Corporate cost-cutting at its best/worst. Ford lost a court case and paid through the nose.)
‘For Sale, Ford Pinto, cool retro classic, original Fire Engine Red paint.’
When folk reacquaint themselves with Mr. Gray
They look, stunned to see he ain't aged a day,
They ask if Dorian has found the elixir of youth?
But behind Gray's merry eyes lies an ugly truth.
Back in the old days when he was young, in fact
Dorian drew up quite the Mephistophelian pact,
He could live a libertine life where age took no toll
And all it would take was a worthless eternal soul!
This Faustian deal only a short-sighted fool would sign,
For a moment Gray's hand hovered on the bottom line,
It looked quite the bargain- to a damn fool lad of his age-
So he struck the devil's bargain, signed on the last page.
In exchange for his signature Dorian gets the picture,
Faust gets a hell of a deal, ironclad as Holy Scripture,
Faust lingering over every letter should've been a hint
That Dorian should've better reviewed the small print.
Then Dorian lived the high life, and life rolled along,
All wine, women and song, doing everything wrong,
Years passed, as in the looking glass he aged not at all,
But before too long he turned his portrait to face the wall.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so it's said,
Now Dorian looks at his rendering with daily dread,
A portrait ageing in Dorian's place sounds far fetched
But it troubles him to see a fine face so deeply etched.
At days end, when Dorian looks back on his debauchery
Then what ghastly mistakes will the old roué and rake see?
A savagely ravaged face, facing an eternity of damnation;
And who signed off on fucking himself? self-fornication?
‘The devil with all that old technology. I’ve updated!’
'Mericans sure do love their guns,
They're hellbent on law and order,
They think we're the crazy ones,
Completely armless, North of the border.
But most of us simply can't understand
Why they don't practice gun control?
You can have a hot gun in your hand
Even if you're a crazy lyin' criminal asshole.
Concerned about your stint in clink?
Worried about your upcoming arrest?
Thank God only the upstanding NRA think
There's no need for your character test.
A .50 caliber has always appealed?
Go out and and pick one up today!
You needn't keep your Colt concealed,
Just whip it out and blaze away.
But outside 'Merica the Great
Them Rights leave everyone else aghast,
'Merica's Number One, in every dang State-
Yep, in firearm deaths, World unsurpassed.
'Guns are part of our way of life'
Say the NRA, not in ironical jest,
'From the days when crime was rife,
From Tea Party through Wild Wild West.'
'Because it's our Right,' bray the NRA,
'To amass us a private arsenal,'
Just imaginin' being back in the day
Of the rootin' shootin' OK Corral.
400 million guns, the NRA say, all legally sold,
According to the lists they lovingly compiled,
It's peace of mind, to have and to hold-
One apiece for every man, woman and child.
Does the NRA truly think the entire Nation
Need to bear their own personal Kalashnikov?
Why bother US with futile peaceable negotiation?
Most members are rarin' for a Mexican stand-off.
Still the NRA say 'more guns the merrier,'
Its twisted logic, bound only to confound,
To me more guns sounds progressively scarier,
But to the NRA 'Zero Control' holds Holy Ground.
But surely no sane person would let fly
When everyone's armed to the teeth?
Only the crackpot NRA can live with that lie;
Its stone cold comfort to those laid beneath.
In the NRA's strange Land of the Free
They'll snuff out any gun control Bill,
Sovereign citizens, too short-sighted to see
Their sacred Rights lead to gross overkill.
Dark Days, Black Nights.
It's no fun trying to shake off my family's dark legacy,
My bad name and face ain't one good folk wanna see,
It's a grand old artistocratic name, yet one most detest,
Hereabouts my Vlad name's more cursed than blessed.
Beneath the shadow of Castle Dracula change comes slow,
The villagers and I warily co-exist in an uneasy ebb and flow,
The wild accounts they tell of Count Dracula never get old-
Yet there's a drop o' truth to the hoary horror story Stoker told.
My bad reputation remains preserved deserved I do admit,
The peasants don't welcome my presence one little bit,
Slowly, over time, any mutual good will has been lost,
But once my blood's up I'm a bad Count to be crossed.
I've quite the cad's reputation here in our quiet backwater,
I've been the ruination of many a fine farmers daughter,
Stoker said I've a cool dark and damned handsome look,
But you'll find no photographic evidence in Bram's book.
For a soul who's seen so much in his lifetime
I believe I look like a man still well in his prime,
Of course, I could be accused of gross vanity-
I can truly say that doesn't reflect the real me.
Tales of my gross misdeeds have hung around for ages,
Fathers and nuns still twist and turn over my back pages,
'Tis true, I'm out and about, prowling these moonlit streets
As good God fearin' folk hide, shiverin' 'neath their sheets.
Legend says I'm most likely to be seen at night,
True again- dawn demands I be tucked up tight,
I'll happily snore the day away till late afternoon,
Sleep the damned day away, rise with the moon.
There's not many locals left who call me friend,
Most who did tended to come to a sticky end,
The Hotelier won't let me step over his threshold-
To be denied a warm pint makes my blood run cold.
He knows full well some nights I'd murder for a sip,
His problem is the bar empties out should I request a nip,
The toast my name elicits here is 'Cheers, to Drac's death!'
And I can't face that toxic wave of Bitter and garlic breath.
My problem is, here on my old vamping ground
Fresh blood is a commodity too rarely found,
So when I heard rumours of tourists in town
You could Count on me to chase 'em down.
Far too few city folk come approach the Castle door
Though the breathtaking view sure is one to die for-
A new-wed couple booking in here's something rare,
And an appreciative nose twitched up in my dank lair.
The happy couple arrived, wreathed in smiles,
Brought in by horse and cart for the last five miles;
Around these parts that means riding in First Class,
Third Class is by two feet, Second is on one's ass.
All about the cheery locals called out 'Willkommen,'
The jolly Innkeeper took their cash and booked 'em Inn,
Said, 'my good son Slobodan will be your guiding light,
He's as honest as the day is long, just... not that bright.'
All day long, accompanied by their watchful guide
The honeymooners delighted in the countryside,
But once the sun touched the tip o' the mountain top
Slobodan's guided tour screeched to an abrupt stop.
The guide looked at his unwound watch in dismay,
Slobodan feared he might wind up rueing this day,
He turned for home, shadows darkening his face,
Setting off through the trees at a reckless pace.
As long shadows turned the forest ominously black
The three staggered out of the claustrophobic track,
Slobodan turned and squinted up at the setting sun,
Gulped, and set off for the village at a shambling run.
The unhappy couple watched his broad rear disappear;
For a provincial yokel Slobodan could get his ass in gear,
They caught the sweaty Slob panting on the village gate
Whereon Slob explained why we don't wander out late.
He told a tale of a bloodthirsty Carpathian Count,
A ghoul who haunts the Castle up on yon Mount,
A beast no one here wants to cross paths with,
What a modern couple dismiss as a foolish myth.
They laughed at Slobodan and his warning
And his advice to stay indoors till morning,
Dismissing every word the misguided fool said,
Still, being on honeymoon, why not early to bed?
So, upstairs they made haste;
Now, in the bounds of good taste
Since this is not a saucy R18 rated tale
Now it's time to discretely draw the veil...
So later, but after not quite as long as she had hoped
The wide eyed bride lifted the duvet and blindly groped,
A quick tug of a curtain cord and in the moonlight spilled,
She stepped o'er to the window, feeling oddly unfulfilled.
Outside the latched window, clad in a coal black cloak
The very image of he of whom their guide had spoke-
Slowly, devilishly, he looked up and their eyes locked,
His lip twisted up, and an enquiring eyebrow cocked...
Helpless as his darkly mesmerising eyes bore into hers,
Marriage vows evaporate as something within her stirs,
Window opened wide, she dreamily invites him inside,
And by dawn the groom is set to leave his bloody bride.
As if emerging from a nightmare she swayed, pale, woozy,
A livid bruise on her neck the mark of Drac's two bit floozy!
The groom strode up to my Castle, he knocked down my door,
Such a crazy cross-eyed look his wild and red eyes wore!
He pushed loyal Ygor aside, he could not be contained!
Now, after a long night of necking I felt tired and drained,
In the light of day my denials wouldn't do me much good,
So I lay silent in my chamber, fearing his knock on wood.
How dare some vengeful mortal man ruin my rest?
How dare some retributive husband bare my breast?
He looked Hellbent on blaming me for his divorce,
And he had a point to hammer home, of course.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + -
The bride and groom departed in the horse and cart,
Who knew they'd reconcile over my broken heart?
As o'er the dark Castle the ashen clouds blow away
It grieves my soul knowing I've years of Hell to pay.
Those two still talk up their trip to our quaint paradise,
(Though he ain't apt to mention his bloody sacrifice,)
Thanks to word of mouth we're now a destination of note
(Though at times her endorsement catches in her throat.)
Now in the busy tavern the sad old narrative's shifted,
Tourists keep local tale tellers elbows and spirits lifted,
From this village's life I have gone, and none too soon;
But one dead Count has turned their bane into a boon.
Red Light Spells Danger.
Before the coming of the great shuddering quake
Manchester Street was the infamous site
For the slow cruising driver to ease on the brake
If waved down by a lady of the night.
For a young semi-professional gal on the make
That sedan creeping along just might
Mean the guys wife said she had a pounding headache
And she's home, snoring in bed, tucked up tight.
And if that louse of a husband is up and awake
A night drive may offer a handy respite?
If a gal's willing and able, his lust she will slake
So long as the price is right.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Now cruising through Manchester Street's a big mistake,
Down the revamped street, not a walker in sight,
Still cars crawl slowly along as if in a funeral's wake,
On every street corner flashes a red- traffic- light.
Good God, how long should a main drag drive take?
Our new city planners ain't proved overbright,
As I sit, stalled, I slowly give my frustrated head a shake-
Now Manky Street's no Uber transport of delight.
(The trusty driver in this story is a fictional character, obviously. Really!)
(Some particular days you wake up feeling old. So, no funny business today. Sorry.)
Year Upon Year.
I still like to stroll 'neath the blue late summer sky
Though days run short and autumn's chill feels nigh,
Time was when I'd stride easy towards my leafy glade,
Nowadays a few more slow and stately steps are made.
This cool bower's perfectly placed for stop and rest,
Of late I feel this truth in my bones, and in my chest,
This stout tree I lean on now I've long thought as my own,
From young stripling and sapling, together we have grown.
As I look above those old signs are seen,
Subtle curls of gold amidst the sea of green,
Soon 'nough even summer's greenest leaf must fall,
Tomorrow, or two months hence, autumn reaps 'em all.
Don't get me wrong, I'm ageing happily every day I get,
Still, the years weigh and weary, we accumulate regret,
Every tree has twists and turns, Nature shapes and forms,
Each tree has boughs bent, bowed, scars from recent storms.
Will we weather another winter, to see in the spring?
Older, wisened to the fact the rose holds within a sting?
So take a little time to remember blooms cut cruelly short,
Long life holds more sorrow than we once young 'uns thought.
Someday They'll Get Back Together.
Misses Ross, Wilson, Ballard and Birdsong?
How could a Motown fanboy not sing along?
Now a good half of those original Supremes
Have faded, like that young kid's old dreams.
Divine Diana Ross says she's she's sad and bereft,
Guess now there's two few Supreme voices left,
Better get the group together for a photo though-
And pronto, or Miss Ross might be singing solo.
Through all the petty squabbles, the hogging of the spotlight, the Diva-like acting the good ol’ Motown music endures.
It's been a grim grey February day,
Captain Tom Moore has faded away,
Sir Tom inspired us all by soldiering on,
But age has slowed him and now he's gone.
He raised our spirits in our darkest hour,
Now he's been elevated by a higher power,
A centurion who didn't stand by and idly talk,
Even with his walker Sir Tom walked the walk.
End Of The Hippy Dream.
When I finally take my last shot,
Knock back that final tot of gut-rot,
Line up that last toot and blow the lot...
Though mine's a wasted life, swift forgot
Remember this when laying out this old sot:
Lay me 'neath a cool chill spot,
I fear too soon I'll be smokin' hot-
Plant some fragrant herb, a little pot?
Pop in a few wild poppies as a forget-me-not,
Some grassy rolling field; make mine a fitting plot.
Thirteen Days Till Christmas.
(Two people close to my heart
Departed twenty-four hours apart,
So now come every thirteenth of December
I take a shot or two to help me not remember.)
With but a dozen lousy sleeps before Christmas Day
I can count on reminders of two who have passed away,
Today Carey's heart-wringing singing leaves me unenamoured
So I'll flip Mariah's seasonal CD off and carry on getting hammered.
There's not a solitary sodden year I've let pass
Without solemnly raising my twice charged glass,
Sure, tomorrow todays toasts will leave me sorely troubled;
Now my efforts to forget todays regrets demand to be redoubled.