They Live by Night

From a sleep I awake
With a terrible ache
In my head from events sometime past;
Where I am I can’t tell
As I’m blindfolded well,
But I seem to be travelling fast.

As I start to take stock
It then comes as a shock
When the shroud is removed from my eyes;
With my vision restored
I can see I’m on-board
A car travelling north, I surmise.

In the front sits a blonde
She’s a bombshell, beyond
Any creature I’ve seen in my days;
There’s a white-capped chauffeur
At the wheel next to her,
On the road he’s affixed his steel gaze.

In the back seat I’m pressed,
While I’m held at arrest,
By the toadies on each side of me;
The reality looms-
I’ve been kidnapped by shrooms!
How the hell did this happen to me?

[Cut to flashback]

I remember I’d been
A bit drunk and bit green
At a party in Hollywood Hills;
Amid starlets and harlots,
Producers with full guts,
She sparkled and gave me the thrills.

It all started so well
When I met Chanterelle,
She was charming and full of sweet smiles;
The whole evening seemed magic
But quickly turned tragic,
My downfall: her feminine wiles.

In my ear she had purred
So my mind quickly whirred,
More seductive than any wildcat;
While I’d hoped for a quickie
She’d slipped me a mickey-
I blacked out in five seconds flat.

[Fade to black]

[…]

[Fade in to present]

My anxiety grew
Cos I hadn’t a clue
What awaited me next in this scrape;
As their prisoner now,
I must work out quite how
To distract them and make my escape.

Yet there wasn’t the chance
For a plan to advance
As the car came to stop in a wood;
When they forced me straight out
There was then little doubt-
They had brought me out here for no good.

For right there was a grave,
Where my life I would waive,
I’d be food for their kith and their kin;
In this damp lonely place
They would leave no last trace-
Their mycelium enwrapping my skin.

You can guess what transpired
When a gun was then fired,
Yes they killed me to no ones surprise;
With a shot to the head
They all left me for dead,
My last thought was these sure weren’t fun guys.

[Pan and fade out on a bucolic moonlit forest scene]

Bread

When the dark clouds gather outside
This isn’t a day for errand-making;
I’d much prefer to stay here inside
In my cosy kitchen, busy bread-baking.

When the dough is in the oven,
Filling the home with its heavenly scent,
It raises, stretching strands of gluten,
You know all that kneading was time well spent.

When my instincts say its ready,
Opening the door takes my breath away;
For here before me, in golden glory:
A fully bloomed loaf to brighten my day.

Chef Dad

There’s drama in the kitchen
For our dad’s the chef tonight
He’s cooking up a storm (of sorts)
And he promises delight.

It’s true the scents are pleasing
That the menu sounds a treat
But I wonder if he’s in too deep
Will he fall by his conceit?

The orchestra is restless
For the curtain call is due
The actors want to break a leg
We’re all waiting for his cue.

It’s been at least two hours
Since our appetites were whet
If only mom had cooked instead
We’d be fed before sunset.

At last the chef is ready
To reveal his labour’s fruit
“Soupe à l’oignon” he proudly cries
His conviction’s resolute

We couldn’t help but snigger
That he’d taken all this time
To make for us an onion soup
What a tawdry pantomime.

Still we were very hungry
That we ate it up with glee
When asked if we’d like second bowls
As one voice we all said “oui!”

Nana’s Pie

You start with flour in your bowl,
(All purpose types will do),
Sieve in two cups and one half more,
A pinch of salt in too,
Plus a bigger pinch of sugar,
Then stir the mixture through.

Next, take two cold sticks of butter,
(To make a tasty dough),
Work it in with a pair of forks,
(Don’t overwork it though),
Stop when the butter’s marble-sized,
(You’re done before you know).

After that you add ice water,
A half cup’s what you need
With a teaspoon of vinegar,
Follow her mama’s lead;
Stir until it comes together
When like rich soil proceed.

Dump the mix upon the counter
Then form two disks by hand,
Your dough’s now ready to be filled
With sweetness, fresh or canned,
Whatever fruit filling you choose
The outcome will be grand.

It’s time to heat your oven now
So set it to three fifty,
Roll your disks ’til an eighth inch thick,
Twelve inches wide they’ll be,
On the pie plate the bottom goes
Now build the rest with glee.

The filling’s piled majestically
Then covered with the crust,
A sheen’s applied by brushing milk,
The edges pinched and fussed,
Some knife slits cut into the lid
Ensures the pie’s robust.

Now place the pie in the oven,
Let it bake for an hour,
Drink in the perfume it creates,
Succumb to its sweet power,
You know it’s time when golden brown
So take it out – devour!

Take the Sky

At the wild frontier of the galaxy,
Far beyond the reach of Alliance law,
Where the Reavers rage in a cloud of war,
Way out there you’ll find the Serenity.

Her brave captain looks out for me and mine
With a warrior woman his number two;
There’s a soaring leaf piloting her crew
And a Canton hero who don’t half whine.

Quick to help Companions when they need aid,
She is kept afloat by a shiny heart;
While the Shepherd’s compass directs their chart,
The two sheltered siblings won’t be betrayed.

They may lose their freedoms, may even die,
But from them you can’t ever take the sky.

Thirds

My dear cook I know you’re wondering
How to judge a meal’s success,
Well here’s my winning recipe
So that you need not guess.

If your guest is looking happy
After eating their first plate,
Another helping you should serve-
Their hunger must be great.

If a guest takes only seconds
It may be to not seem rude,
But if they choose to take a third
You know they loved your food.

the underworld (ii)

Inspired by Tyler Gonlag’s poem “the underworld” in Guernica, the story continues in this second stanza.

my response was composed and measured, a verbatim
account of a sinister elegy overheard
in the Styx. oh that for one time she wouldn’t
berate me for my choice, for the cannonball running
of my hippocampus. take your designs I exclaim
already navel-gazing in defeat. her verbal
karate has me beat myself, on a grizzly bearing
due past. but you can kiss my ass if you think
I’m finished. my sixth sense portends the return
of Psyche and my hopes are pinned on this tale
continuing. a verdant future awaits
me before the red velvet curtains are drawn.

The Frog

Now tell me: have you ever met Harold?
Why he’s the greatest frog in the world!
Handsome, an amphibian Adonis,
In wit and wisdom simply peerless.

On his lily pad he sits each day
Not missing a fly that comes his way;
His every croak an aural pleasure
For all the pond to hear and treasure.

Just one weakness had he, alas,
The stumpiest legs in all his class;
His achilles, just no good at sport,
When he tried to leap he came up short.

Each day he dreamt of balletic flight,
Of languid leaps, so graceful and light;
He yearned to be free from gravity’s chain
Yet tethered to Earth he did remain.

One day a stork, stopping by to fish,
Informed the frog how to gain his wish:
“Along the stream there lives a Princess
For longer legs seek her lips’ caress.”

So stumpy Harold hopped off to see
If a kiss could change his anatomy;
When he found her she was busy wooing
A large knot of toads, orderly queuing.

Waiting his turn he received her kiss
But from there, oh dear, things went quite amiss;
His legs grew longer, yes that is true,
But as a human, six foot two.

You see, dear Harold, we can now attest
Was in fact a Prince (as you might have guessed);
He was cursed as a frog when he turned sixteen
By a vengeful witch who despised the Queen.

The spell now undone the Princess screamed
At the handsome Prince of whom she’d dreamed;
“Finally!” she squealed “I’ve found my man
Now let’s get married, quick as we can!”

“No way” cried Harold “This is my chance
To lordly leap, pirouette and prance”;
So now you can watch him, happy each day,
He’s the lead performer in the Royal Ballet.