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couchgrouch

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couchgrouch last won the day on April 13

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  1. Thanks Emily.
  2. If I Pen a Masterpiece I can paint a bubbling fountain, Mold the canyons of a mountain With the rhythm of a simple line Violet moons…the sun and Venus, I have touched them with the freeness Of a man who wanders verse and rhyme But as yet I can’t uncover Phrases that describe a lover With all my tomorrows in her hand Looking back on all I’ve written I can find your beauty hidden In each rhyme about forever’s plan Someday I will write a song, for a love that will not cease I will name it after you, if I pen a masterpiece And when doubts have robbed my spirit In the darkness I can hear it Somehow when you hold me silently And when life seems cruel and lawless Even songs provide no solace You can find the words to comfort me And I’ve tried to see each daisy Ev’ry river running lazy In a light that’s soft and lyrical When I feel the warmth within you Know, my love, that I’ll continue Trying to describe a miracle Someday I will write a song, for a love that will not cease I will name it after you, if I pen a masterpiece And for a man so small What I need most of all Is for someone to believe in me You’ve helped me understand That heaven’s open hand Blesses ev’ry sparrow…even me Someday I will write a song, for a love that will not cease I will name it after you, if I pen a masterpiece
  3. Love and War ©2017 Robert George BMI Eileen felt the slow approaching winter storm As she prayed to God and shoveled sod Upon a torn grey uniform Then she saw a stranger stagger from the foggy trees He was cold n weak, with tear-stained cheeks Mud and blood up to his knees And though that stranger’s uniform was blue He took that widow’s spade, filled the grave and then he prayed That God might show him mercy, too O love and war Seem to be eternal on this earth Yet love remains When the dead have learned what war is worth He was set to walk off in the snowy night Eileen took his arm, pointed to her farmhouse and invited him inside He slept on the bear rug by the fieldstone fireplace Right at dawn, there was coffee on And he cried at breakfast when she said grace Ev’ry day she cleaned his wounds and wrapped them up in gauze Ev’ry night by candlelight he pondered soldiers and their cause Cos love and war Seem to be eternal on this earth Yet love remains When the dead have learned what war is worth Then one morning he was hunting in the woods alone Union soldiers found her farm, ripped her dress and burned her barn Thinkin’ she was livin’ on her own Well, he saw the smoke and ran back with his gun They had the same uniform, he himself had worn And yet he still killed ev’ry one By the time he wed Eileen he was neither blue nor grey Cos he figured God above, was a God of love And love’s the only way to pray Yes, love and war Seem to be eternal on this earth Yet love remains When the dead have learned what war is worth O love and war Seem to be eternal on this earth Yet love remains When the dead have learned what war is worth
  4. Thanks Tammy! I'm actually reading a Bernie Wrightson collection right now. I don't know anyone who can draw like that and couldn't pay them if I did. Such is life.
  5. Thanks Emily.
  6. Caravan of Secrets ©2017 Robert George BMI There’s a meadow twelve miles out of Corpus Cristi And that night the air was ominous and misty They rolled down a dirt road on a coach and horses And the stallions’ nostrils steamed with hidden forces They were followed by a caravan of wagons Painted on their sides were fiery lakes and dragons They’re a nomad family of old world gypsies Now roaming back roads from Seattle to Poughkeepsie It’s a caravan of secrets Riding in the night It’s a wagon train of shadows Hiding in the light Her name was Janna and she scented of desire And she went to local taverns passing out free fliers Mobs of men came out that night to watch her tango Shady strangers, Texas rangers, High School teachers, Baptist preachers And a dealer from Durango Gypsy elders hawked their powders, pills and potions While the men folk gawked at Jezebel in motion The next day hunters found young Janna dead and savaged And the wagons had been overturned and ravaged It’s a caravan of secrets Riding in the night It’s a wagon train of shadows Hiding in the light Well, the elders answered all the sheriff’s questions All while nodding and ignoring his suggestions They laid Janna low and whispered ancient verses Reading psalms and proverbs that resembled curses First they bought supplies and then repaired their wagons And when they departed moonlight seemed to feed the dragons That night something bound and gagged a basement blogger Locked him in a closet with a rodent fogger It’s a caravan of secrets Riding in the night It’s a wagon train of shadows Hiding in the light Ev’rybody thought that preacher was an ass wipe No one cried when he was blown up by a faulty gas pipe When they found that teacher’s tongue beside his iPad They just figgered he had ratted on a Chinese Triad Then that dealer made a run to Colorado Had ten pounds of Blue Dream in his El Dorado He was doin’ eighty-two when something blew his tire And the town of Spunky Flat got toasted from the fire Well, the sheriff questioned bikers From a sleazy local joint Though he rounded up hitch-hikers They were not the focal point It was doubtful it was grifters Cos the homicides were hideous Then two superstitious drifters Said it’s something more insidious Well, the sheriff drank some potion then he popped some tic-tacs And he thought about retiring on his pension and his kick backs Then he mulled the murders as he drove along the ocean And a stallion rode the starlight as he sipped his potion Well, that lawman couldn’t keep his squad car steady When he saw the undead lady rider with the long machete Then a treasure hunter off the coast of Key West Found the sheriff’s head inside a sunken sea chest It’s a caravan of secrets Riding in the night It’s a wagon train of shadows Hiding in the light Ev’ry kingdom has its version Of a legend from a prehistoric age Old monks say a deaf mute Persian First scribed it on a vellum page And that wagons hauled by steaming horses Were once hitched up to a saber-tooth And that tiger was a herald for angelic forces Who would smite the seed of Cain with truth It’s a caravan of secrets Riding in the night It’s a wagon train of shadows Hiding in the light
  7. Thanks Tammy.
  8. Inherit the Night ©2016 Robert George BMI Well, she peeks out through the curtains at the white cross on the hill Then she takes a nap because she’s got a little time to kill She snores loud enough to wake the dead until she hears a knock She lets her lover in and then makes sure the door is locked Peeks outside again then pours the man a frosty cold Sprite Someone somewhere has been fated to inherit the night Well, her lover drinks another and he thinks it’s slightly sweet He collapses in the kitchen and she wraps him in a sheet Drags him down the back steps to a deep hole she’d already dug Works her spade with speed because her deed attracted crows and bugs She was able to ignore the smallest twinges of fright All because her purse was happy to inherit the night A mist entwines the midnight pines But the merry murderess is locked up tight Sometimes the mist has rolled across the meadow, Like a mystical quicksilver shadow Other nights the shadow stood and walked upright She’s been finding dry mud on the walk outside our door And it’s like something rifled papers in the chest of drawers It’s been days since she has been to town in our old Dodge But something moved the jug of anti-freeze in our garage And tonight they’ll find her secret bottles of Sprite That’s how she helped two fools inherit the night O she awakes and sweats and shakes All because she hears a footfall on the creaky stairs She dons her red robe and her ratty sandals Strikes a wood match and she lights a candle, Shuddering at scratching mice and squeaky chairs I’d moved off the stairs and stalked across the kitchen floor Leaving muddy smudges on our old refrigerator door She looked out a downstairs window at the white cross on the hill There was sod upon the sidewalk and the restless mice grew still And a half moon hovered like a haunted ivory kite Guided by the damned who were soon to inherit the night She looked around and heard a sound In the barn where bats and screech owls often hid Near the chopping stump beside the chickens, She was almost conscience stricken When she heard a door creak like a coffin lid Somewhere in her cold heart empty vows and promises were made Trusting souls were tricked and faithful men and lovers were betrayed Food and drinks were spiked and signatures were forged Soil has appetites for bones and soon its gut would be engorged The larceny of flesh becomes the cold ground’s delight Hungry mouths abound when mortal men inherit the night Some men feel a wicked woman’s bosom and their conscience warps She’d persuaded poor Doc Carradine to sign off on my corpse Now he’s in our backyard and there’s no one signing off on his Cos the taste of anti-freeze was smothered by the sweetness of her kiss Now she saw me coming and she recognized her sad plight And instead of my insurance she’d inherit the night I was gonna haul her back to an eternal wooden bed But I’ll bet that bitch’ll keep on snoring even when she’s dead So I let the doctor drag her screaming to his den of earth In a hole she dug herself she’ll feel a cold and dark rebirth Well, I filled their grave by moonlight and I packed it down tight Then I climbed that hilltop happy to inherit the night
  9. Who Goes There ©2016 Robert George BMI Out among the rolling azure canyons Where the whale songs are my sole companions I hear footfalls on the twilight ocean And they grace the foam with phantom motion Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night O she mostly finds me after sunset And she whispers to me like the undead Tongues of men and angels when it’s windy Some nights Hebrew…some nights Greek and Hindi Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night She roams near the old abandoned lighthouse With her flaming hair and flowing white blouse And though locals claim it’s sacrilegious She inhabits foggy covered bridges Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night I have lived a fisherman’s life Where the tides demand their nautical toll They’ve revealed a traveler’s wife Is the vessel with the prodigal soul I have faith in seraphs and gods And have knelt before them most of my life And though I’m no fool for hoaxes and frauds I believe that she’s the ghost of my wife She’s no priestess visiting from Haiti She’s no banshee or a bloofer lady She’s the one who walked into the ocean Soothing sadness with its salty potion Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night And now I suspect that lonely specter Wishes me to share that briny nectar Cut my anchor and forsake my tether So that we can walk the seas together Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night Now an old boat drifts on misty waters And it scatters gulls and scares the otters And a Coast Guard cutter finds the trawler Through the fog we can hear the captain holler “Who goes there In the cloaks of mist that cloud the night Who knows where Spirits walk alone without the night”
  10. The Beast Among Us ©2016 Robert George BMI Well, I had a crazy fastball back when I was ten years old And I got in lotsa trouble when I knocked a neighbor cold Mama made me spend the summer with my Uncle Tim She was sure I’d learn respect and discipline from him Now, my uncle was a decorated former Green Beret He lived alone up in the Rockies and preferred it that way He had a tiny TV set and VCR Record player and some Stones and CCR Ammo boxes full of clips and shot gun shells Copy of Pulp Fiction autographed by Ving Rhames AR-15 on a rack above his King James Coupla jugs of shine and not much else On my first day there he got my bedroll from the shed Walkin’ down that piney path he looked at me and said, “The Beast among us Leaves a footprint in the mud And the one who saves us Does so with his own blood” He said, “Regret and blood’s the price we pay for liberty Although it may seem I lurk in shadows…shadows lurk in me Now, your mama wants you on a righteous path that’s straight n true But a road that paved with useless rules can lead to Satan, too Let the Good Lord be your law and stand erect against what’s wild And there’s a chance that life will free the man within the child” If my wants were simple, God’d grant my wish So he took me huntin’, taught me how to fish And he told me tales while choppin’ logs Said those foggy hills were full of superstations There were rumors of a restless apparition That’d killed some farmers’ cows and hogs And the beast among us Leaves a footprint in the mud And the one who saves us Does so with his own blood Now, some had said the killer’s just a hungry grizzly bear Some said it’s both man and beast with monstrous feet and shaggy hair Either way my uncle said beware the woods beneath the midnight sky And sometimes you’re better off to run and live than fight and die And yet one night when he was asleep I snuck out like a fool Searchin’ down the rocky moonlit paths for ghosts and ghouls I saw lights that coulda been a spectral flame Smokestack lightning from a phantom train With the devil as the engineer But those lights were just my mind’s creation Magic paintings from a boy’s imagination There was nothing in the night to fear Though such fantasies are just the fruits of youth The twisted tree of superstition has its roots in truth And the beast among us Leaves a footprint in the mud And the one who saves us Does so with his own blood Well, I sat and listened to a hoot owl singin’ to the trees And my goosebumps felt his eerie night song clingin’ to the breeze I thought how my uncle said that life is here n then it’s gone And the longest summer days start disappearin’ when it’s dawn O it goes so fast, so folks revere the past and like preserving days gone by But the King above, is the source of love and is deserving praise on High Yeah, I sat there musing underneath the watchful silver moon And I heard a twig snap somewhere in the misty gloom From the shadows in the woods emerged a monstrous shape Moonlight on the grizzly’s teeth said there was no escape And just then another monster walked out from behind a tree With two giant steps he stood between the grizzly bear and me In the ground fog there were growls and muddy paws In the darkness there were howls and bloody claws As the two beasts fought each other to the death Then the grizzly bit the monster’s neck and shoulder But the monster slammed his head against a boulder And the grizzly dropped and drew his final breath O the beast among us Leaves a footprint in the mud And the one who saves us Does so with his own blood Well, the beast limped off and I could tell that he was badly hurt All he left to show my uncle was a footprint in the dirt Kneeling in the grass and dry mud he could see that blood was spilled Buzzards slowly took the bear and no more farmers’ hogs were killed Though my uncle said to keep my mouth shut when I got back home I still think about that summer and the mystic seeds I’d sown But I know that forward vision in the wisest view And that yesterday is nothing to look forward to And a maverick’s life and footprints are sublime Things occur in secret that are better out of sight It’s in shadow where their deeds keep shining bright And unfold the future like a map through time And the beast among us Leaves a footprint in the mud And the one who saves us Does so with his own blood
  11. Pyramid Scheme ©2016 Robert George BMI I was sittin’ in that one room dump, Feelin’ like a useless chump Scarfin’ bags of chips and watchin’ DeadPool Shoulda been more like my brother Kyle, Lawd, it made my mother smile When that mama’s boy got into med school Then I turned the TV off and started playin’ solitaire Thinkin’ all my luck was lacking and that fate had been unfair Then I got a voice mail sayin’ Kevin called in sick that night So I pressed my uniform, got dressed and grabbed my big flashlight Took a cab to 42nd street, Then forgot the damn receipt So I couldn’t turn in my per diem Yeah, the best job I could find, With a resume like mine Was night watchman at a new museum They had frozen mastodons and mammoths from Siberia Iguanodon and stegosaurus fossils from Liberia As I walked the steps I saw a sign above the arched doorway For the next four weeks the prize of Cairo would be on display There were carvings found beside the Nile, Images of crocodiles And tour guides were dressed-up as Egyptians Near the fire axe along the hall, Was a painting on the wall With hieroglyphics and inscriptions There were petrified felines and sacred plates and golden bowls And the curse of Luxor was described in faded scrolls And the iron coin of Karnak large in ancient lore and myth Said by some to bring good luck to all it comes in contact with Though that’s not what folks were payin’ for, Or what got ‘em in the door It’s the mummy that’s the main attraction With a curse that spanned six thousand years, That’s what sold the souvenirs And what gave the crowds the best reaction Well, I made my rounds and waited until ev’ryone was gone Then I grabbed a People magazine and headed for the john As I sat and read about Selena Gomez and the Biebs I was shocked to see the stalls were redesigned to look like Thebes Now, the other watchman was a rube, He just sat there watchin’ tube Some show with Rhianna in a G-string He was poppin’ Advil for his gout, When a shadow knocked him out Took his flashlight, walkie and his keyring Well, I heard a noise and rushed out to investigate I saw two guys with black masks loading treasure in a crate Then they walked into the big room where the mummy king was kept Somethin’ knocked me cold and I’ve surmised what happened while I slept He had been preserved with mystic herbs, His rest should not be disturbed For his dust reached back to death’s creation I can’t say for sure but I suspect, The amulet around his neck Proved to be a great temptation When they stole his magic keepsake something sparkled in his eyes When the burglars left his chamber he began to stir and rise It was right at midnight when a monstrous shadow shuffled through the door And his outstretched arms were reaching for the dark forevermore He was Hades wrapped in tattered rags, Hexed by wicked, wrinkled hags, Now somehow the King had fin’lly risen And in the raging aftermath, He’d unleash his hellish wrath And the proud would share his cryptic prison He found one guy stuffing silver trinkets in a canvas tote And he moaned and wrapped his hands around that burglar’s throat And beneath the bandages the mummy almost seemed to grin The burglar’s faced turned purple and his tongue fell limply on his chin Then his essence journeyed swift and far, To a hut beneath the stars Built by ancient bushmen of Botswana He was migrant in a violent land, Then he slept in silent sand And rode the winds of Cameroon and Ghana Crime and madness are the first forgotten womb of mystery Such are resurrected from the rotten tomb of history Then the second burglar suffered dearly for his foolish crime And his spirit traveled through the bowels of hell and time Well, I woke up slumped against a wall, Saw a relic lyin’ in the hall Picked it up and put it in my pocket I could see the joint was bein’ robbed, And I’d prob’ly lose my job Maybe I could take that thing and hock it Then I saw a masked man runnin’ with a tote bag full of loot I could hear him screamin’ as he pulled a gun and turned to shoot Somethin’ wrapped in tatters trapped him up against a hardwood case And as he was choked his mask came off revealing Kevin’s face Then that mummy turned and looked at me, My first instinct was to flee But I rolled the dice on something bolder Smashed the hallway glass and grabbed the axe, Took a coupla crazy whacks And his big head tumbled off his shoulders I guess fear and desperation has advantages I watched him crumble in a pile of dust and bandages People said I was a hero and I’d saved the day My boss gave me three weeks off and two grand bonus pay Well, I stumbled home that night to think, Sat and poured myself a drink And I mulled my life and circumstances I knew it was that ancient good luck charm, That had rescued me from harm So I thought I oughtta take my chances Maybe I could fix my future up with something permanent Saw an internet announcement for a poker tournament Seven hundred tables at the Luxor on the Vegas strip Two grand was the entry fee and so I booked myself a trip Well, that place looked like a pyramid, The first dealer was a kid Who was hummin’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” The waitress wore a golden v-neck dress, And had a tattoo on her chest That looked like a mystical inscription And the relic in my pocket had insured my luck I won almost ev’ry hand and cashed in for a million bucks Then that night I washed my shirt and jeans, In the hotel’s big machine And forgot to empty out my pocket That so-called iron coin got bent, It wouldn’t have been worth ten cents If I’d have ever tried to hock it All the golden plates and trinkets Kevin tried so hard to steal It was all for nothing because almost none of it was real It was stolen back in Cairo and replaced with fakes n frauds What remained was just the mummy and the anger of the gods So I bought myself a hundred acre place in Samoa Occultists e-mail me all their theories, And my tale is now a mini-series starring Jason Momoa My media room looks like ancient Thebes And I can fin’lly afford that bootleg of Sam the Sham at the BEEB I’d been stranded in a pit of darkness on my own And I didn’t know it but I climbed those dungeon walls alone I learned curses are ethereal and fortune is a wraith And neither has the power of self-confidence and faith
  12. Moonlight Waltz ©2016 Robert George BMI I was on a mountain back road near Cheyenne Moonlight seemed to frost the hood of my sedan Then a big wolf jumped out just ahead of me And I swerved and lost control and hit a tree I grew cold and couldn’t catch my breath At the time it felt as if my death Was a lonely moonlight waltz Well, I woke up on a wooden cabin floor With a lupine shadow looming near the door Through a window I could see the full moon set Then that shape became a woman’s silhouette When I saw that lovely naked girl My soul passed into a sacred world Anointed by a moonlight waltz O she told me she was Indian by birth And she worshipped sister moon and mother earth First she kissed my cheekbones then the scratches on my chest Then she offered me, dark eternity When she offered me her breast She said lust was far beyond romance And that after nightfall our dance Would be a vicious moonlight waltz Soon the sundown harvest gave its silver yield I awoke late afternoon with all my scratches healed Then she took my kiss and pulled me to her thighs And the wolf came when the moon was on the rise O the beast is king and we obey Lust is prime and then comes prey In a wild, barbaric moonlight waltz We awoke at sunrise near the timberline And the blood I scented wasn’t hers or mine Then I saw the ravaged body of a jogger There were buzzards circling in the morning air Free and patient like the four winds were their lair As they looked down on a wounded logger Well, she told me earth was blessed with things that bleed They provide the flesh for those who hunt and feed Wolves require meat and women need a mate When you learn they’re both the same it’s way too late Her heart sang of savagery and sins A quartet of demons played the violins While we’d reveled in our moonlight waltz Well, I had three weeks before the next full moon So I slipped off in the pines that afternoon Hitchhiked down the mountain to Cheyenne And began a quest to wrest the monster from the man First I journeyed to the Middle East With the footsteps of a hidden beast Waiting to resume a moonlight waltz I consulted shamans in Tangier Gurus and a Bengalese fakir They said nothing that would reassure me So I bound myself with cuffs and chains In a druid crypt beside the Seine When I couldn’t find a thing to cure me Well, I snuck on board a ship in Singapore Hitchhiked to Cheyenne from Baltimore Siphoned gas out of a rancher’s king cab Ford Hoping flame would purify me for the Lord Then I climbed the hills through snow and ice Hungry for the devil’s paradise In the coming moonlight waltz I poured gas outside her cabin on the ground Rigged a fuse with rope and filthy rags I’d found Lit the fuse and pounded on the she-wolf’s door I was still the one her soul was burning for While flame licked the cabin on all sides Two beasts clawed and bit each others’ hides In a torrid moonlight waltz Well, she clamped her jaws around my throat When she fin’lly saw the flame and smelled the smoke But then she released me with a whispered growl And we held each other and began to howl Morning sun reduced the flames to steam Souls relinquished can be souls redeemed In a sacrificial moonlight waltz O but there’s a loggers’ camp among the evergreens And the melting snow reveals a skeleton picked clean…
  13. I'm Jonathan Hart...captain of industry, international financier, adventurer and man of intrigue. I'm piloting my private jet back from a secret atoll in the South Pacific where I saved the world from sinister Dr. Nefar and her army of fembots. I feel a tickle at my toes. What's this?! Did one of Dr. Nefar's sultry bots sneak on board to seduce me into flying my plane into the sea? Wait, wait...blurry...oh Dickens it's you. I guess nap time is over for both of us. I fill her dish and then enhance my new AARP lifestyle with decaf and a muffin, then ease back in my narcolounger for an afternoon talk show. During the commercial break I see an ad for the new Ghostbusters. I groan and consider it as little more than a cynical Hollywood cash grab. But HARK! How can this be? Hollywood hates capitalism. Dammit, they make art for art's sake. Take as but one example, Matt Damon in the new gun control drama, The Bourne Stagnation. My attitude toward Ghostbusters must be my own character flaw. I look online and see it's true. Ghostbusters director Paul Feig and former SNL alum Dan Akroyd say the movie's critics are mysogynistic, sexist Trump supporters who probably also have a fear of clowns and possibly clouds. NO!! Can it be so? I google local shrinks and find one. After describing my symptoms he bumps a bi polar patient and schedules me right away. It's very probable I have a mental gumbo of pop culture diagnosed syndromes, disorders and phobias. While waiting in the doctor's office I read an article in People about a remake of On Golden Pond starring Caitlin Jenner and Michael Douglas. I view this with some skepticism and realize my issues run deep, like Joe Biden's hair plugs. Dr. Schweitzer speaks with a slight Austrian accent, has a silver goatee and a monacle. After a long discussion he suggests we try hypno-regression therapy to pin point the source of my abhorrent attitude toward Ghostbusters and most PC remakes of classics. He waves a gold pocket watch before my eyes like a pendulum and speaks softly..."You are getting very sleepy....". I start to drowse and drift...like Bill Clinton during Hillary's DNC acceptance speech. Suddenly it's 1975 and I'm watching an I Dream of Jeannie rerun after school. Jeannie's outfit is so....and she's always trying to please her master. Is that what my subconscious mind really thinks a woman's place is? Plus, Jeannie is played by Barbara Eden and Eden might link my neananderthal, Partriarchal mind with outdated customs. disturbing to say the least. My mind peruses pages of lost memories, Batgirl, Agent 99, Betty Rubble(Betty was stacked and racked!!) , my Farrah poster...then it happened...my mind stopped at a page I'd all but forgotten. Fantastic Four #132...where Ben Grimm aka The Thing gets thrashed by Thundra. I was so despondent as an eleven year old. I almost wrote Marvel comics and told Stan Lee to sit on it. THAT was the seed of my sexism, misogyny and an array of other isms and phobias. Dr. Schweitzer brought me out of my trance by saying "Maddow!" sharply. I'm cured. My conscience is now like the video Shonda Rimes made for Hillary...it leaves out everything negative and has the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman. My priorities have completely changed. I'm totally looking forward to Melissa McCarthy as the new James Bond. I fret endlessly over whether prison cafeterias should serve pork. And I'm definitely subscribing to Netflix so I can binge the remake of Hart to Hart starring Laverne Cox and Chris Colfer.
  14. An Unkindness of Ravens ©2016 Robert George BMI Me and my old donkey loped across the barren flatland And my only weapon was the cross tucked in my hatband We rode down a valley of mesquite and many thistles And the four winds in the sunset were like pennywhistles I could see that cow town looming in the distance And I knew we’d make it there by moonrise with persistence Cemetery Hill was just a mile outside that old town And I saw a hunchback lay a tiny coffin in the cold ground And a grieving mother knelt down by the gravesite weeping And his hand upon her shoulder said her boy was only sleeping Hounds began to howl and vermin rustled in the alleys And there came a ghostly chill, black clouds gathered on the hill And they blotted moonlight from the valley Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens I passed through a farm with acres that were dry n dusty Crickets crawled across an axe and pitchfork that were rusty Then I rose through town and saw that windows had been boarded Sour breezes filled the streets and ev’ry breath was sordid I recalled that town was founded by a cattle baron And back then I felt a passion for his daughter Karen I was just a young priest fresh from Tulane Seminary But I lost my church and collar to her poison cherry Long before me she’d corrupted many saints and martyrs With her laudanum and lace and leather belts and garters When I held her I had felt her deeper than a lover When we coupled, merged and kissed her dark hair seemed to hover Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Well, I passed the empty laundry and the livery stable Hitched my donkey near the bar and took a window table A one-legged girl pianist played some hymns and dirges While a cowboy walked upstairs to satisfy his urges That pianist’s hair was tinted with the hue of honey But just like before the whores took all the cowboys’ money Well, I tipped that girl a whiskey and a silver dollar And I asked about the town I’d known as Titus Holler She said there were strangers hereabouts like Swedes and Cajuns Rumors flew of Pinkertons and other hired agents There’d been wicked night wings perched upon the Baptist steeple There’d been death and devil spawn, something unknown fed upon This village and its people Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Some say they’re a flying hearse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Until recently few maladies had proven fatal Snakes bites here and there or infants dying in their cradle Sometimes drunk prospectors fall and drown in flooded sluices Rowdy lynch mobs hangin’ rustlers in a grove of spruces Ropes around their necks they’d stand upon a wood crate scaffold Some men’s eyes would bulge, some went blank and some looked baffled Lady Primrose snuck out to the wetlands with a squire Then a wig and derby were found floating in the mire Since then spooks were spotted near the ruins of the Spanish Mission Some repented of their deeds, clutched their crosses and their beads Full of fear and superstition And just last night some poor child had been exsanguinated And some locals think the evil omens are related To an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Old Doc Seward was a sawbones, dentist, vet and undertaker He’d mend you and your mule and then help you meet your Maker Seward’s wrists and elbows were afflicted with arthritis It took hours and a quart of hooch to take an arm from Old man Titus And though that procedure would be painful, long and risky Seward never offered Titus one drop of that whiskey Her own leg was crushed beneath a pig when she was seven Yet she swore his shaky saw delayed her flight to heaven Before he left old Seward said the village had a virus And although his words were vague, he described a plague Older than Anubis or Osiris It was like the children of a mystic, dark Madonna Picked the skeleton of this fat cow town like piranha Or an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Then she said there’s no one left to press her dress or groom her filly With Marie long gone this town feels lost without her café’s chili And since old man Titus passed the town has seemed misguided Few believe in what the city fathers have decided Hopsing’s Chinese laundry and his stable are deserted Some say his proposal to Marie was poorly worded And the new young Pastor wouldn’t sanctify their marriage They said their vows anyhow, and left there in a horse and carriage Sheriff Wilson took off with his fam’ly last week in a wagon With ten kinfolk packed in tight that ragged rig was draggin’ And someone behind the scenes had pulled the strings with cunning Some townfolk were dead, some townfolk had fled But me I had no stake in running From an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens When she said “goodnight” I walked up slowly to my room Laid my hat beside the bed and lent my thoughts to gloom And I dreamt about a tiny box inside a hateful hole There were leaning crosses and dark wings on mossy stones And I wondered if there was a way some lonely bones Were a withered vessel for a free and grateful soul Maybe all those eerie dreams provided me a warning Cos I heard a knocking at my window in the dark of morning Floating outside was a boy whose face and hair were muddy Clods of sod were clinging to his blazer and his teeth were bloody Though I headed for the door and my poor mind was muddled What was waiting in the hallway left me even more befuddled It was Karen and I felt my fleshly heart turn traitor She was lovely and my greed for sin was even greater Any moron can resist a graven idol But desire is a bronco that few men can bridle Then she looked into my eyes and threw her arms around me I smelled foulness at my neck and felt her hair surround me Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse some say they’re a flying hearse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Well, I grabbed my cross and pressed it up against that demon Sulphur smoke poured off her pale skin and she started screamin’ She dove through the glass and bore the boy on wings of evil And I thought of legends superstitious and medieval Shibboleths of haunted castles that were European Spooks who hailed from hoodoo islands in the Caribbean Such a thing had passed through town and Karen was infected Now she reigns as queen and innocents must be protected I had much to be atoned for and my faith was tested I deduced these demons had a lair where they nested Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens First I feared for that pianist in her little shack She’d invite a boy in not suspecting an attack And her breast would fill with futile silent screams There were ranchers’ houses just outside of town Gentlemen in long johns…Ladies fair in evening gowns And their breaths could end in brutal violent dreams With his tweed suit, curved pipe, spectacles and thinning white hair Giles sat down to read and left the window open for the night air He read Chaucer’s sonnets and sev’ral of Lord Byron’s And then fell prey to a trio of seductive sirens Seth the fiddler kept the Torah down to ev’ry jot and tittle Soon he’ll hover outside windows with his crimson fangs and fiddle There’s a shadow looming near the old hunchback grave digger And he pulled his pistol but he never pulled the trigger I unhitched my donkey when the darkness had retreated We rode westward for a weapon that I needed One thing I was sure of…Karen’s brood was quickly breeding But only darkness knows, where the dead repose When they’re finished feeding Like an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens I returned and searched the hotel rooms with daylight’s blessing Karen could be anywhere and I was only guessing And that top floor had been painted like a Mexican bordello Rooms were red and brown and some were trimmed in yellow When I checked that last room it was almost nightfall She was in a purple armoire near a pink and white wall She was sleeping peaceful and she had a ghostly pallor And I told myself my desp’rate deeds were mostly valor I petitioned God for power and my heart grew bolder And I swung that farmer’s rusty axe above her shoulders Then a spray of dark foam spattered on her lace and leather Black blood burst out from her neck just like a thousand feathers From an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Some say they’re a flying hearse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Well, the sun had almost vanished from the western sky So I ran downstairs and dumped out jugs of rye And my hat and cross were specked with scarlet stains Went out to my donkey then I tossed a match inside Checked on the pianist and I offered her a ride And she held me tightly as we crossed the starlit plains Lightning forked the distant foothills just like varicose veins And the damned rode straight to hell in funeral cars of ghost trains And the night wind carried echoes of my donkey braying And the haunted bowing of a demon’s fiddle playing Righteous men who stray will find redemption is a strange brew Just a mouthful from its ancient mystic cup can change you Although there are many things ahead of us we don’t see We have faith the wings awaiting our demises won’t be From an unkindness of ravens Some feel they’re a curse Others say they’re something worse That those forsaken by the light Are then taken by the night Into an unkindness of ravens Two months later near a brothel outside Monterrey There’s a young whore feeding kittens in an alleyway And the moon is decorated by a silver wreath And there’s a hunchback with a wicked grin and pointed teeth…