Monday, August 27, 2018

Back from Come from Away

In 2014, when my daughter was starting a theatre program in Toronto, she picked up a music CD of the 2013 Sheridan College Musical Theatre graduating class production. She was listening to it at home one day, and when I asked what it was, she told me it was a musical about Gander  on 9/11, called Come From Away. She air-dropped it onto my computer for me (did I get that term right? It's a Mac thing). I loved it, and we both agreed it was too bad we wouldn't be able to see it.

Fast forward a few years, and her class, along with all the other theatre classes in Toronto, were invited to a dress rehearsal of Come From Away in Toronto, before the cast heads to Broadway. Imagine performing for an audience full of theatre students.

This weekend, finally, I got to see it too. I can't tell you how wonderful this show is. Just go to see it, if you ever get the chance. Just. Do. It.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Come From Away

I'm heading to Toronto tonight to see this. I can't listen to it without misting up, so I should be a perfect mess. I can't wait. The world is so full of good people.

[Janice, spoken]
I interview a woman from Queens - a mother
Her son’s a firefighter and they still can’t account for him
She starts crying, and I start crying too, and I can’t stop shaking
I don’t want to do this anymore

[Beverley, spoken]
I check in with air traffic control again and it’s more bad news -
Not only is the airspace still closed, but there’s a storm
Headed for Newfoundland!
Hurricane Erin is making landfall tomorrow or the day after
If we don’t get these planes in the air soon, no one’s going anywhere!

[Oz, spoken]
Claude, people are starting to crack

[Claude, spoken]
Let’s get everyone down to the Legion

[Kevin T, spoken]
Everyone’s going down to the Legion for a drink

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Lass called Dot

A Limerick by Maxwell McDowell

WTF - this doesn't scan in the least. I think there are a lot of high school students failing their poetry module in English class thanks to this lame generator.

There once was a young lass called dot.
She said, "See the lovely lat!"
It was rather large,
But not very mischarge,
She couldn't say no to the distraught.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Child and the Student

Rhyming Couplet Ideas by Maxwell McDowell

I am pleased by the appearance of "idlewild", but rhyming student with rodent is just plain lazy. 

See the calling of the child,
I think he's angry at the idlewild.

He finds it hard to see the shark,
Overshadowed by the perfect male monarch.

Who is that skipping near the cube?
I think she'd like to eat the auditory tube.

She is but a smart student,
Admired as she sits upon a rodent.

Her jolly car is just a friend,
It needs no gas, it runs on blend.

She's not alone she brings a ghost,
a pet aardvark, and lots of blade roast.

The aardvark likes to chase a snail,
Especially one that's in the zale.

The child shudders at the academic turtle
He want to leave but she wants the ertel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Punk - A Didactic Cinquain

by Maxwell McDowell (my generated pen-name)

Fabulous, snotty
Heeling, twitting, scumming
Ever so snotty

Nope.  A poor effort, generator

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tiger - A Haiku

Inclement hillside
An eating, huge tiger stings
after the bottle

Sorry generator, you fail this time.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Humped And Impatient Frog

Whose frog is that? I think I know.
Its owner is quite angry though.
He was cross like a dark potato.
I watch him pace. I cry hello.

He gives his frog a shake,
And screams I've made a bad mistake.
The only other sound's the break,
Of distant waves and birds awake.

The frog is humped, impatient and deep,
But he has promises to keep,
Tormented with nightmares he never sleeps.
Revenge is a promise a man should keep.

He rises from his cursed bed,
With thoughts of violence in his head,
A flash of rage and he sees red.
Without a pause I turned and fled.

Also generated. I like this one, though.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A generated free verse poem about jellyfish

(With thanks to Helen, who has given me the means to get caught up)


Free verse by Maxwell McDowell

A starfish, however hard it tries,
Will always be undigested.
Does the starfish make you shiver?
does it?

The percoid fish that's really herbivorous,
Above all others is the damselfish.
A damselfish is carpophagous. a damselfish is omnivorous,
a damselfish is phytophagic, however.

The water that's really cunning,
Above all others is the ocean.
Now ingenious is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the ocean is artful.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Christmas at the Pub

I've wasted so much time at the Wayback Machine this month, but I think I've tapped it for everything it has to offer. Here is the last one (I think I've said that before.) In 2004 on the BBS site we had a place called the Poetry Pub. It was one of the nicer spots to hang out on site. The worst - the absolute worst - was the politics forum, where all the nasty stuff came out.

Near Christmas, I posted this, with the hopes that eveyone would join in and add lines. They did! It was so much fun, and eventually it almost doubled in length.

Ah, the good old days.

The Pubbers were all in a grand Christmas Stew,
We had no Pub Santa, just what should we do?
The agency man merely shrugged and said sadly
I’ve one Santa left, and he behaves badly

He’ll do! We all shouted, "Send him straight here!
Any fat man in red can help bring us our cheer
So we waited and mingled and poured lots of wine
And waited for Santa by passing the time

Em hiked her skirt and exposed a tanned thigh
In hopes that Deloney would soon stop on by
And Suze, in the spirit of helping (she said)
Outlined her lips in a bold hooker red.

Josh is a sport, and this he did prove
As he held up a jar, “Look what I had removed!”
Ben decorated and missed the display,
While he secretly wondered which pubbers were gay

Then Santa burst in, bringing snow through the door
And he threw his sack down with a crash on the floor.
“I’m hungry!” he shouted. “What does it take?”
At least those old ladies I last saw had cake!”

Crystal quite timidly sat on his knees,
An earnestly asked him to bring on world peace
“Oy Vey!” grumbled Santa. What are you? Some kook?
And he reached in his sack and he gave her a book.

Crystal looked scared, so we poured her a drink
and we asked, "How's that Santa, Crys? What did you think?"
Then Santa said something in Hebrew, quite crudely,
It was brought on by Jarna, who was pinching him rudely.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Casey at the Rink

For my grade 5 public speaking, um, speech, I wrote a poem in which Mighty Casey, bummed out from his baseball loss, is rejuvenated by the opening of the hockey season.

You all remember Casey, when he struck out that day,
Of Mudville's team a-losing, and scorning Casey's play
Soon hockey season started, and Casey left the gloom,
And in the auditorium, he watched the first game bloom.

That's all I remember, but I'm pretty sure I gave him a hat-trick.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I'm going to 
bed. I didn't sleep last ni...

---I know how that fee...

A moment. Eyes roll.

I know how it 
feels to have a 
bad night's sleep.

I didn't have
a bad night's sleep. I DIDN'T SLEEP. Do not wake me when you come to bed.

But you might want me to... (thinks he's funny)

I will kill you.

A moment. Turns back to his football game.


This is known as a threatrain. You just take as many lines as you need to make yourself clear.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Highwayman

The same teacher would read to us from her book of children's poetry. The definition of what poetry is suitable for children has changed over the years, because I don't think kids in grades 3 and 4 would be allowed to listen to some of what was in her book.

Mostly, she would pick the poem, but sometimes she let us pick. Whenever she asked us what we wanted, like bloodthirsty ghouls, we would throw our hands in the air and demand The Highwayman.

When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 

(Still love that line)

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Purple Cow

My grade 3 and 4 teacher loved poetry, and we were required to memorize poems to get a star. After X stars, we were rewarded with a book. Any poem was fine, but we had to know it word-for-word. I remember memorizing sonnets and ballads and whatever I could find on the classroom bookshelves. But when I realized I was one poem away from a new book, I threw this one at her:

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.

I think she rolled her eyes, but I got the book.


Food post #13


I found a wonderful beet and carrot salad recipe this morning, and headed out to my garden to pluck the required beets (carrots are still to small to pick), only to discover that my beets have all been eaten by some critter. What critter eats beets? It isn't an insect - I saw tooth marks. And they didn't finish a single fucking beet, but ate over half of each one. Seriously - every beet is ruined! Husband and son both pointed at Rudy, but I doubt he would nibble on them without pulling them out of the ground and running around the yard with them.

Here is the recipe for those of you who still have beets.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

My Hands

My hands got old first, but I didn't notice
~I was busy~
washing dishes,
washing children,
washing the dog.

I kept tabs on everything else in a full-length mirror.
These little marks,
first red, then pink
now white
I thought of them as trophies-not age.

Yes, this spread, and
that drooped
but if I turn like this and squint
~like that~
it's not so bad.

I plucked gray hairs for a while
now I leave them in the hands of Kenneth, who hides them
and amuses me with tales of his gay lovers, like Carlos, who ran off to Quebec City last summer with Jacques. It's no big loss, Kenneth and I agree, except he took the good sheets and the new chafing dish, and why he chose the bedding and cookware is beyond both of us because he doesn't know Egyptian cotton from polyester, and wouldn't recognize a perfect crème brulée if it jumped up and bit him on the

~sorry~ Kenneth hides the gray,
And what I can't see doesn't count.

And these lines around my eyes,
if I push on the skin here
~like so~
they disappear


Yet somehow, while I was
washing and squinting and plucking and
my hands got old.

I'm running out of old stuff I've found on the Wayback Machine, and soon I'll have to write something new.


Food Post #12

I like to cook - truly I do. It's the planning that wears me down. Day after day, they want some sort of variety. Why? I would gladly make a big pot of soup for myself at the beginning of the week and eat it for supper all night long. What is this need for something different from one night to the next?

Why are the people who demand variety not the people who have to produce it?

Have I already posted this? I've said it out loud many times.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sonnet #11

Same challenge, different entry

I wanted to write one, 'cuz Suze is a friend
and I sure hate to see that girl pout
plus the whiney-assed emials would just never end
but I can't get a damned sonnet out!
Would it have killed her to ask for haiku
or a limerick set in Nanatucket?
But noooooo- she wants sonnets, so what can I do?
I'm tempted to tell her to forget it.
I tried to release my lax poet-within
with a sip of some nice Triple-sec
and when that ran out I tried bourbon, then gin
and whatever came next, I forget.

You thought there was something sublime in me, right?
Well, no sonnet's forthcoming, dear Suze, not tonight.


Food Post #11

Greenland Shark

Many centuries ago, an Icelandic fisherman reeled in a Greenland shark, and fed it to a local Viking. The viking died, and here's why: the Greenland shark has limited kidney function, so rather than filtering out the day-to-day impurities in their system through those handy little organs, the shark just stores the poison in it's flesh. The viking ingested the poison and dropped dead.

Any other nation would decided to lay off the Greenland shark as a food item (these people are surrounded by the bounty of the sea - eat a cod, FFS), but not the Icelanders. Through trial and error, and likely a lot of dead vikings, they stumbled upon the perfect method for preparing the flesh of the Greenland shark so it won't kill you.

Allow me to now share that process with you, in case you should catch a greenland shark some day.

1. Cut it into manageable sized blocks.
2. Bury it in the ground in winter and let it rot there for a few months.
3. Hang it to dry in a shed for a few more months. 

You will find the milky white colour of the now-cured flesh to be quite pleasing, as is the texture. The taste is reminiscent of something rotten you found at the back of the fridge after you've been away for a month and the power went out, that you then soaked in ammonia for a week.

But it won't kill you.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Sonnet #23

Susan posted a sonnet challenge back in 2006. This was my entry.

I hope you don’t mind, but I thought you should know
(Course, my interest is purely semantic)
It’s just your pentameter’s starting to show
And I’m finding it highly iambic.
Your cadence intrigues me, your stanza’s a dream
Don’t refrain, lay your ballads out for me
You’ve got the best assonance I’ve ever seen
And your strophing would sure never bore me
I know this seems forward, and it might be a sin
You must think I’m some sort of loon
But I feel this huge metaphor building within
And I need to enjamb someone soon.

We’d make a fine couplet, you must see it’s true
I’ll save my poesy for no one but you. 


MAY 10 FOOD POST - I will catch up on all those missed posts! I WILL!

Is there anything better? Not tonight, there isn't. Tonight's pesto came from a jar at Costco, but my crop of fresh basil is pretty impressive this year, if I do say so myself. I think there is a batch of the home-made stuff in my near future.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer Dying

More from the wayback machine. I'm on a trip down memory lane.

Autumn draws me across fields 
in rubber boots and old jeans 
to a maple on the edge of a hill 

Under a similar tree, engraved in granite, 
the name of a man who was 
supposed to live forever 

But on this one, how did I miss it 
a single board grown green with lichen and moss, 
the limb spiked with nails bent and rusted 

Who was this boy, called home 
through these same fields 
and this creek, 
across the years 

The bark is rough on my cheek 
but hope is here with summer dying 
and love is nothing more than a barefoot boy 
in overalls, with a hammer 
and a mouth like mine 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ode to a Pregnant Bride

The bonds of marriage aren't something
with which a god-fearing man would dare trifle.
So now here I stand, having taken your hand
before God (and your dad and his big friggin' rifle).

Come in, my canubial... er... princess
There's pickles and jam by the door
The threshold won't widen, you'll just have to slide in,
(And let's hope you don't go through the floor).

Courtesy of the wayback machine, from a poetry challenge in 2004. The challenge was to write a poem of not more than 15 lines, form and style optional, containing a minimum of 10 concrete nouns.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Moon, light
his room for me
bathe him with
silver, wake him

and moon, when he wants
you, needs your
light on his skin, when
he opens the window to let
you in fully, then moon

move on.

I think this was written in 2005 for an online writing course Helen and I took together.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I wrote the previous entry and was about to post it when I had a slap-my-forehead moment. No, you idiot, a haiku is 5/7/5, not 7/5/7. But I didn't feel like revising so I posted it anyway, thinking one of you would identify it as an example of the whatchamacallit form.

But none of you did. So let's just call it the reverse-haiku.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Friday, August 3, 2018

Found poetry

Canada has
our Agricultural
and Farmers very
poorly for a
long period of time.

on Trade! They
must open their
markets and take
down their trade
barriers! They
report a
high surplus on
trade with us. Do
& Lumber
in U.S.?

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Brushing out the loose
undercoat, I'm tempted
to tweeze the ever-
more regularly appearing
white hairs on your chin that
serve no other purpose than to
remind me how briefly your
spark is meant to be part of
my life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Form #1 - Lessons

Upon learning of the death of a bad
boyfriend's mother, I paused
and wished her
well on the next leg.

You can be good and decent and kind
and gentle and
You may leave a lasting
impression on the young
girls who passed briefly through
your orbit
and wished they could be like you.

You might have worked every
day to demonstrated
the golden
rule at and
you still might have a son who grows up to be

Rest in piece
my dear friend.

Catching up day 3

May 21, 2018 My grandparents were the first people I knew to own a microwave oven. Theirs was brown*, had a tiny wind...