Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis





(for Mrs. Amador)



Oh, poor Marissa hasn’t exercised!

She’s worried that she almost weighs a ton.

I think at last it’s time she realized

She’s never in her life looked 21.

Self-deprecation may at times be fun,

My dear – but it is also tedious

To those who, under an oppressive sun,

Are mortal  and are burdened and are thus

Facing conditions you need never fuss

About.  If your looks suffer, they are still

Arresting to an ordinary cuss

Who only has his anguish to fulfill.

Those the gods favor never have to do

An exercise.  It’s clear they favor you.



–Tom Riley




Drink Responsibly

Drink Responsibly





(for Wendy and Bob Biale)





With lunch I had Biale Zinfandel—

The Party Line, 2010 the year—

And knew as I imbibed that, in my sphere,

This was a brilliant light, a sounding bell,

More promising than any wishing well

Or victory of causes I hold dear.

It didn’t make the dark world disappear—

But did prove that I was not yet in Hell.

Some time has passed.  It’s now mid-afternoon—

And the world is as gloomy as before.

Soon, I know, I shall sing the mournful tune

I hold within my serpent’s heart.  My lore

Is weighty, and I read a dismal rune.

It’s time, I’m sure, to pour myself some more.



–Tom Riley