Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: birthdays

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Napa’s a ghost town now, rich in despair.
We bicker over endless pettiness.
And why? Marissa Amador’s not there.

To like this place indeed I used to dare.
I look around today and it’s a mess.
Napa’s a ghost town! Now, rich in despair,

I shake my helpless fist in haunted air.
The vineyards? They impress me less and less.
And why? Marissa Amador’s not there.

She hauled up stakes and sought another lair.
She’s pitched her tent in Idaho. I guess
Napa’s a ghost town now, rich in despair

And far beyond the region of repair.
Weeds root in psychic gardens – to excess.
And why? Marissa Amador’s not there!

Ulysses had Minerva? I’m aware.
My lack of such a goddess I confess.
Napa’s a ghost town now, rich in despair.
And why? Marissa Amador’s not there.

Happy birthday!

TR

30 September 2022

Mr. Parody Holds Off for Once

Mr. Parody Holds Off for Once

(for Pegeen)

The spinster who eschewed all publication
Is now amongst the most renowned of all—
And maybe the most parodied. I call
That justice of a sort. Though imitation
Be insincere, it bears the implication
Of careful observation. To appall,
The parodist must never let wit fall
Into the ditch of drunken relaxation.
Oh, no! He has to watch the details close
And let the solemn target have her say.
If she is pithy, he can’t be verbose.
At any rate, I do not choose today
To target Emily with verses gross.
My sister thinks she’s more than A-okay.

Happy Birthday!

T.R.

2 June 2022

(P.S. 70 is the new 54.)

Lost in Time

Lost in Time

 

(in memoriam P.S.R.)

 

I sometimes watch old shows – and Quantum Leap
Is very frequently what fills my screen.
Some snobs may find the sci-fi premise cheap,
But I take joy in every single scene.
Scott Bakula is tough but never mean
As Sam, a science brain who has a heart.
Dean Stockwell helps our hero intervene
To save folks through the years. Sam plies the art
Of being someone else, and plays each part
With fervor once he figures out his mission.
He’s mystified, however, at the start.
His puzzlement’s a Quantum Leap tradition.
Mostly to me, though, it’s the thing to view
Because I used to watch it, Mom, with you.

 

–Tom Riley

 

Quantum Leap: The Complete Series (DVD)

Answering the Call

Answering the Call

 
Something’s failing deep, deep in my bones.
Something’s calling for cries and for groans.
Am I deaf? Not at all.
No, I hear the dire call—
But I answer in calm, level tones.

 
–Tom Riley

Dark Bard

Dark Bard

 

(for Andrew Cooper)

 

Strong men blubbered like babies, undone
By his tales set to rhyme. Yes, the sun
Was put out in their hearts
By his unhallowed arts.
“Hey!” he told them. “For some, dark is fun!”

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

 

 

Dead Poet’s Dividend

Dead Poet’s Dividend

 

When I’m dead, let me here clearly state,

These slight verses will swiftly inflate.

Yea, in dollars and cents,

They’ll fetch prices immense.

And I’d guess you don’t have long to wait.

 

–Tom Riley

Late Gift

Late Gift

 

(for Grace Bozyk)

 

A day late and a million dollars short,
I’m giving you a kind of birthday gift.
My meters I align, my rhymes I sift.
The Muse indeed I do not need to court—
For, next to you, she’s quite a common sort.
Those she entices always end up stiffed.
Her breath depresses me, but you uplift
With good looks, clever brain, and true support.
What gift will please? Oh, I’m a puzzled cat
Facing the question that this moment poses!
If you had enemies, I’d break their noses.
Your husband, though, can better handle that.
I give you words, though words at last fall flat:
A dozen (plus two more) poetic roses.

 

Happy Birthday, 2017!

 

“Gramps” Riley

Miss Mature

Miss Mature

(for J.B.)

When Julie Brumley’s birthday rolls around,
That’s when the human family celebrates.
There’s sudden peace between the hostile states
As enemies discover common ground.
Enigmas fade. The Holy Grail is found.
Rogue leaders instantly acquire the traits
That we would wish on them. The heart that hates
Embraces love. The dollar beats the pound.
I know what you are thinking, Miss Mature.
You’re thinking I’m a liar. If I could,
I’d keep my truths both literal and pure.
I’d hang out in a truthful neighborhood.
Still, in my noble fictions, I’m secure.
Of course these things don’t happen. But they should.

Happy Birthday, 2017!

T.R.

Justice Babe

Justice Babe

 

(for Emmylu)

 

What? Have you longed to soar through thunderstorms
And smash invading UFOs to bits?
To say the magic password that transforms?
To manifest the Batman’s boundless wits?
Have you longed to give supervillains fits
Just when they’re grasping global domination?
Have you thought that mortality’s the pits
And chafed at mankind’s unexalted station?
Ha! You’ve already gripped your exaltation
And occupied the world of childhood dreams.
You’ve battered down the walls of limitation
And joined the loftiest of superteams.
The spirit in your fierce heart never cowers.
A taste for Justice League grants super powers.

 

Happy Birthday, 2017!

 

T.R.

Donum ex Terra Mortuorum

Donum ex Terra Mortuorum

 

(for Cynthia)

 

Cynthia ought to get a birthday gift
From me, a martyr in our common mission.
The afterlife is not a superstition
To us, the dead. We gaze across the rift
Between the worlds and are no longer miffed
At where we stand, beyond all competition
And all endurance of absurd attrition.
Our aloof station gives our souls a lift.
Yet how can we send presents to the living?
Unpleasant as I am, sometimes obscene,
And very rarely thoroughly forgiving,
I know no way. If séances convene,
Though maybe there are no gifts for the giving,
I shall take credit for her Halloween.

 

Happy birthday, comrade!

T.R.

15 September 2017