Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Sonnets

Serious Inquiry into the Truth of Scurrilous Accusations

A Serious Inquiry into the Truth of Scurrilous Accusations

“Shea is a chronic gay porn masturbator.”
I said it once – but, really, is it true?
Back then, I put such questions off till later—
As jeering satirists must often do.
Fat Boy, who never had the slightest clue,
Insulted Tulsi Gabbard, who’s a fox.
I stuck up for that goddess right on cue.
I figured Shea had merited hard knocks.
As Stoicism teaches, calmness rocks—
And now I’m calm. What say you, Mr. Shea?
Is nasty right-wing bigotry a box
That you escape by watching guys gone gay?
Is chronic self-abuse your chosen tonic?
“Depends on what you mean,” he says, “by chronic.”

–Tom Riley

(Once again, de rigueur, I am not here literally asserting that this particular vice should be added to Shea’s public list — just that its mention conveys metaphorically something about his essential character. No, the Self-Proclaimed Archetypal Hero didn’t really answer as in line 14, or give any answer at all. He seldom does — probably because he’s been told I want him to challenge me to a duel, so that I can choose lethal weapons. We share a common vacation spot — Lopez Island, Washington — so there is a convenient site for his fortuitous defeat in mortal combat. Ha! Shea doesn’t even want to fight a duel in the sonneteering realm! He’d get his oversized posterior booted hard on that island, too.)

Christian Soldiers

Christian Soldiers

Now onward, Christian soldiers of the Rus
Against the Monoculture that’s your Foe!
Too many here at home are still obtuse—
But I’ve examined closely, and I know
How weighty were the dice you had to throw,
How much you stood to lose if you refrained,
The showmen curse the way you spoiled their show.
Their fury has been endlessly explained.
Still: onward, Christian soldiers, unrestrained
By anything but truth! The Realm of Lies
Must topple, though the gullible be pained.
The Giant roars – but cut him down to size!
Thus distant peoples, dark and unoffended,
Will celebrate the freedom you’ve extended.

–Tom Riley

Creepy Joe and the Great Sanction Orgy

Creepy Joe and the Great Sanction Orgy

Whom shall I sanction (Biden asks) today?
I’ll sanction every state that disagrees.
I’ll sanction every guy that isn’t gay.
I’ll sanction every punk not on his knees
To me and all my buddies. Hard to please,
I’ll sanction those who dare stay uncommitted
To all the lies I pitch as verities.
I’ll sanction those who say they won’t be shitted.
I’m tough as hell, though maybe insect-witted.
I’ll sanction India and China too.
Is it against the facts that I am pitted?
I’ll sanction you and you and you and you!
I’ve soiled my underpants, so why be nice?
America, not I, will pay the price.

–Tom Riley

(Note on the text: Sniffer Joe has of course never been literate enough to use the accusative pronoun “whom” correctly, nor to distinguish between nominative and accusative in such phrases as “America, not I.” And now he’s deep in dementia. He can’t distinguish his fundament from an aperture in the earth. But there’s no percentage in representing Joe’s drooling voice too accurately. T.R.)

Where’s Volodymyr Now?

Where’s Volodymyr Now?

Zelensky is in Poland, not in Kyiv.
(Ukrainian is easier to rhyme
Than Russian in this case, and thus I leave
“Kiev” for some other sonneteering time.)
Zelensky is in Poland – not a crime
By any means. I’d flee the country, too,
If Russian troops were after me – but I’m
In California, where the skies are blue.
Zelensky is in Poland. This is true—
So why are he and others still pretending
That he is in Ukraine? Why do they view
The facts as enemies? His stance unbending,
He doubles down. Oh, what sheer gall is his
In Poland! (That is, where Zelensky is.)

–Tom Riley

Vladimir

Vladimir

Yes, rivals had to be eliminated.
When you would save your people, that comes first.
The class of boyars then was subjugated.
Death was of course inflicted on the worst.
A long, dark past, devoted yet accursed,
Yielded to half-sincere renunciation.
A new faith was embraced – not in a burst
Of song, but through considered calculation.
Did hostile empires rise in detestation
Of what you had accomplished for the Rus?
An ally in the midst of complication
Appeared – and neutral nations just hung loose.
Loud enemies cried out: “Your armies stall!”
No, NATO never understood at all.

–Tom Riley

(In November 2016, in Moscow, Putin unveiled a statue of Vladimir the Great.)

Hot Bodies and Deficient Realism in Paramount’s “Yellowstone”

Hot Bodies and Deficient Realism in Paramount’s “Yellowstone”

The would-be rapists you desired to burn—
Or, anyhow, your Native pals desired
To burn them. Why was easy to discern.
But, Kayce, you’re a Navy SEAL, well wired
For wisdom in these matters! Bodies fired,
Though doused with kerosene, are not reduced
To bones and ashes. Great heat is required
To give the dust within us such a boost.
Necessity, however, rules the roost
In TV Land. Incredibly, the scheme
Succeeded: bones and ashes were produced.
This was, of course, the logic of a dream.
Will I stop watching then? No, I will not.
Your sister and your wife are super hot.

–Tom Riley

Notes on the text:

Line 1: This is Season One, Episode Three: “No Good Horses.” I’ve just started watching the show– with the wife.
Line 3: Local aboriginals want to burn the bodies so that the souls can’t enter the afterlife.
Lines 5-8: My favorite account of the realistic demands of cremation occurs in Paul Barber’s “Vampires, Burial, and Death.”
Line 14: They sure are!

Mr. Shea’s Heroic Day

Mr. Shea’s Heroic Day

“As archetypal hero,” says Mark Shea,
“I myself am repelling Putin’s forces
At an amazing rate. Please shout hurray
As I knock jets and missiles off their courses!
I have the strength of twenty-seven horses
Here in my manly and attractive frame.
Zelensky unequivocally endorses
My efforts – and he celebrates my name!”
Okay. Shea hasn’t really said this. Shame
On me, the satirist who dares suggest
He has! But is it wilder than his claim
To be the arbiter of what is best
In troubling international relations—
Or worse than all his Twitter fulminations?

–Tom Riley

Another Action Hero to Admire

Another Action Hero to Admire

Sean Hannity suggests assassination.
I’m sure that Comrade Putin’s terrified
Of the chief ninja master in our nation:
Assassin Sean, both strong and steely-eyed!
The skills of Sean, of course, can’t be denied.
Does Putin think he knows some martial arts?
Sean laughed so hard at this, he nearly died.
He’s not afraid of aging Russian farts!
He’ll soon apply his muscle and his smarts
To the task. Putin then will be no more.
Sean’s currently preparing ninja darts
And throwing stars with which to end this war.
Putin, that slob, will soon be on a slab.
But first, a few more hours of empty gab….

–Tom Riley

Stevie King Ukrainian Potpourri

Stevie King Ukrainian Potpourri

Putin has screwed the pooch, says Stephen King.
Jerk failed to realize that Hero Joe
Would make him pay the price for everything.
Hey, Stevie’s confident – and he should know.
Although this isn’t quite his horror show,
He understands the genre thoroughly:
He understands how things are bound to go
With incarnations of monstrosity.
Biden is sure to force Count Vlad to flee
As once Count Dracula fled London Town—
Or else, like Ben Mears, Biden’s sure to be
Pounding a stake through Moscow’s macho clown.
Before that happens, though – let this be said!—
Joe’s brain must first be summoned from the dead.

–Tom Riley

Criminal Enterprise

Criminal Enterprise

One of my tricks may constitute a crime.
In imitating Spenser, as I do,
Much of the time, although not every time,
I let the A and B rhymes fade from view
According to the pattern, then pursue
New echoes through the measures down below.
I misdirect attention, cue on cue,
And smile throughout the unsurprising show.
Then, when expected rhymes align just so,
And when the E rhyme fatefully impends,
When everything is calm as midnight snow,
When the conventions seem to reach their ends,
I raise the A rhyme, or the B, anew.
In this I am a criminal. It’s true.

–Tom Riley