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Monday, August 21, 2017













The Balloon

The balloon was just there
hanging in the corner
watching your life unfold

watching with helium eyes

the balloon followed you to work
on “take your child to work day,”
and nobody had the nerve

to mention that its red rubber
complexion
didn’t match your own

the balloon was forever there
hanging over your shoulder
even at the ATM

memorizing your PIN


 the balloon was there, just there
hanging out in the corner
while you and your spouse

got it on;  got it all on tape
posted on the internet
bopping on YouTube

round the clock

the balloon was there in surgery
while you had your angioplasty
your colonoscopy, breast reduction

IRS Audit

the balloon was there at the funeral
one of your pall bearers
got drunk at the wake, mawkishly so

the balloon was there at the pearly gates
watching you before God
those holy hands turning pages

the balloon was there
in the delivery room
as the doctor slapped your behind

the balloon is eternal.


Monday, August 14, 2017



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Shot in Mexico

  Talbot invited me to Mexico because he was planning to visit a pharmacy.  You see, he was coming down with the flu.  It was the American version I would guess, but he was looking for an international cure.

  The red bus crossed the border and after a short time deposited us through the backdoor of a building that was filled with merchandise of every stripe.  Leather boots, belts, buckles, watches, earrings, leather jackets, American junk food: Snickers, Twizzlers, Milky Ways, Nips, Cheetos, and on and on.  Merchants tempted us with: “guys, take a look, take a look, guys!”


  From that shop we poured out onto Revolucion, Tijuana’s biggest hot spot. And though hours away from Tijuana’s “bread-and-butter” night life, the sidewalks were thick with locals, tourists, and entrepreneurs.  But Talbot knew his way thru this gaudy maze of junk jewelry, and brightly painted souvenirs.  And I had the good sense to follow along, closely. 

  We wound our way past strip clubs with their gaudy neon signs,  past homeless men and women, and children, the children offering you “chicklets,”  you know, the little tile shaped pieces of white gum, in exchange for a bit of coin.  We cut thru intermingling odors of shit and seared meats, the cries of merchants and cabbies and pedestrians.  

  Finally we reached Galeano Street: a sign that read “American Pharmacy.” We stepped into a rather large single room, painted white.  It was lined with counters and cupboards, also white, and its walls were lined with mirrors.  The counters were filled with numerous boxes, all labeled with typically “pharmaceutical” names. 

  Talbot, who had grown up in Mexico, stepped forth and flawlessly ordered something called “EucaliptinE” which turned out to be a Eucalyptus extract he swore by.   Well, seeing as I’d never heard of a Koala staying home sick with the flu, I figured I’d keep an open mind.

  “We got about half an hour, why don’t we grab a couple of tacos?” he said. After a short jaunt across some of the roughest sidewalks I’d ever traveled, we ordered up a couple plates of Tijuana-style street tacos.  Small corn tortillas filled with Carne Asada and guacamole. Mouth-watering!

  When we got back to the “American Pharmacy” the guy in charge of the shots was ready.  Talbot stepped behind the counter and entered a back room with a guy who closely resembled Martin Scorsese.  I had to laugh because the pharmacist left the door open a crack and I could see ol’ yellow haired Talbot undoing his belt and lowering his “draws.”  I cracked a joke about this when he emerged,  which looking back might have been ill-advised, seeing as he knew the way home and I didn’t.
But soon we were boarding that red shuttle bus and heading back to the good ol’ USA. 



Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

 






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-"It's Deja Vu All Over Again"-
A RonWarren's Red State Comics Replay
I published this editorial cartoon from Ron this last February. 
It was good then, it is even more timely now.    -Tom







Monday, July 24, 2017


 
The Book Burning

They were throwing books onto the fire.
They were pouring lighter fluid onto the flames. 
Streams of lighter fluid shooting across space
like the Tholian Web in Star Trek.  The flames brightened
for a moment and crackled with renewed vigor.  The crowd
cheered, taking their cue from the flames. 

Even though it was a chilly evening and people were dressed
in mufflers, beanies and sweaters, some of the men shouted
“show your tits,” which some of the little ladies did.
This inspired another round of books and lighter fluid. 

“God damned Mark Twain,” somebody muttered.
Henry Miller can go to hell for all I care,” shouted
a chick with a John Wayne face.  Then a guy, strode up
through the circle of people,  hands full of DVD’s.
Tried dropping them onto the bon fire.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said a man wearing a
windbreaker that read SECURITY.
“Whatcha got there?”
“Dirty DVD’s.  They gotta burn.”
 
“Aww no, that’d ruin the purity o’ the thing.”

They argued back and forth for seven minutes
till the guy with the DVD’s lost the fight
‘cause he didn’t have SECURITY stenciled
across his back.    

Somebody added more books.  More fluid. 
The flames stretched like they were high fiving
Mr. SECURITY

The circle just stood there.
Silently. 
Proudly. 
They’d defended the integrity o’ the thing. 
Damn straight.  


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TIME & Again

Did you hand TIME the keys to the car?

Did you hand TIME the keys?

You NEVER hand TIME the keys,

he’ll be gone for HOURS on some

JOY RIDE.  TIME TIME TIME & again,

you piss it ALL away.








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Monday, July 17, 2017


Lean

Smoky ol’ bar,
the sinful sounds of jazz, waiters
movin’ thru jigsaw bodies, balancing
trays of booze; sawdust on the floor,
scrape of shoes, swirl o’ skirt,
flecks of sweat.

Oh, you can just feel the body heat,
a room full o’ sinners on a Saturday night
an’ you can just feel the sizzle,
hell, it’s tasty as a skillet full o’ bacon;

got an empty pint, got a  torn stocking,
a little rough stuff under the light
of the silvery moon; but for now,
see that looker over there,
see the way she just---- leans?


All some dames gotta do, is just lean.
Every man in this room’s aware,
men with rot in their minds,
cash in their pockets.
all she gotta do is jus’ lean.

Look at the way she raises that cigarette,
rotates it slowly toward those blood-red lips,
they burned Joan of Arc for less.

An’ get a load a’ those god damned smoke rings---
perfect little hoops
any o’ these jaspers would hap’ly jump thru.

ain’t a man in this world,
ain’t got a yen fer  a bad girl,
she’s the kind fat Sheriff Buford says is,
pretty enough to get into trouble,
pretty enough to get out of trouble---

And her eyes are on the band,
always on the band,
licks her lips and sways them hips,
an’ the band gets into her blood,
eyes on the sax man,
“he’s beautiful.”

A waiter brings her another drink,
motions with a thumb toward some jasper
at the bar who makes with the eyes.

She salutes, downs the shot o’ firewater,
an’ then chump is forgotten. Now, forgetcher
pity, most are just cowards,
take a look at the soles o’ his shoes,
ain’t worn down, they ain’t rarely
stood up and strode the full length of a room---

rot in his mind, sure---
cash in his pockets, debatable---
but no marrow in his bones.

Oh, there’s a hate in places like this,
doll feels it blowin’ in on the back of the north wind
each time she raises that cigarette to her mouth.
Yeah, someday she’ll end up, crushed windpipe,
dead in an alley or tossed
on the side o’ the road,

but for now she leans
into the lurid shadows
and savors the burn of whiskey

in the back o’ her throat. 






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