Poems from the Old Speculations Message Board

     In March of 2002, I discovered that I'd been assigned a message board over on Kent Brewster's Speculations web site. For some reason, I decided that I needed to post only poetry there, and over the next two years, that's what I did.

     Other folks added poems in response, and we ended up with 104 messages before I just got too busy to keep posting.

     Kent shut the Speculations site down in early March, 2008, so I dug around, found the old poems, and I'm putting them here.

     And it all began with my profile...

Author Topics : Michael H. Payne

Don't worry; it's only the host
Who's required to rhyme every post.
Though you can. Who'll complain?
Not this Michael H. Payne,
Part-time writer and full-time milktoast...

Message 1 by MHPayne on 2002-03-29 14:27:27. Feedback: 0

    It's quite the shock to find this here.
    The reason for it seems unclear.
    I mean, who's ever heard of me?
    Who'll click this link? Who'll ever see

    If I should type a few quatrains
    On shoes for squirrels or lobster brains?
    Quite the delicacy, I'm told,
    In places mystical and old.

    The lobster brains, I mean. Although
    If squirrels made shoes from escargot,
    They might be thought a rarer treat
    By those who like odd things to eat.

    But I don't know: that's my whole point.
    I accidently found this joint
    That's got my name attached to it
    And thought I'd post a little bit....


Message 2 by MHPayne on 2002-04-11 11:06:59.

    I'd like to paraphrase that old
    Immortal Mr. S.
    And call us humans, brave and bold,
    A piece of work, indeed.

    We grasp the stars--well, more or less--
    Whene'er we feel the need.
    We taste like pork, though I confess,
    This last I've just been told.

    We laugh, we love, we lie, we bleed.
    We're hot? We make it cold.
    And yet, despite all word and deed,
    My kitchen's still a mess.


Message 3 by MHPayne on 2002-04-29 23:38:27.

    My usual format is just plain ol' prose:
    No rhyming or meters, just straight solid rows
    Of letters and words and as much punctuation
    As might be required for each situation.

    I've had some success with it, sold a few things--
    A novel, some stories and such--and that brings
    Me at last to my point, why I'm posting this here:
    A bunch of my old stuff will soon reappear

    As e-books on Fictionwise. Stories for sale!
    A cry to make even the strongest heart quail.
    There's 10 altogether, 'bout one for each year
    Of this thing that I laughingly call my career.

    So warm up your modem, type in the domain,
    Browse through the authors, find Michael H. Payne,
    And a click should call up the entire bill of fare.
    I like them all, but, well, buyer, beware!



Message 4 by Terry Hickman on 2002-04-30 08:46:32.

    You're a very talented HOOT, Michael! Love your verse!

Message 5 by Douglas Curt Lyons on 2002-04-30 12:43:59.

    Wish i were signed in as anonymous so you could take my compliment to heart without the baggage My name suggests, but here goes; "YOu write superb verse!"

    Maybe you can try "A place for Race" and write what my words have been insufficient to say. I have tried several time to use the poetic voice to deliver my ideas; to say something that can hardly be said in any other way... but I am a fog horn in the bright of day!

Message 6 by MHPayne on 2002-05-01 11:13:50.

    Thanks for your kind comments, both of you.
    I'm glad to hear my stuff can raise a smile
    'Cause that's the only thing I aim to do.
    I lack the smarts for more--or else the style.

    Let other, deeper souls write poetry
    That plumbs the human heart down to its core.
    For me, the mundane triviality
    Of cabbage soup and trips down to the store.

    I like the classic stuff--don't get me wrong--
    From Shakespeare up through cummings, Auden, Frost.
    But those guys wrote with purpose, came on strong
    With messages to heal and help the lost.

    Mine's just for fun, for rhythm, word, and rhyme:
    A way to share a laugh and pass the time.

    That Wondering-if-Archy-the-Cockroach-Woulda-Had-an-Easier-Time-with-a-Computer-Keyboard-Mike Guy

Message 7 by MHPayne on 2002-05-06 23:00:45.

    My shoelace always snaps
    Those times I need to leave
    The house five minutes ago.
    My socks fold down in flaps
    With holes torn in the weave
    To tangle 'round my toe.

    All pants I've ever found
    Are short or else too long.
    My shirts tend toward the dull
    And constantly astound,
    The way each size looks wrong
    No matter how I pull.

    It's not like I can blame
    The clothes: they're mass-produced.
    It must be me who lacks
    The proper sort of frame.
    My legs should be reduced
    Or stretched into my slacks.

    A fruitless sort of ruse:
    The laces still would break
    No matter how my feet
    Might change to fit my shoes.
    I don't know how to make
    My failings more discreet.

    I'm just no good with lies;
    I stammer, sweat and blush
    And start to smell uncouth.
    So, yeah, no big surprise:
    In life's travail and crush,
    I mostly tell the truth.

    It stops my clothes, I think,
    From making me the man
    I just might like to be.
    They take me to the brink,
    But I just never can
    Quite let my clothes wear me.

    Mike (The Bard of Save-on) Payne

Message 8 by Gregory Koster on 2002-05-07 10:30:19.

    For the Mike Guy: I am hideously jealous of your superb facility at verse. Not so much as Ogden Nash, though, who is chewing his shoelaces after reading your productions. With cause.

    Go on, great man!

    Best regards,
    Gregory Koster

Message 9 by MHPayne on 2002-05-08 15:39:29.

    I thank you, sir, and thank you, too,
    For mentioning the name
    Of Ogden Nash. I'm filled with rue
    To not have brought him up

    Myself before: a man whose flame
    Burned bright for this young pup
    And showed me first a way to tame
    This language with his Zoo.

    So if you've never sipped the cup
    Of Custard, just leaf through
    A "best of" volume. Go and sup:
    You hate it, I'm to blame.

    That Try-Your-Local-Library Mike Guy

Message 10 by MHPayne on 2002-05-09 18:02:35.

    To double digits! Who'd've ever thought
    This group'd reach that loftiest plateau
    In less than two months' time! And sure, it's not
    A daring feat, like knights of long ago

    Or thinkers in their labs, their eyes agleam
    With hope to make this world a better place.
    It's not like we've developed some grand scheme
    To clean the air or feed the human race.

    But still, with clouds of voices all around,
    Opinions flying, angry or concerned,
    A little patch of quiet fallow ground
    Where grins can grow's a thing not to be spurned.

    So thanks to Speculations for the chance;
    I'll try not to set fire to Kent's pants.

    That Not-Promising-Anything-When-it-Comes-to-the-Burning-Pants-Part Mike Guy

Message 11 by Lori on 2002-05-09 21:50:00.

    That Mike. How does he do it?
    All with admiration cry
    But me--a jealous snit
    Is how I greet that clever guy.

    My rhymes are flat. I've not a whit
    Of his good grace and cheer.
    My lines don't scan. No, not a bit.
    My imagery is--queer.

    But Michael's poems are quite the hit
    Though I may pose and bellow--
    My bluster fades and I admit
    He's just the nicer fellow.

    (Of course, I *am* a girl--)


Message 12 by MHPayne on 2002-05-13 23:40:00.

    Could it be, then, Ms. Lori Ann White?
    'Cause the name summons pictures of bright
    Shining teeth to my mind...
    From I story I'd find
    In TomorrowSF, am I right?

    Mike "I've still got every issue" Payne

Message 13 by Lori on 2002-05-14 01:23:39.

    Oh, my lord! I declare!
    I am flustered. I swear
    Such a mind--like a trap
    And I can't beat the wrap.

    Yup, that's me. :-)


Message 14 by MHPayne on 2002-05-15 13:39:31.

    I'm constantly shocked by the way my brain works,
    Or more to the point, just how seldom it does.
    Not quite fits and starts: more like staggers and jerks
    As it tries to divide up "is," "will be," and "was."

    I made it through high school and college, I'm told
    By the folks that I met there and still see each week,
    But my brain's been all gapped up, my memory holed,
    The past splashed away like some slow-dripping leak.

    But that story I read half a decade ago,
    Or that T.V. show I always watched as a kid?
    That's all front and center. And why? I don't know;
    My brain's been replaced by some small annalid?

    I'd shake my head "no," but the rattle and pop
    Makes everything slosh out my ears. Where's the mop?

    That What-Did-You-Say-Your-Name-Was-Again-Mike Guy

Message 15 by Lori on 2002-05-15 18:42:45.

    I know what you mean--I *do* feel your pain
    But Silicon Valley's the place I call home.
    Drip and drops? Mops and leaks? Could you please come again?
    I'm a WASP, not Italian, and now I'm in Rome.

    *My* brain is a hard drive, all cluttered with bytes.
    My sectors are jumbled, data eaten by worms--
    Trojan horses stampede through my dreams every night
    I should not have agreed to those licensing terms.

    My compatriots listen with forebearing smiles. They
    Pat my hunched shoulder and think I'm insane.
    I must hope that a geeky friend soon finds a way
    To back up my body and defrag my brain.

    I'm afraid they're too late. I'm afraid I'll soon crash
    And my obsolete system get tossed in the trash.

    Lori Ann "Oh, my god! *What* birthday is next week?" White

Message 16 by MHPayne on 2002-05-16 20:39:49.

    Obsolete? Au contraire!
    If it works, then why despair?
    And by "work," all I really mean
    Is sparks don't fill the air.

    Sure, it creaks; sure, it groans--
    That's the fan, not snapping bones.
    Fifteen years? Why, that's nothing to
    The same-sized weight of stones.

    Flick the switch, let it run;
    Ah, the days when DOS was fun,
    When the monochrome was Hercules
    And amber as the sun.

    In those days--halcyon youth--
    Our computers gleamed with truth,
    And the future we were rushing toward
    Was boundless and uncouth.

    Did we change? Something did.
    Like yourself, I'm not a kid,
    But my old 486 runs fine
    In its home-made metal lid.

    So boot up! There's the beep
    And the C prompt! Take a leap!
    Aches and pains? Sure, but promise, too:
    Just buried kinda deep...

    That Born-the-Same-Year-as-SFWA Mike Guy

Message 17 by MHPayne on 2002-05-17 12:43:04.

    The cat every morning at six
    Yowls out its demand that I fix
    It some breakfast, and I,
    Crunchy sleep in my eye,
    Stagger downstairs to get Meow Mix.

    Then it's back up to bed--not to sleep,
    But to work on my comics. I'm cheap:
    I should hire someone
    Who can draw? That's no fun!
    Why, my art can make real artists weep!

    And it's not like my stories require
    An artist so hot, he's on fire.
    The mice in my tales
    Harvest crops into bales:
    Simple stuff, but I've got me a buyer.

    They're part of an anthology
    That appears more or less quarterly.
    Shanda Fantasy Arts
    Brings it out, bless their hearts.
    "New Horizons," it's called, actually.

    Issue twelve's the next one, and it's due
    Any week now. It should have part two
    Of my first major try:
    A fire-breathing dragonfly
    Makes trouble for our stalwart mouse crew.

    So give it a look. I won't mind,
    Though it might be a bit hard to find.
    It's out there, I swear,
    Waiting for you somewhere
    Among other odd books of its kind.

    That Shamelessly Promotional Mike Guy

Message 18 by MHPayne on 2002-05-17 15:58:16.

    I can't believe I've gone this long
    And not brought up my show!
    Could be my head's just screwed-on wrong,
    To use a fine cliche...

    But still, I'm on the radio
    Three hours each Saturday.
    At 6 AM, I start the flow
    Of story, chat, and song.

    It's early, yes, but, see, that way,
    The music can ping-pong
    From jazz to folk, can wander, stray,
    And no one'll ever know.

    Mike (www.kuci.org/~mpayne) Payne

Message 19 by MHPayne on 2002-05-17 17:50:44.

    And when I mention 6AM below?
    Pacific Daylight Time. Thought you should know.


Message 20 by Lori on 2002-05-17 20:03:16.

    Ah, Mike, you are too kind.
    And what some would label "blind"
    I'll try to call an "optimistic view."
    And partake, for a while,
    Of your vision--without guile,
    Simply wanting to remake the old as new.

    I *do* work, I suppose--
    Toes and fingers, ears and nose
    Are all in place and serving as they should.
    When I rise to greet each day
    All my parts their parts do play
    As long as you don't look under the hood.

    A little rust, a little tarnish.
    I'd need steel wool and varnish
    To remove the bumps and dents supplied by life.
    Instead, I'll claim the truth:
    My face is living proof
    Of all the battles that I've fought--and won--with strife.

    Lori Ann "Bloodied but Unbowed" White

Message 21 by MHPayne on 2002-05-20 22:34:18.

    I prefer "pragmat-" to "pessim-" or "optim-"
    When talk turns to "-ist," though that never stopped 'em

    From calling me one, both, or all three at once:
    I'm packed full of multitudes...or else a dunce.

    This last view proves popular most of the time--
    I mean, who's the one posting all of this rhyme?

    A blithering "egot-," some might even feel,
    Deluded, a "fantac-" instead of a "real-."

    I won't disagree, though with "masoch-" or "sad-"
    I'd have take umbrage; I'm just much too staid.

    Mike "Not so sure about that last one" Payne

Message 22 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-05-20 23:36:50.

    I can't understand how you talk all in rhyme -- it's very consuming of effort and time! And how you maintain such impeccable meter... it's doubtful that poetry's ever been sweeter.

    For me, I'm afraid, prose is just how I think. My poesy's rotten -- of uniform stink. So if you'll excuse me, I'll bid you farewell. I've already earned time in off-topic H***.

Message 23 by Charlie Finlay on 2002-05-21 14:17:53.

    Michael Payne has a bee in his bonnet;
    We hear the buzz through the whole Rumor Mill.
    Careful! You might be stung by a sonnet.
    It's only a topical wound, but still

    Best to approach these memes with due caution.
    The tendency flies from better to verse.
    Doubled up with couplets, you'll need a potion.
    Get sick with the limericks, you'll need a nurse.

    The pleasures of poems mix with dis-eases;
    You can't kiss Erato without getting sore.
    That tramp of a muse sleeps where she pleases,
    waking up someone who has to have more.

    But the taste of her honey is worth it again:
    All hail the verse of the muse that's in Payne!

Message 24 by Amy Sterling Casil on 2002-05-21 14:27:51.

    The morning already hot and dry
    Around my head buzzed a little fly
    His eyes were green and faceted
    The type that comes from things found dead

    What he's doing, I don't know
    It's not hot enough yet for the the to blow
    But now he speaks in tiny voice
    He says "Listen up, you've got a choice."

    It can be in any order
    Don't worry, you're not even close to Mordor
    You could be on a cliff, facing South
    Don't try to scream, just open your mouth

    Relax, close your eyes, here's what I'm going to do
    Don't fret or worry, this is nothing new
    I'll fly down and on the page come to rest
    Believe me, what I'll do is for the best

    I'll insert the punctuation
    Forget all that brutal frustration
    I'll put my tiny body right on the spot
    And leave a tiny little dot


Message 25 by Amy Sterling Casil on 2002-05-21 14:29:03.

    It's not hot enough for the wind to blow!

    I don't know what type of bug helps with that type of thing.

Message 26 by Charlie Finlay on 2002-05-21 14:30:12.

    Heh. We're slammin'.

Message 27 by Thomas Payne on 2002-05-21 16:49:19.

    It shocks me to a place just this side of no end
    that a brother of mine could churn out line after line
    of self-promotional verse

    without remarking poetically on that billiardical blend
    so subtle and finessed with green felted dress
    of purple monkeys and worse.

    But now Mr. Big Shot, his finger he bends
    inviting El Mike-o to realms of I like-o
    and dangers of head like to burst.

    So I simply won't mention our old pool room friend.
    Leave self-aggrandizement or coy lowered-eyesment
    to MHP's masterful verse.

Message 28 by MHPayne on 2002-05-21 18:40:52.

    Yow-wow and oy. I don't know what to say.
    But let me thank you all for dropping by.
    Like Amy's bug, feel free to stop and stay,
    And Jaime, well, I'd never classify

    A topic here as "off." I don't see how.
    But if you feel you must report to Hell
    Let me suggest a way that will allow
    Your diabolic pain truly to swell.

    It's Monkey Pool. My brother Tom alludes
    To it in Message Twenty-Seven there.
    The simple naive charm the game exudes
    Conceals claws to strip your poor soul bare.

    For those who call their constitution tough,
    I cannot recommend the game enough.

    Mike (http://henryjr2.tripod.com/monkeypool.htm) Payne

Message 29 by MHPayne on 2002-05-21 18:41:20.

    And Charlie says we're slammin'.
    I don't know what that means.
    But if it's got to do with dance,
    Then, sir, I don't know beans.

    That Two-Left-Feet-Both-Made-Entirely-of-Big-Toes Mike Guy

Message 30 by Lori on 2002-05-21 19:58:36.

    Puns and rhymes and games and such--
    We're serious writers here, I do declare!
    I say, don't you think it's all just a bit much?
    No more having fun! Or so help me, I swear--

    What's that? Yes, I've read all the posts in this thread.
    The better to chastise you--for your own good--
    We've got work to do! Change the world before bed!
    A serious matter! Is that understood?

    Come again? Did I laugh? Chuckle, smile, guffaw?
    Well, perhaps?but I have your best interests at heart.
    How do you plead ere I lay down the law?

    To spread joy is sublime. To have fun is an art.

    Lori Ann "That Mike Guy is a blessing" White

Message 31 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-05-21 20:23:40.

    To lay down the LAW is something that I
    would venture is going too far.
    For while Lori's husband's a hell of a guy,
    I like my bones right where they are.

    So now I will go and see what monkey pool
    is, avoiding fates that should be dreaded.
    For while I may simper and act like a fool,
    I just wish not to be beheaded.

Message 32 by Charlie Finlay on 2002-05-21 21:43:56.

    When poets
    trade stanzas
    like young
    Tony Danzas,
    punchin' and dukin'
    jivin' and jukin'
    doin' the slipslop
    of rhyme and wit
    that's it
    that's a slam,

    Er, sir.

    Word up.

Message 33 by Lori on 2002-05-22 02:34:43.

    Jaime Rosen! Should I blush or be offended?
    Young man, you'd best declare yourself straight out
    And hope my disbelief I have suspended,
    Or show yourself as nothing but a lout.
    (Sorry. Harsh, but it rhymes.)

    We're naught but guests in Michael's charming topic
    And, as guests, obliged to be polite.
    With a watchword of "discretion," not to drop pec-
    adillos that should never see the light.
    (Hah. Didn't think I'd get something for "topic", did ya?)

    BTW, just to make myself perfectly clear--
    *I* lay down the LAW, no one else. Got me, dear?

    Lori Ann "I fought the LAW and the LAW won" White

Message 34 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-05-22 11:40:26.

    Why dear, I never meant you to be offended.
    My phrasing... well, perhaps it should be ammended.
    Near PCs I should not be left unattended,
    or else limb-from-limb I will surely be rended.

    From birth, to improper jokes have I oft tended,
    while to innuendo my name I have lended.
    The applecart, thus, is quite often upended,
    and others' good names must themselves be defended.

    In apology my right hand is extended,
    (Yes, hand, for all naughtiness has now been ended)
    and please let me say that, while you are quite splendid,
    attention once paid is now no longer spended.

    (But one final note, as I take to the sky --
    when spelling my name, it's the 'M', then the 'I'.)

Message 35 by Lori on 2002-05-22 13:21:28.

    Jamie m-i-e,
    my abject apologies.
    The olive branch I tender,
    with a promise not to render
    an innocent RMer
    limb from limb.

    Kiss and make up?


Message 36 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-05-22 14:05:26.

    The olive branch I do take up,
    for at least we shall make up. :)

    And silent I will be again --
    there's no more rhymes left in my pen.

Message 37 by MHPayne on 2002-05-22 20:05:50.

    Apologies from me as well,
    But, heck, if I knew how to spell,
    I certainly never would've become a writer.

    And lying here with eyes bleeding
    After a day spent proofreading
    Only shows that sloppiness grips me tighter.

    Syntax, grammar, spelling: tools
    That must be mastered by us fools
    Who choose to ply this wacky little trade.

    But if I'm lucky, I can find
    The dictionary where I've lined
    Up all the words that make my brain cascade.

    "Pleasant." Is it 'a' or 'e'?
    I have the world's worst memory,
    And so I always have to grab the book.

    But knowing that, I like to think,
    Is half the battle. Yes, I stink
    At spelling, so I'll always stop and look.

    Now, as a rule, I don't much care
    For action movies' flash and blare,
    But still, one of my favorite quotations

    Comes with the trademark steely glint
    And raspy voice of our man Clint:
    "A man has got to know his limitations."

    That Had-to-Look-Up-4-Words-to-Write-This-One Mike Guy

Message 38 by MHPayne on 2002-05-23 18:55:35.

    There's also this comic I do
    On the web every Wednesday. Who knew?
    But that's why I post
    All these things: not to boast,
    But to give folks the facts, straight and true.

    It's called "Terebinth." He's a tree.
    The lizard's named Terpsichore.
    And there's Kestrel, a bird
    Who's a bit of a nerd
    And who acts sometimes too much like me.

    We've been posting for almost a year,
    So you'll have to catch up some, I fear.
    And check out the rest
    Of the site: it's the best,
    Full of secrets both odd and unclear.

    Mike (www.chimericalcomics.com/terebinth.html) Payne

Message 39 by MHPayne on 2002-05-23 22:24:34.

    What dangers does this slammin' hold?
    Are stresses, breaks or strains
    Expected from the hot and cold
    Mixed language running here?

    Does my insurance cover brains
    Pierced through from ear to ear?
    Or just assorted aches and pains
    From words reared back and bowled?

    Well, Kent's the one that I should steer
    All questions to, I'm told.
    I doubt our policy's too clear
    On verse-inspired sprains.

    That Worrywort Mike Guy

Message 40 by MHPayne on 2002-05-29 16:07:53.

    Memorial Day kicks up some random thought
    Concerning the whiteness of shoes.
    But fashion, I've said, doesn't work in my head--
    Might as well talk of glitters and glues.

    It's always seemed more like an eastern thing,
    Those rules about what to wear when.
    They're wrapped in the air of a faded World's Fair
    With its straw hat, hoop skirt, and quill pen.

    But I'm on the west coast just south of L.A.
    Where "mores" are eels, not rules.
    Memorial Day: summer's well on her way.
    Time to dust off the childrens' beach tools.

    So here's wishing all a deep crystal blue sky
    And a breeze gentle, cooling, and sweet.
    Unless you're a one who likes nothing but sun:
    Then I wish you the hottest of heat.

    That Lives-a-Block-from-the-Beach-and-Never-Goes-Swimming Mike Guy

Message 41 by Willis Couvillier on 2002-05-30 11:23:04.

    Mike's rythym and rhyme keeps away the boredom
    So here's a thanks to Mr. Payne --
    For the words pushing away my severe ho-hum
    And clearing my head of dreariness most plain
    My gratitude for these thoughts so anti hum-drum!


Message 42 by Marilyn on 2002-05-30 20:15:04.

    I like?

    To read your tales of ink
    Talking cats and mice who think.

    Spiders love of aubergine,
    Crows and cows, what does it mean?

    Gliderumblers helping girls get home,
    Greedy dragons are in this poem...

    Badgers and otters like Stan and Ollie,
    Who can describe this endless folly?

    To pick my favorite would be frightnin'
    Because I like all Mike's writin'!

    Best thoughts, Marilyn.

Message 43 by MHPayne on 2002-05-30 20:52:55.

    Humming and drumming, a marching band of bees,
    Their shakos freshly cut from thistledown,
    Forming their swarming beneath the willow trees,
    They swoop to cheers from every bug in town.

    Singing, not stinging, their number one concern,
    They practice endless buzzing chords and notes;
    Rumbling comes tumbling from flower, bush and fern,
    Arising massed from honey-coated throats.

    Pounding, resounding, their snares and timpani
    Drive echoes sailing grandly through the leaves.
    Crashing their flashing cymbals smashingly,
    The whole precision line-up bobs and weaves.

    Come one, come all, and join the grand parade!
    Just watch out when they rush the lemonade....

    That Summer-is-a-Comin'-in Mike Guy

Message 44 by MHPayne on 2002-05-31 11:16:40.

    Marilyn did the art, y'see,
    For my 10 stories that'll be
    Appearing someday soon, I'm sure,
    At fictionwise.com.

    She does her own stuff, too, y'know,
    So try her web site. It'll show
    You worlds of toys and scary clowns:

    Mike (Normally, I'd put the URL here, but I managed to get 'em both into the poem) Payne

Message 45 by Hebisner Feniktorod on 2002-05-31 12:10:00.

    My name is Biz and throughout the land
    I'm known as the star of a famous band
    far and wide they know my name
    music and spying is my claim to fame

    These days I run with a group of geeks
    a monk and an elf who act like freaks
    they shriek and mutter in an endless rain
    If they don't shut up I'll go insane

    I have a shadow her name is Prak
    If I don't look out she'll give me a whack
    she's not bad on drums I'll give her that
    and when the undead show up she knocks them flat

    Sorry for this poem I know its bad
    But I hear poetry is just a fad
    fear not my friends Biz is done
    yeah this was crap but I still had fun

    {cue applause}

Message 46 by MHPayne on 2002-05-31 20:00:08.

    Ladies and gentlemen, my friend Biz
    Is fictional...but doesn't know he is.

    Mr. Sean, who plays him so well,
    Is somewhat fictional, too, truth to tell.

    Which goes to prove most thoroughly:
    Friends should NOT let friends play D&D...

    That Fourth-Level-Half-Orc-Fighter-Bard Mike Guy

Message 47 by Kay on 2002-05-31 22:48:25.

    A practiced bard within our clan;
    Why should I show suprise?
    I've read his prose for years
    and watched his sales figures rise.

    More powerful than their size,
    Mike's poems bring on tears
    Of laughter, joy, and startlement,
    His wit beyond his years.

    Each week as Sunday nears,
    My heart with longing rent,
    I rush to reach our weekly game
    Through acres of SoCal cement.

    So now your ear is bent
    With the tale of Michael's fame.
    He's truly an amazing man
    A poet by any name.

Message 48 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-06-03 12:14:10.

    Michael, I'm afraid something Gregory
    Koster said in "The Latest Ish" topic
    is causing me to shanghai memory,
    or, in the very least, this place, right quick.

    Ladies and gentleman and boys and girls,
    enjoy the novelty that now unfurls.
    And forgive the lack of accents, as well,
    for I can't do them in HTML.

    Avantage Sauvage -- un chanson

    Quand nous avons les arguments,
    c'est toujours vous qui gagnez.
    Seulement une fois, j'aimerais etre
    le vainqueur -- ca serait assez.

    Avantage Sauvage.
    Comme tous les jours, et comme tous les nuits.
    Avantage Sauvage.
    La reponse n'est jamais 'Non', mais toujours 'Oui'.

    Mais non! Mais non! J'ai perdu encore.
    Peut-etre je devrais dit 'Adieu'.
    Adieu a tout ces difficiles et ridicule battaile.
    Il n'y a pas de doute, c'est vous qui etes le mieux.


    Ca suffit! Vous etes trop genial
    pour ces blagues, et trop gentil aussi.
    Alors, je dis "Je me rends",
    et c'est le temps d'etre encore amis.

    refrain, etc.

Message 49 by Lori on 2002-06-03 15:52:14.

    Don't make me come to Canada, Jamie.
    My French is somewhat worse than gamey.
    A translation I demand at once
    So I don't feel quite the dunce.

    And it has to rhyme. :-)

    Lori Ann "One o' them thar snobbish Amurrcans who only know English" White

Message 50 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-06-03 19:38:54.

    Very well, very well, very well, Lori,
    my song I will translate for you.
    And while I may never obtain fame and glory
    for this, I will have to make do.

    What follows is translated, best as I can --
    it's harder than it may appear.
    Your rhyming request... well, I'm only one man.
    That will take some time longer, I fear.

    Advantage Savage

    When we have arguments,
    it is always you who wins.
    Just one time, I would like to be
    the winner -- that would be enough.

    Advantage Savage.
    Like every day, and like every night.
    Advantage Savage.
    The answer is never 'No', but always 'Yes.'

    But no! But no! I've lost again.
    Maybe I should say 'Goodbye'.
    Goodbye to all these difficult and ridiculous battles.
    There is no doubt, it is you who are the better.


    That's enough! You are too inspired
    for these jokes, and too kind as well.
    So, I say "I surrender",
    and it is time to be friends again.

    chorus, etc.

Message 51 by Lori on 2002-06-04 00:47:46.

    Thank you, Jamie. :-)

    (pretend the next thing I say rhymes with "Jamie." Or maybe ":-)")


Message 52 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-06-04 00:57:56.

    If the late
    Victor Borga you were to emulate,
    this could be how your post you would relate:

    "Thank you, Jamie. Smiley."

    Now, don't you think I'm wily?

Message 53 by MHPayne on 2002-06-04 20:03:28.

    Foreign language poetry:
    Alas, it's come to this.
    How quick it all floods back to me,
    The days I worked toward my degree
    In Classics. Ah, the bliss

    Of slamming books against my head
    In hopes something would sink
    Into my skull and makes these dead
    Italians live again instead
    Of rotting. Ah, the stink

    Of Horace, Homer, Virgil, all
    Those guys who tried to kill
    My tiny brain until I'd fall
    Unconscious, tumble down the hall,
    My cries both loud and shrill.

    Until I finally stopped the whines
    And saw the forms they used:
    The rhythmic words, the way their lines
    Scan out with sense that weaves and twines.
    It left me much less bruised.

    I'm not a student anymore--
    At least, not at that school--
    But all that writhing on the floor
    To read the stuff has formed the core
    Of this uncertain fool.

    So Jamie, go ahead and post
    Whatever things you must.
    I don't know how to be a host,
    So I just let the whole thing coast
    And live my life on trust.

    But then I feel I have to note
    That somewhere I've a stash
    Of Latin poetry I wrote
    In those dark days, but I won't quote
    A line for coin or cash....

    That Ave-Atque-Vale Mike Guy

Message 54 by MHPayne on 2002-06-07 18:13:50.

    Another newsgroup recently
    Has been featuring odd poetry
    Summarizing the books
    That have gotten their hooks
    Into us, so here's two from me:

    The aliens came, took a quick look,
    Decided the Earth made a good nook
    To settle and start
    Bringing peace, joy, and art...
    Until somebody cried, "It's a cookbook!"

    Pretty soon, we just won't take a chance,
    Huddling in with our robots and plants
    Until Jupiter's call
    Makes us plain chuck it all,
    Leaving Earth to the dogs and the ants.

    That To-Serve-Man-in-Simak's-City Mike Guy

Message 55 by MHPayne on 2002-06-09 12:48:20.

    From my house, one can travel west
    I'd say five hundred yards at best
    Before one ends up knee-deep in the sea.
    So east I'm heading all this week,
    Some old ancestral haunts to seek--
    My brother's gone and traced our family tree.

    Granby, Missouri, that's the town
    Where my great-greats gained some reknown:
    The Hudson Gang, they ruled with iron fists.
    Other towns around there, too,
    Are linked in ways I never knew,
    Ways lost to time's exhaled obscuring mists.

    So east along the I-four-oh
    Our happy truck should swiftly flow
    Through fields of wheat and barley, corn and soy.
    We'll also bear the boxed cremains
    Of Marilyn, mother of the Paynes,
    To her hometown of Earlville, Illinois.

    The plan's to drive out, plant her box,
    And get back by the equinox--
    Some days before it actually, I hope.
    Her ashes should be in the ground,
    She said, when summer rolled around;
    She also gave instructions not to mope.

    She smoked her smokes and drank her beer
    And battled cancer year by year
    With laughter, song, and her own dignity;
    She left us plans for her headstone,
    Detailed notes for when she'd flown,
    And this black jacket much too big for me.

    I've run the jacket through the wash
    A couple times, enough to quash
    Its tendancy to cover up my hands.
    I wear it every day, a quirk
    I need; y'see, I walk to work,
    And sleeves keep off more sun than suncreen brands.

    The drive from here to there should take
    A couple days through desert's bake,
    Through prairie's flats, 'cross rivers, creaks, and streams.
    It just seems right to go this way,
    To carry her back home to stay,
    To rest her where her folks all dream their dreams.

    That On-the-Road-Again Mike Guy

Message 56 by Jennifer Hart on 2002-06-12 15:23:58.

    I chose prose over poetry, the former's much easier
    but I talked about Granby in "I've come to praise Ceasar."

Message 57 by MHPayne on 2002-06-17 23:52:16.

    You say you wrote of Granby?
    I can't contain my shock!
    Please, tell us how this can be--
    I promise I won't squawk
    If you use prose to talk...

    That Wondering Mike Guy

Message 58 by Marilyn on 2002-06-18 01:48:55.

    I only met her once or twice
    and as I recall your Mom was nice.
    Faint memories in me now remain
    of visiting the house of Payne.

    But I've heard tell that many nights
    the Paynes played pool till morning light
    And family folks would sit and play
    music sweet, the stories say,
    and listeners could learn a lot
    like how to tie a zeppelin knot.

    I hope your jacket's longish sleeves
    more than a sun's protections weaves,
    that as you walk you feel Mom Payne
    smiling at you once again.

Message 59 by MHPayne on 2002-06-20 17:24:49.

    Ah, yes, the zeppelin knot!
    The knot that time forgot!
    The unknown hitch
    Dragged from the ditch
    Of lost historic thought!

    That Go-on-and-Try-to-Look-it-up Mike Guy

Message 60 by MHPayne on 2002-06-20 17:55:29.

    I think I've finally learned to draw a tree,
    A goal I'd set for last week's trip abroad.
    I studied from the road most carefully
    Those odd green thingies poking through the sod.

    My aunt's house there in Earlville, Illinois,
    Backs right against the park, a place so nice,
    I sat and made each tree into a toy,
    A sketchy simulacrum for my mice.

    These mice so far have spent their comic lives
    In farmland: flat with hills a distant swell.
    But now, my vision grandly strives and drives
    Me on to try a tree-lined street or dell.

    Artistic madness grabs me by the nose!
    I may next go for shadows! Hey, who knows?

    That Bit-by-the-Muse Mike Guy

Message 61 by MHPayne on 2002-06-24 21:37:49.

    A friend of a friend of a friend
    Has sent me an odd request:
    To write five stories for one thousand dollars
    On topics that he'll suggest.

    And two hundred dollars a story,
    That comes out to much the same rate
    As the magazines pay, and this guy guarantees
    That acceptance for all will await.

    Which means I'll be spending my time
    Doing that for the next couple weeks.
    I've never done anything like this before;
    Let's just see how much havoc it wreaks.

    That Ever-Experimental Mike Guy

Message 62 by Jamie Rosen on 2002-06-24 23:23:56.

    A patron? We all should have such luck.
    Congratulations, you fortunate... fellow. :)

Message 63 by Marilyn on 2002-06-29 03:51:56.

    How curious it is to hear
    these stories you will write
    And what topics will appear
    to work on every night.

    You could be asked to write about
    pickles, tanks or science
    Or have to weave a tale around
    an orphan's self reliance.

    You may write about shopping carts
    or things that never were
    But Mike, what will you do if
    your actors don't have fur?

    I'm sure you'll do a bang up job,
    It's sure to be quite nice
    It'll be a little odd although
    if your stories don't have mice.

    Best thoughts,
    Marilyn "still writing my summary" Scott-Waters

Message 64 by MHPayne on 2002-07-05 14:45:41.

    No talking mice, no;
    There's animals, though,
    At least in the one I'm on now.
    The first one involved
    A young man who devolved
    From a human into a toy...

    That Getting-Back-to-Work Mike Guy

Message 65 by MHPayne on 2002-07-15 23:30:18.

    And now, the second story done,
    It's on to number three:
    A tale of contests lost and won,
    Of carnivals and midway fun
    So very summer-y.

    I also thought I'd let you know
    That Fictionwise came through.
    My stories wait if you'll just go
    And make the link I've typed below.
    So much for hype. Whoo hoo.

    Mike (www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/MichaelHPayneeBooks.htm) Payne

Message 66 by Marilyn on 2002-08-07 01:49:10.

    There once was a penguin made of pine...

Message 67 by MHPayne on 2002-08-13 20:23:47.

    Wooden penguins? Hey, I'm all for that.
    I can't imagine an hour better spent,
    In fact, than whittling splinters from some slat
    Until a bird emerges, strange and bent.

    We snap a pen in half to get the ink
    And daub the stuff across the wooden form.
    Then White-Out, Liquid Paper, sunscreen zinc,
    To color it like clouds before a storm.

    Next, to the freezer! Quick now! Jam it in
    Lest all the black and white drip to the floor!
    Where Frankenstein was born in fire and sin,
    A penguin needs the cold and darkness more.

    But there, at last, it lumbers from the fridge!
    A penguin golem! Someone call Tom Ridge!

    That Chock-Fulla-Topical-References Mike Guy

Message 68 by MHPayne on 2002-08-20 18:55:52.

    The third of these stories I'm writing for hire
    Kept growing until it hit ten thousand words!
    The characters ended up very "high verbal"
    And wouldn't stop talking! It's just for the birds

    When creatures I've fashioned get up on their feet
    And loudly demand that I re-write their lines.
    Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, Ben Hecht I am not;
    I tell a fair joke, but, oh, their stuff defines

    The essence of screwball. My stuff kinda coughs
    And tries to work up to the witty exchange
    That they made look effortless, frothy, alive.
    I guess that my characters just show more range

    Than I do myself. But it's not a surprise:
    Us real folks can't match those fictional guys...

    That Trying-to-be-as-Fictional-as-Possible Mike Guy

Message 69 by MHPayne on 2002-08-21 13:45:55.

    What story comes next? Number Four--
    And I've signed up to write him ten more
    When these first five are done.
    What the heck? This is fun,
    But I'd never call writing a chore...

    That Mercenary Mike Guy

Message 70 by MHPayne on 2002-09-01 12:36:33.

    So two years have passed--
    I guess, at least--
    Since I started writing my sequel-y thing
    Crammed full of these folks--
    Not man nor beast--
    And stuff that I hope might prove interesting.

    But now the book's done--
    Well, more or less--
    A first draft of ninety-five thousandish words
    All set to revise--
    Though I confess,
    I'd rather leave doing it up to the birds.

    They'd do a good job--
    The crows would peck
    The dead parts away, prune the bad from the fair.
    The hawks would swoop down,
    Would keep in check
    The more rampant prose with their baleful stare.

    Or hey, all those mice
    To gnaw and chew--
    As editors, no one could be better built.
    No blue pencils here;
    They'd eat right through,
    Make nests from the leavings, and never feel guilt.

    If only they would--
    But no, it's not
    The fantasy world of my writings out here.
    There's nobody else
    But me: I'm caught.
    It's my job to hammer the thing till it's clear.

    Mike "Anyone not read The Blood Jaguar yet?" Payne

Message 71 by MHPayne on 2002-09-06 13:56:10.

    So summer is a-goin' out,
    And here along the coast that means
    The weather gives one final burst:
    The sun beats down till we're immersed
    In sweat, or storm clouds like Marines
    Swarm up the beach and flail about.

    We've had the last these past few days,
    And all the L.A. news shows brought
    Their cameras down to show the folks
    At home the breaks and snaps and chokes
    Of surfers whom the Wedge had caught
    And mangled up in different ways.

    But did the folks remain at home
    To watch the carnage safe and sound?
    No, they all came to see first-hand
    The battle 'twixt the waves and sand,
    All down the one road, each car bound
    To park and view the surging foam.

    Alas, we're such a tiny place,
    We fill up quick, and that just leaves
    The road to serve as parking lot:
    The cars stacked up as drivers fought
    To squeeze their trucks and SUVs
    Into the ever-shrinking space.

    But me, I walked home--always do--
    The breeze from off the sea enough
    To scatter all the diesel fumes
    That rose in black and crunchy plumes
    Against the rolling storm clouds' fluff.
    So bid we summer fond adieu.

    That Looks-Like-It's-Gonna-Clear-Up-Today Mike Guy

Message 72 by MHPayne on 2002-10-16 11:40:16.

    Those stories still take up the time
    I would devote to this:
    The fifth a tale of family grime,
    The sixth, a doomed romance.

    But I have got to say I miss
    This wordy little dance,
    The winding, rhythmic play and kiss
    Of syntax, sense, and rhyme.

    And so whene'er I get the chance,
    I'll still commit the crime
    Of shooting out a verbal glance:
    i.e., something like this...

    That Mercenary Mike Guy

Message 73 by MHPayne on 2002-11-15 14:46:11.

    My favorite part of Hallowe'en,
    By which I mean the days between
    September 1st and Christmas, more or less--

    And yes, I know there's other things
    Within that span, but nothing sings
    As loud to me of Autumn, I confess,

    As pumpkins: orange, round, and carved
    With glowing faces, fat or starved,
    Those silent mocking creatures of the night.

    But just one night. Then out they go
    To rot on trash heaps, thrown below
    The wheels of cars and trains, a noxious blight.

    Which always seemed a shame to me,
    So years ago I looked to see
    If I could find another use for squash.

    I didn't have too far to look;
    My mother said they used to cook
    The critters back in times less staid and posh.

    So one year while in junior high
    When Hallowe'en had slithered by,
    I cut my jack-o-lantern half in two.

    I laid him on a cookie sheet,
    Applied our oven's modest heat,
    And hours later pulled out orange goo.

    The goo was stringy, so I plopped
    It in the blender, never stopped
    To think that pumpkin goo might be too much

    For our five dollar Sears machine,
    And, oh, such smoke I'd never seen
    As billowed out. In short: I blew the clutch.

    But undeterred, I persevered,
    And through the years have never feared
    To burn out blender motors right and left.

    The final goal? It's pumpkin bread!
    The staff of life--or so it's said
    By those who understand life's warp and weft.

    I even ventured far afield
    And used the goo of this year's yield
    To make some pies: ambrosia so divine!

    So Happy Hallowe'en to all--
    Thanksgiving? Sure, if that's your call.
    I hope your pumpkin's half as good as mine.

    That Spookable Mike Guy

Message 74 by Marilyn on 2003-01-05 11:43:44.

    To find a good read
    You don't have to go far.
    I do recommend
    a book called
    "The Blood Jaguar"
    And other good stories
    to shake up your brain
    are the work of the marvelous
    Michael H. Payne.

    Marilyn "Write On!" Scott-Waters

Message 75 by Janet Prichard on 2003-02-05 13:55:19.

    Perhaps we need not rhyme to post
    With prose we could mundanely coast
    But I prefer to challenge rise
    With rhythmic patter hypnotize
    And voice my admiration in sorry verse.

    To Michael my hat ever tips
    Artistic trough he never sips
    But quaffs creative juices down
    So that his stories can abound
    And Bobcat, Rat and Fisher can traverse.

    This author I have long years known
    And I've observed him ever prone
    To show to me a point of view
    That I find pleasantly askew
    Heart of a poet in a rueful guise.

    His talents shine on every stage
    both on guitar and on the page
    And I'm insanely fortunate
    That he is my associate
    (A fondness for him you may now surmise.)

    Thus can I strongly recommend
    The writings of my lifelong friend.

    Janet Been-Hanging-Around-Way-Too-Long Prichard

Message 76 by MHPayne on 2003-02-10 21:48:27.

    I go away for, what, three months?
    To wrestle with this novel-thing
    That's sprung full-blown from what began
    As one more little fling

    With story-on-commission work,
    The stuff I've mentioned here before.
    It's just, this sixth one's grown and grown,
    Has pushed me out the door

    And has me sleeping in the hall,
    The rug my blanket--pillow, too--
    While it sprawls vast and snoring loud,
    Its dreams where mine once flew.

    A simple story, short and sweet,
    It seemed when I checked in here last:
    Five thousand words--heck, maybe six--
    But that's all in the past.

    We hit the forty thousand mark
    On February First, and still
    The end is distant, stretching far,
    Beyond both dale and hill.

    At least I know how it'll end;
    I know the steps from here to there.
    So I'll enjoy the ride, I guess,
    And ask not why nor where.

    But thanks, you two, for stopping by
    And taking time to type a note.
    Forgive the dust, and please do feed
    The monsters in the moat...

    That Usually-Confused Mike Guy

Message 77 by Lori on 2003-02-11 01:01:10.

    That Mike Guy remains
    A most welcome host
    as I prowl through the Mill.

    His poems entertain
    without preening or boast.
    I can scarce get my fill.

    Months pass with no word.
    I grow sad; life seems drear
    when deprived of his wit.

    Yet--a novel! My lord! (okay, so that doesn't work too well)
    My duty is clear--
    I forego my snit.

    An opus by Mike
    can brook no delay
    for this topic I track.

    So his iron he strikes
    while I wait for the day
    When he can come back.

    When he can come back
    and play.


Message 78 by MHPayne on 2003-02-14 15:57:21.

    Hi, Lori! It's nice to be missed.
    Just as long as no one's getting pissed
    And plotting my doom
    In a watery tomb
    'Neath a lake all enshrouded in mist.

    Mike "Yeah, I really hate when that happens" Payne

Message 79 by MHPayne on 2003-02-14 15:58:31.

    It's taken a while, but Winter's arrived
    Here in south California. The wind and the rain
    Pounded down rather fiercely, but still we survived--
    Though the leaks in my roof made the rug one big stain.

    The waves get all antsy in weather like this,
    Digging cliffs in the sand, wet and gray as the sky,
    Smacking hard as they plant their big Valentine kiss
    On the shore, smacking back to make roaring foam fly.

    I stand on the sidewalk, umbrella in hand,
    Safely out of the way of their crashing embrace
    Till the darkness comes on--I've stayed later than planned,
    And I head home, the rain splashing cold in my face.

    The next day, the sun's up; it's breezy but warm,
    And the coast snuggles down till the next winter storm.

    Mike "and they all lived happily ever after" Payne

Message 80 by Lori on 2003-02-14 17:07:30.

    No voyage of doom,
    no watery tomb
    for our Mike.

    Sentiments dear
    and wishes of cheer
    is more like.

    We miss you when you're gone. :-)


Message 81 by MHPayne on 2003-04-09 13:20:09.

    So, my name only stays for some forty-two days
    On that list that you clicked through just now.
    But this message will pop my name straight to the top,
    Raise my state from "toenail" to "eyebrow."

    To the cusp of the thing I will leap with one spring--
    Well? It's springtime! "Spring forward!" All that!
    And the breathtaking view, the sky cloudless and blue,
    Makes my poor little heart pitty-pat.

    But it's passing, I guess. Temporarily, yes,
    I'm the Yertle of all I survey.
    Once I click on the "post," that'll start my slow coast
    Down the list, name by name, day by day.

    Sure, I could blame the net, blame the fast pace it's set,
    Blame the times that beguile and entice.
    But I won't. Aiming blame's just a sour mug's game.
    And besides, here the weather's too nice...

    That Over-Easy Mike Guy

Message 82 by Marilyn on 2003-04-18 23:15:58.

    I'm not here to kick your kester
    but to wish you Happy Easter!
    May the great Bunny bring you eggs,
    Chocolate goodies by the kegs.
    Baskets filled with sugar treats
    or whatever it is that Mikeys eats...
    Marshmallow Peeps in piles high
    Tho' I suspect it's pumpkin pie.

    Marilyn (mmmmm pie) SW

Message 83 by Guest on 2003-04-24 12:46:22.

    Hi Mike
    Congrats on the web thing.
    It's all I can do to sing
    And praise your ingenuity
    Do you require a gratuity?
    I'll be home by the end of Spring

    Your little brother Jeffrey

Message 84 by MHPayne on 2003-04-30 11:28:13.

    My brother Jeff's a pilot
    With our boys Over There.
    He flies those big refueling planes
    Above the desert's glare.

    My brother Tom's an artist
    With song and ink and paint.
    He lives inside a water tower--
    Conventional, he ain't.

    My sister Lisa cantors
    At church and wrangles Scouts.
    Her laughter makes a room light up,
    But watch out when she shouts.

    It seems to me I've known them
    For years and years and years.
    And so I send this doggerel
    And raise three hearty cheers.

    That I-Oughtta-Work-For-Hallmark Mike Guy

Message 85 by Lori on 2003-04-30 15:52:42.

    Mr. Mike, I've been remiss!
    Consider this a cyber kiss
    tossed with an airy wave of hand
    to your address in cyber land.

    Your family sounds charming, too--
    what a lucky fellow, you.
    Safe skies to Jeff, dry home to Tom, :-)
    Peace to Lisa's loving home.


Message 86 by Thomas Payne on 2003-05-05 13:59:19.

    Well it seems to me to be the thing
    to write as well and hope to spring
    eternally and fraternally with all you all
    and aint that as well as something ping ping ping

    Your other dumb brother Tom

Message 87 by Marilyn on 2003-05-18 16:56:44.

    Interesting folks and magical forces
    I remember your story about the horses
    So I thought I write this song
    and ask how it was coming along...

    that Marilyn reader person.....

Message 88 by Marilyn on 2003-05-25 22:37:49.

    I don't have the best of habits
    of filing things online
    and the pix of Jessica Rabbit
    is difficult to find
    But if you turn your browser
    to this here URL...
    You'll see her with her hammer
    And all will turn out well.


Message 89 by MHPayne on 2003-06-01 21:13:17.

    Thank you, Marilyn; my old brain
    Is froze with rust from too much rain.
    I knew you'd have that pic somewhere
    And post it with accustomed flair.

    I'm working, yes, always and still:
    That novels grows; its words now fill
    Three hundred twenty pages! Yeech!
    Though twenty more will prob'ly reach

    The end, and then the fun begins:
    Revisions, rewrites, kicks to shins,
    The whittling till the stuff becomes
    A thing that sings instead of numbs.

    I'm also poking back through "Rat's"--
    The opening's still too crammed with fats
    And one big plot point needs to wind
    Throughout the book, my sources find.

    I've got the comic back on line
    For those whose art tastes aren't too fine.
    I'll put the URL below
    Where all things that won't scan should go.

    So busy is the word for me,
    And on I go most happily.
    Here's hoping that you're all the same.
    If not, just tell us who to maim.

    Mike "the comic's at pandora.xepher.net/terebinth" Payne

Message 90 by Marilyn on 2003-06-16 13:02:41.

    Maybe a minstral or was it a Bard?
    who said, "Writing is easy - rewriting is hard."

    Spin it around and untie every knot
    whatever you do, Mike
    I'm sure 'twill be hot.

    Things here are busy, life's no bummer
    if only I survive the summer.

    Marilyn "looking forward to Comic-Con" Scott-Waters

Message 91 by MHPayne on 2003-06-20 16:48:23.

    Revising is like mother's milk to me,
    A process I have often wished would stretch
    From paper out to harsh reality
    And turn each word and deed into a sketch.

    I gape my darn fool mouth, and words come out
    So stupid that my skull tries to collapse,
    And once a week I'm cursed, I have no doubt,
    The way my body twitches, flails, and flaps.

    But with revision, ah, that tumbling fall
    Becomes a simple saunter down the stairs.
    The words I say? Erase! Delete them all!
    I'll get some better ones, then make repairs.

    So, yes, I rewrite stuff with joy and bliss.
    'Cause life needs white-out. Who's in charge of this?

    That Disgruntled Mike Guy

Message 92 by MHPayne on 2003-08-13 16:45:54.

    So August comes and August goes,
    But where, I sure can't say. Who knows
    What months get up to when they're not
    Displayed on walls like something shot?

    I like to think they've got a place,
    Some cabin where July can race
    With March and April 'round the lake;
    September can lay down its rake,

    While May and June, their feet propped up,
    Flick cards into October's cup.
    A place, in short, where they can rest
    And hang around, all half-undressed,

    Their beds unmade, their shoes untied,
    Their meals either deep-fat-fried
    Or barbecued vacation-style:
    No phone, no mail, no "to do" pile.

    Eleven months would live this way
    Until there comes that fateful day
    When standing up, the next one sighs,
    And come the stroke of midnight, flies

    To take its place upon the page,
    To trip the wide calendric stage
    For thirty days--well, give or take:
    There's February, such a flake,

    And those who feel their job's not done
    Unless they stay for thirty-one.
    It's not a job the faint of heart
    Should want, for there's a certain art

    To keeping up the flow of time
    And dealing with the dust and grime
    Kicked up as ev'ry second ticks
    Its way into the daily mix.

    Construction worker, traffic cop,
    On call all day and night on top
    Of duties here and 'round the world:
    No wonder all the months seem swirled

    Together till the year flies past
    As slick as snot and twice as fast
    As clouds that skate through summer skies.
    Oh, well. So, what's up with you guys?

    That Ever-So-Pensive Mike Guy

Message 93 by MHPayne on 2003-08-20 14:24:31.

    Automatic poetry:
    The main page takes you there.
    A string of pull-down menus waits,
    A choice of words that percolates
    And turns to phrases fair.

    I mean, you gotta kick 'em some
    And sometimes add your own
    But kudos still to Our Friend Kent
    For adding something slightly bent
    To Speculations' zone.

    Mike "www.speculations.com, then click on 'Add a Poem'" Payne

Message 94 by Marilyn on 2003-08-26 12:13:40.

    What's going on?
    I'll give you a snootful!
    Things have been busy,
    the days have been fruitful.
    Working a lot,
    taking care of the boys...
    making a webpage
    that's nothing but toys.
    If you want some amusement
    in a moment of calm
    turn your browser to

    That Marilyn person.

Message 95 by MHPayne on 2003-09-07 12:47:27.

    For breakfast each day I eat bran,
    But a friend of mine isn't a fan.
    It's muffins, she said,
    That go straight to her head,
    So straight to the keyboard I ran.


    No, vex me not with talk of bran, unless
    You add the sweet word "muffin" to the end
    And mix in raisins, currants to excess,
    Or cranberries to liven up the blend.

    Cholesterol, I know, leads to the grave;
    Advancing age demands I pay the costs.
    So sure I watch the clock: the microwave
    Ticks down the seconds while the roast defrosts.

    I'm sensible enough, I like to think:
    I walk the mile up to work and back;
    I've never smoked and never cared to drink,
    So all I ask is that you let me snack!

    The vegetable I want is pumpkin pie!
    A milk-and-cookies man, I'll live and die!


    And so I cast it loose to meet its fate
    Since there, behold, my bowl and spoon await...

    That Breakfasting Mike Guy

Message 96 by Marilyn on 2003-10-26 16:49:51.

    This time of year I have to sigh,
    and turn my thoughts to pumpkin pie,
    you can have your cake and eat it too
    for me other desserts won't do.

    Keep your cookies and ice cream,
    your peppermint and chocolate dream,
    your bubblegum and licorice sticks,
    that is not where I'll get my kicks!

    Those other things are really dandy
    custards, fudge and other candy.
    As leaves turn red and fall to the ground
    on my plate pumkin pie is found.

    Marilyn Scott-Waters

Message 97 by Marilyn on 2003-12-01 02:33:01.

    Here's hoping for you a great Thanksgiving too.
    You and your turkey, me and tofu,
    I'm thankful veggies, you're thankful for meat
    And pie is the thing we're both grateful to eat.

    But most thankful I'll be
    When the day turns to night
    And we're finished with all
    Of this family sh*te.

    Best, Marilyn.

Message 98 by MHPayne on 2004-01-07 15:55:47.

    And so the New Year, minty fresh!
    We burned the tree and boxed the creche--
    Make sure to chop the tree up first:
    That dry pine tar is just the worst.

    I hope two thousand three went well
    As you could stand, and at the bell
    That signalled "Last call! All ashore!"
    You leapt aboard two thousand four

    With no more than the normal trips
    And snorts and screams and trouser rips.
    This first week hasn't seemed too long,
    So what, I ask you, could go wrong?

    I'm working on my comics still
    Despite the early morning chill
    That whispers, "No, just stay in bed."
    Besides, the cat must needs be fed...

    The horse book passed my agent's test
    Except the end. At his request
    I'm poking, adding, thinking through--
    Revisions: ah, that stalwart brew.

    There's other projects, too, but none
    I'll mention here until they're done.
    My thanks to Marilyn for her posts,
    And to you all, my warmest toasts!

    The Sticking-A-Fork-Into-the-Toaster Mike Guy

Message 99 by MHPayne on 2004-02-11 15:37:29.

    To triple digits! Oh, be still, my heart--
    Though not too still, or else I guess I'd die.
    And that would be an awful way to start
    Our second hundred here, would magnify

    The dangers of the poem-spouter's life
    And make it seem like words could kill you dead!
    They cut, but with a metaphoric knife:
    To stop a heart, use something real instead.

    A bullet, say, or poison in the food
    Or drop a statue off the balcony.
    Attacking with a poem, that's just rude:
    Who kills me thus is not a pal to me.

    But, hey, this poem's only ninety-nine.
    I guess my life is spared. Who wants some wine?

    That Party-Hearty Mike Guy

Message 100 by Carol Orosco on 2004-02-11 18:13:37.

    One hundred musings
    Composed in meter and rhyme
    Testify to life.

Message 101 by Thomas Payne on 2004-03-01 14:51:14.

    One oh one is a number, too,
    that reeks of grand stately stature
    through and through.
    Though for Wested Coast coastians, mayhap
    visions of coastal visiting vistas mapped
    along the line between brother and brother,
    from one Lost Coast to another.

    At any rate, to reiterate: ain't life grate?

    Or is that cheese?
    Dumb Broder No. 2

Message 102 by MHPayne on 2004-03-10 17:46:24.

    A haiku? Hey, another first!
    And glad I am to see it:
    Another barrier we've burst,
    More birds with just one stone.

    And so, although I won't decree it,
    Let me here enthrone
    A link to take. Yes, you may flee it:
    I won't call you cursed.

    An illustrated poem shown
    To those whose raging thirst
    Extends beyond this board alone:
    The link below would be it...

    That Bribing-People-With-Poetry-So-They'll-Vote-for-his-Webcomic-at-pandora.xepher.net/terebinth Mike Guy

Message 103 by Mystery Guest on 2004-06-13 17:56:41.

    This bus is all right!
    Like me, it's late for History of Western Civilization Part Two class.
    Actually, it doesn't bother.
    It goes to the beach, really slowly.
    Wherever you're coming from, for a dollar thirty-five,
    it lets you deep inside.
    In fact, the driver says, "Move all the way back!"
    When you come out, you're in a completely different place,
    without feeling invaded, dirty, inadequate,
    rejected or regret.
    You don't have to say anything on this bus.
    You don't have to have a comeback, or explain.
    You don't have to practice, or have traveled a lot.
    You don't have to be able to see the pattern.


Message 104 by Mystery Guest on 2004-06-19 21:00:52.

    I'm in love with a paper towel. I'd know her fall to the floor anywhere. The origami of her crush in my hand. The time it takes her to get damp and useless. Her patience, alone by the trash. Not one to cause mischief there, or, worse, to feign pathos. No, she just...is. More vulnerable than the most halting, circuitous, unrequited loveletter. Serrated at sexy, evil angles. And she'll do her job if she has to. Built in. Now I have to figure out how to stay in touch with her. We lead such different lives. And she might not even be interested in me. What do I know? I'm so naive. I certainly don't know what other people do alone in the bathroom. Not like her.

    Maggie Sullivan

     And that was that. Thanks to everyone who posted during those two years: we averaged one a week!

     From here, you can head back to the Poetic Annex or the Terebinth Main Page. Or, heck, this is the world wide web! You can go just about anywhere!