Grading Lament

I have two full weeks of school left, and one week of finals. And at the end of finals week, I must have all the finals graded and entered.

Talk about crazy. My school is small, but grading 28 6-page finals (just for Intro Latin) in 2 days is already giving me nightmares and cold sweats. Not to mention the finals for the other classes.

Also, I am suffering from dull but persistent headaches, a stuffy nose, a severely sore throat, bleary eyes, and fits of sneezing. I think it is the stress and boredom of grading. Or the Texas Allergens. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.

Whatever the cause, I have gone through two bottles of lemon juice and my whole bear-jar of organic honey in this weekend alone.

So instead of doing the grading that I actually have this weekend, I am adapting Adelaide’s Lament into an Official Grading Lament. Behold:


It says here:
The average full-time teacher
At the end of school year
Due to some long frustration may react
With psychosomatic symptoms
Difficult to endure
Affecting the upper respiratory tract.

In other words, just from grading a number of tests and essays untold,
A teacher can develop a cold.

You can spray her wherever you figure the streptococci lurk
You can give her a shot for whatever’s she’s got, but it just won’t work
If she’s tired of seeing “a lot” spelled as just one word,
A teacher can develop a cold.

It says here:
The teachers possessing “free time”
Just in the legal sense
Show a neurotic tendancy, see note: (looks at note)
Chronic organic symptoms
Toxic or hypertense
Involving the eye, the ear, the nose, and throat.

In other words, just from spending all weekend grading on and off,
A teacher can develop a cough.

You can feed her all day with the vitamin A and the bromofizz
But the medicine never gets anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she’s getting up early to finish correcting the 80th quiz,
A teacher can develop a cough.

And furthur more, just from spelling, and grammar,
And the uncited quip,
A teacher can develop la grippe.

When she collects all the homework on Tuesday,
And grades it by Wednesday night
She expects a free day
But remembers the final exams that she still must write,
A person can develop la grippe,
La grippe.
La post nasal drip.
With the wheezes
And the sneezes
And a sinus that’s really a pip!
From a lack of sufficient sleeping
And a red pen clutched in a death-hold,
A teacher can develop a bad, bad cold!


So go on, sing away to the anthem of teachers this time of year! And I pray that you develop no colds of your own.

A Toast to Senator John J. Blaine

Prohibition Ends

Today is the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.  As a person who enjoys both liquor and smaller government (and who is horrified by some of the political corruption, gang wars, and general loss of Gemütlichkeit that Prohibition enacted), I think it worth celebrating.

This honestly turned out a bit more political than I meant it to be.  I guess that’s what happens when you parody The Who?  Also, you end up learning a bit more about history.  If School House Rock calls, send ‘em my way.

[With apologies to Pete Townshend and The Who, except not really]

We’ll Imbibe Again

Volstead called our drink a bane
Pouring Out BoozePoured our barrels down the drain
And banned our palliatives in the glass
And the men who passed the Act
Have their sheds and cellars stacked
with the private stock denied the working class…

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution
The 21st Amended constitution
Smile and grin, since dryness was repealed,
Despite the Temperance Horde –
Let the drinks be poured!
Then I’ll get up and thank the Lord
We can buy booze again!

Those fourteen years were long,Al Capone
Corruption growing strong,
As the clergy, cops, and doctors flout the law
To say nothing of Capone
Doing business of his own
Taking shots the North Side Irish never saw…

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution
The 21st Amended Constitution,
Sip my gin that’s 40 ABV
Without the Sugar House;
No need to get soused,
Just relieved that the thirst is doused,
And not by bad poteen!
No rotgut poteen!

Blaine kept the fight although always denied; We Want Beer
here’s to biergardens that luck kept alive!
Since Congress was scared of the lobbying dries,
three-fourths of the states would ratify

{instrumental interlude long enough to mix up a Sidecar}

No more of white lightning
Though we’ve kept our grenadine
And bitters, citrus, syrup, crème-de-menthe
And the cocktails of the past
Are now cocktails of the hour
Huzzah for highballs, fizzes, flips, and sours!

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution John J. Blaine
The 21st Amended Constitution
Smile and drink, since dryness was repealed,
Despite the Temperance Horde –
Let the drinks be poured!
Then I’ll get up and thank the Lord
We can buy booze again!
We’ll imbibe again!


This is the Time

It has been a quiet month for me, posting-wise.  This little Billy Joel parody is the reason why.  Well, part of it.

I sat in the flat in the humidest July
unable to stir myself, and God knows why
I haven’t put away the things I should have done
Unable to stand and face the rising sun

This is the time to be packing
or next week you’ll rue your slacking.
These are the days to fill boxes
With your books and files and sockses
This is the time,
But time is gonna fly
You’ve taken over nine or ten
Now hurry with the rest of them…

D’you know that before my roommate left the state
This task looming o’er me didn’t seem so great?
I can only look back on the month and shake my head
At the days that I squandered (could’ve packed instead)

This is the time to be packing
Grab some frames and plates for stacking
These are the days to cart off clothes
– take your scarves, you shouldn’t need those
Empty your desk
And empty all the drawers
The bloody thing still weighs enough
Without thirty-eight pounds of stuff…

I know it’s so easy to let your nights slip on by
Without even taking some papers away,
but the deadline of August is rapidly drawing nigh;
Better clean lest you give your deposit away.

And so there’s a fever now, with three days left,
to recapture the time of which you’re now bereft
Ah, but Dayton Drive’s waiting and your life is too
So stay with me, baby, I’ve got plans for you…

This is the time to be packing
Find the strength your will is lacking
These are the days to fill boxes
With your teacups, booze, and sockses
This is the time
The time of shifting change
Farewell to Elostirion
and greetings to the days to come.

It’s So Easy to Hate on William Carlos Williams Sometimes

When people who are inevitably not me (nor any of the other Muses, to date) get Freshly Pressed, then I might ignore them and their turn in the spotlight.  But I also might read whatever it was that the WordPress crew found to be worth everyone’s time, usually concluding that I fail to impress them with my snappy titles.  Sometimes I’m drawn in so far that I read the blogger’s other posts, indicating that hey, he’s posted more than one worthwhile thing (and, you know, mayhaps I’ll stand out in his mind and he’ll link to me or something.  And then shall I win the love of dozens, nay, scores of readers. …A girl can dream, right?  Someone has probably written a book about a girl dreaming a dream like that).

Which is how I came to read Byronic Man’s This Is Just To Say and also This Is Just For You To Say.

Which brings me to my not-exactly-novel-but-VERY-true-to-life rendition of the same.

“This Is Just To Say”
From Terpsichore to Thalia

I have eaten
the Phish Food
that was in
the freezer

and which
you were probably
for some future stressful day of moving and classes and insect-laden violins and general madness or melancholy

Forgive me
it was delicious
so I bought
two pints more.

You know
you love me

even if you
are far away
from said freezer


A brace of sonnets: In Memoriam

In early spring and summer, especially, I remember. I had a friend, a bold, morose, brilliant and lovely friend. We had plans, but then he died. This year, it’s four years. Trying to express the joy and the loss and the peculiar nature of memory which eliminates the day to day but leaves sharp, bright moments, I’ve attempted a sonnet. In some measure, I’ve succeeded.


I, careful miser, that I am, shall hoard
These diamond memories in a sacred vault.
And while I watchful stand, their jealous guard
I’ll take them up to handle and to hold
Between my fingers. Raised against the sky
I’ll catch, imprisoned, refracted in the deeps
The suns of yesterday’s light in memory.
In this sequestered way, I fondly keep
The careful count of treasure here. But now
The bloodshot miser’s lot is left to me
As I, enshrouded in my grief, am found
More deeply buried in grave misery.
My hoard, tho’ undiminished and undimmed,
Shall ne’er increase. I am bereft of him.

D.G.M. 1986-2008

The only trouble is, the subject himself would laugh immoderately at my sentiments. His was an elegantly refined sense of the ridiculous that preyed on sentimentality. And that was something I loved about him! I would have to defend my feelings; they’re not sentimental! I argue, but really, to no avail. Such melodrama only ever made him laugh.  Here is my dashed off attempt at his profane (as in, trouncing on the holy ground of my finer feelings) version of the same. This one he would certainly prefer, and so, to be frank…do I.

Ah, Crap.

I, deluded madman that I am, shall hoard
These bits of carbon in a dusty tub.
And while  I stand, inevitably bored
I’ll  pinch one ‘twixt my fingertips and rub.
Unsurprisingly, I’ll have to curse
For now, my hands are covered all with black
The situation out from here gets worse
There is no water here to wash. Alack!
And so disgruntled, dirty and alone
I sit here, keeping track of other’s jewels
What I wouldn’t give for a cell phone
I’d call my Ma and tell her I’m a fool.
Oh well, too bad, it’s too late for me now
She doesn’t love me now, she loves her cow.

The Curds of Fortitude

While I would love to take credit for this poem, I cannot. This is the work of my brother, upon whom breathed the Cheese Muse. I found a battered, stained, folded copy in my room just now and want to save the profundity, wit and wisdom for all time by casting it into cyberspace. Also, I must enjoin you, my egotists, to follow the excellent advice of this poet.

Imagine now, if you will be so good. A young man, standing at a music stand before a goodly company of Cheese Poets competing for an award (more on this practice to follow subsequently.) In a fit of inspiration, imagine that young man casting his reading glasses far down his nose and lifting up his voice to wail the part of the lover. Do not forget to ponder the glory of this young man’s nerve as he reaches the part of the beloved and throws his voice into a ringing falsetto.

I love my brother…and here is one of his poems.


O! Hair of russet,
Breast of down,

Arm of geometric proportion
Feet of Euclidean perfection!

My Beloved!
The one I love,

Our love is broken, is it not?
It is truly empty, void?

Can we make it whole?
Can we mend this mess of daydreams?

The night is wild,
The day, frigid

No safety or hope in list’ning to the poet,
No hope or safety in forced distraction

Only painful, sadistic diversion


Be not so dejected, my lover,
Be comforted the one I love.

In a world of chaos and pain,
The world spins with absurdity

Panic is the worst of crimes,
Losing practiced calm, the greatest calamity.

Come and look, my dear,
My love, come and see!

Taste the Brie, and find order
Eat the curds of fortitude

Toasted cheese builds inner strength
Stands to reason, keeps you healthy

To deal with a plenitude of chaos
To fight the eccentric lies;

All this strength in a slice of cheese!


Cheese gives proof of cheese:
Cheese proves Eternal Kindness

Impossibly uninformed to make it Moloch’s mirth
Strangely asinine to claim it Chaos’ craft

Rejoice, be glad of cheese!
The King has made it, Rejoice!

He’s a smarty pants, ain’t he? That Dusty Thane!

In Which There is a Wurm

And with “wurm”, I denote “dragon”.

Frequently, finding fun in formative exercises is  . . . formidable.

Providentially, I possess a professor whose prose and poetry alike is alive with amusement. His assignments are always helpful and hilarious. Most recently, our “research” required that we write a in the meter of meticulous magisters of old.

Explicitly, of Old English.

And Old English, whether in epic, ode or elegy, relied not on rhyme, but on the associations of alliterations.  Also recognized as “back-rhyming”, or words matching the beginning rather than the ending reverberations.

This form, so unusually unalike from those we are familiar with, also involves a severed line, (a caesura,) and at least three stressed alliteratives.

As Thalia and I have theatrically and eruditely elected to notate it, “boom boom // BOOM crash”. (Or, “boom crash // BOOM boom”. Or “crash boom // BOOM boom”. Both these choices are correct.)

Wilbur, about whom I wrote before, works this form exquisitely.


do not.

Mine lacks elegance and aim. My versification is a varied, though valiant, version. Bluntly, it smacks of Dr. Seuss meeting Beowulf.

However, it hits a note of evident humor. And hence, I, as an Egotist, am obliged to advertise it.

(This is thanks to Thalia and Terpsichore, who inspired, assisted, amused and indulged me.)



Call Center Crisis

“My monsieur or madam

your MasterCard’s datum

Muddles our mainframe

in a manner most inane;

It deliberately declines

to deliver its fines.

And when we do

whisk it through

Our ears oscillate

from the audibly irate

Contraption which credits

each card with debits.

The established exchange

expects to arrange

Some gold or goats

or globalized notes!

What? When? Eh,

why, you say

Your piled plethora

of prized profit  has a

Dead dragon atop it?

Dear, dear, do drop it.

Can you not carry out

(with courage or clout)

Heaps from the hoard:

a heavenly sword,

Goblets or gems

or gullible golems?

That body so billious

has blocked all access?­

An option we offer,

a not ominous proffer,

Features the following

fellow and allowing:

Our knight will negate,

and nicely eradicate,

The compromising corpse.

For compensation, of course,

Additional to the account,

that accepted amount ,

For the bling that you bought,

and bluntly you ought

To bring to our banks.

Bye-bye, and thanks!”

Searching for Scarey Sentances

All misspellings are intentional.

This year, at the instigation of my housemate Urania, we are holding a Halloween Party.

And because we prefer the Gothic and Intellectual to the ugly creepifying, (well, at least I prefer it,) we are confining ourselves to the theme of “Literary”. This means that our costumes – and costumes are always the real reason for having any Halloween party – must be modeled after a book character, an author, or something else creative and book-related.

Perhaps some daring soul might come as a bookshelf!

(My college roommate and I once dressed at Homeric similes: she was “Rosy-Fingered-Dawn” and I was the “Wine Dark Sea”.)

But such a strict theme does limit the cleverness of our decorations. We have candles and cobwebs and mood lighting, but there is just one last bit that I want to add to our mix;

The Wall of

Scarey Syntax

And oh! it will be rife with dangling participles, split infinitives, misspellings, interchanging wrong words, misplaced apostrophes, and everything that would frighten an embodiment of Literature herself!

This is in part because I was once a tutor for a writing lab, and thus was forced to suffer through much devastating grammar.

But mainly because I want to be clever. Somewhat. And humanities student would not get chills from such a Wall?

Here lies my trouble: I cannot create enough poorly written, humorous and slightly Halloween themed sentences. Thus far I have an entire catalogue of  . . . .  two.

The sentences that occupy our wall are as follows.

Dying painfully, the torturer elatedly watches you’re suffering.

Their maladroitly fumbling for they’re clothes, as the vampires voraciously and victoriously eviscerate the vacillating werewolves.

Well? Are these not among the most stomach-turning obliteration of grammar that you have ever read?

But now I need you’re your help. I need more example to place upon our wall, if we are to have an impressive showing.

What horrible sentences can you suggest?

(Also, you get more points for using cool words. I am thrilled that I used my favorite word ‘maladroit’.)