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                                                            The Literary Review
                                                                      Issue 8

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The Apparent Errant Bard

If rhyme’s constraint doth make you faint
from speaking like a bard,
it earns complaint—that’s what it ain’t,
and unlike watching drying paint
you should be left refreshed, not tard.

Good rhyme should hide somewhere inside,
like entrails, with restraint,
where they abide and can’t be spied
unless dissected, opened wide,
examined, searching for some taint.

Is rhyme too light for what is right
in poetry today?
Adverse to flight, should it not bite
and demonstrate its inner might,
reminding us it’s here to stay?

Is rhyme adverse? Is it far worse
than structures less confined?
It’s not a curse—let it converse!
Must prosody ride in a hearse
congealing what is on its mind?

Both rhyme and measure still hold treasure
as the ancients knew,
providing pleasure for mind’s leisure
(with some interrupt by caesure),
proving that their value’s true.

Should rhyme be barred; this bard be tarred
and feathered? You decide.
Since it’s been scarred with rhythm hard,
perhaps the writer should be fard
and ridiculed both far and wide.
Revoke his poet’s license card
for failure to abide!

Ken Gosse__


Often Upon a Time

Where villainy rules
o’er impetuous fools,
knights slay dragons each day
to keep danger away
from the damsels who swoon
’neath a sliver of moon—
for armor shined brightly
brings lusty dreams nightly.

Fair maids who’s affairs
are arranged for their heirs
are not burdened by cares
of expanding derrieres;
their proportions are just
and well-balanced by bust
which their mothers all trust
will give rise to the thrust

of a nobleman’s lance
as their great horses prance
at the list, and perchance,
at the evening’s great dance,
where the lancettes are powered
by girls fully flowered—
and hearts are devoured
by those somewhat less dowered—

at a champion’s wrist
their pure lips will be kissed;
deepest love will persist
and result in a tryst
with true love’s first embrace,
hand-in-hand, face-to-face,
feeling both heartbeats race
in a deep, timeless grace.

For the knights, any lass,
any bearing or class,
but the maids will evince
they seek only a prince.
Oh, how soon love’s first kiss
will find something amiss
as their hope, love, and laughter
meet life’s ever-after.

Ken Gosse__

'Oumua, Oh My! A Cigar in the Sky

Way back in 1959,
we learned the secret of “Plan 9
from Outer Space,” Ed Wood's famed treat,
was aliens would soon defeat
all humankind upon the Earth
as zombies, transformed by unbirth,
would scare us into deep submission
to the fiendish imposition
of their livelihood o’er ours
by using superhuman powers.

The Chief of Saucer Operations
took an oath to not tell Nations
of the secrets he had seen,
although, of course, that didn’t mean
not tell his wife, sweet love of life,
invaders soon would cause great strife,
for flying saucers, “cigar shaped,”
meant all our daughters would be raped
by aliens from outer space
who’d soon enslave the human race.

Their plot would fail; no plan to bail
it out to sell a sequel tale.
But now it seems nightmarish dreams,
discovered using science beams,
are showing us they might return
and prove that mankind didn’t learn,
for in October ’seventeen
a giant stogie had been seen—
’Oumuamua asteroid
is plunging toward us through the void.

(Note: NASA image of Asteroid ’Oumuamua
(an artist’s conception by M. Kornmesser)
Also see: NASA Learns More About Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua:

  Ken Gosse__

© Rafael Colón Morales: Torera
Size: approx. 36" x 42" 2009

    © Rafael Colón Morales: Torera:
    Size: approx. 36" x 42" 2009


Whose Word Was It, Anyhow?

He said she said she was shelling sea shells at the Seychelles sea shore, not shilling Seychelles sea shellers selling sea shells door-to-door, furthermore,
she was pickling Peter Piper’s hot pickled peppers, not picking Pete’s unpicked peppers,
so before he said any more (like he did before),
he ranted she recanted what
he first said she said,
when at first
he said

(Note: A reverse Fibonacci format based on syllable
count: 34, 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1)

  Ken Gosse__

The Elves Have Left the Dryer

I feel consoled when I find old
and missing socks to have and hold,
for though a dryer’s tub requires
latches which forbid its lid
from letting undies and like sundries
sneaking out without pro-quid
(which, in English, means “for what”
and not some legal scuttlebutt),
we find, as everybody knows,
when we’re not searching for our clothes,
odd underwear, some here, some there,
without a sign of wear and tear.
These never-mentioned, well-intentioned
under-items long conventioned
for support make no retort
in spite of efforts to extort
the reasons for their missing seasons,
whys or wheres of their affairs;
they make no defense for their absence,
for their presence, not a whence.
And so, should they have disappeared
the while our searching persevered,
assume they found themselves new homes
as toasty comforters for gnomes
whose wiles of styles change with their whims
until they seek from hers and hims
what new attire meets their desire
(and every dryer their next supplier)
then once each new bold fad is old,
returns are ours to find and fold.

  Ken Gosse__


Bartleby from A to Z

no children, he,
when in his youth and fancy free
was laying ’neath a chestnut tree,
his back upon a burl,

when that knot
rubbed such a spot
between his ribs, pained like a shot,
and so he said he’d rather not
though she’d prepared to whirl.

But this poor lass
would take no sass
(for she had stones of solid brass),
and kicked him in his sassafras
so hard, it made him hurl,

and so said he,
“That’s not for me—
a bachelor for eternity!
A scrivener’s what I’m meant to be.”
A churl without a girl.

But then this fellow,
turning mellow,
all bravado paling yellow,
facing fate with spine of jello
saw he’d lost his pearl.

He was hired,
but soon fired;
in his grief employers mired.
All alone, no children sired,
he heard pipers’ skirl.

In his hell,
a private cell
where no one came—none knew him well—
a tragic death to him befell,
his lonely mind aswirl.

Note: Based, in part, on Herman Melvilles 1853 short story
“Bartleby, the Scrivener”

  Ken Gosse__