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Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Days

Sharpened bayonets did not glint in the sun that day
As the sun hid behind condescending clouds
Keeping its warm rays to itself
Wanting no part of things such as these

Dirt caked rifles sported specks of rust
Despite cleaning twice a day
The rain that had hung unfallen in the air for months
Worked its way into every nook cranny and metal grain
Expanding everything
Making for ill fitting comfort
The wood handles and stocks
Dirty underwear and socks

A cry went up suddenly from down the line
But it was cut short mid-yell
And the message was clear

The enemy had infiltrated us

Lips curled beneath a once-waxed roaring mustache
The Sergeant's voice gave order with a mouse's squeak
"To Bunker Sixteen! Go!"

And he was up and out of the hole that passed for a trench these days
Pounding the mud with boots the same color as his uniform
Which was the same color as the mud
And it all matched the sky
Grey invaded our very souls as we followed him in a killing frenzy

The Hun ran next to the Brit
Not much to tell the one from the other
Except that each was trying to kill the other

Now multiply that by a thousand
With cracks of metal upon wood
An occasional gunfire shot
And the sound of boots in the muck
Pounding like angry winemakers upon the worst of grapes
The ones that deserve angry stomps to wring out their best
Leaving nothing but limp skins and seeds behind in flattened fruit meat

Bunker sixteen loomed large and near
Less than half of us left now
Still fighting and full of fear
There was no enemy or us anymore
Just a goal and people in our way

Hands on the prize at last
First Lieutenant Brandt turns
Showing a smile that is missing two more teeth than last time through split lips


Almost invisible puppeteer's wires pull up to the heavens
Taking our weapons and uniforms with them
Replaced by clean civilian clothing
Our skin scrubbed of that mud at last
As that memory becomes more of a dream than anything else

Harold Brandt's fingertips slowly left the box of the last flat screen television in the store
His bloody smile with not quite enough teeth returned to a grimace
The final lunge to the prize reversing in midair
As we all retreated from the prize at the end of aisle sixteen
All assholes and elbows in negative motion
My own fist flies away from a teenager's face
His hands going away from me
As I fall back up to my running position

Back to the front of the store we went
Mad jackals the lot of us
Whooping in unintelligible earsplitting noise
Sale flyers fluttering madly in hand
The fallen shoppers being untrampled as we went
A woman got unpunched in the ribs and started smiling again
Resuming her earlier optimism that she might get a cheap video game system for her son

An infant flew through the air feet first
Back to her mother's arms
Away from the soft bedding pile in which she had ended up
Until the fear left her little face
And mom clutched her closely
Assured that she could never be tripped up and drop her precious little girl

Back past the pile of doorbusters
Those same items that had claimed the unwary on the way through the first time
Tiny tin toys unexploding from boxes that came back together as they were unstepped on
With an  uncanny valley crying
The latest Peeing Peggy dolls cried like little foreign babes
Cries going in opposite pitch from what they should

Until we were all back through the doorways
Glass panels swinging closed upon us
A security guard yelled out that it was almost time
Hands and faces pressing against thick glass
Watching phones and wall clocks
Counting back from 6am
Noses pressed distended against glass
Snotting things up in steamy suspense
Wet slushy snow all around

All the frightened pigs in the early winter cold
Greeding for shiny things glittering in the grey of the predawn
Awaiting the start of yet another Black Friday

Gypsum 4 Sale

I've got Gypsum!
With a capital "G"!
And that rhymes with Brie, and that's a kind of cheese!
Oh I've got Gypsum!
With a capital "G"!
And that rhymes with Knee, and that's how high my mile wide pile should be!
I'm up to my knees in gypsum, friends!

So come on down to Fritzy's Gypsum Emporium
Where we specialize in Alabaster grade high quality stock
No limit on the amounts available for the right price
(Lead time dictated on length of time needed to reopen the mines)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Unwilling Thanksgiving Unturkey

The tofurkey ran
Chased by a fat man holding a fork
Upon wobbly boneless legs it flew
Barely touching the ground in haste

Until at a crossroads it found itself
With no head nor brain to suss a direction out
It lingered and wavered
Over which fork to take

Until the fat man pierced the place where it's heart should be
Were it a real turkey

With a cry from oil-shiny sweet potatoed lips
"You'll take MY fork, or none at all!"

It was with defeated tofu sweat tears that it succumbed
With dreams undreamed and wishes unyearned
And a quiet declaration of purpose at last:
"If I cannot get away, I hope to at least give him heartburn"

Dated Colours And Creeds

Orange shag clashed with avocado green
Fighting with sharpened colour wheels
Sharpest ones I've ever seen
It was a crayola gangland clash
A DuPont sponsored vivid life colorized
One to one scale declaration of "Hulk Smash!"

All the seventies colors
Ganged up on all the eighties style
Till the nineties cranked up the flannel grunge
Beating them to the new millennium by a country mile

Numerically it had to happen that way
And mathematically it absolutely fits
But when I proposed this logical structure
I found that Professor Chaos didn't give two shits

Her inbox was full of Gamergate
Her comment thread full of hate
Shirtgate made her light my 1950's martini on fire
She knew all along I'd been a liar

My face turned to a shade of brick red
Before melting before that heated gaze
Running off in liquid wax form
To conform to new surroundings in any of a thousand ways

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Other Big Dreams I Forgot To Tell You About

When I'm a hippo ballerina my tutu is so tight
A hippo wearing stretched pink nylon
When balanced upon toes such a frightening sight

Position one is pretty easy
And so is number two
But when I go for four
Let's see
Falling down is just about right

Getting up again as all good ballerinas do
I can't help feeling oddly constricted somewhere
But the next vertical extension of short hippo leg
Produces the soft sound of a tear
With instant relief as my curly grey tail now flutters freely in the air 

Now for practicing some bounds across this old wooden floor
This hippo has to do several in the middle of the show
I sure hope the builders reinforced it well
Wish me luck here i go!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Random Rhyme Generator

I fed the beast as it was needed
Shoveling in wood and coal
For the burning and the churning
The pistons sliding and flywheels flying

As it worked up a sweat
Raising the temperature in the room
To the point of unbearable doom
Until the thermometer popped wide open
Spilling its silvered soul upon the coal
Forming a mad abridged carbon-quicksilver hybrid

But the shoveler kept right on shoveling
Stoking the fuel and scraping the coke
Spreading the heat evenly
As every corner should experience the hell equally

Still the machine turned wheels gears and belts
Running to and fro from spindle to shaft
Turning machinery far away
For purposes known only to itself

My shift wasn't done but we ran out of coal
With both wood and fresh trees turned to ash
I started feeding the machine the walls of the building
Ragged wooden planks filled with nails
Concrete block with both red and brown brick
Tossing as fast as I could into the now cherry red lipped maw
That cried out for more to burn

More to incinerate into mechanical energy
The kinetics of which were abstract to me
With forces arcane and strong
Pushing pulling turning whirring
Doing everything except staying at rest

The mouth of the machine ate  everything in sight
The leather belts reaching to the rafters
The steel wheels and shafts sitting in their bearings
Even other machines fed the ravenous appetite

Until finally everything was torn down and burned away
With nothing but the machine upon a barren plain
A fireman standing near and no fuel which to toss
Filled with dread that the next thing to burn would be me

Feeling at a loss, I said so clearly
Voice held high though it cracked and it cursed
Which supplied a solution as unlikely as any
As my words tumbled into the flames
Raising them higher
Pushing the temperature close to the red
Straining the steel wrapping the boiler
Steam whistling out all the relief valves from which it bled

I was no fool and decided to continue right on talking
Supplying the fuel for the hungry machine
Power for the monotonous nonstop motion
Work clearly being done but no product to show

As words tumbled off my lips I felt I must be shrinking
Even as the machine seemed to be growing
Expanding in every dimension
While I felt minuscule past mention

An hour a day and one hundred years passed in a blink
Every story I knew contributed to make heat
When without any warning a red light lit up upon an unopened port
My eyes grew wide as the metal door slide open wide
Revealing the result of the destruction we had wrought
I reached my last reach for the thing sitting within
The speck that was left of me disappearing in a shrink and a wink

An almost audible sound that was almost heard
By the beast of a machine sighing to a stop at last
All fuel expended for the task now ended
A many layered thing created for the last time

It was a book, a book, a mighty book!

A tome for all the ages with none left to read it
All leather and gilt spelled out with guilt
A bed time story to lull brats and bastards to sleep
A string of words that must now last for all times
Put together in flames, desperation, and madness
This hot steaming Book of Random Rhymes

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Leaving of Vladlina From Venus

She ran far away
From fields of gold
A mortgaged satellite
All other worlds were sold
Looking so far into the past
So as not to duplicate
That the future was last
And the present
Was just one more date

Vladlina rode the shimmering ribbon into the clouds
Never to return again
At least not in quite the same way

Leaving behind the sweltering humid heat of the Venusian jungle swamps
For the conditioned dry air that is the only kind you can usually get in space
Unless you're unlucky and get the kind that is contaminated
By odors most foul
The smell of burning wiring
Rubber seals smoldering
Hot metal outgassing

Worse still will be the smell of desperation and fear
That leaks past everyone's psyche just a tiny bit
When encountering the endless black of space
Much emptier than our eyes led us to believe
While safe and gripping our home planet's grass with our monkey toes

Fighting the centripetal force to hang on to our homes
Yet knowing that it won't last
Finally letting go and floating up
To tickle the strands of curiosity with long nimble fingers

That tendency that seems to always get us in trouble
A consistent constant in an ever changing universe

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Electric blue feathers ruffled lightly in the breeze as one dark eye
And then the other
Blinked and tracked the small silver fish just below the surface of the slow moving water
Which were vivid in stark contrast to the black sand making up the stream  bed

With clawed feet moving slowly moving about
Clenching to grip the narrow branch dotted with green spring buds that was the Kingfisher's hunting platform this morning
Small prehistoric legs flexed slightly getting ready to launch outwards from the branch
In a gravity assisted dive to a specific fish which looked especially tasty

However all previous plans were dashed upon the rocks as a man came into view walking along the water's edge

If this man had been wearing a convention name tag
It would have said "Hello, My Name Is: William Gregor"
Which meant that if we could zoom upwards in the sky
To view the Google Earth labels
Then this portion of the world would be labeled as CORNWALL
Which in turn would reveal itself upon further turns of the scroll wheel to be a part of Great Britian

These facts lead us back to that black sand in the stream bed
Which turned out to be common iron oxide
While some less obvious white colored particles in the same area
Well that turned into the discovery of the element called Titanium (Ti)

Unfortunately, another man named Kraprock, or some such
Also discovered the element only months later
Which is mostly only important because he decided to name it after the Titans of Greek mythology
Thereby robbing William of one of the great pleasures of discovering something
Which is to name it

In a semi-direct way this leads us to CP Industries
Founded in 1953 and riding the post-war optimism in America
And with the help of some repatriated German science
The founders set out to define the Titanium industry
Soon dominating the field to such an extent that their restriction of expansion was written into certain prominent trade treaties of the 1960's

By the company's centennial
Vintage and retro themes had been the fashion for more than three decades already
Allowing the older firms to flaunt their longevity with vintage labels and commemorative signs all around various corporate headquarters

And so it was that CP Industries decided to expand their initials back to their full name of Creed Parish Industries
A long ago nod to the long ago Vicar of Creed Parish, in Cornwall
Who discovered the mineral that would found their company
But wouldn't be able to name it

But on the high end fastener lines
The abbreviation was still in use
Mostly for the simple reason of space

As there isn't exactly much space on the top surface of the head of a 7 mm fastener

And the machines were humming night and day
Working on the largest aerospace contract in living memory
Sending row upon row of fasteners spitting out of the industrial robotic lathes
After they turned down the titanium alloy rod stock
Forming the tension head and fat shear shank design
Tapering at the 165 mm mark slightly for the threaded portion transition

Shooting out of the machine like a long projectile
Caught deftly six meters away by rubberized mechanical hands
To be placed in the marking machine jig
Which always started the part number marking sequence with the companies initials
Followed by the type of fastener
Which in this case is the Tension Shear variety
Then the diameter combined with the surface coating code
A very special coating to be put on these particular ones
As it was designed to both protect and lubricate the metal
Called Zephrom Pearlite
Another Creed Parish Industries exclusive patent
And it all ended with the grip length of the fastener

Altogether those code groups connected by dashes formed the unique part number for these bolts

Bolts having been ordered up by the Weightless Assembly Co
The largest contractor on the assembly team for the project
Then created at Creed Parish Industries to spec
Packaged in vacuum containers
Shipped to the Chimborazo Catapult Complex in Ecuador
Launched to the working orbit of Unit 52.5
To  land finally in protective gloved hand
Inserted into perfectly prepped hole
Through outer meteor shield, insulation, hull alloy, infrastructure tab, and attach rib
Torqued down with a silver plated locking nut

Just another pinch point in the assembly
Forever known only by part number


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sonnet Will Sing For Supper

My sonnet doesn't sing to me anymore
Afflicted as it is by conditions sadly dire
The pope took off its lips
Vocal chords stolen by the choir

I offered it prosthetics
Of titanium and carbon fiber
But it declined most graciously
Though silently as it were

And there it sat for seven moons turn
Until it arose as the Phoenix
Bathed in ashes smoke and fire
At least that's what it thought as it sat up a quarter past six

Being so early
No one saw the conditions of resurrection
So we just nod and take its word for it
Annoyed and shrinking our eyes from the rising sun

Tis true that this sonnet could sing once again
But I'd put the clause 'after a fashion'
As a follow up to the broad statement of song
For it was only the miracle of auto tune that brought about such a resuscitation 

So all of us applaud politely every time Sonnet sings
Because we know darned well things could be worse

Everyone saw the melodic haiku waiting in the wings

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dirigible Safety Card

Sailing through the air with silver skin
All cotton fabric doped with powdered aluminum
Proceeding at a leisurely pace to take it all in
There's no hurry
There's no haste
It's all about the ride
Come for a fly now don't you wait

But first lets read these pretty safety cards

No don't strike that match Jack!
Don't smoke that cigar
Don't play with your steel and flint
Keep away from those hydrogen bags!
There's a life preserver under every wicker seat
With a life raft in a cedar chest both fore and aft

We may go down gently
Or we may really not
But if your legs are not broken by the landing
Make your way to one of the exit doors
They're not well marked so good luck to you chaps
It's women and children first in this evacuation tango
So toss out your women then jump into their laps!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sir Muttonhead of the Wintry Fall

The cold came early this year
It overstayed its welcome last year past
Freezing all the lakes over
Fish holding their breath to the last gasp

This isn't what was wanted
It won't do at all
So a warrior donned his dull armor
And ordered this new winter to turn back to fall

Of course it didn't listen
As seasons tend to not
But the armor isn't the only thing that's dull
About this unmounted clanking knight errant

There was no other path
Than to challenge the chill to a bout
The loser of which would change
The most basic thing they were about

"I call thee out!!"
Came the slightly muffled call
Sounding as if projecting from a sewer pipe

In answer the weather produced a small squall

Sounding the charge our knight drew his sword
Clattering the scabbard as he tripped and staggered
Crashing to his knees with the sound of a cymbal
This hero was certainly not nimble

But now with his dander up he charged to the wind
Slashing and hacking though a target was lacking
Never stopping for bothersome details of logic
This palidin only slowed down eventually to be sick

With a wretch and wrench of muscles contracting
He threw his armor off in a supersonic explosion
With expletives flying most un-knightly like
All the steel was surrendered to nature's slow corrosion

And that's where you can still find him
Our once gallant gentleman of chain and plate
Now a simple coward in homespun cloth
Tending potatoes upon a borrowed estate