Brainstorm of an Ishmaelite


The Pen and the Sword

The Pen and the Sword
once argued who’s better:
the skewer of hearts
or the spellbinding letter.

“Cold steel,
do you not feel
that the blood of Man’s wasted
by your blade?” the Pen said.

“I kill
at will and I take.
None can mend
That which I can break!” the Sword said.

“What then?” answered the Pen,
“You’ve no mind and no memory.
With words, I raise up an army
and rule a society!

“What’s more, my power is such
you might say I’m a deity.
For I show them a way
that they’d kill and they’d die for me!

Which then’s
the greater art:
Win or skewer
 Man’s heart?

Thus the Sword
was by the Pen confuted.
Never again
the Sword and Pen disputed.

The Daisy and the Daffodil

To the Daisy said the Daffodil:
“I’m rare and fair, and prettier still.”
My face, like sunshine lures
the gaudy insects to my stamen.
A pitiable fate is hers
who lacks allures,” the flower gloated.

“You’re rare and fair,” the Daisy noted,
“But you misconstrue the fauna’s motive
and the reason you are few.
They come not to empower you,
but rather to deflower you.”

And when you’re lonely, no one cares.
You’re first to pick and first to pluck;
I’d niggard luck
if I were you.

But I am not,
—and grace the thought!—
As rare, as fair, or quite as shrill
That’s why my kind is common still.”

Warm-Blooded Reptile

Cold-blooded reptile, once warm-blooded (lie!).
No, I won’t be moved by the tears of a crocodile.
Warm-blooded reptile, once cold-blooded (lie!).
No, I won’t be moved by the veil of a smile.

Don’t ever trust the lies of a reptile
or fall for the tears or the smile of a crocodile.
Pay no heed to the cries of a reptile
though you feed in its mouth for a while.

Warm-blooded animal, know your enemy.
Cold-blooded animal, it’s all natural.

Bird of the sky, to your destiny fly;
don’t dally in the valley where the bones pile high.
Not a seraph in heaven will for you a cry;
you’ve no perch where the jagged jaws invite you to die.

So, don’t ever trust the lies of a reptile.
There’s no such thing as a warm-blooded reptile.


Blastula: we’re equal here
I fear the worst to come.
Hark! Whispers rise from budding ‘I’s:
“A kingdom let’s become.”

“And who could fail appreciate
the temple we create?”
“But wait, see how they separate
to castes of red and gray.”

“What good is red?” the gray ones say,
“They’d fain serve any lord!”
“What good is gray?” the red ones say,
“Our blood is all they hoard!”

And rose a cry.
(The sleeper wakes.)
“The kingdom, lie!”
(The temple quakes.)

And not a further word was said.
And on the morrow, to their dread—
They found it crippled, old,
and dead.

Three Hungry Rats

Three hungry rats
went different ways
to find the cheese
inside a maze.

The hasty rat
he dashed by bread
to win the cheese
and starved instead.

The cunning rat
he stole a shelf
devoured it
then ate himself.

The cautious rat
he sniffed his way
to crumbs enough
to last a day.

The end.

The Dreamer and the Sage

Great, great, great . . .
Wouldn’t it be great?
If, by a turn of fate,
I should be a king,
I should wear a crown,
order all the town!

Didn’t you know?
That a sword hangs
on a horsehair thread
over every king’s head?

Great, great, great . . .
Wouldn’t it be great?

If, by a turn of fate,
I should be a prophet
with a rod
speaking words of God?

Didn’t you know?
Fools humiliate
even prophets great
on the cross and the silver plate?

Great, great, great . . .

Wouldn’t it be great?
If, by a turn of fate,
I should be so rich,

I could not less care,
I could buy the world
and the ladies fair!

Didn’t you know?
All the wisdom, wealth
all the joy and health,
like the moon tides go?

Great, great, great . . .
What then is great?

If any fate
at every it turn seems
becomes empty dreams
and each pleasure
measures pain?

Great, great, great . . .
It would be great
if you could just accept your fate.

The Camel and the Ass

A parched ass once saw water’s gleam
in a desert valley like a dream:
“Asses, fellows,
there’s a stream!”

“My word, it makes the asses herd!
“Methinks I see some water too:
“Come camels!
“We’ll be first thereto.”

So came they face to face at the selfsame place
without a trace of water.
Still convinced there was a waterhole
each claimed the other drank it all.

So they disputed
till the valley filled
with sweat and tears
and blood they spilled.

The Meaning of Life (Haiku)

Pervertible texts
politicians exploit and
professors hand-wave.

The Secret of Life (Haiku)

Written for BIOL 1012

The twisted ladder
polymerase unravels
the secret of life.