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Las Vegas Tales VIV

Bill DeSelms II
The Newspaper Reporter Prologue: The Business

by Mark Kodama

My first job was the police beat.
That’s where you either sink or swim.
I remember I once covered
A search and rescue launched
for a missing woman and child.

A few days later they found their bodies.
I was so angry
Those incompetents.
I didn’t want my story to end like that.
Dick White said “Kid, don’t take things so personally.”

Last week, a woman had a fight here with her husband.
She took her two small children with her into the desert.
They found her five-year-old boy about five miles from here.
He was dead.
They found her body with the infant a mile away.
Twenty years later, the same story, the same ending.

My next job was at UPI,
Covering Governor Romney in Lansing.
We were always smaller than AP.
After press conferences, we would race to get our stories out.
AP had a reporter.
He drank heavily, but boy could he write.
I dropped him at his house once.
It was in a nice neighborhood.
And his was the only yard unkept.
In his house, he had closets and closets
Full of shoes.
He ran over a kid.
Killed him.

After that he would never
Let his wife out of his house.
Once we were covering a Michigan state football game,
After the game, he stood over me as I was finishing my story.
“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” he said.
His eyes were wide and saliva dripped from his mouth.
His hands began to shake.

After I sent my story, we rushed to the bar.
When we were served our beers, he gulped down his.
Such a look of relief came over his face.
He grabbed the waitress and said “Wow, look at those tits.”
I thought “Boy.” Ten year later there I was.

Once I interviewed Richard Nixon at the airport.
It was after he lost to John Kennedy.
One of Johnson’s men had been caught
In a public bathroom with another man.
When I asked him about it,
He hunched over and began to hunker down.

My biggest scoop was about a scandal
At the National Guard.
After a year, I went to work as a flack.
When I went to see my former friends at UPI,
I learned right away I was no longer one of them.
Wow. I was no longer part of the business.

My life in public relations was a bore
But it paid me better than the business.
I got married and we had a daughter.
But it was the sixties.
You know freedom riders, civil rights
Vietnam and assassinations.
And of course free love.

One time my little daughter Marguerite
Saw me on the television.
She asked me how I got so small.
At that time, the revolution was coming.
Well, it came and went.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I started drinking and fooling around.
One time, Marguerite caught me
In the bedroom with another woman.
I kept telling her “I was not that kind of guy!”
When I was married, my wife would always nag me.

The funny thing is when you are alone its worse:
Nobody cares.
I drank and I drank and then lost my job.
And then I lived on the streets.
Finally I had a heart attack.
As they wheeled me in to surgery,
I prayed to God for another chance.

Well, I gave up drinking and women.
I joined alcoholics anonymous.
I started a garden.
Have you ever planted seeds
And then watch them grow?
If you don’t believe in God,
Raise a garden then decide.

My wife bought me a car and new clothes.
And then I returned to do what I loved best:
Working in the business.
I got a job at the Columbus Dispatch.
And afterwards, came out west.

And now here I am.
I once met a lawyer.
After I wrote a story,
He said I misquoted him.
He then said I made grammatical errors.
So I asked whether he was a literary critic too.

That’s what I like about the business,
We always get the last word.
My poem is about the business,
Freedom of the press,
And the First Amendment,
About the very best
In a great tradition.

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Las Vegas Tales VIII

Bill DeSelms I
The Newspaper Reporter Prologue: The Business

by Mark Kodama


What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If
men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern
men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

James Madison

Two movie houses, one closed, and four restaurants lined Main Street. We pulled
into a restaurant bar called Sauce and Pepper, next to the House of the Seven Lepers, for a soda, quick lunch and gas.

Dylan, a balding portly man, was the barkeep
He claimed four day jobs and to never sleep.
He was a little middle-aged man about yea high.
Sporting an awful sweater and an even worse tie.
He claimed two Ph.Ds and a law degree;
And two rich girlfriends of whom no one ever sees.

The first was a Danish fairy tale heiress
The second, a blond Russian mob princess,
Dylan said: “When her thug husband threatened me
I responded by demanding that he should flee.
I put my finger in his face ‘Do you think I am afraid of you?
I used to wrestle in high school.’

“I told my two lovers: ‘I know I’m worth it but please no strife.
Resolve your differences in a tete a tete.
To decide what part of me each one gets.’”
I said: “‘Sorry for my sangfroid;
But might I suggest a ménage a trois.’
Marriage is not in my DNA, not in my bones
Like my namesake said: ‘I’m a rolling stone.’”

We moved from the bar into the shaded courtyard. There was a small stage in
the corner. The musician set up on the stage and began playing “Norwegian Wood” on his
acoustic guitar.

At a table in the small courtyard, a thin, dapper middle-aged man with a craggy
face and short gray hair sat alone in a booth. He wore a freshly pressed dress shirt with a
frayed collar and old tie. A book was on the table: Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My
Lovely. He ordered “an unsweetened ice tea with a twist of lemon.” He was eating lunch
with a shaggy red-haired photographer with a goat beard named Fred.

We asked him his name. He was Bill DeSelms, a newspaper reporter from the paper, the Desert Dispatch. He said he covered city hall, about a mile away, on the hill,
up the street. In the distance was a massive rail yard.

Bill suggested the tuna melt or perhaps the breakfast burrito. I ordered the tuna
melt with French fries and an ice tea with a twist of lemon.

We asked them to join our small company. They agreed.

My name is Bill DeSelms,
No, I am not the editor,
I am just a reporter,
You know “Jus’ the facts Mam”
That’s me.

Boy, I love the business.
How did I get here?
How did I not get here?
This is California, man.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York.
My mother was French Canadian.
She used to tell me in French:
“I love you, I adore you,
You are all mine.”

Never met my father.
He was a mustang in the Marines Corps.
That’s a Marine who rose through ranks
To become an officer.
He was killed at Iwo Jima
In ’45, trying to take Mount Suribachi.
He is buried at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii.
I am gonna to see him some day.

I joined the Marines myself when I came of age.
Spent my time on search and destroy missions in the Philippines.
Surprised? Yes, we burned villages looking for communists.
You don’t believe me?
Well, as we say in the business,
Never let the facts get in the way
Of a good story.

I was busted down for pulling a knife on a redneck cracker.
He was from Louisiana
He talked like he had shit in his mouth.
When I got out of the Corps,
I got a job at the Cheyenne Eagle.
Dick White was the City Editor.
Dick was also from the Corps.
He used to tell me I was just made for the business.
He also taught me the finer things.
Dick liked literature and things like the Opera.
I used to think that was sissy shit.

But afterwards it made me think
‘Well, maybe there was something to this.’
Dick White was a real man, an educated man.
Once he took me to see Billie Holiday.
I told her, “Hey, you sing pretty good.”
At the time, I did not know who she was.

When I first worked for the Eagle,
I had to write an obit.
When I misspelled the dead man’s name,
Dick White took me aside.
He said, “Look, people keep these things
In their family Bible.
Besides, you don’t want to lose your job.”

Continue reading this poem, here.

A Stranger II

by Bernice

“If you saw me at a bar—or any place—would you still be interested, and want to talk?”

Yes. I blink slowly. The ceiling doesn’t change. It’s always the same. Always white, with hairline cracks due to old age. I trace the cracks with my eyes, and back again. I frown.


Are you asking? Is the full question, but I don’t bother to finish it. He knows. He almost always understands when I don’t bother to finish my line of thought. Mostly, it annoys him. I’m too spaced-out or scatterbrained is what I think he thinks. He’s never called me either of those though.

“It’s a question whose answer Susanna thinks determines whether your partner is still interested in you.”

I nod slowly, although I don’t know if he’s looking at me. I place my arm over my forehead, shielding my eyes from nothing. The light on the ceiling is too dim to bother me.

“Yes, I would.”

I almost smile to myself, but stop short. What kind of question is that, anyway? With his thick, coarse hair, and almond shaped eyes, who wouldn’t be at least a little interested in him?

I sigh.

“What about you?” I ask quietly.

From the slight increase in pace of my heart, I’m aware that I’m a little nervous about his answer. I’ve changed a lot since we first met a year ago. I gained at least 15 pounds, and just two weeks ago, I chopped my hair off in my quest to go natural. He’d told me a million times before that he prefers long hair. But I wanted to be natural—I didn’t really care.

“Yes, especially with what you were wearing the other day. I think I’d want to talk to you, but would wait to see you again.”

I frown again. His answer is disappointing. All he needed to say was yes. Why did he include everything else? If I was wearing something else, would he not have been as interested? If he never saw me again after that, would he have been okay with it? I wonder if he knows his answer is dissatisfying, and purposefully made it dissatisfying because he’s mad.

He’s always mad. Or it feels like it. He has no patience for word games, or for when I don’t do something he thinks should be done in a certain way. He also hates when I don’t understand something that is evident to him. He’s a jerk in those times. In those times, I don’t understand him. We don’t understand each other.

We joke at times and say that he’s the scientist. I’m the artist. But aren’t artists scientists too? Of the mind, and the heart? I keep that to myself. I know he’d laugh. Or make that expression where he squints his eyes, knots his brow, and presses his lips together in mock confusion. I hate that, but not all the time. Sometimes, it’s cute. When I’m trying to communicate serious thoughts, I hate it. It makes me nervous—he makes me nervous. He doesn’t know that though.

When I’m nervous I don’t make sense, or at least, I think I don’t make sense. The more he makes that expression, the more sense I don’t make.

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Las Vegas Tales VII

The Poetry Contest

by Mark Kodama 

The travelers gathered at the Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles, California. An art movie house, once part of the old MGM Studios across the street, featured The Leopard and Sea Wolf.  A large granite stone statue of Julius Caesar cast its giant shadow over a small greenish copper statue of Thomas á Beckett. St. Thomas, the turbulent priest of Canterbury, open Bible in left hand and right hand raised to the sky, looked out from the center of the square.

Gentle April showers sprinkled the flowers with life giving water and made the water puddles on black asphalt street shine like little looking-glass ponds. The rain stopped and the skies began to clear.  A beam of sunshine broke through the clouds and lit the mitered head of St. Thomas in its bathing light.

The passengers – of all races and creeds in queue — climbed the steps of the bus and then sat down. The driver helped the passengers load their suitcases into the outside baggage compartments underneath the floor of the bus. The engine of the bus rumbled as the smell of burning diesel filled the air.

One passenger carried the Holy Book in one hand and David Hume’s An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding in the other. His t-shirt read Man’s Search for Meaning. A musician furtively peered through his granny eyeglasses and carried his acoustic guitar in a black case. A man in a motor scooter dressed in his green beret dress uniform was lifted by the ramp onto the bus.  

The smiling bus driver greeted each of the thirty-one passengers individually as they boarded the bus. When all were settled, the driver stood up, faced his passengers and doffed his beret. He then addressed each of them in his special way:


“Let our challenges be worthy of who we are.

Let our courage be our North Star.

If we use our gifts in service of others,

We will succeed in all our endeavors.

We must embrace life; not fear it.

No task is too great nor mountain too tall.

Let’s go forth with an optimistic spirit,

With the knowledge that love conquers all.

“The passengers are now on board,

Our Greyhound bus will soon depart.

My friends let us make an accord,

Before our adventure starts.


“Las Vegas is far from LA  

Let’s have a poetry contest,

To amuse us and pass the day,

At end, we will vote for the best.


“Who’s on deck and who’s in the hole?

Come drop a five spot in my hat.

Tell a tale new; tell a tale old.

Take your best swing when you’re at bat.


“Chaucer’s pilgrims told stories too

On their English religious fest,

We can make our poems anew,

On our American capitalist quest.

“I hope I do not sound untoward,

But I cannot resist to say,

The English pilgrims loved the Lord,

We Americans worship pay.


“My good friends call me Christopher,

I will be your good host and guide,

I am your faithful protector,

Under my aegis you will ride.


“Nine muses please inspire us,

To create works of great beauty

Tales to entertain and teach us,

Of virtue, justice, piety.


“Teach us the Nature of Things

What is the true meaning of life?

What does life offer, what does it bring?

Love, hate, courage, peace, strife.   


“I now sing the song I author,

Let the wheel of fortune spin,

God Bless good Geoffery Chaucer,

Let the literary games begin.”   

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A Stranger

by Bernice

“What’s wrong? Why are we like this?”

I stare up at the ceiling blankly. I noticed that’s how all my stares have been like lately. I don’t have the answer he wants and neither does the ceiling. I want to look at him, but something keeps me from doing so. Pride? Hurt? I can’t be sure. Lately, my emotions have been an incoherent ball of mess. I lash out sometimes. Sometimes, I withdraw.

Is it because I’m a stranger, here? It can’t be. I’m used to this place now. Or at least, I think I am. Or maybe not. When I think of the people, and their ignorance of my pain of longing for home, I get—angry. How dare they not understand how it feels to be a stranger in a place that looks nothing like their own? I’m angry, but also confused. How can I be angry at them for never traveling? It makes no sense. Lately, I make no sense. I don’t know why. I wish I could tell him everything—everything I’m thinking, or everything that I think I feel.

Why are we like this? I don’t know, but I have my suspicions. I’m deeply uncomfortable—the most uncomfortable I’ve been in a long time. Everywhere we go, I’m a stranger. How can I be okay, when I’m a stranger? Sometimes, I feel like a stranger to you, too. You feel like a stranger to me too, sometimes. But how can I say this? Everything I say doesn’t come out right. All of these thoughts never form coherent lines of thinking. They’re like my emotions—everywhere.

“I don’t know.” I answer quietly.

I squint at the ceiling, trying my best not to let those hot tears flow down the sides of my face. I know you hate it when I cry. I know you’re frustrated, too. I don’t want to hear that familiar sigh, and turn to see those tired dark eyes.

But I think you notice anyway, despite my best efforts. Sometimes, it’s like you know me so well—as if I’m an extension of you. But, that can’t be true, because then wouldn’t you understand not to ask me such questions?

“That’s all you have to say?” You ask.

I hear it. The annoyance. You know there is a lot going on in my mind, but none of that is escaping my lips. How can it, when it doesn’t make sense?

What do you want me to say? The question clangs around my mind, like some balloon losing its air. It’s disorienting, and frustrating. I can’t think clearly. I can’t feel clearly. Nothing seems right. How can I have no answer? What is it? What has changed? Why do we fight so much?

I’m a stranger.

Before, when I wasn’t a stranger, I thought that I wanted this. If being in a strange land meant that I could be with you, I would happily go. I thought that being together would solve everything. I was unhappy before, but am I happier now? No. I think I’m unhappier, now. I know that you would be hurt if I told you, but it has nothing to do with you. I love you—that hasn’t changed.

But I feel like I’m in a cage. How did I get caged? I thought I was flying, but now I’ve landed. Weren’t you a bird too? Weren’t we flying? When did we land? Why did we land? Isn’t that what changed? We’re meant for the air, baby. We’re not land animals. We need to fly, or we’ll both be unhappy.

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Las Vegas Tales V

Bryan: the Insurance Agent’s Tale
The Happiest Man: I

by Mark Kodama


Once upon a time,

In ancient Lydia, there ruled King Croesus,

A man famed for his riches and power.

Now, Croesus lived in his palace in Sardis,

Renown for its crenulated  towers.

And its shaded verdant mountain bowers.

Lydian gold known throughout antiquity

Was valued for its purity and consistency.


King Croesus swallowed local states and cities,

Overeager to find some flimsy excuse

To add them to his royal menagerie.

He used any kind of pretext or ruse

To subject them to his theft and abuse.

Croesus was like a selfish holiday host

Who carved himself the best part of the roast.


Visitors traveled from near and from far,

To flatter the king perched on his gilded throne

For the ruler seemed an ascendant star

He thought there was nothing he should not own.

None could stop him from his Midian gold.

But Olympian gods on high are jealous

And good luck can make one’s life perilous.


One day, two Greeks came calling to Sardis

Solon the Athenian and Aesop the fabler,

To see King Croesus at his mountain palace.

Solon was one of the seven sages, the lawgiver.

Aesop was a famous storyteller.

The two Greeks asked for an audience

With the famous Lydian King Croesus.


Croesus dressed in the finest clothes he owned,

Mantled in gold crown and Tyrian robe,

Studded with the most rare and precious stones.

And sitting on his ostentatious throne.

Inlaid with gold and polished animal bone.

He displayed to them his vast treasury,

His military – cavalry and infantry.


They met Croesus’s eldest son Atys.

The good crown prince with manners so refined

The spitting image of handsome Adonis,

Ensuring the King Croesus’s royal line.

Croesus’s patron god must be benign.

The king asked Solon the Athenian

“Who is the world’s happiest man?”


Solon thought for a moment and said then:

“I once knew a man in Athens named Tellus.

He had a good life, health and great children.

But what I like best about good Tellus,

Is that his final death was glorious.

He died a hero fighting for Athens,

Much honored by his grateful countrymen.”


This answer annoyed the king to no end,

Since he expected Solon to proclaim,

That he, Croesus, was the happiest man

But he humored wise Solon just the same.

So Croesus asked the Athenian to name

The world’s penultimate happiest man.

So said wise Solon, the Athenian:


“Once upon a time I knew two young men

Their names were good Biton and Cleobis

They were definitely the next happiest men.

The men carried their mom by ox cart in Argos

To the Temple of Hera, queen of the goddesses.

So their mother asked Hera to reward them.

The men fell asleep, never to wake again.”


At this, Croesus became very angry.

“What about me?  These men were commoners.

If you are wise, how can you not judge me

As happy as they or not happier?”

Solon said: “A rich man is not happier

Than men of a more modest variety.

Beware of gods jealous of your prosperity.


People are subject to changing circumstance,

Many rich men have seen their fortunes fade.

Often, the gods give a glimpse of happiness,

Before the unlucky man is betrayed.

Any man can be instantly unmade.

In a moment’s flash a man can lose all

In the most cataclysmic type of fall.


Until a man dies, he is only lucky.

It is not until he is dead and gone,

That we can truly call a man happy.

To call a living man a happy man,

Is like declaring the front-runner

Of a foot race the winner

Before the competition is over.”


At that, King Croesus dismissed the two men,

Annoyed that upon his court they had called,

Finally concluding the sage Solon

Was not really very wise at all.

As the two men left Croesus’s great hall

Aesop told Solon his lion and fox fable,

Of his  stories, one of his most able.


“There was once a lion and a fox

Who hunted as a pair.

Sheep from the shepherd’s flocks

They did share,

Eating their meals in the lion’s lair.

The fox would find their victims,

And the lion would kill them.


“But the lion always got the lion’s share

And the fox ate the rest

And the fox thought this was not fair.

He was tired of being second best

So at his own behest,

He hunted alone

So back to the shepherd’s field he did return.


“He came upon the flock of sheep.

He spied a stray lamb

And at its throat he did leap

Realizing too late it was a trap set by man

And was slain in the scam.

Know your place Solon,” Aesop said.

“With mighty kings much is unsaid.”


“You need to either keep quiet

Or say what they want to hear.

Solon replied: “With mighty kings, you either keep quiet

Or say what they need to hear.”

Part II


Las Vegas Tales VI

Bryan: the Insurance Agent’s Tale II

by Mark Kodama


Now, as said before, Croesus had two sons.

Atys, the eldest son, the crown prince,

Was an offspring second to none

The model of courage and intelligence

Greatness, generosity and eloquence.

His second son, however, was unfit

A deaf mute, a half wit.


Morpheus visited the king in a dream

Warning Atys was to be killed by iron blade.

King Croesus awoke with a start and scream.

After his dream, all iron weapons he forbade

And his son’s position in the army stayed.

He prohibited Atys from hunting game

And sporting contests all the same.


One day, denizens from the mountain of Zeus,

Petitioned the crown prince Atys to engage

To save them from a wild boar on the loose.

No hero could stop the beast in its rage.

Atys promised to end the boar’s rampage.

Atys was by iron spear, accidentally killed

And thus King Croesus’s dream was fulfilled.


Across the desert sand, Cyrus the Great

Was building  his own spear-won empire

It was decided by the hand of fate

That Cyrus and is army should acquire

By siege engine, war horse, sword and fire

The storied cities of the Middle East

Land of Babylon and the caravans east.


Croesus feared for the freedom of his own land.

The king met with his closest advisors

To initiate an action plan

The War Council sent an ambassador

To the Delphic oracle to decipher

What defensive measures they should take

To stop the Persian King, Cyrus the Great.


So the Lydians went to Mount Parnassus

To consult the oracle at Delphi

They inquired if they attacked Cyrus

Would the venture be fated in disaster – would they die?

To which the Priestess did reply,

Uttering in a trance in the great hall:

“A mighty empire will fall.”


So Croesus led his veteran Army,

Across the desert sands to Syria

To meet Cyrus the Great and his Army

At the Cappadocian town of Pteria

The Lydian army was superior.

Croesus had the finest cavalry

And a professional hoplite infantry.


But wily Cyrus knew horses feared camels

So he attacked King Croesus’s horsemen

With his swift moving humped backed animals,

Causing the horses to panic and run.

The cavaliers fought as infantryman

And these brave men were defeated in the fight

And slain in great numbers in their flight.


King Cyrus followed Croesus to Lydia

And besieged King Croesus in Sardis

And captured his capital in 14 days,

By climbing by goat path up the precipice

And impossibly capturing his fortress.

And the unassailable mountain town

Was seized and razed to the ground.


Hapless Croesus was bound to a wood post

And set atop a sacrificial pyre.

King Cyrus said his prisoner would roast

The wood from the pyre was set afire.

Croesus’s circumstances seemed dire

He thought about his misfortune, his dead son,

He cried aloud: “Solon, Solon and Solon.”

Cyrus asked Croesus what was his lament.

When Croesus told Cyrus about Solon

And all that his meeting had meant.

Cyrus the Great’s heart was won.

He ordered the execution undone.

But the fire was now a blaze

And could not be stayed.


So Croesus, in desperation, lifted his eyes to sky

And called to the sun god for deliverance

For his infinite mercy he did apply

To save himself from ignominious deaths,

King Croesus said through parched lips.

“If you ever enjoyed one of my fatted cows,

Then please save me now.”


From nowhere, great nimbus storm clouds appeared

And then rain water began to pour down,
And the seemingly fatal fire cleared.

And now that the fire was drowned,

Cyrus made Croesus adviser to the crown

Croesus’s first advice as first counsel to Cyrus

Was to have his soldiers stop looting Sardis.

Now, that the city belonged to Cyrus

All the possessions of the city were his.


Cyrus the Great in a great battle was slain

By Scythian horsemen on the Russian plain.

A dictator threw Aesop, the fabler and seer,

Off a cliff for telling him what he needed to hear.

Solon returned to Athens where he lived in prosperity

And died peacefully of old age, very happily,

Much admired  by his friends, family and posterity.

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Las Vegas Tales IV

Jennifer Faulle: The Young Woman’s Tale
Legend of Dusty the Racer

by Mark Kodama

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.


Elbows to the ground. Feel the vibration.
I was the rookie racing sensation
My motorbike flies into the turn.
Smell the rubber burn.
The winner’s circle is my destination.
Hear my engine roar; feel the acceleration.
Touch my heart’s palpitation.
I go into my turn,
Elbows to the ground.
See my motorbike’s disintegration.
My dream’s conflagration.
Hear my bones break; see my skin burn.
But I will return.
Know my determination.
I’ll be back. Elbows to the ground.

Bus Driver

Miss Faullé, through no fault of your own,
Your beauty cuts to the bone.
You are every man’s fondest dream,
His repressed fantasy –
And worst nightmare.
Excuse me, if men stop and stare.
You have looks that kill
And a walk that thrills.
When you enter into a room,
Heads turn and grown men swoon.
You are the most beautiful trap,
I’ve ever seen for a start.
You put a spring in a man’s step
And murder in his heart.

The Poet

Every rose has its thorns
But no flower is more beautiful.
Every true love sworn,
Has a single soul.
Limits of my love is yet unborn,

On my heart is its emboss.
So crown my head with your thorns
And let me bear your cross.

Bus Driver

One day my mother bought a cockatiel,
Oh, such immense pride did my brother feel,
He purchased a brass cage that very day
Clipped its wings so the bird could not fly away,
Every day he changed the paper in the cage,
He obtained bird seed by his own wage.
But my brother Matt the bird chose to ignore,
For it was my sister it did adore.

My sister would take the bird on walks,
And they would have frequent talks.
The more the two friends would engage,
The more my brother became enraged.
One day my sister took the bird for a stroll.
She freed it from its string leash I am told.
To her amusement, the bird began to run,
When he took flight, it was no longer fun.
When my brother learned it escaped, he screamed,
The bird was gone so it did seem.

Years later, I met a boy who lived blocks away.
In his room, our cockatiel lived in a cage.
I did not say the bird belonged to my brother.
For now I could see it belonged to another.
Love is like a bird. You must set it free.
If she stays by choice, a good wife she will be.

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Las Vegas III

Jennifer Faulle: The Young Woman’s Prologue
The Gentle Reply

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy Love.

Sir Walter Raleigh:
The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd

by Mark Kodama


Jennifer Faullé: 

Nice Encomium Moriae, but love not yet,

What makes you think I want to be with you;

For me, a man of means is much more true

Maybe in the future with you I will commit,

Right now men of wealth are a better fit,

Do you think your meager income will do?

A vow of poverty I do refuse.

I will take my sweet time and wait a bit,

Until that time, I will remain free

You may linger outside my home

But do not bother my other suitors

That may come calling to woo me

You may wait until I no longer feel alone,

Or please go find a new date at Hooters.


Bus Driver:

Young man, I love romantic sonnets of your sort,

But I even liked better your friend’s gentle retort.

While your mellifluous tongue may gently woo in the dark,

Your lady friend’s words hit closer to the mark.

A boy is in lust with a woman when he dreams

Of her surrender to his many sexual schemes.

A man is in love with a woman to me it seems

When he dreams to make her dreams his dreams.


Jennifer Faullé 

Now hear my tale about Dusty the racer

About his fall and return

Why he is a winner,

What from him we can learn.

Listen to my rondell,

Oh my friends and ah my foes.

Listen to my song; here I go.

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Las Vegas Tales II

Sid Delicious: The Poet’s Tale
Forever and a Day


Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

Christopher Marlowe:
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Mark Kodama

Can I compare my love to a summer’s day?
My darling Jennifer you are much more.
You will be my wife once I have my way.

For your wit, goodness and grace I adore.
Smell the scented perfume in your dark hair,
That floats across the room, filling the air,
And for your round black eyes that dance and shine,

I will walk through fire to make you mine.
I am like grains of sand upon the beach,
You are like the infinite ocean blue
With each greenish blue wave’s white crested reach,
Sweetest darling princess, lovely and true.

Take another part of me
Oh my lovely lady take all of me.
If patience is the purchase price to sway,
Your heart and your love will not be hurried,
I’ll gladly wait forever and a day,
For the night that my love is requited,

I will lay siege to your battlement walls,
And assail your ramparts with my passion,
By gentle wooing bring down its fall,
And thus prove my sincerest devotion.

If then you will not let me in your heart,
I will patiently camp outside your fort,
Come wind, rain and snow, I will never part,
Each morn I will sound love calls on my mort,
On bended knee I will offer my life.
Until the day you are my wedded wife.


Read the next poem in this short series here.