Picture of a fist waving scowling nun

Last Chance
James J. Roberts

Begin your days

and end your nights

of doing wrongs

and doing rights

only to find

disparate throngs

hurt by your rights

helped by your wrongs!

All's inside out

and upside down

from what you planned

in this unhappy

mixed-up land

where, in the end,

foe is friend

and we must face

that in this time

and in this place

there's nothing more

than "Last Chance - Grace".



End Times
James J. Roberts

Alchemies of Time
wind us in knots
of racing clocks
to find ways to do
what we can not
before our time
plays out
and we lay down
on our cots.

So, why not stop
and defy the thing?
Just STOP -- and -- SIT
and then...watch IT!
Watch it
race It-self
to death
as we...we...
just wait it out.

Evilution (sic)
James J. Roberts

There is, I find,
in the matrix of the monkey mind,
a proof divine
that Man is not so much ahead
as he is behind.
So let's to-war again
to prove my rhyme.

Christmas Poetry
from the
Paris Hilton

James J. Roberts

(Comprised in response to reader bet that one couldn't write a poem using today's (12/13/05) top 20 search engine entry terms which were: google, poetry, paris, hilton, christmas, ebay, jessica simpson, funny joke, yahoo, games cheat, eminem,richard pryor, radio stations, playstation 2 cheats, dogs, carmen electra, girls, games, play games, myspace, pamela anderson)

Most who Google know quite well
that the Paris Hilton's the hotel
where Paris Hilton stays to play
every Christmas Eve and Day
with Eminem
and little Pammy Anderson
and dear-dead Richard Pryor
...of course...
who, by the way,
this very day
on eBay did acquire
Ms. Jessica Simpson's
sad old squire
to restore
the mourning threesome
to a four.

But Dickey Pryor's postmortem buy
raised luscious Carmen Electra's ire
who had her cute covetous eyes
cast firmly on the prize
of being the new number four.
So, when told of Pryor's surprise,
she cried and cried and felt cuckolded
and all her pack of dogs she sold-ed
for sandwich meats and hides for gold.
With these ill-got proceeds
she bought three radio stations complete
with all new playstation 2 cheats.
(Girls who play games cheat?)


"My space and head are a such mess,"
jealous Carmen said...and then confessed,
"but at least that Pryor's dead, that Yahoo, is at rest!
He was such a boring beast,
such a lousy little creepy pest
especially when Pamela undressed
and Eminem jumped on her chest!
Which is when poor Paris undressed
and tried to do her level best
to keep old Pryor off of them
...and on top of her instead.

"Christmas is no fun this year
all alone in bed,"
Ms. Electra reminisced,
"Oh, how I wish I were the squire
instead of me instead!
But at least I'm better off than Pryor
after all...that Yahoo's dead,
he's "toes up", he's "croaked",
but he's screwed me from the beyond
the grave, the dope,
and it's not a funny joke."

(...and this is not a good poem, either, but it DOES use all the search terms and is the first of its kind in human history to document 12/13/2005 in this tragic fashion - JR)


Divine Guidance
James J. Roberts

In the great game of Life, God randomly deals rotten cards from the bottom of the deck. It's true: God cheats at cards. You might as well accept it, and the fact that you are never - ever - going to "win" in the great game of life until S/He feels like letting you. Face it. Get used to it.  It's the way it is.

Complaining about this state of affairs makes as much sense as complaining that Alaska is chilly in January. Plus, complainers get on His/Her Excellency’s nerves, which, as you might guess, is less than a good idea, particularly if you are in line for more cards. So, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll quit whining, suck it up, and get on with things. God likes that.

The question to ask about God's less-than-gentlemanly proclivity toward cheating at cards is, "Why deal perfectly helpless, weak, essentially stupid creatures horrifically lousy cards at the very times they least expect or least can cope with them?

Learned theologians ("Guessers" as God likes to call them.) write a great deal about this, much to God's chagrin and occasional entertainment. Guessers, you see, tie themselves in great Gordian knots trying to find an "out" for His/Her Divine double dealing when it comes to scraping bad cards from the bottom of the deck and landing them squarely on the heads of helpless weary twits like we humans. In a bid to get God out of hot water over this, some old-time Guessers invented a second God.

They called this second god "The Devil". His job, in their scheme of things, was to take the blame for for everything that the first God did wrong...like dealing out bad cards rattle off our humanity's heads like hail. The only flaw was that these long-bearded old-timer Guessers studiously avoided mentioning just Who they thought had created this dastardly depressing double-dealing second god in the first place! They kept their heads in the sand on this and their hind ends in the air like ostriches pretending to be bottom feeding ducks. This odd posture tended to cause some people to discount the validity of their theological theoretics.

This wouldn't do, of course, so other Guessers jumped forward to fill the theological void. These new Guessers were important. After their names, most had Ph.D.s, which God knows stands for "Piled higher and Deeper". These New Guessers quickly deemed the Old Guessers guesses about God "poppycock". In fact, they vehemently and loudly insisted it was poppycock -- even though they and everyone else had not the foggiest notion of just what "poppycock" was, where it came from or went, or who made it. Interesting as the genesis of the term "poppycock" may be, let us leave exploration of it for another discussion at another time.

For now, the point is, these important Ph.D. Guessers decided that the peculiar penchant of the Divine to make us miserable by playing a crooked game of cards was actually of lovingly kind and wonderfully good and Godly thing to do.

They figured it this way: Whatever was educational was "good". They had a point...to a point...but met themselves coming back when they couldn’t make a particle of logical sense out of their own apologetics for the Great One's nasty habit of whacking the down trodden left and right with a deuce of diamond when they most needed an ace of hearts. To the New Guessers' way of thinking, even taking a thought-provoking swig out of a bottle of "cyanide" was a "good" thing, because, after one did so, one quickly learned something: the unforgettably valuable educational lesson that cyanide has less than salutary effect on the human digestive system...and every other human system as well.

To camouflage their logic lapse, this group of Ph.D'd Guessers lathered on words to their theory of God until they were thicker than fleas on an alley cat. They whipped up multi-syllabic tongue twisters of words that were so dusty, rusty, and obtuse that even they didn’t understand what they meant. Once they got the descriptive language of their theology so obfuscated that even they didn't understand what it meant, they sagely nodded in mutual agreement and self congratulation and decided that they had indeed found the "answer" to how a good God could do such Bad things to such weak creatures who already were cowering under too heavy burdens.

These Ph'D.ers formed clubs and clubbed everyone who thought other than they did about the nature of God until these undesirable thinkers gave up their wits in exhausted submission. Submission was deemed "good" by the clubbers.  Their more capable speakers roused unthinking masses into vitriolic frenzies of feeling against those who held contrary thoughts about the nature and purposes of God and who saw Divine windows of meaning hidden even in entangled subatomic particles that danced to tunes no one yet could hear.

Even God had to shake His/Her Head at times to clear It of the clubbers' theological fog. Once or twice, just to be polite, S/He uttered a noncommittal "Uhhh..." about their work. Or it might just have been Divine indigestion...a Beneficent burp, if you will. Still, this small sound, this tiny kindness of recognition of their existence, led the lead-Guessers invariably to believe they had received a Divine endorsement of their treatises (guessworks).

This invariably sent many of them pirouetting off to found new religions around this or that quirky idea; some banned all sexual relations amongst their followers and became extinct.  Others launched crusades, lopping off heads of "unbelievers", claiming this was good for them, because, as the loppers saw it, the loppees would learn something from being lopped, which of course they did -- for a second or so.

Others raced off to teach the missionary position to naked African chaps, who occasionally ate their "teachers", but not nearly enough of them.  Still others formed religions based on the idea that death was man's imperfect perception of what God created and they planned to see things the right way which.  They died anyway.

This entire spectacle was all pretty odd, because God Himself, if the Guessers had bothered to ask, would have been the first to tell them, nose to nose, that there are no complicated theological reasons or inscrutably complex explanations for things or for His/Her proclivity toward cheating at cards, killing off humans by the billions, and basically just stirring things up so as to turn human lives upside down in the flick of a squirrel's tail.

"There are," S/He would have informed them, "No great conundrums of subtle spiritual interces clouded in three dimensional, infinite and unfathomable matrices of moral turpitudes and spiritual feedback loops that mere mortals can never hope to comprehend behind My Divine card sharking."

(con'd. top of next column >>>)

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S/He’d offer them no, "It's-for-your-own-good" explanation and no "I-do-it-so-you-can-learn" apologies.

S/He’d offer no bald faced lies about His/Her being a strictly "hands off" kind of God when it comes to worldly affairs.

"None of that," S/He'd say, "has a gnat’s knickers worth of anything to do with why I indiscriminately double deal you rotten cards now and then."

"No, sir," S/He'd unabashedly confess, if only  asked, "The reason I cheat at cards is mud-fence simple: Because it’s fun!  It makes life interesting: Mine and yours. It perks things up for everybody! It scares the happy and healthy half to death and makes the wisest of 'em appreciate their lot all the more and, as a bonus, makes 'em feel guilty 'cause they have it so good.  I like guilt. Guilt is good.

"A little squirming," S/He'd say, "is good for the souls, especially the souls of the fat, happy, and warm. As for the miserable and poor. A bad card now and then makes them pray better, pray it won't get any worse, and pray in thanksgiving that things are as good as they are!  I like that.  And, at the same time, it has the added advantage of getting the "have nots" to envy the "haves".  A little envy invigorates the soul, gets people's blood moving, stirs up the juices, and makes 'em wanna "win".

"Meanwhile, dropping bad cards on the poor also makes the non-guiltified rich either want even more riches,  because seeing the poor get walloped gets 'em figuring they'll wind up drawing bad cards sooner or later, too, so they better stock up all the more on houses, cars, stocks, bonds, gold, silver, diamonds and edibles. (Don't ask.  I invented humans and even I don't understand them.  In the end, I kill them all and they know it, but they still think they can avoid it by piling up "stuff" to ward off the inevitable.  Go figure.).

"Plus, a bad card at the perfectly wrong time has the added advantage of  making the poor want to either die or strangle the the well-off, who pretty much don't have a clue poverty or real struggle.

"So, as you can see, it all works out pretty well, because, without bad cards, life would be boring as oatmeal for everybody - rich and poor alike. So, by Shakespeare! I deal bad cards because it's fun, because it livens things up, makes things interesting. Makes life a great game of give and take...a great PLAY! Something worth living and watching...worth taking a part in!

"Whether you get good cards or bad, admit it, bad cards make life not boring. Hell is boring... who wants that?"

So, dear reader,  there you have it, straight from the lips of God to your ears; an answer aimed at the crux of the Great Conundrum: God deals a deuce when people most desperately need an ace for only one reason; because S/He is bored blind with predictability and is trying to spare us the same fate! Face it, peace and quite is duller than dirt.  Life without "evildoers" is as boring as Corn Flakes for dessert every day.

There is nothing more boring in all infinity than folks living happy, loving, peaceful, contented, productive, respectful lives. God knows! Think about it! What could be worse than an infinity of
having nothing to do but watch a world full of calm, happy people getting along?

No sir, God wants action, excitement, pathos, and drama!  So do we.  If we didn't there'd be no television networks, no movies, no theater, no kill 'em/shoot 'em up action games.  Nada.  Nothing.

For action, S/He needs to deal from the bottom of the deck now and then to benevolently hit us with cards of pillaging, pilfering, plundering, plagues, illness, fear, crisis, cussing, killing, lying, maiming, stealing, starving, greed, war, and a healthy batch of sexual chaos to spice things up. Even then things can get dull.

And as we all know, that is precisely why God eventually HAD to connive ways to bring about mankind's (or man-unkind's) invention of nuclear weapons, biological warfare, torture, and chemical disasters, not to mention fun things like cancer, AIDS, malaria, Alzheimers Disease, earthquakes, STD's, hurricanes, tornadoes, global warming, and random asteroid collisions with earth. God, after all,  likes to paint with a big brush and full pallet.

Peace, quiet, goodness, kindness, patience, loving tenderness, and health, you will admit, are more dreary than rain in November unless offset by a field of opposites.  WIthout them, how can know which state we're in; good or bad?  After all, what's black without white?  Unless we know one, we can't fully know the other.  Infinity without mortalitiy?  Peace without war?  Love without hate?  Passion without apathy?  Heaven without...well, you get the idea.  Could anything be less stimulating than a one-side world?

To save us all from that Him/Herself does the only decent thing: cheats at cards to spice up the game.

Wouldn't you?

(To be continued...)

(Mr. Roberts, a member of the League of American Poets, is published in numerous print and electronic publications and is a frequent radio and television guest.  His poetry also appears in the soon to be released,  "Treasury of American Poetry - III", ISBN: 0-9743429-8-X.)

The author may be reached by agents or readers at:

 Write to James J, Roberts





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