The Most Holy Rituals of a Morning

Gather your sacred chalice, full to the brim with the holy water of your particular faith, and prepare yourself for a review of the sacrosanct traditions that power modern life. We might all worship at different altars, we might all give praise in different ways, we might all observe our rituals at different times, and we might even argue over the proper preparation of the self, but we all participate in the glorious act known as the Morning Routine and I am here to share with you the most holy rituals of my day-to-day.

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Play A Barbarian

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a parody of the song “Madam Librarian” from the musical, “The Music Man.” I came up with it one morning while putting a D&D game together to fill my then-empty Sunday evenings, since I was one confirmation short of a 4-person party. My friend was expressing some hesitance because he didn’t have much free time to dedicate to the game, but didn’t want to just phone it in either. On the spur of the moment, I wrote the sentence “play a barbarian” and heard it in my head to the tune of this song. I followed it up with a couple more lines of a possible parody for my own amusement, but my friend recognized what I was doing and commented on it. So I wrote the whole parody. Which you can now enjoy.

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The Ellipses

Once upon a midday dreary, while I browsed, bored and bleary,
Over many a wikipedia page of unverified lore–
While I drowsed, my head swinging, suddenly my phone was ringing,
It was my favorite band singing, singing about a red door.
“Someone is calling,” I muttered, “ringing like some common bore–
           Who calls someone anymore?”

Oh, so clearly I remember it was in the grey September;
As the warm summer’s dying ember was smothered in a downpour.
Impatiently I had waited for plans my friends had slated
To meet the woman I dated–though she’d have called it more–
A woman I had met at school who called herself Eleanor–
           A name she uses no more.

The always surprisingly loud sound of thunder from the rain clouds
Stilled me–chilled me with a thought I could not possibly ignore;
“What if she wants to change our plans?” And fumbled ringing phone from hands,
Clumsy like they were paper fans, dropped noisily to the floor—
“I hope my phone is not broken like the last one was before.
           That would really be a chore.”

I picked it up and in relief fsaw my phone had not come to grief.
“Hello?” I called out, not realizing I had hit ignore.
“Hello? Is someone there?” I said before learning the line dead.
I pulled it away from my head and saw a name I adore.
The person I had hung up on was my girlfriend Eleanor,
           The person I most cared for.

I began to apologize and completely overemphasize
How sorry I was by texting faster than ever before.
My texts continued unbroken as I offered every token
Until the last word I’d spoken hun unanswered: “Eleanor?”
This I repeated after five empty minutes: “Eleanor?”
           One word only and no more.

Through my house I began pacing as fear set my heart to racing,
Soon I heard a buzzing louder than the ringing was before.
“Surely,” I said,”that is her text. She would not leave me so perplexed.”
“Unless,” I thought, “she’s truly vexed and does not set any store
By my attempts to explain my unintentional ‘ignore.’”
           It was Twitter and nothing more.

In a panic, I checked the time since I had committed my crime
And saw twenty minutes passed since I dropped my phone on the floor;
No reply had graced my phone so I let out a wailing groan
“C’mon, sweetie, throw me a bone! Is that too much to ask for?
It was an accident and I sent apologies galore!”
           Silence answered, nothing more.

Then suddenly a change occurred and all my worries felt absurd.
The ellipses appeared! I had not ruined our loving rapport!
“Thank god” I breathed deeply and said as all my texts were marked as “read.”
“I’m glad I have nothing to dread.” I smiled as I waited for
Whatever angry words or gracious answer she held in store.
           Only periods, nothing more.

Much as I wished for a response to reaffirm my nonchalance,
I knew hasty words little use and even less meaning bore.
For we can certainly agree this moment forbade repartee
Or any glib smartassery that would encourage an encore
Of the petrifying silence that ended moments before.
           I’d be patient a while more.

But the ellipses bouncing there, cheerfully mocking my stare
While I waited for a response from my darling Eleanor,
Refused to change to a bubble of text to absolve the trouble
That made me wish to redouble my apologies once more.
I sat silent, watching and drumming my feet upon the floor.
           Only periods, nothing more.

Unsettled, I leapt to my feet and bid a hasty retreat
To the pacing I had taken comfort in minutes before.
“What is taking her so long to say something simple that would allay
The concern I tried to convey when I said that last ‘Eleanor?’
Could she not see the meaning I put in that last ‘Eleanor?’
           Should I say something more?”

The ellipses still beguiling convinced me to resume smiling
While I made my way back and forth across my living room floor.
There was ample time as of yet before I had cause to regret
That I’d accidentally set my finger on my phone’s ‘ignore.’
Surely she would not stay angry with an accidental ‘ignore?’
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

Thus I paced, engaged in guessing, but no single word expressing,
What was preventing her from sending what words she held in store.
This and more I mulled, divining some trace of a silver lining
While I paced through the confining apartment rooms I could explore,
The apartment rooms she had not yet had a chance to explore.
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

Then, I thought, I felt my phone shake and my heart lurched with hopeful ache,
Push by swelling heart I checked the screen and reached for nearest door.
“Damn it all! Why won’t she text me? Why does she refuse to free me
Of this horrible agony? Why won’t you text me, Eleanor?
Was what I did so bad you no longer love me Eleanor?”
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

“Hit send!” I said. “You’ve typed enough! Just hit send even if it’s rough!
Let me know if all’s still well and if you love me Eleanor.
Sooth my growing anxiety before I flee propriety
And give up my sobriety–message me, please, I implore–
Say there’s nothing to worry about–please, darling Eleanor.”
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

“Hit send!” I said. “You’ve typed enough! Just hit send even if it’s rough!
Just send me anything at all, I can’t take it anymore!
Rip out my heart! Toss it away! Tell me I have led you astray!
Just listen to me when I say I am sorry, Eleanor.
Please just hear what I have to say! I’m so sorry, Eleanor!”
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

“Fine! Let this silence mark the end! There’s nothing left for us to mend
When you hold your words hostage, doing the one thing I abhor
To torture me for some small fault. I will not stand for this assault,
Not when torture is your default–Never more darken my door!
Take your silence with when you go and never darken my door!
           Still ellipses, nothing more.

As if some god laughed at my pain, I felt vibration, clear and plain
While I saw the cursed ellipses vanish forevermore.
Disbelieving, I shook my head and pushed away the rising dread
As I, shocked, read and re-read the reply from my Eleanor.
The reply from darling Eleanor said “Kay” and nothing more.
           That one word and nothing more.

Age 22

Ever since I decided I wanted to do a parody of a Shakespearean Sonnet and wound up making it about the state of my life at 22, I’ve done a “state of my life” poem every year. They’re usually on the more thoughtful side or a way to address the biggest issue in my life at the time and, as a result, fairly thematically different. There’s one from last year that I’m not sure I want to share yet, so I’m going to hold off on that, but I’m going to share one of each of the others every day this week, culminating in the poem I came up with yesterday as my current “state of my life” poem. It’ll be pretty clear which one you’re reading as the titles give it away. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this week of poetry while I get my buffer set up and my writing routine worked out.


When I cannot play Minecraft, in disgrace
I weep for my poor soul’s addicted fate
And my computer, bootless in its place
And looking so sad in its broken state.
Wishing that it were not busted, a hope
Featured in dreams unending, I go on
Desiring to play but yet have to cope
With music videos I’ve come upon.
Yet I, my weakness almost despising,
Haply buy a new computer to play.
Like to a child at Christmas, arising
From my slumber to play Minecraft all day.
I think to myself, “What else should I do?”
Irrational? Me? No, just twenty-two.

The Cake Not Eaten

I’ve been low on sleep lately and I cannot tell you how hard it is to write a review of something when you’re sleep-deprived, so have another parody poem I wrote.

Two cakes displayed in a grocery store,
And sorry I could not consume both
To be that gluttonous, eating more
Until I could not fit through the door
Due to my enormous sideways growth.

Then on to other stores with more cake,
And perhaps some fancy cupcakes too,
Because I am hungry and hate to bake;
Though this gives me a bellyache
I promise that I will carry through.

All cakes this morning equally lay
In peace, awaiting consumption.
Oh, sweet undisturbed splendorous display!
Yet knowing how I should spend my day
I doubted I could have the presumption.

I am telling this tale with a sigh,
My morose voice falling quiet:
Two cakes displayed in a store, and I—
I did, neither cake, choose to buy,
And I, instead, stuck with my diet.

A Visit From Inspiration

I’ve been struggling with the poor weather and a certain degree of exhaustion, both compounded by poor health. Instead of my descriptive piece, have a poem I wrote in college, about inspiration. It is a parody of the Christmas poem, “A Visit from Old Saint Nick.”

Twas the night before Writer’s Day and all through the dorm,
Critters were stirring: spiders, ants, and flies, keeping warm.
The laundry was thrown about the floor without a care
Because no one brought guests anywhere near there.

The students lay sleeping off booze in their beds
While visions of parties danced through their heads.
I lay in bed, my game of Pokémon in hand,
Chasing that elusive place known as dream land.

When in my imagination there arose such an idea,
The racket could have been heard in South Korea!
I flew to my desk and threw on the light,
In the process blinding myself, ruining my sight.

The light on my laptop, notebook, and all the clutter and debris,
Made my whole desk simply too bright to see.
So I turned off the light, saving my poor eyes,
And instead used my laptop’s light to improvise.

I entered my password with a clickety-clack,
Brushing away the remnants of my midnight snack.
As slowly as turtles, my desktop booted up,
Right then and there, I almost gave up.

“Monkey Nuggets! Stupid Crap! Worthless Lunk!
Load faster! Come on! Stupid piece of Junk!
Close Skype, close Adobe, Close AIM too!
I need a fresh install! I need to start over new!”

As raspy as gravel on glass, my computer started,
Making as much noise as a dear soul departed.
Up came my icons, my widgets, and background,
And I began Microsoft Word with nary a sound.

Without hesitation I made such a racket,
I began typing, using every key but the bracket!
I drew out my plans, turning them all around,
I took the last of my AMP and chugged it down.

I dressed my characters in armor, giving them swords
I made them fight, giving the winners awards.
Countries rose and fell, millennia passed,
I had never known myself to write so fast!

My mind, how it sped through stories untold:
The strength of the young! The wisdom of the old!
The daring of knights! The defense of the weak!
Those who never find, doomed always to seek!

The stump of a pencil I clutched in my hand,
As I beat out a rhythm while drawing the land.
Broad sweeps of mountain, small little rivers,
Imagination coursed through me, giving me shivers!

Writing like I had never done before,
I felt like I’d washed up on creativity’s shore.
But something was wrong, something seemed off,
“No night could last this long” I realized with a scoff.

I’d said not a word, but my voice boomed ‘round the room,
Sealing my fate, bringing about my terrible doom.
I awoke, feverish and panicked, in my bed,
I lay there and groaned, wishing I was dead.

My inspired writing was naught but a dream!
I wanted to stay in my bed, do nothing but scream,
But here I am, writing a poem for you,
Because that’s how inspiration works: what can you do?