For Halloween I like to hand out

For Halloween I like to hand out
treats the kids are not expecting
like tiny squares of reuben sandwiches—
the kids shove it in then spit it on my porch
going gaa! What is that flavor?
Is the rye a little strong? I ask.
You wait. Give it thirty years, thousands of pots
of bad coffee and cartons of cigarettes
and then try it and you’ll go
Wow! That’s wonderful, and hock a lugee to the side.
But if you don’t like the reuben I’ve got
some kidneys in sherry, very nice,
squid in its own ink, haggis, back bacon,
and a big hunk of fried honeycomb tripe.
Jeezus, they say, don’t you have any candy?
I show them I’ve got Good and Plenty’s and they say
Just forget it; we’ll try the tripe.

It gets a little worse every year.
I look forward to the day when my treats taste so horrible
the kids provide their own razor blades.

—Don Whittington


my auntie costco told me she had heard

my auntie costco

my auntie costco told me she had heard
that elvis was still out there somewhere
that he hadn’t died at all
that he had arranged for a hobo corpse
to drape around his toilet
so he could be free to practice the magic
he had learned from the aliens who abducted him
in germany when he was in the army
these are the same aliens that made him live with priscilla
which he never would have done of his own free will
preferring, as he did, good girls with smaller asses
like my auntie costco’s, for instance—
anyway, he learned some alien magic from
that whore priscilla and her demon bosses
and he wanted to practice it in secret
so he had to fake his death and that is exactly the real truth
behind the events of August 16, 1977
which my auntie costco thought it was important for
me to learn in case i come across him—
’cause i might come across him on account of now
he dresses like a hobo and staggers from door to door
in white neighborhoods (never colored ones
and he hates obama, my auntie costco says)
anyway in white neighborhoods asking
people can he have a peanut butter and nanner sandwich
and the ones who give him the sandwich receive
a miracle anointing and a blessing and a gold cadillac
to mark them for when the rapture comes for
this is how all the rapture candidates are selected
and my auntie costco is all set and prepared so if
you are ever hungry and you are near my auntie costco
just ask her for a peanut butter and nanner sandwich
and she will shove that bad boy down your throat
before you think to tell her, don’t be cruel.

—Don Whittington

magic elvis

Pearl Is A Rose

roses are orange
roses are white
roses get rowdy and stay out all night
there’s roses in gardens
and roses on signs
and a rose is a rose is a rose on a Stein
roses have Axl’s
and roses have Billy’s
and that’s how the roses get Fannys (how silly)
roses are tri-colored
roses are bi
roses are secretive, subtle, and sly
roses are smooth
roses have thorns
roses have fiddles, and drum kits, and horns
roses have aphids
roses have ants
roses can join in a windsong and dance
roses at eye level
roses beneath
and one long, declarative rose in your teeth
and the rose of tra-lee
and the rose of my heart
and the rose that i water with tears when we part
a rose in a vase
and a VW Bug
and a rose in your hair when you’re cutting a rug
and a rose is a diamond
a rose is a Pearl
and you are your grandfather’s favorite girl

And now:
the classical rose
for you know what they say
one classical rose poem for every birthday

Roses are red
and violets are—
what is this, a joke? Violets are violet. They went to all the trouble
to name this flower after its color and now some sloppy
victorian is just changing it to blue, willy-nilly? Nonsense!
Begin again!

Roses are red
and violets are violet
a rose can be anything it wants to
but a violet
is inviolate.

—Don Whittington

The Heretofore Neglected Ballad of Latham Ogden Stogner

Latham Ogden Stogner was a most peculiar kid;
Pe-cu-li-ar-i-ty was stamped on everything he did.
He used to stuff fresh tung nuts in the pouches of his mouth
To spread his cheeks out farther so his teeth stuck further out.
Folks said, “You’re a card, boy, with them tung inflated cheeks.”
But Latham was a chipmunk and he didn’t give a squeek.
Didn’t give a squeek.

Latham Ogden Stogner liked to raise a litle hell;
H-E-L-L raising was a thing he handled well.
He’d hang around at picnics that were sponsored by the church,
And bite the heads off turtles, and spit them at the girls.
He’d catch black widow spiders and drop them into Cokes;
He was quite a fellow with an eye for funny jokes.
Eye for funny jokes.

Latham Ogden Stogner had a yen for pretty girls;
Pretty G-I-R-L-S would put him in a whirl.
One girl was young Betty Skoomp, and she was pure delight;
Her figure white as dumplings and her hair was anthracite.
He snuck up once to Betty Skoomp and kissed her on the cheek.
And then to prove his love was true, he drowned her in the creek.
Drowned her in the creek.

Latham Ogden Stogner was a guy like you and me;
Guys like Y-O-U and me are hardly all you see.
It saddened us the way the county hung him, for they did,
In front of all the women folks and all the little kids.
Yes, we were all appalled when Latham Ogden Stogner swung.
It’s just a shame the way it seems the good always die young.
The good always die young.

—Don Whittington

i never knew the politicians

i never knew the politicians
were such big thinkers about rape
how it was so important to their political cause
that women should worry about
a rape’s legitimacy and whether any
resultant pregnancies aren’t
the will of the Lord—
it is good the Lord is willing to get involved
it being so hard for a lady to find a sexual partner
it is good that we’ve learned at last to put a positive spin
on anything
anything at all—
that’s not a rapist
that’s a carnal missionary
that’s not murder
that’s terminal evangelism—
now i lay me down to sleep
i pray the Lord stay on his side of the bed
and keep his mighty hands
to himself

—Don Whittington

Richard Mourdock, Indiana candidate who doesn’t support abortion in cases of rape because the pregnancy is “…something that God intended to happen.”

Todd Akin, Socratic ideal

if the covers of all your books

if the covers of all your books
are just pictures of you
then i automatically assume
you have nothing important to say
because you are more impressed with being you
than you are with talking to me

if you never acknowledge the substance
of an opposing view
or apologize for your own mistake
because that would disappoint your fans
then you should admit up front
that you are just a brand

if the things you say
would get an audience member
escorted from the event by security
then you need to stop pretending
you have anything important to contribute
and admit you’re only in it for the zazz

congratulations on your stature
you are as welcome to our discourse
as feacly peanut butter

—Don Whittington


i never tell anyone

i never tell anyone
what i really want
nor should you
people only think they want to know
but if you really told them
it would freak them out—
it would freak them out
because it would never be something
they could understand someone wanting—
that’s what makes it so cool, really
each of us, if you strip away all facade
if you get to the real nut of us deep inside
wants something no other human wants
that’s the truly amazing thing
it is always something beyond comprehension
something no rational person would even consider
like bloomberg controlling the size of your soda pop—
and that’s his public wish, imagine
the sick crap his devious little
deviant mind conceals, just imagine—
it would absolutely freak you out—
ask your grandpa who fought in dubya dubya too
if that was what he fought and almost died for
so someday some rich guy in new york city
could control the size of your soft drink
and he’ll say hell no, he never wanted that—
ask him what he does want
he’s old and about to die, maybe he’ll tell
maybe he’ll lean over, grin wickedly, and say
you really want to know
my dearest secret dream?
yes, grandpa, tell me, tell me
ok here it is
i wish that i could train a snake
to sing legs by zz top
i am so freaked out

—Don Whittington

coyote leaves no track on tile

Coyote, Scott Speck, Baltimore, Maryland, USA check his work out at

coyote leaves no track on tile
no spoor on steel
no scent in air so full of men
so full of women
so human-choked it cannot flow
without bruising up against his fur
angry assed and neck ruffed
at this ugly re-purposed mountain
this pinguid re-directed river
this paved and painted prairie
where there is only green enough for insects
and the poison it takes to kill them—
he runs on, coyote, through the blasted
steam of city streets
through the endless chunks of suburban swamp
strip by strip pool by pool link by link
of chain link
of chain that leads to chain that leads to chain
because the white-eyes thought so much
of slavery, and miss it so
they have enslaved themselves
to preserve the special thrill that comes
from only listening to the big lie
from only doing what you’re told—
and so coyote strides without fear
through these pallid, whinging spirits
no time for them, a human being has died
and coyote goes to him now in a gesture
of professional courtesy, one trickster to another
to lead him into the Great Mystery
where the only thing between a human being
and the stars
is a wisp of sacred smoke teased to curl in chanted song
and the eternal circuit of the eagle
in the sky

—Don Whittington


Pancake house. Assorted elderly folk around a table. All are dressed as goths with pale, powdered skin, dark eyes and hair,and black fingernails. The character Flash should appear to be in the last stages of dementia, glassy-eyed and out of it. Among the old folk is Matt, a young Goth barely eighteen years old.

(To Waitress) Darkness. (Pause) I have come to cherish the darkness. Do you know why? Why I have come to cherish the darkness? Because darkness is all that lasts. Light is a hoax. A hoax perpetrated on fools. Before the light there is the darkness and after the light will be the darkness again. There is light for an instant only. Do we love the blink of an eye, or the soul within the eyes? Darkness is the soul within the eyes of life, that is what I have learned. That is why I cherish the darkness.

That’s swell. Coffee for you boys?

Coffee, yes. Bitter ichor of the gloom-filled morning for all.


Cream? Never. We want our coffee dark! Dark as the blood of Asmodeus that gouts and streams in freshening currents to fill the lakes of hell! But decaf.

Could use some more Neutra Sweet, too.

Gotcha. (Exits)

I abhor the pleasure coffee brings me, but in my anguish I know I am alive and so I drink. Helps me pee, too.

When I pee it burns, burns like the fires of hell. Mine is a jittering, sputtering, magmic stream that spits into my bedpan of despair.

Meanwhile, I can neither piss not dump, but can only seep like a fetid, Celtic bog into my sammet colostomy bag.

Hail the darkness.

The abyss!

Here you go, boys. (Pours coffee. Sets out extra packets of sweetener.) Ready to order?

I will have two eggs, cooked hard as the life that sucks our hopes, with white toast, burnt and black as my bilious phlegm.

Grits of grief?

Hash browns of hopelessness.

Same for me.

I’ll have the short stack of shame. No sides.

I’ll have a single, hot sourdough biscuit buttered with the tears of an orphan.

I’ll have a Denver omelette.

(Everyone stares disapprovingly at Harry. He is embarrassed.)

Scratch that. Make it a Columbine omelette filled with the detritus of dreams denied, the anger of the alienated, the peppers of perdition, the onions of odium, the cheese of the cheated, and the sausages of simmering scorn. And an English muffin.

And you?

The abyss.

Gotcha. One bowl of the oatmeal of oblivion. (She gathers their menus, smiles, and exits.)

(Staring after the waitress) I wonder if she puts out.

(Suddenly coherent) I had her.

(All eyes on Flash.)

How was she?

The abyss!


—Don Whittington