Craig Kurtz: Four Poems

Don Juan in 30 Lines


Two hundred years,* it’s come to this—

we want our verse exiguous;

now Don Juan, that epic book,

must be one page, a minute’s look.

He was a blithe lad, led astray

by vixen lust, then chased away

where, shipwrecked, he attained true love—

minutia we got rid of;

that romance blocked, again to sea

where Turks brought him to slavery;

then cross-dressed in a seraglio,

Juan had exploits we forgo;

prolix Bryon, let’s give ’im props

but, these days, 30 lines is tops.

There was a war Juan joined in

and rescued a Muslim urchin;

this saga once had folks engrossed,

but brevity’s now uppermost;

then on to Catherine the Great’s

court, where the plot expatiates;

Juan her lover, Byron wrote

two cantos, now lopped to a mote—

’cause, nowadays, attention’s gone

a minute on, per au courant.

From there, our hero England went

to laud freedom and parliament;

while getting robbed, his mugger shot—

but that is all the time we got.

Today, most reading’s cursory,

so fare thee well, old epopee.


* Byron began the 16,000 line, unfinished, “comic epic” in September 1818.


Craig Kurtz





Mediocre Man


I am the mediocre man

who lives on the installment plan;

my car is sensible, and I’m

forever and a day on time;

my job, it puts me through the paces

so my kids can have braces;

perhaps I’ve gained a little weight

but my wife says that I look great;

we switched to decaf years ago,

we’re keeping our blood pressure low;

I’m looking forward to a raise,

the separate beds are just a phase;

the walls are beige, the lawn is mowed,

our music’s middle of the road;

we vote for higher taxes which

shows our resentment of the rich;

we want the poor to have enough

so they don’t come and steal our stuff;

I used to work out at the gym

but who cares if I’m fit and trim?

My wife went back to work because

of therapy or menopause;

our daughter’s vegetarian,

our son’s gender contrarian;

the people that I work for are

all younger than me, and sub-par;

I read the news, I pay my bills,

I’m careful with those codeine pills;

I’m online often all night long,

my wife says that there’s nothing wrong;

the dog’s been neutered, the roof’s fixed,

our company’s ethnically mixed;

my parents are both passed away,

assured that I turned out OK;

when stuck in traffic, all alone,

I think of lovers I’ve outgrown;

most nights at sleep, I tend to snore

and most of my dreams are a bore.







The Pros and Cons of Pistols

If this country falls apart altogether … having a handgun in your pocket isn’t going to save your life.

—Ayn Rand


Pistols are all well and good

for shooting guys like Robin Hood;

they’re efficacious to win wars

and even overthrowing tsars;

now, if you’re challenged to a duel,

a pair of pistols’ pretty cool;

and if there’s foxes on your farm,

you better get a firearm;

but what do we think of gun rights

when aimed at us by bedlamites?

There is a form of suicide

where innocents must join the ride;

it rarely happened days gone by

but now a lot of people die;

agreed, it’s impolite, but I

will note its dudes, not asking why;

sure, olden days were pretty rough

and guns had reasons, sure enough;

but in the shine of modern times,

what’s with these desultory crimes?

Now, regulation lacks assent

’cause no one trusts the government;

we might agree it’s some problem

then it’s back to “us versus them”;

sure, banning guns most lib’rals think

would be diff’rent than banning drink;

I can’t say that sways me at all—

so what if pot’s against the law?

But then we got the NRA

which doesn’t have much new to say;

you’re either one of them, or not—

who cares how many folks get shot?

There’s something ’bout society

which makes it less safe annually;

possessing pistols, in the main,

is fine, ’til the neighbor’s insane;

the country’s split on this, at best—

good luck with your bullet-proof vest.








Or, Deleting Our Vanity?


The internet is watching you,

and who else cares what you’re up to?;

your so-called friends, your would-be wife

are first to say, dude, get a life;

the neighbors once knew our affairs

but nowadays, nobody cares;

our parents once cared what we did

but that was then, so good luck, kid;

we once thought God watched over us

but He turned out oblivious;

the bands of social life went splat

and narcissism’s where it’s at;

nobody gives a rat’s rear end

unless you are their Facebook friend;

now, worry not of privacy,

you need it like virginity;

we heed not caution which just proves

we want someone to watch our moves;

we must sign up, log on, enlist—

without Google, we won’t exist;

the thought that someone’s watching us

means life is not anonymous;

surveillance bothers us not, since

it proves we have significance.


Craig Kurtz


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