Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lawyers and Attorneys

                                HonorĂ© Daumier, Les Avocats

Lawyers like him give attorneys a bad name,
blacken their souls like smokestacks the air,
stomp on the downtrodden, virtue defame,
and always, always get more than their share.
Their patron saint’s the devil, whose cleft foot
splits the fee between heaven and hades,
as judges divide the ill-gotten loot
between rich gents and their shady ladies.
Lawyers are a necessary evil,
like consumption and IRS taxes.
They are to cotton as the boll weevil
and to shade trees as sharpened axes.
Lawyers live on payoffs, attorneys on fees.
A lawyer pisses, an attorney pees.

                                   Robert Forrey

Monday, April 17, 2017


My unhappily married neighbor,
a man in his mid- to late sixties,
said to me on a recent afternoon 
in the side street between our houses—
he was already well under the influence:
“You know in a hundred years
it won’t mean nothing you and me
were once alive and kicking.”
Retired from the telephone company
where he had been a foreman
of a repair crew, the men who climbed
(in those days long before the cell phone)
telephone poles with those contraptions
strapped around their waist connecting
them securely to the poles, up and down
which they made their way cumbersomely
to keep us all in touch with each other.
He must have been a functioning 
alcoholic able to stay sober while
he was on the job, confining his drinking
to evenings, weekends, and holidays.
A doctor of philosophy, I wondered
when he had first had the insight
into the insignificance of the individual
in the grand cosmic scheme of things.
He went to church each Sunday,
so he was apparently a believer,
but just what he believed would 
be hard to say with any certainty.
A teetotaling atheist, an English professor,
I didn’t have anything to add to what he said.
I did, however, think of a stanza
from Shelley’s “To a Skylark,”
which I recalled from memory:
“We look before and after, 
And pine for what is not: 
Our sincerest laughter 
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”

                                            Robert Forrey

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Little to Lose

Toulouse-Lautrec, Portrait of a Young Woman

“Resembling strong youth in his middle age,”
he was consumed by unbound vanity,
as if trappings were not mere equipage,
and vanity were not inanity.
If an aging woman is not aware
she’s not as young as she formerly was,
she represents the unanswered prayer
that children offer up to Santa Claus.
But a man who was never beautiful,
or likened to a blossoming flower,
was never captivating but dutiful
to masculinity’s dour golden hour.
While an aging man has not much to lose,
a gal’s a gallery with a Toulouse to lose.
                                 Robert Forrey

Monday, March 27, 2017

Christopher Forrey, 1972-2016

“My glass shall not persuade me I am old,”*
though it sure convinces me now and then
when it does not so much flatter as scold.
But that  photo of you Chris, about ten,
with your face painted white like a clown,
I treasure as young Adam did the garden 
and Petula Clark did the song “Downtown,” 
and Londoners do the bells of Big Ben. 
Your clown captures the mystery of life,
its sadness and inscrutability,
and perhaps, beyond the storm and strife,
above all, its ineluctability.
That you lived only half as long as me,
your father, is my most painful memory. 

                              Robert Forrey

*Shakespeare sonnet #22

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trump's Ties

          Trump's big tie (Photo from Esquire)

Trump’s the media’s waking wet dream.
He keeps the entire industry employed
showing blond bigwigs aren’t as big as they seem,
are not, as we learned from Sigmund Freud,
kind, considerate, and conscientious,
but rather lying, selfish, egocentric,
as well as compulsively licentious,
and, of course, above all narcissistic—
obsessively, pathologically so—
but also intellectually a cipher
with a mincing, corpulent torso,
a wannabe-blond bombshell like Pfeiffer.
Damn! He knows the size of his tie matters,
so he wears one as big as a clean-up batter’s.

                                Robert Forrey

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


She was a rose among thorns,
with the poise of a socialite,
the spring that summer mourns,
the dulcet rays of dawn’s first light.
She was a working class princess,
a faithful sister and daughter,
a paragon of thoughtfulness—
steady, come hell or high water.
But the opposite sex was her undoing
with their cigars and their drinking,
their chewing and misconstruing,
their habitual non-thinking.
Marriage—a miserable morass—
was the final blow, the coup de grĂ¢ce.

                         Robert Forrey

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Buried by Their Own Offal

               “Landslide at Ethiopian Garbage Dump Kills over 100”
                                                               News item.

Homo sapiens arose in Ethiopia long ago
and the first cultivated plants took root
there where now garbage dumps grow
like gargantuan piles of ill-repute

where the refuse of human consumption
rises like festering skycrappers of offal,
monuments to egregious primate gumption
that thinks glass, plastic and metal good landfill 

on which archipelagos of trash arise
on dumps predestined to be Mt. Ararats
where surviving Noahs, with bloodshot eyes, 
will find broken bottles of Bud and Labatt’s.

Progress began thousands of years before  
those titanic mountains of trash we climb.
When will return the pristine prime? 
No more! No, never more!

                             Robert Forrey

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