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 grâce.

                         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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Paul Ryan: Marathon Man

The more I see his Irish face online
in high definition, the more it strikes me
as unintelligent, even asinine.
Second in line for the presidency,
after Vice President Mike Pence,
he’s nothing but a serial liar,
empty-headed, legendarily dense,
posing as a wonk and marathoner.
He didn’t win the only marathon he ran in
as a tenderfoot at the age of twenty,
a MIdwest wannabe from Wisconsin
turning up in Congress like a bad penny,
good only at one thing, self-promotion.
He's his own public relations agent,
addicted to a potent self-love potion,
with less body fat—he claimed six percent,
the average male's is 16 to 24—
but he won’t take off his shirt to prove it.
He’s thin and works out rabidly, for sure,
but unless they kindly let him move it
closer—the finish line he can't abide—
or let him at times slow down to a walk
or, like a dumb hitchhiker, thumb a ride,
he’ll not only walk the walk, he’ll talk the talk.
The only race Ryan might ever win
is the Stupidest Irishman in Wisconsin.

                                      Robert Forrey

Friday, March 10, 2017

Busybody Birds

                  Rubins, A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning

Birds are busybodies, twitching their tails 
and flicking their heads like nervous Nellies,
the antithesis of sloths and snails 
and barnacles on boats’ underbellies;
here one second, somewhere else the next,
migratory, footloose and fancy free,
tentative as a deconstructed text;
restless as a caged Capuchin monkey,
fickle as a coquette or a housefly,
with the attention span of a gnat,
with no theology or urge to deify
but as inquisitive as a house cat,
with a stork’s wingspread to lift it as high 
as a box kite in a buttermilk sky.

                              Robert Forrey

Monday, March 6, 2017


Organization is the key to success.
Recognizing that’s the very first step.
Gainsaying it really creates a mess
And indicates you are a square, not hep.
Nincompoops have no organization.
Idiots have even less of it—
Zero, in fact, Hey nonny, nonny none.
Algorithms can instantly solve it, bit by bit.
They are organized to the nth degree,
In a manner of speaking, off the cuff
On which is scribbled brilliantly
Notations on space-time, that’s enough. 

                                Robert Forrey

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Shitty Manager

Derek Allen, Portsmouth Shitty Manager
       A friend forwarded to me the above photo of Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen from Allen's Facebook page. The first question I asked myself in looking at the photo was why would anyone put such an unflattering image of himself on Facebook, or anywhere else for that matter. I had already written about the City Manager on my blog River Vices, including another unflattering photo of him, a selfie (see below), so I knew that Derek Allen doesn’t see himself in photos of himself as some others see him, as a kind of human blob. 

       But the photo above requires further explanation. If I am recalling correctly, Allen, with the help of Portsmouth Daily Times reporter Frank Lewis, publicized a complaint somebody had made about how casually Allen dressed at city council meetings. Now among the many complaints constituents could make about our city manager, casual clothing has got to rank at the very bottom in terms of importance. A tie and suit jacket are no longer expected at city council meetings as they might have been in the previous century. Only a fuss-budget would object to the city manager’s informal clothes. Being the clever politician that he mistakenly thinks he is, Allen may have seized upon this criticism because he knew that residents of Portsmouth, who are casual in dress, grammar, and manners to a fault, would sympathize with him. They would feel, rightly, he has much more important things to be concerned about as city manager than wearing a suit and tie at city council meetings where there are often more public officials present than members of the public itself.

       I suspect that the reason Allen  posted the above blotto looking photo of himself in suit and tie on Facebook was to make fun not of himself and the way he is dressed, but of anyone who complains about his casual dress. The photo is apparently meant to be a sarcastic response to anyone who wants him to wear a suit and tie. He thinks he’s being clever in coming up with this way of responding to a fussbudget. What he doesn’t realize, because he is not half as clever as he thinks, is that he  looks smugly stupid, as well as a candidate for cardiac arrest. What he was possibly trying to suggest in  this photo was that his critics were being picky in complaining about his casual dress. He was trying with the collusion of Frank Lewis, to distract the public from the fact that there are a lot of things he could and should be criticized for. A more appropriate title for him than city manager, based on his job performance in Portsmouth and elsewhere, would be shitty manager. As I have pointed out on an earlier post on River Vices, Allen’s resumé shows he can't hold a job very long and his criminal record shows a conviction for perjury in his most previous public employment, in Piqua, Ohio, where he continues, as a carpetbagger, to make his home. Yes, the primary residence of the Portsmouth city manager is in Piqua, which is 152 miles from Portsmouth, a drive Google estimates at taking over 2 1/2  hours. He of course doesn’t make the three hundred mile commute daily. He rents an apartment in Portsmouth from a notorious wheeling and dealing Portsmouth real estate operator. Is this someone the chief executive officer of a city should be renting from? Just how many days in any given week is Allen actually in Portsmouth, and just how much does he pay for rent? Is there such a thing as a sweetheart rent for city managers? With the help of a conniving city councilman, Kevin W. Johnson, Allen's conviction for perjury was apparently not made public until after he was hired as city manager.

       In talking to a number of voters in Portsmouth recently about another matter, I got the impression that Allen’s days as city manager will end  before long. He made a bad impression from the start. Unlike a mayor, a city manager can be removed  at any time by a majority vote of the city council. That's a lot simpler than it took to recall a mayor under the previous form of city government. 

       Pinned to  the bulletin board in the upper right hand corner of the photo above of the bloated Allen is a hazy likeness of the Statue of Liberty. At the base of the Statue, many of us learned as early as grade school, is an inscription of a famous poem by Emma Lazarus:

                                        Give me your tired, your poor,
                                        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
                                        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
                                        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
                                        I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

With deep apologies to Lazarus, I have written a parody of her poem with Derek Allen in mind:

                                        Give me your fired, your perjured,
                                        Your Portsmouth Shitty Manager who’s half crazy,
                                        But so nattily-dressed, so self assured,
                                        A supine carpetbagger who’s so darn lazy
                                       That all I can say is “Oops-a-daisy.

The Lazarus poem commemorates freedom. My parody denigrates incompetency, perjury, and selfies.

A Selfie of the Shitty Manager

Blog Archive