Chris O’Carroll—Featured Poet


Classics in Brief

Paradise Lost
Sometimes to men the ways of God
Seem more than just a trifle odd,
So listen up while I explain
How He willed joy and we got pain.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Connie’s hungry for some action,
Yearning for a bloke to bleep her
To new heights of satisfaction.
Ollie’s game, so he’s a keeper.

Kama Sutra
A Hindu text on human sex
That’s filled with sound advice—
But some of these positions? Jeez!
I wouldn’t try them twice.


Two Kinds of Minds

Do women talk three times as much as men?
This book—it’s by a woman shrink—says yes.
Would a male writer say the same, or would
He somehow manage to say two-thirds less?

Men’s brains, the book says, spark with thoughts of sex
Once every minute; women’s brains do not.
I don’t know if the author’s right or wrong,
But who cares? Let her talk. She’s pretty hot.

(originally published in Measure)


No Picnic

The shade is too damp and the sun is too hot.
The wind sprinkles dust on our food.
Aphrodisiac Nature, I foolishly thought;
Now we’re sour and not in the mood.

Ants and mosquitoes have put out the word
About when they can find us and where.
I took off my hat just in time for a bird
To relieve itself into my hair.

The fridge is a distant, forlorn memory.
Surely lunch must have started to spoil
As bacteria swarm multiplicatively
In our packets of plastic and foil.

Through ivy (the poison kind), ankle-deep mud,
And thickets of thorns we have trekked.
With non-metaphorical tears, sweat, and blood
Our Sunday together we’ve wrecked.

Some savor the flavor of meals they consume
In the open air under the sky;
I prefer not to stir from a snug, bug-free room.
An avid indoorsman am I.


Sporting News Clerihews

Golf experts extol
The approach to the hole
Of Tiger Woods.
But his wife got the goods

On his illicit strokes.
Let me tell you, folks,
Marriage is tough.
Tiger lost it in the rough.


Lance Armstrong
Figured, What could go wrong?
Surreptitious syringe, banned squirt,
Yellow shirt!

For years, he lied
About the performance enhancing drugs he’d tried,
Insisting he was clean when he really wasn’t,
Which takes a lot of cojones. Unless it doesn’t.


Bobby Riggs
Became the patron saint of male chauvinist pigs
When he made short
Work of Margaret Court.

But then Billie Jean King
Taught the boy a thing
Or two
About what a girl can do.


Gilbert and Sullivan’s Richard III

My moral fiber has been warped by physical deformity.
I do not blanch at regicide, to name just one enormity.
The crimes I have in mind are sanguinary and sensational.
The roster of my victims will be multi-generational.
Since nature did not shape me for boudoir encounters amative,
Since ladies never view me as a consort silk pajamative,
And show no sign that they’re inclined to coo with me and bill with me,
My solace and my pastime is my unrelenting villainy.

My brother Edward, seated on the throne where I would better be,
Has heard a cryptic warning to be wary of the letter G.
He thinks our brother George is guilty. Utterly preposterous.
There is no harm in Clarence; all the crafty schemes are Gloucesterous.
With Clarence clapped in manacles and closely in the Tower pent,
My bark is launched upon the quest for ultimate empowerment.
In this realm so lately battered by our family squabbles milit’ry,
My merry peacetime pastime is my unrelenting villainy.

A Hymn to Adjectives

Naked nouns stand lonesome, lumpish, drab, untitivated, frumpish,
Bereft of filigreed bijouterie.

So here’s to beds Procrustean and oratory fustian,
To comely curves mammalian and dons sesquipedalian,
To modifiers on a frisky spree,

To parsons sanctimonious and vocalists euphonious,
To auguries auspicious and deceivers meretricious,
To verbal bling’s rococo luxury,

To battlefields incarnadine and rock star coiffures leonine
(Or rock star wardrobes epicene and battlefields incarnadine),
To language as a sapid kedgeree,

To catchphrases ubiquitous and crime cartels iniquitous,
To proscribed plants Peruvian and myths antediluvian,
To mingled scents in fragrant potpourri,

To entails indivisible and groundless rumors risible,
To elegance sartorial and scenery arboreal,
To diverse notes that chime pied harmony,

To cousins consanguineous and mishaps ignominious,
To plummy vowels Oxbrigian and lovers callipygian,
To lexical effusion’s vivid decorative profusion,
To vocabulary’s spangled jamboree.
Oh, the adjectival life’s the life for me.

Chris O’Carroll was a virtually unknown stand-up comic in 2000 when he self-published Take These Rhymes … Please: Rude Limericks and Other Crimes Against Literature and began hawking the book at his comedy club performances.  From toking on limericks, it was a short step to mainlining sonnets, and he quickly became a virtually unknown poet. His work has appeared in Angle, Folly, Free Inquiry, Life and Legends, Lighten Up Online, Literary Review, and The Rotary Dial, among other print and online journals.  The new anthology Poems for a Liminal Age, published to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders, includes one of his poems, even though he is right on the edge of not even knowing what “liminal” means. Despite having a name that’s almost as girly as “Joyce Kilmer,” he has never managed to bluff his way into Mezzo Cammin.