Sometimes the Messenger Deserves Killing

By on Oct 30, 2020 in Humor, Poetry


Once you start stabbing people who deserve it,
where do you stop? So many worthy candidates.
Macbeth’s problem. At least he had a wife to blame.
There are always going to be witches,
cackling over cauldrons, to set you thinking,
woods to get lost in mid-life,
battles to come back from
with your mind on chores left undone
back at the castle, scores to settle,
slights to avenge. The moat needs draining,
the murder holes are low on oil,
and that distant relative chained
to the dungeon wall has a dentist’s appointment.
No need to question where these messages
come from, this clarity that allows you
to see through the steam rising off the cauldron,
see past the warts, the sneers
on the faces of the messengers.


Until he was twenty-four, David Thornbrugh thought Emperor Penguins averaged six foot tall, thus enabling these royal birds to look human intruders in the eye. The resulting shame and embarrassment he felt at the mockery of his peers drove him into the arms of poetry, where he has felt only mildly aggrieved ever since. He thinks of himself as following in the tradition of Archie the Cockroach, whose best work resulted from throwing himself at the keys of a resistant machine, one bruise at a time.