2014 metamorphosism.com St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest open for business

2014 Metamorphosism International St. Valentine's Day Limerick Challenge

Yes, that’s right.

It’s February already.

And that means one thing. If you guessed a holiday symbolized by something that looks a lot like a prostate, you’re close.

The 2014 metamorphosism.com St. Valentine’s Day Limerick contest is open for business.

Because we are almost as serious about poetry as Russians are.

‘Is there a prize this year?’ I hear you ask. The answer is, Yes, there is a prize. The prize is my book ‘The Bug’, chock full of whimsical Bug comics. More information on The Bug is available here, and if you would like to purchase a copy you may do that here.

Before entering the contest, please read the following rules. To encourage you to read the rules, instructions on how to enter the contest are hidden within the rules.

  1. The more often you enter, the better your chances of winning. But read the other rules first.
  2. Violation of any of the following rules may hurt your chances, so, really, read them.
  3. And never forget, any of the following rules are subject to change without notice, at the whim of the contest organizers, and by entering you accept this fact, and all of the rules, even though they may change at any time, because the rules are a work in progress, an organic thing, ever-growing and ever-changing, the way a shark must always swim to stay alive, or one half of a dolphin’s brain is always awake.
  4. Entries must be limericks. (This rule never changes, promise.)
  5. Entries should be artful and delight the reader’s artistic sensibilities.
  6. Being limericks, entries may of course be humorous, bawdy, shocking, obscene, etc., but this is not required. All that is required is that the entry be a limerick (A-A-B-B-A rhyme scheme, etc, look it up).
  7. Points are subtracted for violation of any of these rules.
  8. Points are also subtracted arbitrarily in accordance with the application of the algorithm of unfairness.
  9. Bonus points are awarded for incorporation of bonus themes, listed below.
  10. Bonus themes: Edgar Allan Poe, especially The Raven; Norse mythology; Hugh Hefner; disfiguring diseases; finger length human anatomy in general; wet-plate collodion photography/photographers; Olympic athletes and events; 21st-century financial products; revolutions and revolutionaries throughout the ages; utopias.
  11. Bonus themes are subject to change during the contest, possibly rendering entries previously eligible for bonus points suddenly ineligible.
  12. But don’t worry, it’s all good.
  13. Entries should be submitted in the comments to this post.
  14. Deadline is 14 February, winners will be announced 14 February.
  15. Judging and other procedures in the conduct of this contest pretend to be crooked, but they are actually pretty fair, but there is never any guarantee this will be the case this time. Just assume the contest is crooked and unfair and you won’t be disappointed.
  16. Complaints will be deleted.
  17. There is no right to, nor avenue of, appeal.
  18. You may enter as often as you like. So check back often to read all the new entries and see if the rules have changed, or the bonus themes.
  19. Feel free to email me at metamorphosist@gmail.com if you have any questions or find one particular limerick especially great or whatever.
  20. Please have fun.
  21. Last, but not least: my deep thanks to my talented friend Bran Fox for designing the logo for this year’s contest.



Earthling gridlock pyramid blossom hypersymbol eyeball eyeball snip

Interim report from

Planetary federation humanoid observation team Gridlock 0-1

On subject: Earthling gridlock pyramid blossom hypersymbol eyeball eyeball snip

Urgency: low

Justification for expending further resources on continued observation: lacking

Situation: Subject is eliminating sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, tobacco and processed treats from his diet, but keeps forgetting. Had two beers (Stari Brno) with daughters last night. Shared sandwich (white bread) with birds this afternoon (does seem to have achieved success with tobacco, however) following an inspection by dermatologist who was interested not in  his skin but in his subjective evaluation of the success of a skin medication she had subscribed (subject’s evaluation: ‘about 50 or 60 percent’) and in any side-effects such as headaches, depression or suicidal ideation, and whether any of these had been present prior to taking the medication and whether he was under treatment or care for the latter to which he said, no, he wasn’t.

Earthling gridlock pyramid blossom hypersymbol eyeball eyeball snip, during the inspection, ideated a conversation between himself and the skin specialist in which he tried to express the ongoing competition between depression and melancholy for his mind, and how rosacea had tipped the scales to depression, thanks to his intense humanoid vanity, for which reason he had looked up the skin specialist to see if any treatment was available, which it was, ironically with above-mentioned side-effects, together with an entire booklet of other side-effects.

Six of one half dozen of the other, in other words. But subject only ideated this conversation, being unable to actually hold such a discussion in the agitated, anxious state this particular doctor somehow engenders in him.

Subject then returned to his place of employment, ideating a discussion with a clone of himself over whether it was better to concentrate on being a person, or on a man, woman, or whatever else anchors one’s self-image – athlete, worker, clown, whatever. Discussion was inconclusive,  although subject expressed a preference for personhood.

Subject briefly detected PF Observation team camouflaged as parasitic mistletoe in a large elm tree, necessitating deletion of 30 seconds of memory, which caused mild temporal disorientation (‘a sensation of timelessness,’ as subject expressed it in another ideation) but no serious lasting damage.


Multiverse: cause I

Question: Will three crows eat a whole ham sandwich?

Methodology: Sit on bench, feed sandwich to crows.

Conclusion: Yes. Without thinking twice about whether or not you might be hungry.

Conditions: Cloudy, timeless, unseasonably warm, as usual.

What say the slain?

Wenn mich wer angreift, sag ich immer…

A crowded station, a little boy, talking to a friend: When somebody attacks me, I always say…


Who knows. You didn’t hear it. Like a piece of bark floating away on a creek with lots of other pieces of bark floating on it too, you lose sight of him even though it is possible you still have him in your field of vision.

The universe forks here, depending on what he always says when attacked.

The possibilities are huge.

Like in an old science fiction story you forgot most of except that it went on forever.

Detailing each single possible variant.

My dad’s a cop: when he always says that you go to work and skip lunch and are hungry when you get home and dinner tastes great.

When you attack me, you are attacking yourself: when he always says that, a woman loses a nickel in a vending machine and decides to stop eating sugar.

I know karate: when he always says that, your mind gets trapped in a loop trying to understand how you can love life but be instantly filled with chill despair when someone asks you if you love your life, leading to huge misunderstandings you are still sorting out.

You meet a generous person. Winter is snowless. You see the devil’s face in a bare tree full of mistletoe. The universe continues to expand. Crop circles are a hoax. Crop circles are not a hoax. You discover a cure for ennui.





Don’t get off the boat, now with a 30% chance of cutesy alliteration

It was a weird, warm, wasted winter day, quiet in an eye-of-the-storm way and Odin sat on the bench, unfocused and confused — he had just called his wife and she had complained about confusion and lack of focus, too — sort of a postapocalyptic, full-moon feeling – and unpacked the curry chicken sandwich.

The crows were already waiting. Odin could see Huginn and when he tossed him a piece of the sandwich, Muninn swooped down, landing behind the bench and Odin gave him a piece. The third crow must have been waiting too, out of sight, because it showed up seconds after that.

In just a jiffy, everyone was eating.

Odin also had some cashew nuts and cranberries in a mylar bag.

I don’t know. Quiet isn’t the right word. More like, timeless. Some days life hurries you along, but on days like this, it’s like the temporal axis has just fallen off the graph completely.

Bare branches are black against bright grey sky.

This particular universe has been behaving oddly.

Like: Odin writes in his journal about the fact that there is actually only one day in all of time, and we just keep on repeating it, just with changed hopes and regrets; and then that same evening he visits a friend and they watch Groundhog Day.

Or, Odin writes in his journal about how everything is okay, and his friend sends him a link to a button online labeled “Make Everything OK” that you press, then there’s a loading bar, then it announces that everything has been made okay.

Or, Odin is waiting for a bus and a woman asks him something about the bus, and instead of waning, their conversation grows and is interesting and when the bus comes, after half an hour, it is too soon and the woman, who is a painter visiting town from Frankfurt to look at the Lucien Freud exhibition, gives Odin a catalog of her last exhibition saying, I brought this along in case I met anyone I wanted to give it to, and I’d like you to have it.

Sometimes things just go really right, sometimes, if you let them, Odin thinks.

So, Odin is trying to figure out why, when his wife asked him if he loved his life, he almost burst into tears.

Odin loves life, and he loves many of these universes, but don’t ask him if he loves his life unless you have the time.

In fact, don’t ask him.

In fact, it reminds Odin of Apocalypse Now, when they get off the boat and a tiger attacks them in the jungle and the guy hollers, Don’t get off the boat.

What say the slain?

Same as always.

What say the hanged?

He owed me money.

He threatened me.

I didn’t even see him.

I thought he was a wild animal.



A Leukocyte Goes to IKEA

I was going to write a story here about a leukocyte who goes to IKEA to demonstrate that you can anthropomorphosize anything with enough chutzpah*, when three things occurred to me:

  1. This is already a well-known fact.
  2. Anthropomorphosize is not a word, while anthropomorphize is.
  3. You cannot, in fact, anthropomorphize anything, since humans cannot be anthropomorphized, because they are already people.
  4. Most of them, at any rate.

Four things. Then a fifth thing occurred to me: these things we call humans are perhaps the ultimate demonstration of anthropomorphosis. What a bold habit, considering as individuals these messy conglomerations of tubing, bacteria, urges, instinct, genetic programming, parasites, electrical wiring, hormones, etc.

So I decided to write about something else.

Between five and ten meters of human intestine, together with its support system was driving down the road one winter evening because its wife wanted to show it something at IKEA. The intestine was having a hell of a time seeing anything, because one of the little nose strut things had broken off its glasses and it still hadn’t gotten them fixed so the glasses were very, very slightly off. Also it was dark and foggy and as soon as the intestine left the freeway and took a single, solitary wrong turn, the terrain was unfamiliar and also dark and foggy.

The intestine’s thoughts wandered between several general areas the way a monkey at the zoo might wander between the climbing rope, a rubber tire, a dish of fruit, another exhausted monkey the first monkey has been tormenting, and the bars of its cage, through which visitors are passing it treats, in contravention of zoo rules.

The intestine’s thoughts alternated between the following:

  1. Although it feels like it, it is not pointless for me to be going to IKEA to look at something. My wife is a smart person who knows what she is doing, and also it is good for me to be involved in the process from an early point, as this is something I always complain about not having been after the fact, and so this is a sign that I am getting what I want, or something.
  2. I wish I wouldn’t have gotten lost on the way to IKEA, though. I always get lost at IKEA, this is redundant.
  3. In fact, I have not the slightest idea where I am, whatsoever.
  4. My wife offered to lend me her GPS and I declined and she is going to mention this fact when she finds out I am lost.
  5. What does one do in this situation? There are generally two alternatives: follow a stream downhill to civilization, or walk in circles until you perish.
  6. It feels like IKEA should be over to the right somewhere, in that vast expanse of darkness.

The intestine called his wife and told her he would be a little late. He was close, but lost.

You should have taken the GPS, she said.

The intestine turned around and looked for a bigger street because the street he was on was practically only a footpath by now.

The intestine drove down a long road, then turned left, and followed a white car for a while, then followed a bus, then turned around again, then went the wrong way up some random freeway for a while, then turned around and drove for a while, then an IKEA sign appeared in the darkness, like magic.

So this is what to do when you get lost looking for IKEA, based on the intestine’s experience: drive around until you find it. This seems to work, even if it is dark and foggy.

The intestine and his wife had some food before looking at the thing. They each had a different variation of salmon, and a dessert.

The food was actually not all that bad.

Then, with their blood sugar levels back up, they looked at the thing.

It took them a while to get to where it was, it was in a different part of the store, far from the cafeteria.

I bet there are arrows on the floor in hell, said the intestine. His wife ignored his joke. She is tired of his IKEA jokes.

Finally they arrived at the thing. Here it is, said his wife. The thing.

The intestine said the usual stuff. Looks kinda flimsy. He wanted to complain about the price, but if you find something cheaper than a thing from IKEA somewhere else, it’s bound to be a real piece of junk.

Yeah, okay, said the intestine. Then he opened the door, and remembered the thing was destined for the upstairs closet with the slopey roof.

Did your calculations account for the slope of the ceiling, or am I going to assemble this and then be sad because we can’t open the door?

Hrm, said his wife.

This, thought the intestine, is why I drove here tonight, and got lost, and ate salmon. His wife had calculated everything, had thought of everything, except the sloping ceiling. So it came to pass that they postponed their purchase of the thing, and went home and measured and took the ceiling into account, and saw that they would need a different thing after all.

The end.

*If you want, you can put a comma after IKEA in this sentence, but it makes the sentence less interesting.

Shakespeare on dating

Words, words, words.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene II


Alpha and I saw King Lear last Sunday, in the original German, at the Burgtheater, in Vienna.

Shakespeare, really something that guy, eh?

Klaus Maria Brandauer was Lear. He was good. Everyone was good. Even the actors where you think, they’re not as good as the rest, they turned out to be good, too.

Four hours just flew by.

Alpha arranged the tickets, and being Alpha, we had front-row seats. Also, being Alpha, in the intermission, when the aisles and hallways of the theater suddenly fill with people blinking like moles and looking for the restrooms or the buffets, she said, “I’m going to the restroom so you go get champagne.”

Being me, I went and got champagne. Slightly out of character, I got it quickly, which gave me more time to try to find my wife in the crowd.

An usher informed me I was not allowed to bring the glasses and champagne bottle (one of those little piccolo bottles that hold two glasses’ worth) back into the theater-part of the theater with me. She was nice about it, though, when I explained my lost-wife situation, so instead of asking ‘what, do lots of people throw bottles at Klaus Maria Brandauer?’ I got her to let me leave the drinks with her while I searched.

Of course I never found my wife, all intermission long.

I called her a couple times, but her phone was turned off.

Later, she called me and we had the where are you oh by the stairs i’m also by the stairs which stairs those stairs going up me too which stairs going up go to the stairs by the restroom now i’m by the bar how am I supposed to find you if you keep moving around? conversation. Then the warning bells started ringing and the usher suggested I drink both champagnes and head back to my seat. I offered her one but she didn’t drink on duty.

So I had two champagnes.

And saw King Lear up close.

Argue, argue, stab, stab.

Alpha was good-natured about the drink snafu, so was I.

When you have been together a long time, little stuff like that doesn’t rile you up. If it had been a first date, it might have been different.

Who knows?

Little red hat

2014 is going to be the year Odin streamlines his life. The year he throws old crap away.

Like all his t-shirts with clever sayings on them.

Or not — his kids might want those, so he’ll hang onto them.

But his workshop, all this junk! And on top of that, the new beer making kit he got for Christmas. And not even counting the wet plate camera he hasn’t bought yet. Where to start?

Odin is sitting in the attic, telling his wife what’s in boxes so she can inventorize what they have in their attic prior to throwing stuff out. Odin is like, why not just throw it out and save a step. And he is also like, old magazines in this box. Painting canvases. Some sort of plumbing fixtures. Travel case for a harp.

In another universe, Odin has a temporary job taking inventory for some company. He is standing in front of a wall of televisions in a shop, counting them. The Space Shuttle takes off and then explodes. Odin sees two dozen images of debris angling through the sky, leaving a white trail.

Odin and his wife are doing pretty good in the cellar. They donate a lot of old clothes. Then, this box: ballerina duds. A princess dress. Like that.

A little red hat.

There is another universe, 20 years ago, it is the carneval season, children are being led through games at a public carneval party in the city hall.

About 20 years ago. Or only 12 — Odin gets his universes mixed up. It would depend which daughter, Thor or Loki.


Through the blue haze of all the smoking mommies, Odin can see her, in her red hat, covered in confetti, wearing the red hat, dancing.

There was also a lady bug costume, he finds the hat to that one too.

Odin remembers a lady bug dancing, spinning in circles.

Odin and his wife box the red hat back up.

So anyway.

Today is the first work day of 2014. It is quiet out. Odin is not hungry at lunch time but he wants to check on the crows.

Odin strolls to the store. It is warm for the second day of January. The small grey crow swoops down and accompanies Odin to the store, where he gets peanuts and a curry chicken sandwich.

He sits on the bench and all three crows are there waiting.

It is such a quiet day, like the end of the world. Like the world could still decide 2013 was the final year.

The four of them eat sandwich, they eat peanuts.

What say the slain?

I dreamt someone on a motorcycle whipped my leg with a strap and captured me, I was balanced on the handlebars and gathered myself and kicked them to get away, and woke myself up kicking in bed. I asked the dream what it was and it said, what supports us binds us. It said, love. It said, vitality. It said, escape.

What say the hanged?

Memory is not carved in stone after all. It is reinvented all the time. It is stories you tell yourself, and you know how reliable stories are. You find a little red hat and make something up, because you know who wore it, and you know how much you love her.

May we always remember.