Looking for Mr. Wright

I have always been a big fan of Stephen Wright, the master of deadpan comedy. The fact that he and I share the same birthday is just another reason to pay attention, as his being a local guy from Massachusetts, but his dry and droll observational style has always made me laugh.

So when working a poetry prompt that suggested making a poem from a list of items, I chose to try rhyming a list of one-liners and observations from my favorite comic, Stephen Wright


The modern man is full of confusions
The sort who is honest about all of his lies.
The kind of fellow who believes his delusions,
The type who would kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Scruples are useless when viewed against tomorrow,
Mores are constantly under vicious attack.
The modern man only asks the pessimist to borrow,
He knows the fellow expects to not be paid back.

Mankind today dodges all responsibility,
We constantly seek to divert all the blame.
A clear conscience is a sign of the onset of senility,
And the majority of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

Torturing ourselves with questions is no walk in the park.
We live in a state of constant existential pain.
Trying in vain to calculate the speed of dark,
Or trying to enjoy a rainbow while avoiding the rain.

There are questions without answers, which is all well and nice.
And things that bump against the inside of your head.
Like what happens if you are scared half to death twice?
And why the harder the butter, the softer the bread?

You can call below average half of the people you might get,
Like the kid who uses flat dishes to serve clam chowder.
You almost loved a psychic but she left before you met,
They cannot fix your brakes and so now the horn is louder.

Your conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good,
Because we forget the simple power of thanks or please.
If all is going well you did not see something that you should.
Early birds get worms but the second mouse gets cheese.

Depression is just anger without enthusiasm, for the sane,
The conclusion is simply where you no longer think.
If things are coming your way, you are in the wrong lane,
And how can you tell when there’s no invisible ink?

Ambition is a poor excuse for not being smart enough to shirk.
The sooner you fall behind the more time to make amends.
At the speed of light will your car headlights work?
And if Barbie is so cool, why must we buy her friends?

Photographic memories are all quite the same,
But most folks don’t have film like they should,
And why do psychics need to ask you for your name?
Well, I plan on living forever… so far, so good.

Those are my questions for now; I do not think there is a lot,
But my mind has become both brittle and fried.
Thinking that 82% of all statistic are created on the spot
So if you do not succeed, hide the fact that you tried!

©2014 Christopher Reilley

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