The Final Rising

“Here lies a man
who laughed at everything,”
a speckled, gray stone declared.
The name “Ulta Mareis”
sunk into its brow.
“Even his own pain,”
a woeful voice agreed.
Faceless and gowned in black,
uproarious laughter broke through
solemnity
as they dropped their flowers.
Loudest and highest of all,
when the last rose
found its resting place;
Ulta Mareis gave his last laugh.

Chooglin’

Passed around the campfire, 
like cold whiskey rye, 
has long been a story 
of a river boat on high. 

A siren on a Saturday 
in line with a row of smoke. 
Chugging through the Mississippi 
where fools rock the boat. 

Crying, "don't you believe me!" 
"Well, what's it take?" 
A half soul and three pence 
for a jug and icing on the cake. 

The sirens wailing, 
said, "come have some fun." 
Those sailors jumped right in; 
danced to the sinking sun. 

Hootin' and hollerin' 
to the wild wicked moon. 
As crazed as dog bane, 
but you'll sure pay soon. 

Up came the toll -
hat passed around. 
The sailors had nothing,
not a soul to be found. 

That's what yah' get, boys, 
when you give the devil due, 
but he's a fair poker; 
now you'll be too. 

Folks don't believe me 
when I tell my wary tale. 
Those damned rosewater's  
for a night of glutton and ale. 

Mark my words clearly, 
when you see a ship of white 
turn stern and flee 
or work the Devil's shift all night.