Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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For the New Year, I wanted to inject a little humor into the poetic proceedings! Anyone who is familiar with my story knows that I am here because of my brother, who submitted the original "Ward Stories" poem to New York City Voices. Turn about is fair play - and I am happy to share with you Rick's comedic poem about something we are all familiar with - the phenomenon known as "red tape." Now, before I hear anyone crying "nepotism" just because Rick and I share the same last name, read the poem and you will agree that it was chosen on its merits! David Schmeier's poem also conveys a bit of bittersweet sarcasm and, like Rick's poem, touches upon a feeling most of us have encountered - rejection (whether it be by a bureaucratic agency or our own perception of things!) And while we are in a tongue-in-cheek mood, we've included Cecil Williams' amusing poem about a smoker's dilemma. Having given up smoking myself three New Years ago, this poem hits home for me. A worthwhile Resolution! I wish all of our readers a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!

Ode to a December Day Spent at the Social Security Office Waiting for My Name to be Called
By Rick Sostchen

I wish my name was Mary Smith,
Although you may be appalled
I wish my name was Mary Smith
Because that's the name they've called!

Now, I've been here
Near half the day,
And though it sounds absurd
I wish my name was Mary Smith
It's the only name I've heard!

And, yes, that's Mary on her feet,
Heading for the main room door
How I wish my name was Mary Smith
'Cos I just can't wait no more!

Now in life - 'tis true-that some
Burst through
With other forced to tarry
I give as proof
My own poor self
And that lucky Smith named Mary!

Yet now I see a sight most strange,
And here I must confess
It's Mary heading back again
Looking quite the frightful mess!

Tears are welling
In her eyes
Her face wears a frown
I'm GLAD my name's not Mary Smith
Social Security turned her down!


By David Schmeier

My clothes are out-dated
watch out, my views are jaded.

My love life is history,
don't date me I've got no money.

I've got no future, my past
was wrong.

My family went on
leaving me with only this song.

I'm a dirty rag,
throw me out if you can

I can't keep down a job,
won't some sweet lady
give me some love?
Even just pity or a sob

What's wrong with me?
It's plain to see
the dollar is almighty
while people are secondary

Throw me out if you can
I'm a dirty rag

Non-Smoking Writers Don't Light Up

By Cecil Williams

I remember the rainy day we first met;
You were smoking a filtered cigarette,
Your lipstick was moist, shiny, and wet,
And you were leaving for Rome on a jet.
In hopes of winning the lottery, I placed my bet
The price of smokes has gone even higher,
And that's really not something I admire.
My passion for you has grown into a fire,
As these lines I have penned show I aspire.

I can say I want to return,
If for nothing else but to show I've learned.
And after all the honorary degrees I've earned,
Many a carton of stogies has been burned.
It's a psychological reality
That I hold deep inside of me.
Knowing not to smoke would set me free
And I could state that I am again happy.
Nobody can buy them without the proper I.D.
They're bad for your health-that's no mystery.
They said we should break the habit in church
And with all the money spent on cancer research,
I can't wait to be smoke-free on our next date -
Just to express how badly I wish to relate,
To rid myself of a situation you really hate.
Quit smoking and alter my hidden fate.
We could decide to go somewhere for a quiet drink,
To mull over what it is we both think.
I'll glance over at you and you'll give me a wink.
I would be too stunned to even blink
Why is there such magic in this savory creation
Which causes us instant oral gratification?
And what brings about real unearthly fascination?
Can we chalk up its appeal to our miseducation?

With this interchangeable thought I hold the wealth of kings -
Self deluded, perhaps, but convinced of many other things.
If I invest in another pack soon, will I admit they are "unconquerable?"
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