K.I.S.S. (“Keep it simple, stupid.”)

My heart enflamed with rapture, burned
With passionate desire; yearned
For her and only her, consumed
By fire. And like a flower, bloomed
Poetic as I told her of
My fervent, everlasting love
In words so beautiful they shamed
The works of laureates left unnamed.
“My love, I give it all to thee!”
I cried, while falling to one knee.

She seemed surprised as if off-guard
To hear a sonnet from the bard
I had become as lips and tongue
Waxed eloquent with words that hung
In space like tree- or vine-ripe fruit
For picking (neither crude nor cute).
And with such honeyed words I spake—
Not as some loathsome roue or rake
But as a lover—words so sure
As best expressed my love for her.

“With deep, unfeigned humility—
No more or less than what you see—
I pledge that I shall always be
Exemplar of true fealty.
How dear I hold you in my heart
Impaled by impish Cupid’s dart.
To hold, nay, even touch your hand
Would fill me with a joy most grand,
Though even greater blesséd bliss:
If love be sealed with a kiss.”

With words like these I pled my case
And as I watched I saw her face
Blush pink, then turn to crimson red,
Responding to the words I said.

“Begone! You fool!” she cried. “Do not
Delude yourself or think you’ve got
An ice-cube’s chance in hell that I
Would deign to give you in reply
A hope that it could ever be
That ‘you and I’ could be a ‘we.’”
With that she turned and walked away.
And left me in the lurch that day.

Perhaps I should have simply said,
The three words, “I love you,” instead.



Fine Art

_Long ago when I was thin
_And my bones showed through my skin
I could eat a horse and never gain a pound.
_All my clothes were standard charge,
_What I wore were all size “Large”
I could see straight down where my feet touched the ground.

_But I’ve found more recently,
_That with age I’ve come to be
Somewhat more than what in younger days I was.
_Though I’m eating somewhat less,
_My best answer’s just a guess;
As to why I’m not the same? It’s just “because.”

_Through some faulty mechanism
_In my old metabolism
I can grow an extra size from just one beer.
_Though I haven’t gotten taller,
_All my shirts have gotten smaller
And my belts are getting shorter every year.

_Now I’ve come to realize
_That I’m now a larger size
And it’s harder to bend down and touch the floor.
_Since I now wear double xx’s
_I must suck my solar plexus
In each time I try to walk out through a door.

_In the past you’d call me portly,
_Husky, burly, broad or courtly,
But these days there’s a new word for my increase.
_But like paintings by Bellini
_Or a statue by Cellini
In the mirror I am still a masterpiece.



James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and four collections of poetry including Sidekicks, Mostly Sonnets, and Laughing Matters, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in both print and online media. He was honored with being chosen as the winner of the 2021 SCP International Poetry Competition.

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16 Responses

  1. Paul A. Freeman

    ‘KISS”, indeed. ‘I love it!’

    Some great lines in ‘Fine Art’: ‘All my shirts have gotten smaller /
    And my belts are getting shorter every year’, and ‘Since I now wear double xx’s / I must suck my solar plexus’.

    I feel I have to point out, the endings of both these pieces are hugely funny, which really amplifies the humour of what comes before.

    Thanks for sending me out on my daily walk with a grin on my face, James.

  2. Cynthia Erlandson

    I agree with Paul; these are both a lot of fun!

  3. Roy Eugene Peterson

    On the positive side of “Overkill,” at least you know where you stand–or fell. There are some great lines and verses in this poem that would have made a great love poem excluding the last two verses. But what would be the fun of that? Loved the twist.

    “Fine Art” is an excellent description of the erosion of time on our bodies supplemented by our perceptions of ourselves later in life. I stopped looking in mirrors, except to shave.

  4. ABB

    Hilarious. The Tweedie train keeps on chugging. A sad state that the ladies don’t swoon to verbosity as in the Elizabethan courts of yore.

  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    These are both very cute, and very funny. Notice that in “Overkill,” in the first ten-line stanza, the first eight lines are fully enjambed with perfect linkage. In the second ten-line stanza, the first six lines are similarly enjambed, and the remaining four lines follow suit. The tendency continues in the rest of the poem, though not as pronounced. This kind of enjambment increases the comedic flow, and it only works when the poet has a rigorous grip on the grammar and the syntax. Tweedie has both, and the poem is a success. Rhyming tetrameter couplets are always fun.

    “Fine Art” is more complex, since it mixes meter, and the longer line with the B rhyme starts with an anapest ( x x / ). It reminds me of the comic patter that the English comedian Benny Hill used to recite when he half-sang and half-declaimed some rhymed stuff in his raunchy skits:

    “Oh me sister’s name is Tilly,
    She’s a tart in Piccadilly,
    And me mother is another on the Strand…”

    • James A. Tweedie

      Ah, yes! The great Benny Hill. While I thank you for the extended comment I curse you for embedding the Benny Hill theme music in my head . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhnooooooooooooooooo . . .

  6. Margaret Coats

    Serious fun, James. These poems (especially the first) give the feeling that you have all the “works of laureates left unnamed” on bookshelves around you.

  7. Phil S. Rogers

    Both extremely enjoyable poems to read and think about. Love the humor. I look at Fine Art daily, but the mirror does not seem to change.

  8. Warren Bonham

    I can’t comment on whether you are now, or ever were, a masterpiece in the mirror, but both of these works fall in the masterpiece category in my opinion. Very entertaining!

  9. James A. Tweedie

    Thank you all for the kind comments. I’m glad my poems made you smile. That is, of course, the true imprimatur of their success!

  10. Julian D. Woodruff

    Not for the first time you’ve made me want to sit down and work out a verse response. Delightful stuff, James.

  11. Norma Pain

    Most enjoyable, both poems. Loved the funny twist after the heartfelt, romantic endearments. Thank you James.

  12. Jeff Eardley

    These are great fun Jim. I wonder who the Overkill girl ended up with? Whoever it was, it was her loss.
    “Fine Art” is an anthem for we oldies with our finely sculpted torsos, chiselled features, and some very dodgy glasses. As you hum the Benny Hill anthem, I wonder if you recall the “Halitosis Kid” gunfighter who could disarm his opponents by breathing on them. Thanks for a great laugh today.

  13. James Sale

    You’ll always be a masterpiece to me James! But one tiny query on a virtually flawless poem: since you have the word ‘blesséd’ in full view with the accent, should not in the succeeding line, the word, ‘sealed’, also enjoy such a fine accent too?

    • James A. Tweedie

      No, I don’t think so. The word blessed is one syllable, although its natural usage embraces both pronouncing it as “blest” as in “I was greatly blessed,” and “bless.ed” as in “every blessed thing.” Note that there is a period in the word pronunciation rather than a hyphen which indicates that the accented version of the word is still grammatically considered to be one syllable rather than two. In reference to this, Salemi has often noted that the accent is unnecessary. So, poetically, I am technically cheating in giving an illusion of the word functioning as two syllables. The same is true for my use of the word “sealedl,” which is also a one-syllable word, but one which has the natural advantage of being the kind of diphthong where both vowels are emphasized in a sliding sort of way that also gives the illusion of being two syllables. Some one-syllable diphthongs sound almost identical to recognized two-syllable words such as “scowled ” and “toweled.” Putting an accent on the final “e” would not turn “scowled” into a two-syllable word or “toweled” into a three-syllable word but may well give the illusion of so doing. The same would be true if an accent were to be affixed to “sealed”. It would only emphasize the natural double glide of the diphthong.

      So, to answer your question, it would be far more proper for me to remove the accent from “blessed” than to add it to “sealed.” Both are grammatical cheats and illusions comarable (poetically) to the use of near rhymes.

      My sense is that if it doesn’t create too big of a speed bump, the illusion of two syllables is functionally the same as the “real” “deal” (which two words are also illusory diphthongs that could also—in a pinch in my poetic universe—function as acceptable two-syllable cheats).


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