Thursday, October 18, 2018

'ELEMENTS' A Poem by Henry Gibson

I used to like fresh air 
when it was there.

And water I'd enjoyed  it
until we destroyed it. 

Each day the land was diminished
I think I am finished.

"How to Write a Poem" by Henry Gibson

You may find it difficult to write a poem
if the subject matter continues to roam.

How funny little tidbits seem to arise in your mind
surprisingly disappear and leaves you behind.

Don’t fret over finding the right words

it will probably end up in the trash bin with your poem about Scandinavian birds. 


© Rowan and Martin's Laugh - In.
Images of Henry Gibson  
 A great comedian and actor!

Monday, October 15, 2018

"YOU TALKING TO ME?" By Mort Harris

We had lived in this condominium complex for several months.  One Sunday, I was busy in one of the outdoor parking spots changing the spark plugs on my car.  My little nine year old daughter was standing next to me watching.  Somebody with a raspy Southern drawl began shouting “Yankee, do you hear me Yankee?  Are you a yellow New Yorker?” 
I was hoping there was another New Yorker around.  I didn’t see another soul anywhere.  He must have been directing his threats to me.  I peeked with one eye over my left shoulder.  He was BIG!  I was afraid to see him with both eyes, he was liable to look BIGGER!  I could hear his taunting rants.  I knew I was in trouble.  I ignored him as long as possible, hoping he would go away.  He sounded like a southern red neck, I had met his kind before, always itching for a fight.  Maybe he was still bitter over the Civil War.  Abraham Lincoln should have let them stay in their cotton county behind the Mason Dixon line, then I wouldn’t be in this predicament now.  In the words of Bill Maher, “if at first you don’t secede, secede, secede again.”
“Yankee, you scared?” he kept bellowing.
His threats were drawing a crowd of curiosity seekers and those who love to see a fight.  I took an instant dislike to them; I knew I didn’t have a chance against this guy.  The best punch I could muster belonged in a bowl.  I panicked, dropped my tools and bolted out of the complex into the street.  Actually, that was my first desire but my daughter was standing by me looking frightened and the thought of being ridiculed and shamed in front of the gathering crowd coming to see me dying, kept me there.  While plotting to maybe plead for mercy, a figure appeared before me. “Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Ares, God of War,” he said.  “Where is your courage?”
 “I don’t have any.”
“You can lick him easily.”
“Well, you tell him that.”
“He’s a patsy,” said the God “I could crush him with one hand.”
“Fine,” I said “then you fight him.”
“Don’t you see what a coward he is, picking on a scrawny shrimp like you?  Now,” said Ares, “repeat after me, I am strong.”
“I am strong.”
“Now say, I am not afraid.”
“I am not afraid” I stuttered, “I can lick anybody,” I repeated what he said..
“Now,” said Ares “are you ready to meet him?”
The God sighed in exasperation.  “Think of yourself as a member of a Brooklyn street gang.  Nobody would dare to tangle with you.  Now get up and face him.  What are you waiting for?” 
“I’m saying a prayer for the dead.”
“Now go” he insisted.
I pulled my full five feet five inch frame together, flexed what few muscles I had, tried to look as mean and ugly as a gangster and turned toward him.  He looked larger to me now that I was standing.  He had an ugly snarl on his face.
“Now” said Ares, “say out loud, ‘hey, are you talking to me?’  Now say it.”
I walked slowly toward this bully and yelled, “Hey, are you talking to me?”  I was surprised that it came out of my mouth, it almost frightened me.  I moved closer, my body bent in attack mode, both fists clenched, waiting for his death blow.  Instead his face softened.  He dropped his hands to his side and looked away.  I was astonished.  I went back to my car while my daughter was waving her fist and shouting “gotta a problem with that?” 
“Shut up” I said through gritted teeth.  Ares appeared again.  I thanked him for his help, flexing my arm triumphantly, searching for a muscle to show off to Ares.  “You made me realize that I had courage.  I know that I am a strong person and present an inspiring figure.  I am a tough, lean, mean, fighting machine.”
“I don’t think so” said Ares.
“Why not?  Didn’t you see that guy melt when I faced him down?”
“Yea” said Ares, “when he saw the halo I put over your head.”

©Mort Harris - Sun City Writers Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Please excuse my Dracula imitation; I haven’t been to Transylvania for a while.

Count Dracula would you like to share some of your feelings about Halloween with the group?

Dr. Sometimes I wish I was a pumpkin on Halloween. I get very depressed; it’s not my favorite holiday.

“Thanks for sharing that with the group Count.
Mr. Jack-O-Lantern, how does that make you feel?”

“It makes me angry. He doesn’t know how good he has it. Tomorrow I’ll go from a mixing bowl to an oven and that’s how my life will end. I spent a whole year in a field surrounded by manure, getting rained on and then when I reach maturity my stem is cut. Do you know how painful that is without Anesthesia? That’s only the beginning then I’m thrown on a truck and taken to a supermarket where customers come by and start tapping on me like I’m some drum, and make deprecating comments, as if I had no feelings. I’m too big, I’m too small, and I’m not ripe enough. Don’t worry honey no one will recognize the blemishes it will be too dark. The rejection is demoralizing.  Finally I’m put on a supermarket conveyer belt weighed and checked out on my way to oblivion.”

“Does Jack-O-Lanterns tale assuage you bitterness Count Dracula?”

“I didn’t realize a pumpkin had feelings. In my defense I’m coming off a sugar hi. Halloween blood is loaded with sugar.” I’m also living in a Senior Community–all the blood is laced with medication. The Stool softener is the worst. I have to send my cape to the cleaners after Halloween night. I also had trouble with the seniors that take Viagra.
Once I couldn’t close my cape for four hours.”  

“As your group leader I have to say this session has been very enlightening. Wicked Witch you seemed extremely quiet during our session?”

“They made me check my broom at the door.”

"And how does that make you feel?”

“Vulnerable. I don’t like the way Count Dracula keeps staring at my neck.”

“Count Dracula have you been staring at the cursed witch’s neck?”

“No I’ve had enough medication for one night. Could you please open a window, I have to leave?”

“But we haven’t heard from the rest of the group yet.”

“I’m sorry, but I have to pick up my spare cape before the cleaners close.”

Count Dracula before you go would you like to share some sage advice?”

 “Yes. Be careful who you try to scare. Almost everybody has a gun these days. I on the other hand must be on the lookout for people carrying sharp wooden stakes and wearing garlic cloves.”


© Mitch Phillips - Comedy Writers Network - Las Vegas, NV.

All of Mitch's books are available on

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Sun City Writers Workshop
Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop
Waverly Writers Workshop

"WITCH IN GROUP THERAPY" By Virginia Vennare

Ya know, we witches have been getting a bad rap for decades and I’m sick of it.  I mean literally sick. I can’t sleep and my anxiety level is through the roof.

The other day I had a few friends over for a cook out. My neighbors got all bent out of shape just because they were vampires and ghouls. I don’t have a tizzy fit when they invite people to their house. Why should they discriminate against me when I want to do the same?

OK so I was using a cauldron instead of a bar-b-que grill but what’s the difference? Right away they accused me of spell casting. I was just making stew; meat, potatoes, carrots and celery. For crying out, loud give me a break. Now if I had spiders and crow’s feet in the pot, then they would have something to complain about because I have to admit that stuff stinks.

Isn’t it bad enough that some of my ancestors were burned at the stake in Salem in 1692 like hot dogs at a weenie roast? Why can’t they leave us alone?

I used to have long beautiful black hair but with all this harassment I’m going bald. My hand shakes in the morning and I could hardly hold my cup of hot nectar. I don’t know if I can take much more.
And don’t get me started on Hansel and Gretel. Those little brats. 

First they start eating a poor old witch’s house without permission and aren’t even charged for trespassing or anything! Then the old lady gets pushed into the fireplace…yep 1692 all over again.

As far as the witch in the fairy tale Snow White, that was a set-up. Snow White was addicted to Xanax and that’s why she fell asleep. 

All the witch was trying to do was give her a little nourishment with that apple. I heard that she got the prince hooked too and they both ended up in rehab.

Witches are just trying to clear their name. We are law-abiding citizens that would go out of our way to help others if we were given a chance.

If I could just get some medication to calm me down I think it would help, but please no Xanax.


©Virginia Vennare - Sun City Writers Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.
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Thursday, October 4, 2018


This is an ongoing challenge for the month of October and will be updated daily as new subtitles come in.

“Did you see that, he tore out the last chapter and ate it. I guess he didn’t like the ending.” (J.Silvers)

“One minute ago, that book was upside down, I want to know who had the guts to go in there and turn it right side up?  Did you notice the title of the book?” (J. Silvers)

“John put a centerfold from Playboy inside the book to see his reaction.” (J.Silvers)

“I just can’t see it. No way did we evolve from humans.” (Jackie Robinson)

***And on the 1st day there was evening and morning, day 2, dry land from the seas, 3rd  day plants of many kinds, 4th day stars, heavenly bodies, all water life, all air life,  5th day all creatures on dry land, and said it is good, 6th day then- uh oh… (Geri Bedrosian)

“To be or not to be a human being? Aye, that’s the Shakespearean question; Whether tis noble in the mind to be human and enjoy Las Vegas Casinos Buffets or remain a Gorilla and now and then eat at McDonald’s.”  (Clyde Dinkins)

" let's see what this is all about. Gee whiz!

If this is true, we may be smarter than they think!"  (Jeanne Marsh)

"Verry interesting. I'll have to discuss this crackpot evolution theory with Jane Goodall next week when our Jungle Book Club meets!"   (Alice Magrane)

Gorilla Quote: "That's not fair.  Man get a book. When will the Origin of Gorilla be published? !!!!  (Adrienne Crawford)

"I know this Jane Goodall!!!!! (Gary Morgan)


Monday, October 1, 2018


Iggy Manson loved Halloween, not because of the joy it gave little children, but because it gave him the opportunity to injure the little bastards.  His real name was Ichabod, but he hated it, and after his parents died from food poisoning when he was eighteen, neither he, nor anyone else ever used it again.  Iggy was tall and dark and gaunt, like his namesake.  He certainly would have asked his friends to call him Iggy, except that he had no friends.

Iggy lived alone in the old Victorian house that he inherited, and he left it as infrequently as he could. The $500,000 from his parents; insurance policies made it unnecessary for him to work, and also made him a suspect in their deaths. The food poisoning was from a dinner they had eaten at home, but Iggy had eaten that night at a McDonalds.  It was the only time he had ever eaten at a McDonalds, but the employees there remembered the tall, bone thin, long-haired Iggy ordering a big mac, fries and coke, then picking at it at a table by himself.  The police were highly suspicious, but neither they, nor the insurance investigators were able to develop any solid evidence to charge Iggy.

The fact that the ghosts of his dead parents haunted the house was no problem for Iggy once he realized that the ghosts had no real power over him.  He was content to ignore the ghosts of his parents when they hovered over him and expressed their eerie disapproval of his Halloween preparations.  He blithely assembled a box of miniature candy bars, a hypodermic needle and a vial of a powerful laxative potion.  Iggy had just finished injecting the potion into each of the candy bars, being careful that the injections were made under the flaps at the bottom of the wrappings, when the first trick or treaters rang his doorbell.

Three small children stood before Iggy, one dressed as a princess, one a pirate, and one a witch.  Two mothers stood back and observed.  “TRICK OR TREAT,” the children shouted.  Iggy forced a smile -- it the only kind of smile he could ever muster -- and handed each child a polluted candy bar.  The children and their mothers turned and departed.

Iggy felt an intense, perverse satisfaction knowing that those little brats would be sick as poisoned little puppies when they ate those candy bars.  The memory of the humiliating Halloweens of his youth never failed to enrage him.  He had always been a nerdy loner, and when other boys were collecting their trick or treat booty and playing their Halloween pranks, Iggy’s parents would not allow him to participate -- not that there were any local boys who would have been willing to let him tag along.  His puritanical parents’ lectures to him on the true meaning of the holiday were made infinitely worse for him when his mother crooned to him, in her shaky voice, the treacly song about All Hallow Day:

Soul, a soul, a soul cake please, please good missus a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum,  a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul, three for Him who made us all.

The streets are very dirty, my shoes are very thin,
I have a little pocket to put a penny in.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you.

God bless you, is it?  God damn you all, is what Iggy thought.

The doorbell rang again.  Iggy opened the door, prepared to repeat his charade and sicken more children.  Before him stood three women, all in witches costumes: high pointed black hats, long black dresses with ragged sleeves, clunky black shoes, and each carrying broom.  They had no children with them.  Iggy was taken aback “What do you want?” he asked, rudely. “You tell him Elphaba,” witch number two said to witch number one.

Elphaba said, “We know that last Halloween, someone in this neighborhood poisoned some candy bars and gave them to some little kids.  One four-year-old died from it.  We are investigating and trying to prevent that from ever happening again.  You don’t know anything about that that business, do you?”

“I don’t know a damn thing about it, and frankly, I don’t give a damn.  It probably served the greedy little bastards right,” Iggy shouted.  “I didn’t know anyone died.  I suppose you’d like to blame me for that,” Iggy replied with righteous indignation.  “Get the hell out of here and leave me alone.”  He started to slam the door, but the one called Elphaba shouted “Wait,” and caught him in a riveting stare.  “Go away!” Iggy hollered.

Elphaba looked at the other two women, and those two nodded their heads.  Elphaba raised her arms and looked to the sky.  An intense flash of lightning struck very close by, momentarily blinding Iggy.  When his vision cleared, he saw the three women gathered around a smoking cauldron that has appeared, seemingly out of thin air.  The women began to chant:

Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble,
Candy, candy disappear,
Strike him down with pain and fear.
On his back, a tiny mole,
Let it grow, and damn his soul.
No children come here anymore,
At the ides of March, settle the score.

Elphaba once again raised her arms and looked to the sky, and once again there was a thunderous clap and a flash of lightning.  When Iggy’s vision cleared, the women and the cauldron had vanished.

Iggy furiously slammed the door.  “It’s just a trick those damn ghosts of my parents are playing on me.  It’s all in my imagination.  I don’t even believe in witches, he said to himself, trying hard to convince himself.  But when he looked, the remainder of the polluted candy bars were gone.  He turned off his front lights and headed for bed.  He hated the way this Halloween had gone, and anyway, this mercifully would be the end of it for him.

Iggy quickly forgot about the Halloween incident, and he didn’t even notice that there was, indeed, a tiny mole in the center of his back.  He couldn’t feel it at all, and it was in a place that was difficult to see in a mirror.  It wasn’t until January that he finally noticed the mole, and that it was growing, but he failed to associate it with the Halloween incident.  In February he became concerned enough to visit a dermatologist, who removed the mole and biopsied it.  A week later he received the bad news.

On the fifteenth of March, Ichabod Manson closed his eyes in his hospital bed, fell into a fitful sleep, and dreamed that the three witches were flying over his head on their broomsticks.  In his dream thy were circling, circling above him, and chanting once again:

Protect our children, cast a spell,
Send a monster straight to hell,,
Revenge has such a sweet aroma,
Poison him with melanoma.
Go now to the devil's’ door,
Harm our children nevermore.
Grovel now in your deathbed,
It’s the ides of March, and you are DEAD!

It was a dream from which Ichabod Manson would never awaken.

© Don Silverman - Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop, Las Vegas, NV.

Don Silverman.  Education: AA and BS in Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley.  JD (Doctor of Jurisprudence), San Francisco Law School.
                          Profession: Founding attorney and Senior attorney of Law firm, Silverman and Silverman, Alameda, CA (retired 1996, and moved to Las Vegas).  Current president, Silverwing Investors, Inc., a Nevada Corporation, owner of a retail store in Seekonk, MA.  Current one half owner of an office building in Alameda, CA.
                         Senior Education Experience: Member of OLLI at UNLV (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a division of Senior Education Outreach at UNLV), President 2 terms, Vice President 2 terms, Financial Officer, one term; Member of  Board of Directors, 8 years.. Leader or Co-Leader of six different classes, including 10 years as Co-Leader of the Writers' Workshop classes. Published in the OLLI at UNLV annual spring journal every year 2006 through 2016.  Chairman or Vice Chairman of the By-Laws Committee, the Long Range Planning Committee, and the Fundraising Committee.
                        Past president of Family Services of Alameda, California.  Past Board Member and President of the Legal Services Department, Sun City Summerlin, Las Vegas.
                        Married to Judy Silverman, 64 years and counting.  Four sons, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

'TALENT' By Mitch Phillips

The hat arrived and my wife Rochelle thought I looked great in it. Her praise was complete and unequivocal. When I wore it, a transformation came over me. I felt taller I walked taller; I was taller by the height of the hat.  When I debuted my hat on the municipal golf course located near my home, I noticed the starter no longer treated me like one of the rabble. He teamed me up with the better players. I did not have to wait as long for a T-time and my new large brimmed white hat made me appear to play thirty strokes better than I did. Now when I played poorly as usual, the players I teamed up with assumed I was having a bad day and would not start giving me advice on how to improve my game. This sometimes lasted until the fourth hole.

I no longer felt obligated to keep everyone entertained with quips through our adventure on the links, in the hope they would forget how poorly I played but how funny I was. This new persona I acquired by just putting on a White hat inspired me to improve my game. I took lessons not from the local pro but at an expensive resort where everyone was dressed better than they played. Unfortunately, my improvement was not in direct proportion to the amount of money I spent.

The expensive lessons could not remove the ingrained attitudes of years of playing baseball and basketball, where aggressiveness compensated for my short stature. 
Golf was just too slow for me. I could not get into the tempo. The etiquette was also foreign. Why doesn't everyone run to his or her ball?   Why can't we all T-off at the same time? Why is everyone so quiet and why the hell do you have to yell "four" instead of "get the hell out of the way" when a ball is about to hit someone in the head. Four sounds like you are asking a hostess at a restaurant to get you a table.

 My white hat started to lose that clean look as perspiration stained the fabric just about the same time my joints began to lose their cartilage. The pain of playing golf was more than I was willing to put up with so both me and my hat retired from the game of golf.  I will still play an occasional round of golf and am amazed how little my joints hurt when I'm having a good round. 

On one occasion, I was invited to play golf with a gentleman whose daughter was a child prodigy. He asked me if I knew which sport had the players with the highest IQ's and which the lowest. I didn't even venture a guess but it turns out that Golf has the lowest and bowling having the people with the highest IQ. I was also informed that his daughter's favorite game was bowling. With these statistics under my belt, I no longer felt my lack of improvement in the game of golf, had nothing to do with my talent, but just that I was too smart for the game.

©Mitch Phillips - Summerlin's Writers and Poet Workshop - Las Vegas NV.

"Talent" is one of the topics for the month of September
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We are looking to expand our Comedy Writers Network with members around the country. Contact me at 
Jerry Silvers - webmaster