Good Night, Sweet Prince!

O Captain! My Captain! a.k.a Dr. Andrew Dillon
O Captain! My Captain! a.k.a Dr. Andrew Dillon

Yesterday, I found out that my former professor, Dr. Andrew Dillon, had passed away after a long battle with cancer. It hit me in the way a solid steel door slams in your face, breaking your nose, and leaving you unsure if you’ll ever breath properly again. I’d already begun mourning Dr. Dillon weeks ago, when I first heard that he was terminally ill; recalling his wit, insight and advice and reading his poetry drove me to tears. Some losses must be honored slowly – and, sometimes, in advance – so that the heart is expressed before the overwhelming finality of death.

I remember visiting Dr. Dillon about five years after I’d graduated from Flagler College. Worried that he might not recall having seen me every single day, sometimes two or three times, for a solid year and a half, I was prepared to remind him of who I was. After all, he had so many students; why would I stand out as anything special? When I entered the English Department wing, Dr. Dillon just happened to be exiting his office. He turned, looked at me and smiled. I gave a half-wave and said, “Hi, Dr. Dillon. I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Miss Snarky Pants.”

Before I could speak another word, he recited a line from one of my poems to me, then said, “Of course, I remember you.” We chatted about life and poetry for awhile. As we spoke, he called to mind several lines from a few of my other poems – ones I’d submitted during the 18 months or so that I’d studied under his constant tutelage – and encouraged me to continue writing. “Never stop writing,” he’d said, before wishing me well and heading to his next class.

For a brief moment, I envied those students, sitting in their uncomfortable chairs, awaiting the professor who could leap tall desks with a single bound and rattle their teeth with blood-dripping lines from Macbeth. To be there instead of returning to the dreary classrooms – and somewhat equally dreary people – in law school. I knew then that law might be a career path, but it would never be my aspiration. Dr. Dillon had remembered my poem. He’d confirmed for me what I already knew to be true: I wasn’t meant to be a lawyer; I was meant to be a writer.

Recently, when I heard that Dr. Dillon was ill, I’d planned to write him a letter, expressing how much he’d meant to me as an English professor, and detailing the impact his instruction and support had on my life. But the only words that would come were words of mourning: “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” Poems of lamentation followed, but the praise, the gratitude, the marrow of all he meant to me were drowned out by my grief.

And then, weeks later, there was no time left. The final exam was over.The blue book was closed.

There were just these words:


For Dr. Andrew Dillon

Grass stems,
frosted with strangled light,
remind me of you
and that day you stood in the bricked breezeway
that was shaped like a gravestone,
your fine white hair set ablaze
by the waning sun.
Even then, you seemed fragile, as if your bones
bore the weight of all tragic literature.
Still, you leaped like a mullet at the sight of the moon,
arching your back, bending your knees,
until your feet were planted on the desktop
and Lear rolled off your tongue,
dripping the loss of Cordelia.
Now, it is you who are poisoned –
the cancer, two wretched sisters plotting your demise –
and the chemo, guiltier than Regan and Goneril,
making promises it can’t keep,
in the sappy declarations you, my King Lear, long to hear.
And I fear I shall never again see the flames
that lit you from within:
Bill Stafford verse that made the vein in your temple dance;
the fictional, chicken-knuckled words you encouraged;
first stanzas you excised in bloody ballpoint;
their words trampled in a mad dash for the meat of it all.
Because, today, the sun – my constant star – is dying.
I still see you there, a raging silhouette,
fists balled against the supernova,
and I clamp my eyes shut,
so as not to see the cruel moment,
when you become that strangled light
frosting the grass.

Miss Snarky Pants



The Three Sentence Long Horror Story

Image courtesy of C&K Creations
Image courtesy of C&K Creations

One night, after I’d fallen asleep, my husband landed on a horror site and spent hours reading short stories. For some reason, he then decided to write an über brief horror story that went like this:

I returned home from work. My wife was not in her usual spot. Which was strange because she’s been dead for two years.

That’s it. I know. I know. It’s not half bad.

My question to you is: Should I be worried?

Think about it. My husband’s sitting in bed, reading on his laptop in the middle of the night, when he, a non-writer, suddenly decides to pen a horror story – one in which he could feature any number of vapid or unsympathetic victims –  but I, his devoted, albeit it snoring, wife, ends up as the corpse. Dead for two years, already. Like he’d been thinking about it for awhile. I’m starting to understand why Edgar Allen Poe died alone on a park bench.

After all, we have three cats. At least two of them are jerks. Couldn’t the story have gone something like:

I returned home from work. Magellan, our cat, was not in his usual spot. Which was strange because I put his ashes in that urn on the fireplace two years ago.

Okay, so Stephen King already covered that territory in Pet Semetary, but there were other options. For example, bosses. Lots of people despise their bosses. My husband, for one, does not, but, as far as I know, he doesn’t despise me either, so why not take this approach:

I returned to work. Mr. Jetson was not in his usual spot. Which was strange because I bricked up that wall myself two years ago.

Or Hubby could have envisioned a situation in which we had a child. Dead kids are super creepy. And imagined spawn – well, you can write almost anything about them without scarring them for life or being arrested.

I returned home from work. My young daughter, Ashley, was not in her usual spot. Which was strange because her corpse has been chained to that pipe in the basement for two years now.

Am I wrong? Way spookier than the dead wife scenario. By focusing on the daughter, we’re allowed to imagine that little girl from Poltergeist – all precious and blonde and talking to her television – just before her eyes turn black, her mouth stretches into a Edvard Munch scream and thousands of spiders rush over her lips in a black river of legs and bodies. And no one freaks out because everyone knows it’s not about our rugrat; we’d never name a child, Ashley. Not when we could call her Shatner Gallifrey Pants.

How about a neighbor? One of ours revs motors in our shared, echoing, back alley as a hobby. Why not him? Is there a better way to vent your frustration about slowly going deaf without anyone getting hurt?

I returned home from work. My neighbor was not in his usual spot. Which was strange because I buried him and that damn Corvette engine under the rose garden, two years ago.

It’s been a few months now. I try not to worry. I avoid those shows watched by suburban, middle-aged women about suburban, middle-aged women who are murdered by their suburban, middle-aged husbands, who have twenty-one year old mistresses named Bambi. I bought Mace. Magellan is my food taster.

Hubby hasn’t written any more horror stories.

But I have.

My husband returned home from work. He took off his tie and sat down in his favorite chair. I pointed at him and asked the priest, “Can you do something about this? He’s been dead for two years.”

Just Four Friggin’ Lines #8


Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a dailyworkweekpretty random, mostly reliable series for people who have the attention span of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s. People who have to cram their verse in between tweezing and waxing. Or mowing, as the case may be. There’s no judgment here; after all, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines. You and your monobrow are welcome.

Read, enjoy, share and contribute your own four-liner in the Comments below. I triple dog dare you. Do it or I’ll give you a noogie. C’mon, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines!

Follow Miss Snarky Pants on Instagram at dinsworth or on Twitter @CristyCLewis.

Just Four Friggin’ Lines #5


Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a poetry series for people who insist on listening with their eyes. And in honor of those who scribble verses like sleezy phone numbers on their palms and wrists, I bleed Just Four Friggin’ Lines of ink. Are you hemorrhaging words? Share your four lines in the Comments below and stop spurting all over your keyboard.

Just Four Friggin’ Lines #4


Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a new poetry series by Miss Snarky Pants – okay, it’s the only poetry series, unless you count my Big Bang Theory Haiku – written especially for people who like their poetry the way they like their flu shots: fast and painless. This might not be Shakespeare, but it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines


Just Four Friggin’ Lines #3


This is the third installment of Miss Snarky Pants’ new, daily poetry series, Just Four Friggin’ Lines, written especially for you who get your poetry thang on while waiting at traffic lights. Read, enjoy, follow, share and contribute in the Comments Section below – particularly if you have a four-liner you’d like to pass along. After all, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines.  C’mon, there were more words on the back of that cereal box you read this morning. This is poetry. It’s way cooler to say, “I read an interesting poem at that long light on Tampa Avenue,” than “I know how many calories are in a serving of Frosted Flakes.” And it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines!

Just Four Friggin’ Lines #2



Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a new daily, poetry series penned by Miss Snarky Pants. Afraid to make a commitment or intimidated by sonnets that have the nerve to go on for fourteen lines? That’s not an issue here – because it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines!

Go ahead; follow me. Leading is exhausting, isn’t it? Take a break. It’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines.


If you prefer your low-commitment verse on Instagram, check MSP out @dinsworth.


Just Four Friggin’ Lines #1




Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a new poetry series I’m writing for the lovely people who don’t have time to read my longer humorous, satirical, political or just-plain-indulgent-and-confessional posts. It’s poetry. Written in less than a few minutes, then printed out and photographed – so you know I didn’t come back and tinker with it later. It’s not meant to change the world or even be any good. The poems may be serious, funny, observational, lyrical, raw or bleak. But it’s my way of saying hello and, most importantly, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines.

This is number one.

Follow…so you don’t miss out.


Miss Snarky Pants is – usually- a humor and satire blog. Apparently, we’re branching into poetry, for no apparent reason. Deal with it. It’s JUST FOUR FRIGGIN’ LINES.



A Stupid Butterfly Poem


Monarch New York Times


A Stupid Butterfly Poem


Clipped between the window pane

and the screen,

two monarch wings

lay at wicked angles,

dusted with the world that passed

since they last beat

beat   beat   beat   beat   beat   beat   beat.

Against the scraping mesh.

Against the July-baked glass.

Against the sun.


I wondered how it happened,

how this fluttering wisp was trapped,

a cage on one side,

an impenetrable wall on the other.

Did its heart pound with more ferocity

than the slamming of its body –


its spindly, black legs as useless as dangling threads,

against its invisible warden.

Was it an unintended kidnapping,

or did some brute chortle,

watching the aching wings slam against the hot screen?


My disappointment in Humanity hung

about me,

thick and heavy as the humidity.

It was then that I noticed the screen

gaping away from the window.

Only inches of freedom to me, but acres to one

who fits in my palm.


Stupid butterfly.


Miss Snarky Pants


If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also like these:

Procrastination in the Form of a Cat Poem

Setting the Snark Aside

Big Bang Theory Haiku

The World’s Worst Sonnet About a Dead Dog Ever


Copyright 2014 by C.C.L. and Miss Snarky Pants.  All rights reserved. This is my poem. I wrote it. It is my property. Do not reproduce without my written consent or I will write a stupid poem about you and how you steal stupid poems. 

If Sheldon Cooper Wrote Haiku

The Pain of an Engineer Amongst Ph.Ds
The Pain Of A Lowly Engineer

The condescension

oh, Sheldon, stabs the meek heart

in this engineer

Howard Wolowitz

Leonard Driving...As Usual
Leonard Driving…As Usual

Einstein bled physics,

Newton unlocked gravity,

Sheldon still can’t drive

Leonard Hofstadter

Grasshopper, You Are The One True God!

Grasshopper, You Are The One True God!

Grasshopper of strength,

may your mint milk inspire words,

ones spoken aloud

Raj Koothrappali

The Russians Love Me!
The Russians Love Me!

Howard went to space,

whining like a transmission

needing a tune-up

Sheldon Cooper

Run, Priya! Run!
Run, Priya! Run!

Fuck haiku, Priya.

Come near Leonard again, bitch,

I’ll cut you like grass


amy and sheldon kissing

Oh, Sheldon Cooper,

your chastity belt chafes raw

my unshaven loins

Amy Farrah Fowler

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Your MeMa may live,

my bearded Wesley Crusher.

Still, I scream, “Wheaton!”

Sheldon Cooper

big bang elevatorGeniuses upstairs

make space toilets work, but not

the elevator

Mrs. Gunderson (downstairs neighbor)


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