(The following is an example of writing as featured on the site

Six Puns Day Twenty Six: Ice Cream

Here’s the scoop: it’s a rocky road to get somewhere new. Obstacles like traffic cones will often sprinkle your path. For example, I’m climbing a tree right now and though I’m trying to get my knee up, all I’ve done is go nowhere. Obstacles can affect things in the plant kingdom, too. For instance, a potato can’t grow above ground, but a pea can.

© Dale Isip, 2012


(The following is an excerpt from the epic poem NYTHOS, which anthropomorphizes the boroughs of New York City.)

NYTHOS (excerpt)

 by Dale Isip

Chapter 1

Tell me, O Muse, of the

Occurrences of these early ages of the

Third millennium in the years so


Tell me of the countries, the

Towns, and of the cities. Tell me

Specifically of the City of the State of New York, and of the

Resting Gods of Boroughs that exist to struggle and

Boast amongst themselves.

Tell me of the Borough Staten,

Whose fatal shores protect Her

From the goods of Chinatown and

The evils of Tourism alike.

Tell me of the Borough Queens,

Whose vast expanses bewilder

Pilgrims and wanderers, yet whose

Interior welcomes most anyone.

Tell me of the Bronx,

Whose name wrings courage

From the hearts of mortals, yet

From whose depths manifest the

Matrix of legends.

Tell me of the King’s County,

Whose common name wrings courage

From the hearts of mortals, yet

From whose depths manifest the

Matrix of legends.

Tell me, finally, of the Borough

Manhattan, whose awesome might

Is unrivaled by the other

Boroughs, a might that could

Not exist, however, without the

Rest of the world.

Tell me, O Muse, of the discussion

These undying lands had one

Afternoon, in these times of ours.

“Brooklyn,” the Bronx stated, “When are

We going to settle our score?

When are we to determine whose

Lands are the most notorious and

Dangerous, whose inhabitants contain the

Most fire? Why must we wait?”

“Bronx,” mighty Kings boomed, “What is

This about? Our score was settled

Long ago when your bat-wielding

Team was given unquestioned dominance

In the arena of sport. What is this

You ask of now?”

“Clever Brooklyn, you mock me,” the

Bronx bellowed with a roar of laughter.

“Your inhabitants claim to have

The hearts of oxen and the

Souls of benevolent royalty spread

Throughout their masses. They are loud

Like thunder and abrupt like a

Summer storm. And yet they pride

Themselves on it! Have they not

Heard of my inhospitable thickets?”

“Bronx, your inhabitants often say

What you yourself fail to

Recognize about your bodylands. When

They speak, it is as if they

Speak on the end of fifteen

Lifetimes, each one greater than

The last. They act with authority

And unforgiveness, and let other

Boroughs know who they are. Why

Are you questioning their pride

In you?”

“Patronizing Kings,” Bronx stated.

“You would say anything you could

To avoid a competition with a Borough

Whose wrath would dare give you –at the very least–

A challenge! What is the reason for this?

Perhaps you have invited one

Hipster too many to your brackish

Shores! Let me tell you, Kings,

The development of contemporary

Arts and Music does not a

Hellfire Borough make! You illustrate

My inhabitants as what you think I

Want to hear! Underneath your meek

And humble facade, is there not a single

Honking horn or barking dog? Is there not

A single hint of the profane?… The Bronx nearly exploded with fury…

(End of excerpt)

© Dale Isip, 2012


(The following is an excerpt from a humorous fictional story about a really, really bad carpenter. It was written for a creative writing course.) 

Occupational Hazards by Dale Isip

He’s a bad carpenter. I really like the guy and all, but he just can’t make wooden structures. Nor can he repair or finish them. When I moved to this town and became his apprentice a few years back, I didn’t realize how bad he was. With a little bit of experience and observation, though, I can safely say he should not be in this line of work. I think that everyone in town knows that. The governor (an obvious Out -Of-Towner) asked him to build a new town hall, and he accepted the job. Nobody was thrilled about this. But strangely enough, nobody wanted to say anything, including me. Deep down, though, I felt I should tell him not to do it. I’m now reluctantly on my way to his house. I’m sorry, but he just can’t work tree innards. It’s sad because this is his livelihood, his means of supporting his family. If only his planks would support the buildings he makes.

Peter Newcastle has built almost everything in this town for the last twenty years. He’s done it with others’ help, of course. Sure, the buildings and furniture can stand alone.  They stand for a few minutes or a few hours, or even for a few days or a few years. But they are so poorly built that they are rendered useless. People who have desk jobs in this town really have table-top jobs with rickety legs. Put your clothes in the top drawer of your dresser and expect them to be all over the floor. We call normal chairs “rockers”. And so on. I got a hint of the poor workmanship myself when I sat on a wooden chair in my house. I found myself sitting on the floor. Then the basement floor. Then the sub-basement floor. Then the floor where that gun-running gang was doing business under my house. They helped me up, although they weren’t too happy to see me. When I explained that I was training to be carpenter in this town, they applauded, cheered, and welcomed me with open arms. I figured at that moment that only bad carpentry could elicit such a warm reaction.

There are also remnants of past projects all over town. In places you’d never expect them to be. My neighbor told me that the other day her little baby was caught teething on a nail. When she looked in the child’s room, she found a huge pile of nails under the new crib. It is not uncommon for elementary school children to get sent home because of numerous splinters on their backsides. Initiation rites for the local fraternity include drinking beer out of wooden cups and sitting at picnic tables for an entire night. Their mouths and bodies cry out for hydrogen peroxide in the morning. The local hospital (Mr. Newcastle was on vacation when I built it) specializes in tetanus shots, chemical cleaners, and splinter removal. And even that specialization doesn’t prepare the townsfolk for the aftermath of storms with winds above 16 miles per hour.

From the above information, one may have good reason to ask why the townspeople haven’t run Mr. Newcastle out of town with torches and pitchforks in hand. The torches and pitchforks wouldn’t last the trip. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask why no one has spoken honestly with the man, or why other carpenters haven’t set up shop. Or why Mr. Newcastle hasn’t done much to improve his work. There are answers to at least some of these questions. Mr. Newcastle’s father, John, was a great carpenter. He basically rebuilt Chufaston after the winter fires of ’44 virtually wiped out the entire town. Single-handedly, he chased out thieves and outsiders wanting to make quick profits off the town’s desperate inhabitants. Then, as the story goes, with a single axe John cleared the forests around town and moved the trees into Chufaston on horseback. He melted the townspeople’s only pots, pans, forks, and spoons to craft crude nails and screws. Using his axe as a hammer, he pounded the town into a glory it had never seen before.

For years after the fires, anyone who had trouble with buildings or furniture would come to John. He would respond with great punctuality, because he felt he owed the people as they nearly starved to death. In the weeks after the fires they were left without much food and with no cooking utensils. They were terribly afraid of the fires–that had since died down when John started to work—so much that they nearly froze to death. John reportedly showed the townsfolk that fire wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. People began to cook again, and times were good for some forty years.

John taught his son Peter how to be a carpenter. Peter was twenty when his father died, and took over his father’s work. And now I–a newer resident of Chufaston and Peter Newcastle’s only official apprentice—am going to tell him he can’t build things. Oh well. It truly could be worse. Maybe if I was really nice, I wouldn’t tell Peter about how the front wall of my house fell down after I closed the door this morning. Fortunately, the wall missed me and I was left standing in the hole of an open window, now on the ground. I stepped out of the window-hole and avoided stepping on the pictures I had placed on the wall over the years. This can’t go on any longer. I have to tell Peter…

(end of excerpt)

© Dale Isip, 2012

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