The Craven
By Dayana "Yoke 'em and choke 'em" Yochim (TMF School)
(With apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over forms and income queries -- volumes of taxation lore.
The day of reckoning was looming, penalties and late fees blooming.
Tax times always seems so gloomy --  can't I put it off once more?

From a sound my hound did flee; a cell phone buzzing mightily --
On the line my CPA breathlessly reminding me.
"All that dough that you did make, the IRS awaits its take.

For each tick that your stocks did rake, a tidy sum is yours no more.
Ten ninety nines, W-fours, W-twos, tax loss selling, write-offs, too.
The Fed and state cry for their due -- more time is needed for this chore!"
(For this call, I'll shell out more.)

While I listened, nearly tearing -- more addendums I was fearing,
every decimal a-rearing dollar signs on my tax form.
Pass the phone, "Amway? I'm yours!"
I can sell stuff door-to-door.

Where to find a good deduction... can I write off liposuction?
All my funds bent on destruction, N-A-Vs down to the floor.
My accountant comes from Cendant. He says Fido's a dependent.
He would make a fine defendant, should this come to something more.

Then before me came a vision -- tall and striped and with a mission
In a moment out of fiction, the man appeared -- The Man! -- was fore.
"The due date passed in days of yore.
Uncle Sam is keeping score."
Said pallid giant -- six feet four.
Quoth the tax man, "Pay me more."

All of my procrastination turned to instant resignation,
At the obvious suggestion that I could postpone no more.
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer
"Foul!" said I. "I need a respite -- from this governed form of despot!"
Quoth the tax man, "Pay me more."

"I'll do the math -- though not my suit -- pay up from my labor's fruit
Skip the lines I'm told are moot, an IRA I'll fund once more."
Quoth the tax man, "Pay me more."

With a click -- the whir of Quicken -- numbers ticked, my stomach sickened
In a blink the screen did flicker, in a flash forms did outpour
To the state, I owed a song. And from the gov'ment... something's wrong.
Nine hundred back? Look hard and long. "Surely, sir, I must owe more."
"Surely, sir, I must owe more."

He stood before my eyes cast down, then sotto voce he did sound
"'Tis sad that my job so confounds -- that you should give the run-around
You get a refund this time 'round." I found his judgment rather sound.
As he walked into the night, I thanked him for that check, all right.
"Next year," cried he, "you'll pay me more!"
Quoth the tax man, ever more.

Dayana ashamedly admits that she had to file for several extensions this  year, before discovering that she actually was going to get money back. It's just a strange coincidence that her dog is named Poe.

The Unshaven
By Screamin' Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)
(with still more apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

[This Foolish poem was originally published on October 27, 1998.]

Once, upon a regrettable theory, while I vacationed at Lake Erie,
I scrutinized many a quaint and curious stock chart of yore --
While I studied a certain stock's mapping, I engaged in some hand clapping
As it was quite strapping, strapping -- as if the stock would soar.
"'Tis a sure sign," I uttered, recapping the stratospheric gains I'd shoot for.
This was my research... and nothing more.

Later, distinctly I remember... the stock was called U.Dismember,
Designed to help committee members remove members they abhor.
Eagerly I waited for it to skyrocket, but instead it hit an air pocket.
From that trade, a surfeit of sorrow -- sorrow for the never-reached summit,
For the many dollars lost in that stupid stock's rapid plummet.
I learned a small lesson... and sadly, nothing more.

I soon spied in another stock's chart -- the auspicious shape of a golf cart.
It thrilled me -- filled me with fantastic tremors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis sure to skyrocket and continue to soar.
My fortunes are made thanks to this stock's mighty roar!"
The stock sank quickly... then nothing more.

Presently my brain grew smarter; staring at stock charts no longer,
I tossed my technical analysis books out the back door.
But the fact is, as I tossed, gently came my unshaven neighbor Ross,
And he came with a hot tip, a penny stock that was sure to soar.
I loaded up on that baby, I did, imagining riches galore.
Darkness fell... and nothing more.

Deep into my darkness peering, the doctor confirmed the ulcer I was fearing,
My blood pressure up, the S&P 500 up, but my stock, alas, was no more.
The silence was unbroken; unshaven Ross had misspoken.
Those 30,000 once-promising shares now worth less than a subway token.
I forswore the pennies and the hot stock tips. And, what's more...
I vowed to change. (My past I deplored.)

Back to the library for more free learning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon I sensed my perspective turning, as through Motley books I pored
Presently there came a feeling, that in investing I'd be succeeding.
My new conviction had me reeling; revealing I could prosper like John Doerr.
Soon online, I headed for that website with an esprit de corps:
For me 'twas the Motley Fool... and nothing more.

I then flung open the shutter, when, with many a click and scroll flutter,
In there sputtered a Foolish education on investing since the days of yore.
On Buffett, Lynch, and Gardner (D.), on Graham, Dodd, and Gardner (T.)
On Scheiber, Fisher, Fischer, and Wettlaufer, too. (But no Zsa Zsa Gabor).
With the humor of Lardner, the sense of Twain... I could not snore.
For me, t'would be buy-and-hold investing, and little more.

Now, years later, I'm still smiling, while onto my coffers more wealth is piling,
And the unshaven are still dialing their brokers every hour -- what a bore.
When they quiz me, not understanding, I explain the power of branding,
And that their ways are demanding an inevitable crash landing -- and gore.
My distaste for their methods notwithstanding, I advise them to reform.
Ever-Wise, they reply, "Nevermore."

I find it now my mission to denounce these superstitions
That entrance the technicians and those who common sense ignore.
With the Steps 13, I offer the unshaven zombies a vaccine
Lest their portfolios be blown to smithereens, cleaned out and more.
Folly is now my life, on Halloween, and every day. I must underscore:
We're Fools, we are, me and the wife, Lenore.

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