David Hedges—Featured Poet


A Fleeting Thought

There was no joy like mine. I had a thought
Like none before it in my time, one fraught
With nuances—but now I am distraught.

The thought got up and sauntered out the door
While I fell sobbing to the kitchen floor.
It’s happened so damned many times before—

A thought will slither in and slip its arms
Around me, melt resistance with its charms,
Then disappear before it trips alarms.

I’m left to splash about in afterglow
Of wisdom so profound, so weighty, so
Nouveau—and now no one will ever know.

The Trickle-Up Theory

No matter how you divvy up the pie,
Demand is bound to overtake supply.
There’s only so much dough to go around.
This drives us job creators to the ground.

The ninety-nine percent are trying to steal
A bigger slice, and we’ve begun to feel
The pinch. We’re forced to keep our year-old yachts
When next year’s models promise fifty knots.

We need our villas in the south of France,
Our island hideaways where we can dance
And play, our Swiss chalets, our Central Park
Apartments, mansions like East Hampton’s Arc.

To those who say there’s something wrong with greed,
We say, To each according to his need!
Our need to feed our offshore bank accounts
In exponential leaps to keep amounts

Ahead of spending has us on the edge.
Instead of jumping off a Wall Street ledge,
We choose to squeeze the poor, the sick, the old,
And turn their abject suffering to gold.

Nothing on Earth

A zipper’s handy when a man
Must sacrifice his self-esteem
And run like hell to find the can.

What in the ordinary scheme
Of living seems so minor, so
Pedestrian, becomes a theme:

When you gotta go, you gotta go,
Quicker than you can bat an eye.
Nothing on Earth is quite as slow—

Glancing left-right on the sly,
Dancing about like Peter Pan—
As fumbling with a button fly.

Birth Control

A Pet Crayfish Can Clone Itself, And It’s Spreading Around the World
—The Atlantic

A single woman might be able to reproduce by herself—www.Neo.Life

The female crayfish that gives birth
Without a mate, for what it’s worth,
Will one day dominate the Earth

By squeezing out the ones that play
By Nature’s rules. With sex passé,
This crayfish knows when Mother’s Day

Is nigh because she has a choice,
A strong, no longer passive voice,
In when she lays her eggs. Rejoice,

Ye lovers of the human race!
Someday it may be commonplace
To breed without a fond embrace.

The sooner women learn they can
Conceive without a middleman
(Japan is in the research van)

The sooner they will take a cue
From Aristophanes and do
What Lysistrata urged them to

In ancient Greece: Say no to sex.
If men turn into nervous wrecks,
They won’t be so inclined to flex

Their muscles, and, like Tarzan, roar
For Jane to bow and play the whore.
What better cure for endless war

Than holding out a prize for peace?
Just think, hostilities will cease—
Cooperation will increase—

We may discover common ground.
The implications are profound!
(Don’t worry, we’ll still fool around.)

Hog Tithe

If I had a dime
For every time
Some dumb schlemiel
Behind the wheel
Of an SUV
Cut in front of me
And then went slow
I’d be rolling in dough.

Flight of the Iguana

Cat starts apartment fire; man’s pet iguana is missing
—Newspaper headline

The cat survived the one-alarmer
With only minor scrapes.
The blazing futon didn’t harm her
The way it did the drapes.

According to the duo’s owner,
Kitty was prone to play,
While Hugh, a feline-hating loner,
Wished the cat astray.

Kitty deemed Hugh an interloper
With spooky sea-green eyes,
A guttural-hissing slippery-sloper,
A creature to despise.

The cat, in the iguana’s thinking,
Belonged in a holding tank
Exposed to steady strobe light blinking,
Spread-eagled on a plank.

Kitty construed Hugh’s barroom brawling
As headed for a wreck.
Tipped like a dinghy in the squalling,
Hugh’s heat lamp hit the deck.

Kitty, not ready for Nirvana,
Seizing her domain,
Catapulted Hugh Iguana
Beyond the astral plane.

Can’t Win

Dame Fortune doesn’t know my name.
Claims I have only myself to blame.
Shame she refuses to play my game.
Dame Fame’s the same.

“Hog Tithe” originally appeared in a print edition of Light.

David Hedges is the author of Prospects of Life After Birth: Memoir in Poetry and Prose (2019), Petty Frogs on the Potomac (1997), and five chapbooks, most recently A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to a Geology Degree (2011). Poems have appeared in Light, Poetry, Measure, Poet Lore, Trinacria, and Able Muse, among others. At the 2003 Oregon Book Awards, he received the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to Oregon’s literary life. He lives in West Linn, Oregon with his wife, Scottie, and three Scottish Deerhounds, whom Sir Walter Scott’s dubbed “a most perfect creature of heaven.”