Peter Austin



Bridezilla, for her wedding in Hawaii,
Announced the dress code. Here it is in short
(Remember: this was one upscale resort!):
Women whose weight was not unduly high

Must come arrayed in pants of orange suede,
Green velvet sweater, shade Chartreuse Liqueur,
Christian Louboutin shoes (red-heeled, bîen sûr)
And scarf by Burberry; while those who weighed

More than one-sixty? They should wear black shoes,
Equally atramentous top and pants
(The only looks they got would be askance…!)
As for the slim, trim guys? What must they choose?

A purple fuzzy sweater, soda hat,
L.E.D. glow sticks (foam!) and all-white trainers;
In contrast, for the endless kilo-gainers
Black shoes and camouflage. Well, that was that

Till someone mocked her dress code on the Net,
Anonymously! (Pray not a celeb
Nor, even worse, some A-list English Deb!
She ground her teeth and hissed, “I’ll get you yet,”

And swore, by Kim Kardashian, that she’d screen
Incoming guests until she found the snitch
(And kicked her out, the underhanded bitch!).
How? With a Walmart polygraph machine!

And code-abjurers? She’d pop their balloon
By forcing them to clean up after dinner
(The fat ones, this would help to render thinner!),
Unless they chipped in for the honeymoon.

[All of this is true, though whether any wedding guests go along with it is yet to be revealed.]

This Massive Watch

He had this massive watch upon his wrist
And, “Man,” said I, “that’s bigger than my fist!
What does the darned thing do, for heaven’s sake?”

He smiled: “You mean apart from show the time
And date and, every fifteen minutes, chime
And, naturally, tell you when to wake?

“Let’s see: it gives you phases of the moon,
And when there’s an eclipse due (that’s a boon!),
And barometric pressure and the odds

Of sunshine on the way, or rain or snow
And, more or less, how fast the wind’ll blow.”
—”You’re, kidding right? It must have cost you wads!”

“Wait up: that isn’t all! You like to scuba?
I took it down a half-mile in Aruba,
No prob. You want to know the time in Slough,

“St. Petersburg or Seoul? One button press!
A second, and the thing’ll incandesce
For reading it at night…” I answered, “Wow!”

But, looking closer: “Why’s it say the time
Is eight? It can’t be that late.” —”That’s ’cause I’m
Behind in winding it.” —”It’s clockwork…? Jeez!

“Who flogged it you, some hoary patriarch
Whose shop bore a resemblance to an ark?
And why in hell’d you buy it, if you please?”

Responding with an enigmatic smile
And taking out an iPhone 8 the while,
He checked the time and grabbed his coat and hat:

“Jesus!—I’d better blow this pizza joint!
Why did I buy it? As a talking point
For every fool who favors brainless chat…”

Peter Austin is a retired professor of English who lives in Toronto, Canada. He has published five collections of verse, the latest being Snapshots (Fall, 2018), plus a verse novel. In a previous incarnation, he was a playwright whose greatest success came from a musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, which has received four professional productions.