Poems of the Week

Straight Bat

by Julia Griffin

“Queen Elizabeth Has Been Known to Catch Bats in a Butterfly Net at Balmoral Castle”
Town and Country

She has been known. You ask, by whom?
Select observers, we assume;
Who has the task of choosing hats
For when HM is catching bats?
A veil might help; not so a plume.

Balmoral’s bats must sense their doom
To see that regal figure loom:
They’ve learned the looks of autocrats;
She has been known.

It isn’t that there isn’t room,
But batting lifts sporadic gloom,
As does the sight of knights in spats
Attending her with tiny vats:
She’s ninety-six, but can she zoom!—
She has been known.

How Bad Is The Stock Market?

by Paul Lander

It is so bad that
Moody’s will now be known as:
Extremely Pissed Off.

Boom and Bust

by Alex Steelsmith

“An ancient Roman bust… missing for decades,” bought “from a Texas Goodwill for under $40”
is “believed to depict Roman commander Drusus Germanicus.”
USA Today

Prominent, dominant
Drusus Germanicus
once ordered legions to
conquer new lands

far from the shores of the
Mediterranean.
Now forty dollars is
all he commands.

Primary Concern

by Steven Kent

“US Man Charged With Wife’s Murder Wins Republican Town Primary From Jail”
The Guardian

Republican I am, a small-town guy;
I stand for family, liberty, and such.
Pro-life? Of course, though let me qualify:
A fetus? Yes. My wife? Well, not so much.

Uttar Outrage

by Nora Jay

“Couple in India sue son for not giving them a grandchild …
The couple’s lawyer, AK Srivastava, told The National that the couple had demanded the money
‘because of mental cruelty’.
‘It is a dream of every parent to become a grandparent.
They had been waiting for years to become grandparents.'”

BBC News

A fellow in Uttarakhand
Gave somebody female his hand;
That was six years ago;
Are there offspring yet? No;
And his parents cannot understand.

Their kindness was more than parental:
They housed him, and spared him the rental
“Every parent,” they claim,
“Wants a grandparent’s name;
So we’re suing for cruelty (mental).”

Before such familial scorn,
The son may feel crushed and forlorn;
If so, he might try
What’s been done in Mumbai:
Sue them back, for the fact he was born.

Late Bloomers

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“A new range of gardening-themed condoms have been launched
to encourage older Brits to practice safe sex.”
—Scotland on Sunday

Safe sex at my age means
Remembering to take
A puff on my inhaler
Before I act the rake.
The spirit’s still as keen—
The lungs are rather frailer.

Some men have reputations
For making love for hours.
I too have learnt the knack,
In flowerbeds or bowers,
Of exercising patience—
I’ve got a dodgy back.

Old Age Be Not Sugarcoated

by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

“Sizing Up the Decisions of Older Adults: A new training tool helps to assess whether
some seniors can make informed choices about their own care and well-being.”

The New York Times

Your language has me groaning.
I hate to be a scold,
But please don’t call me older
Instead of simply old.
And even worse is senior.
It makes me quite irate.
I haven’t been a senior
Since 1968!

Dig This

by Martin F. Kohn

“Southfield funeral director hopes Barbie will bring more women to her profession”
Detroit Free Press

Barbie’s had a zillion jobs:
Teaching, Flying, Baking…
But Funeral Director’d be
A major undertaking.

On the Jump

by Dan Campion

“As the weather warms, experts warn to watch for invasive jumping worms”
KARE11

To add to news that makes us squirm
Warm weather brings a jumping worm.
Okay, we’re warned. We’ll keep a watch.
Iced tea? No, thanks. A double Scotch.

Altitude Adjustment

by Alex Steelsmith

“Everest reaches to about 29,032 feet above sea level, though that number can change.”
NPR

Slippery slopery,
Everest’s altitude
rose unexpectedly.
Climbers despair,

though it seems likely that
geocartographers
tasked with the survey went
into thin err.

Winds of War

by Chris O’Carroll

Trump administration officials tell Rolling Stone that during his time in office, the former president
asked repeatedly if China was creating artificial hurricanes and shooting them at the United States,
and whether he should consider bombing China in retaliation.

He harped upon a Chinese plot
To cook up super hurricanes,
Which from some unknown gun they shot
To send us killer winds and rains.

His fever dream might justify,
He mused, some sort of bomb attack.
We’ll hear more deep thoughts from this guy
Once Twitter says he’s welcome back.

Darren Harrison

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“How a passenger with no flight experience landed a plane in a nosedive after the pilot passed out…
[Darren Harrison] an executive of an interior design company, pulled off the landing all while in flip-flops
after fishing in the Bahamas.”
NBC News

Despite no background flying airplanes, I
Am now this Cessna’s pilot, so I should
Report its plight is serious, and try
Relanding it—in Florida, touch wood …
Excuse me? Roger? No, it’s Darren here,
Negotiating nosedives. This machine
Has no beginner’s guide on how to steer
And steady, while the navigation screen
Refuses to switch on, so I’ve no clue
Regarding my position, though I know
I have the coast of Florida in view—
Should I pull here, or push the knob below? …
On solid ground at last. No further hitch.
Now I must turn this thing off … Where’s the switch?

Giving It Up for Vegetables

by Bruce Bennett

“Let’s Give It Up for Vegetables:
With the arrival of spring comes the emergence of brighter, lighter vegetables—
and the unfettered urge to gobble up anything green.”
—Food Blog

To “gobble up anything green”
Is springlike, and what spring should mean!
You’re feeling your oats?
Be like sheep and goats.
Let broccoli lighten your scene.

Bloody Ty-rant

by Alex Steelsmith

Political analyst Valery Solovei said one of Putin’s health issues was “of a psycho-neurological nature…
[T]he Russian news outlet Proekt also claimed Putin had been using an alternative therapy that involves
bathing in blood extract from severed deer antlers.”
MercoPress

Tubbily-scrubbily
Vlad the Barbarian
rants as he stews in his
sanguinous mix,

“Never mind modern-day
psychoneurology;
nothing is wrong that a
bloodbath can’t fix!”

A Wealth of Difference

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“Secrets of longevity from the royal household”
—Scotland on Sunday

Don’t think I’ll live as long as good Queen Liz.
I’m unemployed and poor; she’s rich as hell.
Her life has sparkle; mine has lost its fizz.

In one way, though, our circumstances gel:
She draws her money from the Civil List,
And I’m a scrounger off the State as well.