Poems of the Week

Life on Venus

by Coleman Glenn

“Scientists discovered phosphine gas, a sign of life, on Venus.”

There was a Venutian on Venus
Who shouted, “Oh no, now they’ve seen us!
Just wait—if I know ’em,
They’ll soon write a poem
Whose last word will not be ‘phosphinous.'”

Make American History Great Again

by Chris O’Carroll

“Trump alleges ‘left-wing indoctrination’ in schools,
says he will create national commission to push more
‘pro-American’ history”

The Washington Post

Teaching U.S. imperfection?
That amounts to insurrection!
History’s a celebration
Of our freedom-loving nation.
We regard with indignation
Teachers who spread information
From before Emancipation—
Mark them for elimination.
Patriotic education
Gives correct indoctrination.

Dire Straits

by Julia Griffin

“Since late July, sailors have reported several encounters with orcas in the Straits of Gibraltar
that tipped one boat sideways and spun others in circles, leaving them rudderless.
There is some speculation that these attacks seemed orchestrated…”
The Hill

The water round Gibraltar
Tumultuously shudders:
The boldest bosuns falter,
Divested of their rudders.

The sailors’ cries are raucous:
They’re feeling quite ill-fated;
Such awkwardness from orcas
Is surely orchestrated.

Ethelred Updated

by Jerome Betts

“Why on earth is Boris Johnson illegally revoking
the EU withdrawal treaty which he himself
so enthusiastically signed, claiming it gave Britain
an ‘oven-ready’ Brexit?”
—The Guardian: This Is Europe

So just what did they put in the oven,
Cummings, Johnson, the ERG coven?
He smiled as he signed on the line
And observed it was all jolly fine
But now claims that the outlook is murky
And the thing was the wrong kind of turkey.

Support Whose Troops?

by James Hamby

“Trump ad asks people to support the troops. But it uses a picture of Russian jets.”

Trump didn’t note the Russian jets
Before the ad was sent.
How gauche supporting Putin’s troops!
(Unless that’s what he meant.)

Herd Mentalities Are Sweeter

by Dan Campion

“You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd—like a herd mentality.
It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen.”
The President of the United States, discussing resistance to Covid-19

Herd mentalities are sweeter, far,
Than herd immunities.
I, President, your guiding star,
Crowned czar of dread disease,

Foretell the future of your herd
(Beware! Sour tongues deceive):
You’ll mind like sheep. I give my word.
Hail, hear me, and believe!

Double Duty

by Michael Calvert

“Thick wildfire smoke blocks sun, turns Bay Area sky orange”

Already I am staying in,
Already got a mask—
How nice, for the apocalypse
That I can multitask!

Mum’s the Word

by Bruce Bennett

Said Trump to Cohen: “Make that go.
Give ’em the cash, but let ’em know
there’ll be no blabbing! Make it clear
that we can make them disappear.”

Said Trump to Woodward: “Sure I knew
Covid’s more deadly than the flu.
But let that come as a surprise.
They won’t freak out, and stocks will rise.”

Said Trump to Putin…? None can say.
They both have made that go away
since both know how to make things go.

It’s likely we will never know.

Cheers to Dorothy Parker!

by Jane Blanchard

“Dorothy Parker’s Ashes Are Returned to New York”
The New York Times

Let’s drink to this Algonquin wit
Back in New York for good,
Thanks to the fans who’ve done for her
The very best they could.

More than five decades past her death
The Times again explains,
She failed to make her wishes known
Regarding her remains.

Six years her ashes stayed inside
The crematorium;
A lawyer’s cabinet then kept
Them twice that long plus some.

The same were brought to Baltimore
And set respectfully
On property belonging to

Henceforth, she’ll rest with relatives,
Say those she never met:
It seems a place in Woodlawn is
As good as she can get.


by Chris O’Carroll

“We’re going to be appointing very pro-crime judges.”
Donald Trump

Once I get bounced from the White House,
I hope not to do prison time,
So my judicial appointments
Will be, like me, very pro-crime.

What’s Playing at the Palace?

by Phil Huffy

“Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Estate Opens for Drive-In Movies”

Having no shortage of manors,
Her Majesty’s glad to invite
those living near Sandringham Castle
to drive in on Saturday night.

With grounds both capacious and verdant,
there’s plenty of room out in back
for folks to relax in their Rovers
with kids and a drink and a snack.

Some find this offer distasteful —
well-meant but quite frankly off base.
The Queen, of course, won’t be presiding,
and seldom sets foot in the place.

As to the price of admission,
the charges are said to be fair,
assuring the Crown’s compensated
and has few expenses to bear.

Breaking News

by Jerome Betts

“In response to a question in parliament about the legality
of changing the treaty, Mr Lewis, Northern Ireland
secretary, replied: Yes, this does break international law
in a specific and limited way.”
The Financial Times

Citizens, go when the light isn’t green,
Write a big cheque when you haven’t a bean,
Promise prompt payment of tax to the state,
Knowing it’s certain to be very late,
Now it’s confirmed that such things are OK
In a specific and limited way.

What Magna Carta?

by Dan Campion

“The U.S. Justice Department… moved to assume responsibility for defending
President Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says Trump
raped her [in a department-store dressing room] in the 1990s.”


The President qua president denied
The charges lodged against the private man?
So says the DOJ, which has descried
Its duty to the man. Ingenious plan,
Some smile, while others’ tempers hit the fan.
Who knows how this new wrinkle will press out:
A fantasy, a saint, a harridan?
A dressing room, a cur, a pure Girl Scout?
Bill Barr apparently has shed all doubt
The President’s a sovereign emperor,
Thus once and always free to gad about.
A victim seeks redress for pain? Sod her!
The law was made to shield the head of state,
Says seneschal of Bergdorf Goodman–gate.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

by Susan Jarvis Bryant

“Wear a mask while having sex, Canada’s top doctor suggests”

I see that knowing glow ignite your eyes;
Let’s pull on rubber gloves and sanitize.
Go don your mask and don’t ask for a kiss;
To lock our lips is wickedly remiss.
The heat of skin on skin could leave us sick;
We’d better make our hot encounter quick.
And if a teasing tongue is your intention,
I must point out that all the experts mention
Such friskiness will pose a hairy risk.
Before our lustfulness ensures you whisk
Me off my feet and straight upstairs to bed,
Perhaps we’ll get the Scrabble out instead.

A Hard-To-Swat Fly

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

A Frenchman was about to eat his food.
He loathed to share his dinner with a fly,
And since one pesky fly had dared intrude,
Resolved at once this fly would have to die!
Dispensing electricity in sparks
That fizzled from a swatter he now held,
Our Frenchman chased the fly, but left no marks,
Since flies are so adroitly self-propelled …
What happened next brought kudos to the fly:
An undetected gas leak filled the room
To spark a blast that blew the roof sky-high.
For miles around the neighbors heard it boom …
Luck blessed the man. Just minor burns had he.
You know the rest: The fly escaped scot-free!