Poems of the Week

Herd Immunity: a Manifesto

by Marilyn L. Taylor

Why won’t the virus hit on us?
Because we are invincible!
So let’s go out and yuk it up
on principle!

It’s time for making out again
without a stupid mask—
And as for “social distancing”?
Don’t even ask.

We’re under forty-one years old
which means we’re all immune
(or nearly), so let’s hit the beach
this afternoon!

Tonight, the bars and restaurants
will ooze with babes and nerds
all set to rock and roll again—
just mark my words.

And should we cough or sniff or sneeze
or smooch (hey, don‘t we wish?)
we’ll only be replenishing
the petri dish—

so come on in and party hard
with all your sozzled friends!
Indulge your immortality
(—until it ends)!

A Salute to John Lewis

by Julia Griffin

To this brave youth who sat in Nashville;
To this brave man who stood with King;
Who walked across a bridge in Selma,
And earned a law-backed battering;

To this brave statesman, daily proving
The spirit of the Freedom Ride;
To this brave spokesman, earth’s defender,
Forever on the future’s side;

To this brave sage, unstopped by sickness,
To this brave star, now laid in state:
Let us be thankful for his service,
Who dreamed and fought and would not wait.

Faucial Advice

by Alex Steelsmith

“I would urge the leaders, local, political, and other leaders … to be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks.”
—Dr. Anthony Fauci on C-Span

“Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said every person in areas of community transmission should use masks.”
—Australia’s SBS News

Doctor Tony Fauci’s facial
mask advice is simply spatial.
Covid covets oral spaces
gaping from uncovered faces;
aerosols covertly hover
over throats devoid of cover,
lured by glistening pharynges
into cavernous larynges.
But for masks, at any second
droplets may spelunk as beckoned
downward into vital hollows,
aided by the host who swallows.
Knowing this, you won’t be grouchy
following advice from Fauci.
Keep in mind that even Aussies
cheerfully protect their fauces.

Neighbores

by Ruth S. Baker

“Kit de Waal: ‘As soon as you introduce a talking horse, I’m just not interested’”
The Guardian

Me too. I always have a groaning fit
When horses talk—I hate the stuff they say;
They’ll trot out some rebarbative cliché
However much their mouths are full of bit.
A yakking horse is always in a snit:
“So you forgot my apple? Call this hay?”
Faster? I’m sorry, am I Whirlaway?”
You know what would be helpful? Learn to sit.”
Yes, nags who nag just gallop on my nerves.
There’s nothing worse than equine têtes-à-têtes;
Horse whispering—God knows what that deserves:
No wonder we get charged so much by vets.
Don’t get me wrong, my horse-love’s tried and tested!
But please, don’t talk. I’m just not interested.

The Mascot’s Progress

by James Hamby

The dullness of the “Football Team
Is causing quite a stir.
How hard is it to find a name
That’s not a racial slur?

Breakfast with Gustafson

by Iris Herriot

“Until the final typescript of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is set to be auctioned, the author had planned to call [the heroine] Connie Gustafson.”
The Guardian

The heavy dark frames on the little chic face;
The gestures so saucy and sprightly;
The happy confusion of grace and disgrace:
I’m calling her Connie Gustafson.

The little black dresses; the innocent greed;
The gold for the powder room (nightly);
The cigarette-holder as long as a reed:
I’m calling her Connie Gustafson.

The crocodile heels as they twirl on the brink;
The pearls that are beaming so brightly;
The vision of youth that is lost in a blink:
I’m calling her Connie Gustafson.

The Cognitive Test

by Brian Allgar

Believe me, I’m so cognitive
That in the end, they had to give
Me extra points; my final score
Was one they’d never seen before!

I recognized the camera—hell,
From photo-ops I know ’em well.
“And that’s an elephant!” I crowed.
“My kids already killed a load.”

It started off with easy stuff,
But later on, got pretty tough
With things like “What’s the date today?”
“Guys, that’s unfair!” I said, but hey,
Because I’m really smart, the best,
I checked my watch, and aced the test.

The Mayfields

by Dan Campion

“Down In The Polls, Trump Pitches Fear: ‘They Want To Destroy Our Suburbs’”
NPR

Whose suburbs does Don mean, one asks;
White folks’ of nineteen-fifty
(Before we needed Covid masks)?
Where Beaver’s folks were thrifty

To save for his and Wally’s room
And board at Upstate U
(Whose classes needn’t meet on Zoom
To dodge a “hoax” and “flu”)?

Where “My Three Sons” breathed prime-time air
(Not, like now, virus-ridden),
Rick Nelson crooned without a care,
And Father coddled “Kitten”?

Where lily-white meant innocent;
Black Lives weren’t seen or missed;
No actors gave the slightest hint
Such places don’t exist?

That seems to be the case, alas.
A land plunged in disease
Must suffer through Don’s looking-glass:
Old black-and-white TV’s.

Grandma Hits the Bottle

by Chris O’Carroll

“Teenagers are using facemasks not just to avoid getting infected by coronavirus,
but also to buy alcohol from liquor shops, dressed up as elderly women.”
International Business Times

Hey, kids, want to buy some booze?
Here’s a timely trick to use:
Dress in baggy oldster clothes,
Cover up your mouth and nose
With a mask so they can’t see
You don’t look like your ID
(No clerk nowadays will ask
Someone to take off a mask),
Draw in crow’s feet by your eyes,
Add a wig to your disguise,
Use a cane and walk in slow,
Hobble out, let good times flow.
Drink until you start to feel
Past your youthful prime for real.

New and Improved

by Paul Haebig

Ivanka says “Find something new!
There’s plenty of things you can do!”
I hope she’ll remember
that tip in November
and she will find something new too.

Limo Service

by Dan Campion

“Donald Trump’s niece says president is dangerous…”
The Guardian

Dear Uncle Don, I’ve penned a book
About what makes you tick:
A better-late-than-never look
At why your ball joints click.

I dive beneath the hood and yank
This wire, and pull that plug,
And thump each reservoir and tank,
And even comb the rug.

I note the wobbly steering wheel,
The billowing exhaust,
The gears that whine, the brakes that squeal,
And why, and at what cost.

Don’t fret: I’m classroom-certified
To fix the family brand.
My clientele will pay to ride.
I know you’ll understand.

Rallying the Dupes

by Michael R. Burch

Houston, we have a problem:
the virus is multiplying;
meanwhile, our Demander-in-Chief
keeps lying, lying, lying.

Hotdogged

by Eddie Aderne

“Competitive hotdog eaters nearing limit of human performance
A maximum of 84 hotdogs in 10 minutes is possible, says sports science study…
Improvement curves in elite sports ranging from sprinting to pole vaulting tend to follow
a so-called sigmoidal curve, featuring an initial slow and steady rise, followed by an era of rapid
improvement and finally a levelling off. “Hotdog eating has definitely reached that second plateau,”
said Smoliga [a sports medicine specialist].”

The Guardian

Full seven dozen franks enwombed
By seven dozen buns
In twice-five minutes are consumed
By those heroic ones

Resolved to reach the utmost peak
Of gustatory nerve,
Incurring each thereby a sleek
So-called sigmoidal curve.

Goya Beans

by Julia Griffin

“The White House has defended Ivanka Trump tweeting a photo of herself
holding up a can of Goya beans”

The Guardian

The best are Bacon Beans, I think,
With Sisleys, and a cup
Of Dufy, coarsely ground (a drink
That always wakes me up);
Blake Beans I find enticing still
(A Buffet-worthy snack):
I really like them Bruegheled till
They’re little short of Braque.
I’m keen on Buthe Beans, with kraut,
And Pintos—I have jars:
No Canaletto keeps me out,
Nor Tintoretto bars;
What else? The sweet Kandinsky Bean
Is tasty after lunch;
But bitter Goyas!—well, I mean,
I’d not choose them to Munch.

Cave Felem

by Nora Jay

“House cat ancestors’ remains found in Polish caves—2,000 miles from home
The discovery of 7,000-year-old remains of the Near Eastern wildcat in Europe adds a new
wrinkle to the cat’s evolutionary story. …
[T]he feline’s presence suggests it was comfortable living alongside, if not exactly with, humans—
an important step on the road to becoming fully domesticated.”

National Geographic

Unearthed remains of house cats’ distant kith
Reveal a step towards domestication:
Living alongside, not exactly with.
A step, they say. I’d say a destination.