Poems of the Week

Potshot

by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

“As part of its strategy to vaccinate more of its population, Washington State will allow adults to claim a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccination shot.”
The New York Times

There once was a man named Eugene
Who chose to forgo the vaccine.
Endangering others,
He snapped, “That’s my druthers,
So stuff it and don’t intervene.”

But then he was offered some pot
Contingent on getting the shot.
This highly inventive
And clever incentive
Converted him right on the spot.

New Normal Bipartisanship

by Janice D. Soderling

“Senator Joe Manchin’s push to have the parties work together has become a major obstacle
for Democratic legislation on voting rights and other issues.”
The New York Times

Joe Manchin seeks consensus
which is surely fine and good
when you’re dealing with a partner
who does what he said he would.

But if “give-and-take” means “our way”
and they often change their tune,
you are dining with the devil,
and should bring a real long spoon.

Worst-Case Scenoreo

by Alex Steelsmith

“Have (aliens) Overcome Their Savage Past, or Might They Want to Eat Us?”
AirSpaceMag.com

“Oreo Has a New UFO-Themed Pack to Extend an Olive Branch to Extraterrestrials.”
YahooNews

Jeepery creepery,
alien visitors
might want to eat us, so
plan for the worst.

If you’re confronted by
extraterrestrials,
try to appease them with
Oreos first.

Benchmark

by Julia Griffin

“Nailed it: man, 82, builds bench for wife in 30 minutes after council plea ignored
Manuel Souto took matters into own hands to provide resting place for wife on daily walks
in Spanish town”

The Guardian

O Stranger, toiling down the street:
Respect this rough-and-ready seat
Made manually by Manuel
To help the wife he loves so well.
If you need rest, this is for you,
But let your fellows rest there too.
Time slows the fastest down (although
Beside the council few look slow).
The seat’s his wife’s; he stands, so far,
But none can stay the way they are,
And she and he with love concur:
He shall at last sit down by her.

Rondeau for the Southern Ocean

by Coleman Glenn

“For the first time in the more than 100 years that the National Geographic Society has mapped
the world’s oceans, it will recognize five of them. The organization announced this week that it
will recognize the Southern Ocean, a body of water that encircles Antarctica, as the world’s fifth.”
The Washington Post

Swirling clockwise, in a motion
Coriolis-forced, this ocean
never stops its eastward rushin’,
unaware of the discussion
that will lead to its promotion—

quite unlike (despite a notion
widely held, which experts, though, shun)
southern loos that AREN’T, when flushin’,
swirling clockwise.

Will its isles (I may be gauche in
asking), due to our devotion
to our fossil fuels, grow lush in
time to see, in repercussion,
ice-melt send us (such commotion!)
swirling clockwise?

Forward, March

by Dan Campion

“Tiny animal survives after 24,000 years frozen in Siberian permafrost: ‘A big step forward’”
CBS News

Were you a bdelloid rotifer
And frozen like a cod,
A far-flung future researcher
Might cut you from the sod

And warm you up, and there you’d be,
As right as ham and eggs.
But as for “big step”?—don’t blame me—
You haven’t any legs.

Revving Up

by Bruce Bennett

The summer is coming. It’s hot.
The cat is out hunting and got
A vole. All around
The lawnmowers sound.
The Peaceable Kingdom it’s not!

How Hot Is It? (Part 2)

by Paul Lander

It’s so damn hot
I’d hit on Kate Upton
For the cold shoulder

Pole-a-Bear

by Julia Griffin

For Tam and Sophie

“Bear found stuck on power pole in southern Arizona city …
Werner Neubauer, a company lineman, said they immediately disabled the power so the animal
would not get electrocuted. Neubauer then went up in a bucket lift and used an 8-foot (2-meter)
fiberglass stick to try to nudge the bear to go down. He even tried talking to it.”
AP

“Oh bear, permit me please to nudge:
(I would not wish to knock):
For you’ll receive, unless you budge,
A sharp electric shock!”

Though thus the lineman urged, and waved
A stick, of length two meters,
The bear, refusing to be saved,
Replied to all entreaters:

“O humans, cease to trouble me;
I would not be facetious,
But this is quite (a tendency
With all your species) specious.

“Aloft, alone, I’ve settled on
My stationary position
In honor of St. Simeon,
Who fired my life’s ambition;

“And though you may assume a guest
For me’s a social highlight,
Please understand that least is best
For any ursine stylite.

“So please remove yourself—I’ll say
No more, for I’m refined;
Just note, it’s best to go away
Without a bear behind.”

Dam Leaks

by Alex Steelsmith

“Amsterdam, with its scenic canals… is slowly crumbling…
Many of the wood pilings have shifted, cracked or collapsed under the pressure,
causing the bridges and canal side walls to sag and crack. Water then seeps in…”
Wionews

Hurriedly, worriedly,
Amsterdam, Netherlands
seeks Little Dutch Boys with
tiny physiques

willing to offer their
interphalangeal
knuckles to plug all the
Amsterdamn leaks.

Near-Fatal Attraction

by Catherine Chandler

“Anti-Vaxx Doctor Believes ‘Magnetized’ Covid Vaccinations Cause Keys,
Forks and Spoons to Stick to People”
Mediaite

I thought that she’d had one too many,
the remarkable Dr. Tenpenny,
who believes that vaccines
magnetize people’s genes
and connect with the 5G antennae.

The idea seemed kooky and eerie,
yet I thought I would test out her theory;
since I’d had both my jabs
from the BioNTech labs,
What’s to lose? I thought, scornful and leery.

So I held up a knife to my arm;
then exclaimed in dismay and alarm:
OMG! WTF!
for the damned thing had stuck!
The experiment worked like a charm!

I continued this trial balloon
with a fork and a spork and a spoon.
Why, this doc is a winner!
I’m all set for dinner!
For good measure, I’m fully immune!

Mask Anxiety

by Bruce McGuffin

“In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, Massachusetts on Saturday lifted its
remaining COVID-19 restrictions and rescinded its mask mandate in favor of looser guidance.”
The Boston Globe

I’ve had all my shots (though I haven’t been wormed)
And I’d take off this mask if my boss just confirmed
What the governor said—that our masks can all go.
But my boss isn’t sure, so we’re taking it slow.
And I think I know why—I’m not going to ask—
Why my boss still insists that we all wear a mask.
He won’t give the word—and he knows that he should—
But the fact is my boss doesn’t look very good.

Send in the Bugs

by Bruce Bennett

“Last fall, with the Medici Chapel in Florence operating on reduced hours because of Covid-19,
scientists and restorers completed a secret experiment: They unleashed grime-eating bacteria
on the artist’s masterpiece marbles.”
The New York Times

While Covid raged throughout the land,
Some brave restorers took a stand
And loosed good microbes with good taste
To solve the problem that they faced:

How to remove unsightly stains
And blemishes from what remains
The Greatest of Great Art we know,
Sculptures by Michelangelo.

Imagine! Microscopic creatures
That clean and polish limbs and features.
That we can get our glimpse of Heaven
Through bugs with names like SH7!

A miracle! So let’s rejoice.
Let’s raise a glass, and raise our voice
For any virus or bacillus
Who’s there to serve, and not just kill us!

Back on the Menu!

by Claudia Gary

“‘Crunchy, earthy, grassy’ cicada tacos back on menu in Leesburg restaurant”
WTOP News

No need to wail and sigh
for our cicada taco.
We’ve sourced bugs from Dubai,

where they solidify.
Our health department’s wacko,
but don’t you wail and sigh

for warm cicada fry—
so tender, pre-imago!
We found it in Dubai,

knew it was worth a try
for meals, desserts, a snack—oh,
no need to wail and sigh!

Cicadas amplify
our summer treats, muchacho.
But here, as in Dubai,

you can still DIY:
in trees, there is no lack o’
their yammer, wail, and sigh.
(Louder than from Dubai.)

Enter, Pursuing A Bear

by Julia Griffin

“Teenage Girl Fights Off Bear to Rescue Dogs”
CBSN

A bear’s been toppled from a fence!—
An unforeseen experience,
Much more impressive than it sounds:
The toppler weighed some hundred pounds,
The bear some thousand (I expect).
But there were young ones to protect!
The human heroine rushed up,
Lunged out, and grabbed one cherished pup,
Two others running in her wake.
That bear had made a big mistake
In failing here to recognize
What YouTube proves to all our eyes,
A fact which should both cheer and scare:
Not every Mama Bear’s a bear.