Poems of the Week

We Meet on the Sidelines

by Orel Protopopescu

(After “We Kiss in a Shadow,” Rogers and Hammerstein)

We meet on the sidelines.
We hide from the press.
Our meetings are few,
but more might be less.

We speak in a whisper
afraid of the spies
on your side and mine,
so make love with our eyes.

Alone with our secrets,
we barely touch hands—
mine small, but they still hold big keys.

Who locked up the future
for your sake and mine,
as temperatures rose by degrees?
Come rise, Vlad, on towers of sleaze!

Parking for Pot

by Marshall Cobb

“New pot shop’s neighbors say traffic jams are awful”
—The Boston Globe

If you run a store that peddles pot,
You’ll need a bigger parking lot.
It seems the high demand for grass
Is causing traffic jams in Mass.,
And those who live close by the store
Are more than just a little sore.
Here’s my advice to those fine folk:
Just join the crowd and have a smoke.

McConnell Talks Tough

by Julia Griffin

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says ‘some kind of response’ is needed from the United States for the Saudis’ role in [Khashoggi’s] gruesome death”—AP

Mitch McConnell from Kentucky,
Where they make the bourbon strong,
Isn’t scared of acting plucky
When he spies a moral wrong.
Thus when poor Jamal Khashoggi
Met his end in Istanbul,
Finding Trump’s reaction soggy,
Mitch spoke up, and roared, in full:
Some kind of response to that certainly would be in order and we’re discussing what the appropriate response would be.”

Mitch McConnell of the Senate,
Foe to taxes, friend of guns,
Holds dismemberment a tenet
That he absolutely shuns.
Thus when that superb Wahhabi
Known for short as MbS
Made excuses somewhat flabby,
Mitch proclaimed to all the Press:
I think almost no one believes we should completely and totally fracture our relationship with the Saudis, but, yes, some kind of response is going to be appropriate and we’re going to continue to talk about that.”

InSight Has Landed

by Barbara Loots

“Early in its history, Mars may have looked a lot like Earth. …
But the last 3 billion years have been a slow-motion disaster…”
—The Washington Post

Though Mars is a wasteland of dust,
There’s no sense in making a fuss.
Slow-motion disaster
Will never go faster
And nothing will happen to us.

We seem to have frequenter bouts
With hurricanes, blizzards, and droughts.
But weather is iffy,
Can change in a jiffy,
And science is nothing but doubts.

Forget about climate-change fears.
Our planet is fine, it appears.
So no one need worry
Or be in a hurry.
We’ve still got three billion more years.

Au Revoir, Renoir

by Julia Griffin

“Renoir Estimated at $180,000 Is Stolen From Austrian Auction House”—The New York Times 

Who saw, who saw, the small Renoir
Snatched from the auction house ce soir?
The forms were signed, the t’s were crossed,
The auctioneers were toasting Prost!
Now everybody’s mood is noir.

Did some gendarme (affreux à croire!)
Slope off for quelque chose à boire?
There is no way this can be glossed.
Who saw, who saw?

Someone has failed in their devoir,
And lost the house a deal of gloire,
At serious financial cost;
Besides, of course, the painting’s lost,
And like Renoir, that maître d’art,
Who saw, who saw?

Thanksgiving, 2018

by Bruce Bennett

Trump pardons turkeys. Murder, though,
is something we can just let go.
The Saudi Prince has crossed no line.
The Saudis buy our arms. It’s fine.
We’ve made a deal. Why make a fuss?
What matters is the U.S. Us.
But one day soon the ax will fall
on what makes turkeys of us all.

Finnishing School

by Julia Griffin

“After President Donald Trump suggested Finland has few wildfires because the nation spends a lot of time ‘raking and cleaning’ forest floors, many were confused. …
Under the hashtag #haravointi (‘raking’), some Finns spent this weekend grabbing their gardening tools—with the more creative types picking up their vacuums and Roomba devices—
and visiting the woods to document their public service.”—Vox

Hoovering a Finnish forest,
As the flower of Finland do,
I observed a foreign tourist
Who had clearly not a clue.

“Sir,” he frowned, “what is your meaning,
If a stranger might inquire?”
I responded, “I am cleaning
To avoid the risk of fire.

“This commission is entrusted
To each able-bodied Finn;
For as long as woods are dusted,
Conflagrations can’t begin.

“It’s the safest sort of science,
Inexpensive and discreet;
Simply wield this small appliance,
And you halt excessive heat.

“Friend, it is a blest maneuver
Which the States should swiftly learn!
For without a timely hoover,
You’ll have nothing left to burn.”

Romaine, Romaine, Romaine!

by Phil Huffy

(to the tune of Those Were The Days, My Friend)

“Do not eat any romaine Lettuce, FDA warns”—New York Post

(verse)
When I go to lunch I like a salad.
Got to watch out for those calories.
With a little Russian dressing, maybe.
Now I have to think about disease!

(chorus)
You’d better play it safe
Because it may be treyf
Get rid of all the romaine that you’ve got

Close every salad bar
No matter where they are
‘Cause it’s no good and we should let it rot

(verse)
How the CDC has tried to warn us.
You may have to eat those croutons dry.
If by chance you happen on some Iceberg,
Go ahead and give your luck a try.

(chorus)
I went to Mickey D’s
I said, “One salad please”
They said I’d have to take an apple pie

You’d better do the same
Until they fix the blame
Romaine, romaine, has got to go bye-bye

(chorus)
The romaine has to go
And so we have to throw
it into any dumpster, bin or can

Or if you should incline
composting’s mighty fine
It’s just insane—romaine, romaine, romaine

Cereal Racket

by Julia Griffin

“[President Trump] called for new national ID laws with a bizarre assertion: “If you buy a box of cereal—you have a voter ID.”—The Guardian

You wonder how we’re going to fix
The problem with our votes?
Go buy yourself some Weetabix,
Froot-Loops or Quaker Oats,

Granola Treats or Honey Crunch
(They all come Gluten-Free):
With every box of Sunny Munch,
You have a voter ID.

CHORUS
It’s healthy, non-bacterial,
And handy as can be:
You buy that box of cereal,
You have a voter ID.

To be a straight-up certified
Elector in our nation,
You need no patriotic pride
Or birth certification:

Just buy some Chex or Cheerios
(They come in packs of three):
With every box, I’m seri-os,
You have a voter ID.

CHORUS
So just look magisterial,
Hit Wal-Mart, and whoopee!
Though Justice feels diphtherial,
All that is immaterial:
You buy that box of cereal,
You have a voter ID.