Poems of the Week


by Ruth S. Baker

“Bronx Zoo’s Happy the Elephant is not legally ‘a person,’ judge rules … 
Bronx Supreme Court Judge Alison Tuitt dismissed the NonHuman Rights Project’s petition to grant the 48-year-old pachyderm ‘legal personhood’ in order to move her to a 2,300-acre sanctuary.
‘The court agrees that Happy is more than just a legal thing, or property. She is an intelligent, autonomous being who should be treated with respect and dignity, and who may be entitled to liberty,’ Tuitt wrote in the judgment. ‘[But] we are constrained by the case law to find that Happy is not a ‘person’ and not being illegally imprisoned.'”
—The New York Post

If you’re Happy and you know it, wave your trunk,
But don’t fancy you’re a person since it’s bunk;
You’re too smart to start assumin’
You are legally a human:
Would you want to have your teeth so sharply shrunk?

If you’re Happy and you know it, good for you:
That is really more than people mostly do;
You’re entitled to your freedom
And respect, if you should need ’em;
But you’d really best enjoy ’em in the Zoo.

Dirty Tricks

by Orel Protopopescu

“Trump’s Path to Weaker Fuel Efficiency Rules May Lead to a Dead End”
—The New York Times

I like cars that are dirtier,
just like my politics.
I’m tearing up Obama’s rules,
a liberal bag of tricks.

The auto workers love my tweets.
They’ll pay me at the polls.
More asthma? Higher costs for gas?
Who’s counting? Deep state trolls?

Economists attack my plan.
They say my way costs more
by stealing years from children’s lives.
Who cares? I just need four.

Love Amid the Lava

by Julia Griffin

“One of Pompeii’s most celebrated buildings, the House of Lovers, will reopen to the public on Tuesday, 40 years after it was severely damaged in an earthquake. …
The name of the house, which dates back to the first century BC, was derived from a Latin inscription … that translates as: ‘Lovers like bees pass a sweet life like honey. I wish it were so.'”
—The Guardian

Love is pressure, love is fire,
Love’s a burning lode:
Crammed with carbonous desire,
Mountain tops explode.

Love’s a sequence of assaults;
Love’s a livid scar,
Hiding deeply-buried faults.
Love knows where they are.

Sweet amid the quake debris’
Pyroclastic flow,
Lovers live like honey bees!
(Would that it were so.)

King of Kings of the Road

by Chris O’Carroll

“Man triumphs in battle for ‘IM GOD’ license plate in Kentucky”
—The Washington Post

When you go driving in Kentucky,
You just might see, if you get lucky,
The atheist who beat the state
In court to win the license plate
IM GOD. It’s just his way to scoff
At faith, but best not cut him off.


by Nora Jay

“Hindu god Shiva given seat on Kashi-Mahakal Express …
Officials in charge of the Kashi-Mahakal Express … booked the upper berth in a second-class, air-conditioned compartment for the god known as the cosmic destroyer on the train’s inaugural run. …
The Times of India said in an editorial that ‘assigning an upper berth to Shiva is illogical, because he has transcended the plane on which berths exist’.”
—The Guardian

Was no diva.
When assigned a second-class berth,
He did not destroy the earth.

Less Door Is More

by Dan Campion

Keeping the Eye in Your Door From Spying on You
—The New York Times national edition

My doors are camera-less, discreet;
No eyes by Ring, nor by Magritte,
Stare out at you or me, or spy
On anyone who happens by.

Yet people buy “in droves,” they say,
Webcams, in hopes they’ll hold at bay
Intruders by remote control.
Too bad the gadget’s proved a mole.

Amy Ability

by Alex Steelsmith

Hampshiry champshiry
Amy J. Klobuchar,
aiming at Donald, her
ultimate foe,

kept her composure and
while, incidentally,
Klobbering Joe.


by Julia Griffin

“Daily Beast reporters say Reince Priebus was repeatedly asked about [badgers by President Trump] during briefings on healthcare and foreign policy
“Are they mean to people?” Trump reportedly asked Priebus… . “Or are they friendly creatures?”
—The Guardian

Are badgers mean to people? That depends.
Or are they friendly creatures? They have friends.
Have they a personality? For sure,
Though you, perhaps, may reckon it a bore.
What do they do? They hang out in their setts,
And no, they’re bad with existential threats.
These are the answers that the Chief of Staff
May have produced, on everyone’s behalf,
To redirect the Presidential thought
To subjects more immediately fraught:
Tax, immigration, guns, a healthcare plan,
The legislature, and Afghanistan.

Attitude Control

by Dan Campion

“No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The Air”
Headline in Scientific American

Now they tell us, while we cruise
At thirty thousand feet,
Perusing online sports and news
From arts to science beat,
That no one knows what keeps us up?
That’s weird, but do we care,
A double whiskey in our cup?
We trust in wing and prayer.


by Nina Parmenter

The UK has already lost its measles-free status, thanks to a discredited study which linked the MMR vaccine to autism. Now a rise in cases of mumps has been reported. 

How do we catch the measles,
and how do we catch the mumps?
Surprise, surprise, it’s the spread of lies
that literally leaves us with lumps.

Autism’s in the wiring,
but nonsense is in the ether,
and Claire is in intensive care
with a fiercely spiking fever.

Do viruses hold with hokum?
No, they squat in our bodies and laugh
at our ignorant art of tearing apart
the one thing that stands in their path.

Science is in a needle,
but venom is in a tweet,
and Claire? Well she’s in a mortuary
with tags upon her feet.