Poems of the Week

Letters Testimonial

by Edmund Conti

Allegations make me shrug.

Advice to Russian Tourists

by Patrick Biggs

Earlier this year, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, was poisoned in Salisbury, England. The two Russian suspects, who were in the UK for a total of 48 hours, now claim to have only been tourists wanting to see Salisbury Cathedral with its 123-meter spire. They decided not to visit nearby Stonehenge because of “muddy slush everywhere.” The implausibility of their alibi has been widely mocked.

Forget Big Ben, the London Eye, the Palace, and the Tower,
For Salisbury Cathedral is the landmark of the hour.
From Moscow it’s a mere three thousand kilometer hop,
Ideal for time-strapped tourists wanting just a two-day stop.
It’s proud to boast the tallest spire there is to see in Britain,
The best-kept copy of the Magna Carta ever written,
A working clock perhaps as old as 1386—
This church is truly one of England’s top vacation picks.
Be wary if you’re from the balmy climes of Russia, though:
Your trip to Stonehenge may be foiled by half an inch of snow.

Rule of Tail

by Julia Griffin

A tale of five squirrels: vets untangle ‘Gordian Knot’ of… animals’ tails that became entwined with each other and their nest
‘You can imagine how wiggly and unruly … this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was…’ the [wildlife] centre wrote on its Facebook page.'”— The Guardian 

Imagine how unruly? Ah, for sure:
And I imagine “less” gave place to “more” …

“This nest’s so nice! The weather’s quite divine!
—Excuse me, ma’am: I think this tail is mine.”

“The nest indeed is charming! Just a minute:
I rather fear your tail has my tail in it.”

“I grant the weather’s fine, but really, ugh!
Please free my tail or I’ll be forced to tug.”

“I do not blame the air, or nest, or bough,
But that was not your tail you tugged, and—ow!”

“Excuse me, eek! I’ve scaled my last birdfeeder!
Yikes! where’s the Farmer’s Missus when you need her… ???”

Imagination-wise, I’m thus fulfilled:
So now let’s praise those vets so kind and skilled,

Wisconsin’s steadiest, through whose travails,
Five scrambled squirrels live to tell their tales.

Texas Holdem

by Ruth S. Baker

“AUSTIN — History curriculum in Texas remembers the Alamo but could soon forget Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller. … Eliminating Clinton from the requirements will save teachers 30 minutes of [yearly] instructional time, the work group estimated, and eliminating Keller will save 40 minutes.”—Dallas News

Remembering the Alamo,
Where Texas was de-Mexed,
We’re going to guard the status quo
In every Texas text,

Except for stuff that won’t be missed:
It’s really been a crime,
The cost of Keller, socialist,
To Texas teachers’ time;

And when it comes to Crooked Hill,
The Lone Star State can boast
We put her through the Texas mill,
And now she’s Texas toast.

Events, My Dear … Events!

by  James Higgins

Asked what would most likely send a government off the rails, one-time UK PM Harold McMillan is reported to have answered, “Events, my dear boy, events.”

Take note: what’s Potus fear the most?
Misdeeds by dissidents?
Nope! Let’s be clear: his greatest fear?
Events, my dear … events.
Need Trump beware the Koch-choked air
his laissez faire augments?
You heard it here: What checks his cheer?
Events, my dear … events.

Apologize does Trump for lies,
for fake news he invents?
Nope! What’s he do when day is through?
He vents! Mon Dieu: he vents:
“So sad” (Trump tweets) “how Congress meets,
advises and consents.”
Still, worse than they? His tweets might say:
“Events, okay? Events.”

What spawns Trump’s bane? More children slain
by ISIS malcontents?
Though feared, by fa-a-ar more fearful are
events, Akbar … events.
What scares the pants off Potus? Rants
by former presidents?
Nope! Worse than those, he duly knows:
events, my bros … events.

What fans Trump’s fright ’round three at night?
The ninety-nine percents?
That mob he’ll bear. His bigly scare?
Events, mes frères … events.
So: what might you do to undo
the troubles Trump foments?
This message send when you attend
events, my friend, events:

Till Donald pivots or relents,
till lui-même he reinvents;
till less psychosis he presents,
till allies’ ties he re-cements;
until he vaults the White House fence
and deeds the place to VeePee Pence;
until, in short, Trump shows some sense,
support all anti-Trump events!

Wetter Water Weather

by Bruce McGuffin

“This is a tough hurricane. One of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”— President Trump

A recent performance
by Hurricane Florence
made rain fall in torrents.
The floods were impressive.

Opinion is forming
to say global warming
results in rain storming
which may be excessive.

Stockholm Syndrome

by Julia Griffin

“China accuses Sweden of violating human rights over treatment of tourists.”—The Guardian

So China, witnessing the Swedes’
Appalling and illegal deeds,
Is almost driven to forget
The violations of Tibet.

Evacuation Notice

by Dan Campion

A storm is coming. Batten down,
Grab what you can, clear out of town.
Oh, on your way—don’t take offense—
Please leave the keys with Mr. Pence.

This Space Available

by Michael Calvert

NASA is looking at boosting its brand by selling naming rights to rockets and spacecraft and allowing its astronauts to appear in commercials and on cereal boxes.

Alas, we once were glamorous—
The stuff we had was right.
But cuts began to hammer us—
We’re in financial plight.

Though formerly we always thought
That ads would be a no-go,
We now admit we might be bought,
So please submit your logo.

For any product, we’ll be there
To make your message soar—
And help your brand go boldly where
No brand has gone before.


by Julia Griffin

“10-year-old expected to make full recovery after falling from tree[house] and landing on meat skewer that penetrated his skull.”—The Guardian

How many can boast, like young Xavier Cunningham,
A skewer passed through ’em without even stunning ’em?

Here’s hoping those tree houses number still fewer,
Constructed right over an up-ended skewer.