Poems of the Week

Grumpy in Paradise

by Ruth S. Baker

“Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous cat, dead at 7”

The door gets opened when I please.
I prowl the whole night long,
Then sleep on warm computer keys.
You think I’m happy? Wrong.

I’ve pricey sofas for my claws
Plus Frank Lloyd Someone’s chairs,
All mine for shredding into straws.
I sit on saints. Who cares?

Oh, here we go. You think, perchance,
Scared mouse for every meal
And snacks of prized umbrella plants
Impress me? Please. Big deal.

I have to eat and mate and doze
Then do it all again.
Dear God! One hardly even knows
To whom one can complain.

Enduriance Test

by Julia Griffin

“Library stink: smell of durian prompts evacuation at University of Canberra”
—The Guardian

In test-time, librarians say,
It’s hard to dislodge a BA;
But what neither flu
Nor boredom will do,
A dishful of durian may.

Ode to Day

by Dan Campion

No requiem for Doris Day,
In film the fairest queen of May,
Can capture her pellucid tone
Or claim her luster for its own.

Warner movies of her era,
Their patter à la Yogi Berra
(Not exactly Sophocles),
Reduced her range to bait and tease;
Like Elvis she was handicapped
But still held audiences rapt
With spirit no one’s caged or mapped
Or bottled, packaged, cloned, or apped.

Now, therefore, let us celebrate
An actor who transcended fate
And singer who from “Que sera”s
Could wring a flinty world’s applause.

Mittens the Malefactor

by Patrick Biggs

“Mittens, the Cat of Wellington, is a Turkish Angora famous for his wanderings around New Zealand’s capital. He is known to visit shops, churches, universities, restaurants, bars, hotels, and people’s homes. His adventures are documented by his thousands of fans on social media. Recently, he was detained by Wellington police after being spotted dangerously crossing the road by the city’s library. He was later released without charge.”
—NZ Herald

New Zealand’s justice system, it disheartens me to say,
Absolves too many criminals, permitting crime to pay.
Though trivial delinquents should of course be spared the joint,
Regrettably a recent matter illustrates my point.

They’d Mittens in their clutches and they let the felon out,
Despite the bleak skulduggery we know that cat’s about.
They merely took his details down: aged nine, of Turkish ilk,
Exhibiting a ginger coat as velvety as silk.

They’d Mittens in their custody and let him out the door.
He only jaywalked? Au contraire, his crimes are manyscore.
He’s plundered every shop in town, he’s broken into homes—
No place is safe from trespass for as long as Mittens roams.

They’d Mittens in detention and unwisely let him go.
You might have seen him at the church but, trust me, it’s for show.
More often he’s frequenting bars and running from the bill.
A mouse I spoke to hinted that his deeds are darker still.

Art for Whose Sake?

by Orel Protopopescu

“As billionaires compete for art in an overheated market, the merely affluent are giving up.”
The New York Times

Are you a middling millionaire?
Alas, you’ll leave no dent
in Christie’s catalog for one
percent of one percent.

Crave a furless, ferrous rabbit?
A Hockney of your own?
Don’t bother calling Sotheby’s.
They won’t pick up the phone.

Poor merely wealthy souls! It hurts
to think you’ve won, then lose
the chance to snuggle up with Koons’s
cute, metallic muse.

Why risk your dollars on a budding
Van Gogh or Miró?
They may be hot at auctions now,
but their returns were slow.

Thickly Crusted

by Julia Griffin

“With blackest moss the flower-plots
Were thickly crusted one and all”
—Tennyson, “Mariana in the Moated Grange”

“Man makes deepest-ever dive in Mariana Trench and discovers … litter”
—The Guardian

Within the Mariana Trench
Minute crustaceans flitter,
And maybe some spelunking tench
Will wave to our transmitter—

We thought. But now we find (a wrench
So wretched and so bitter!)
There’s trash beneath the ocean’s drench
To make a demon titter.

The divers’ teeth are all a-clench:
There’s crud in every critter;
The very corals seem to blench.
Who is the benefiter?

The judge is sleeping on the bench;
The President’s on Twitter,
As Mariana’s Moated Trench
Explodes with loathsome litter.

Gator Aid

by Gail White

“[Florida] woman whips gator out of her pants when cops ask if she has ‘anything else’ on her.”

When you’ve explored the local lakes
To swipe some turtles, frogs or snakes,
And as you leave—abysmal luck!—
The cops arrive and stop your truck,
Unearth your loot and bag the lot,
And ask you if that’s all you’ve got:
Don’t leave protection up to chance—
Keep a gator in your pants.

A foot-long gator makes a nice
Female security device.
Just make sure you win his trust
Before you hide him in your bust.
Or ward off sexual attacks
By taping him inside your slacks;
Before the villain can advance—
Whip that gator from your pants.

Carelyss Barista Wins Game of Thrones

by Julia Griffin

“HBO Admits ‘Latte’ in Last Night’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Was ‘a Mistake’”
—The Wrap

It landed like a direwolf strike,
That latte famed of yore,
And Hound and Worm devoured it like
A pail of dragon’s gore.

The Mountain shrank, the Walkers ran,
The Starks went raving mad,
And lots of characters began
To rue their arcs so bad;

For ’twas the star that bucked the trend,
This shot of fat-free foam:
It brought King’s Landing to its end.
Go, wargs! Now please go home.


by Dan Campion

“You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes… it was sport.”
—The President, in a tweet

Ah, Sport, that realm where points get shaved
And calls get blown and rules get waived,
Where refs might not catch sight of fouls,
An umpire blinks, a dugout howls,
Some footballs magically deflate
Like fortunes at the Watergate,
And if you’re good at flop and bluff
You learn to get away with stuff—
Yes, Sport turns Losses into Wins
And subs “tax purposes” for “sins.”

Maxxed Out

by Ruth S. Baker

“Country House wins Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security disqualified in stunner”
—The Guardian

The horse that lost the Derby
This year at Churchill Downs
Made prematurely blurby
Announcers look like clowns.

He put his best foot forward,
That horse (let’s call him Max),
But also sideways—nor would
He keep within his tracks.

O many was the dollar
Involved in his defeat!
The President, in choler,
Deplored it with a tweet;

All cyberspace is booing:
The case looks set for years
With suing, counter-suing,
And millionaires in tears.

Max keeps his feelings hidden,
But, at a guess, he’d say:
I crossed a line, as bidden.
Barn! Sunlight! Gallop! Hay!

Let’s hope he’s somewhere herby—
No crowds nor Triple Crowns—
The Horse that Lost the Derby
This year at Churchill Downs.