Poems of the Week

Fox’s Beef

by Chris O’Carroll

Biden is seizing the steaks from your grill!
Banning your burgers! Imposing woke will!
(None of it’s true, but we broadcast it loud.
Talk about throwing red meat to the crowd.)

Cow Critics

by Bruce Bennett

Let’s hear it for the cello school
whose students come to play
for local farmers and their cows.
Their music makes the day

For everyone, especially cows,
who jostle for position
and drink it in with eager ears,
as if it were their mission

To choose the program best for cows.
Tchaikovsky suits them well.
Dvorak not so much. But Liszt…
It isn’t hard to tell

What they approve of. Cow applause
would drown “Hymne de L’Amour”
if only cows could shout “Bis! Bis!”
and knew what hooves are for.

Hopping Mad

by Nora Jay

“Ex-Trump adviser… Larry Kudlow grumbles that Biden’s climate policies
would force Americans to drink ‘plant-based beer’…”

The Guardian

(To the tune of “Goober Peas”)

Sitting in a Fox hole, full of peeve and bile,
Larry lists some foodstuffs absolutely vile:
Biden’s banning burgers—Armageddon’s here—
Mourn your Independence, drinking plant-based beer.

Beer, beer, beer, beer,
Drinking plant-based beer.
Goodness how pernicious,
Drinking plant-based beer.

COVID’s close to air-tight—well, it used to be;
Now they’ve got us masked, so nobody is free.
Yearning for some poultry? Too late now, I fear:
Lick your own sad fingers, drinking plant-based beer.

Beer, beer, beer, beer,
Drinking plant-based beer.
Goodness how seditious,
Drinking plant-based beer.

The Choco-Late Show

by Alex Steelsmith

“Letterman set the standard for quirks and rituals among late-night hosts. His involved copious…
stacks of squares from Hersey [sic] chocolate bars… He would consume the whole stack in one quick
sitting, right before he went on the air.”

CNNBusiness

“Some studies examining the health benefits of chocolate
suggest… the right kinds of chocolate, consumed regularly, can help keep…
your mind sharp and alert, and your mood calm and happy.”

University Health News

Jocular chocular
David M. Letterman
gobbled his Hershey bars
lickety-split;

research suggests that this
idiosyncrasy
helped keep his monologues
choc full of wit.

Kane Mutiny

by Julia Griffin

“80-year-old review wrecks Citizen Kane’s 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes”
The Guardian

In other news: the Brandenburg concerti
The Marquis rates at fifteen out of thirty.
King James’s final verdict on Macbeth?
Six out of twenty. Too much doom and death.
Like Gettysburg? You’re barking up the wrong street:
They left out the response of one J. Longstreet,
And Scripture’s record someone ought to straighten.
One out of ten for bias, reckons Satan.

Beaver Tale

by Catherine Chandler

“Canadian beavers chomp down town’s internet”
BBC

We dwellers in a B.C. town
woke up to find the Net was down.
No Instagram. No Twitter feed.
No Facebook. We were miffed, indeed.

We all put in a friendly call
(we are Canadians, after all)
to Telus, who relieved us of
our patriotic beaver love.

In an attempt to build a home,
our mascot burrowed through the loam,
then with his emblematic teeth
he chewed right through the cable sheath.

By afternoon, the Net was back
from its environmental hack.
And though the beavers were at fault,
we took it with a grain of salt.

For though it wasn’t front-page news
of daily horrors (you-know-who’s),
the incident at Tumbler Ridge
had made us chuckle, just a smidge.

Mr. Boris Johnson

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Dominic Cummings has launched a blistering attack on his old boss Boris Johnson,
questioning his ‘competence and integrity.'”

BBC

My wish in boyhood was to be world king—
Rex Alexander Boris sounded cool.
Buoyed up by Eton, steeped in Oxford bling,
One knew one’s path to kingship: play the fool!
Real choice is hard, so I distract and duck.
I‘d rather do a photo op or two.
Since I have mastered how to pass the buck,
Jokes reign. You’d never know I have no clue! …
Oh, damn! The Dom has dropped his bomb! He leaks
His evidence I’m shiftily inept.
No holds are barred: Revenge means Tory cliques
Should know what Boris wrecks—no secrets kept! …
One should be careful what one wishes for.
Now I am Boris Wrex forevermore!

Already Framed

by Dan Campion

“I said ‘Hey, Houston, I’ve got the world in my window.’”
Michael Collins, Astronaut

“I love a window. . . . The whole of life already framed. Right there.”
Maude Lewis, Folk Artist

When Michael Collins orbited
Above Tranquility
It seems he felt unlimited,
Like Maudie: Whole. Calm. Free.

With Neil and Buzz encamped below,
Mike Collins ruled the sky.
He saw, in thumbnail size, a glow:
Our whole world flitting by.

He took up painting later on,
Got tranquil scenes just so.
The light is right, and then is gone.
A window’s opened, though.

Oscarpus

by Julia Griffin

“My Octopus Teacher, heartwarming nature film, wins best documentary Oscar”
The Guardian

O Octopus, my Octopus, how well you played your part:
You warmed each bivalve mollusk of the audience’s heart!
But some declared it—I don’t know—I fear the word was “gross,”
To see you on the dance floor bumping bottoms with Glenn Close.

It wasn’t lack of rhythm (they’ll have witnessed that before),
Or even the distracting squelch of suckers on the floor;
The problem was your timing: your panache is out of date;
Now Hollywood respects MeToo (and equally MeEight).

Tested by Testudines

by Alex Steelsmith

“A turtle crashed through the windshield of a car on Interstate 95 near Port Orange, Florida. …
What may surprise you though, is this bizarre accident has happened around here before.”

CNN

Hurtledy turtledy
Florida’s Interstate,
putting its motorists’
nerves to the test,

shatters their windshields with
testudinarious
missiles, which renders them
shell-shocked at best.

Trust Us

by Michael Calvert

“Amazon… is unveiling a new way to pay at select Whole Foods stores: a biometric technology
called Amazon One that allows shoppers to pay by placing their palm over a scanning device
when they check out.”

Vox

Forget your wallet? Please stay calm.
Just cross this sensor with your palm.
You’re in a hurry? Got to dash?
Just give us five—no need for cash.
Relax! We know it’s awfully hard
To lift that heavy credit card.

Meantime, don’t worry what we’ll do
With all the data we accrue—
It’s just your palm print, nothing more,
We’re adding to our data store.
For now, that is. Don’t get us wrong—
We’ll get the rest before too long.

Capituletion

by Eddie Aderne

“… plans to limit tourists at Juliet’s balcony are blocked”
The Guardian

A rose by any other name
Can hardly hope to smell the same;
Likewise, the balcony that gets
The lover’s vote is Juliet’s.
If any try to come between,
There’ll be a foul Verona scene;
For no two lovers ever scored
Like Juliet and the Tourist Board.

A Park by Any Other Name

by Chris O’Carroll

“Ohio Republicans want to rename Mosquito Lake state park after Donald Trump”
The Vindicator (Youngstown, OH)

The park’s named now for parasites
Who super-spread disease.
The new name and the old will be
Like, in a pod, two peas.

They’ve got parks pre-named for him
In many another state.
Hell’s Creek and Devil’s Hole are good,
And Russian Gulch is great.

Annalogy

by Julia Griffin

“Oligarch’s son told to pay mother £75m after world’s biggest divorce case
[The judge] compared the breakdown of relations in the Akhmedov family to Leo Tolstoy’s
classic Russian novel Anna Karenina.”

The Guardian

” … every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”
—Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

If Anna, Oblonsky, and all of their set,
Abandoning anguish, desire, and regret,
Decided on trading all that for the cares
Of money-maniacal billionaires,
The story would be less distinctive to read;
Most unhappy families may be indeed
Uniquely unhappy, as Tolstoy would claim;
But super-rich sorrows seem all much the same.