Poems of the Week

E Pluribus

by Alex Steelsmith

“Herd immunity, also called community immunity, a state in which a large proportion of a population is able to repel an infectious disease… can be conferred through natural immunity, previous exposure to the disease, or vaccination.”
Encyclopedia Britannica

The ones who never cease to breach
the mandates with impunity
will cease to matter when we reach
community immunity.

Although the mandates are mundane,
we know that their jejunity
will be forgotten when we gain
community immunity.

As vaccinations rise, we wait
for any opportunity
to one by one facilitate
community immunity.

They say that we’re divided, yet
we’ll form a kind of unity
when out of pluribus we get
community immunity.

A Toast to Sister André

by Dan Campion

“COVID-defying nun toasts 117th birthday with wine and prayer”

A toast to Sister André,
Who fends off ills and age
With vin rouge and her parlay
Avec Celestial Sage:

Our times need models fit for
Rebuilding virtues on.
My glass is raised, sweet Sister,
Dear André of Toulon!

Gold No Rush

by Iris Herriot

“San Diego man’s wallet lost in Antarctica turns up 53 years later
Paul Grisham forgot he lost it until rediscovery during demolition work at McMurdo base”
The Guardian

McMurdo, ’68: I had a wallet, which I lost.
In sunny California our paths have just re-crossed.
In gratitude, I’ve had the moral thereupon embossed:
The bank accounts we freeze may providentially defrost.

The Ties That Bind

by David Galef

“Rawiri Waititi, the co-leader of New Zealand’s Maori Party, was removed from Parliament
on Tuesday for wearing a traditional Maori pendant instead of the required necktie
which he said was ‘a colonial noose.'”
The New York Times

The New Zealand parliament decided
All their members must wear
a cravat.
But what if a member’s
Must he dress so
The tie’s a hangup of colonial
In short, no noose is
good noose.

By Any Other Name

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Brexit: ‘Under-loved’ fish renamed for British tastes…
Megrim sole is to be sold as Cornish sole, with spider crab
being rebranded as Cornish King crab.”

By any other name, no taste’s the same:
You can’t pretend it doesn’t matter if
A megrim sole is served with some alt. name—
No diner orders scaldfish or a whiff!
Yum-yum’s not what you’d say if your soufflé
Of seafood had a spider-crabby sound,
Though if the Cornish King crab’s your entrée,
How eagerly that selfsame dish is downed! …
Exporting’s now a megrim for the Brits.
Renaming megrim sole as Cornish sole
Not only makes it edible, but it’s
A way to make Brits love their seafood shoal! …
Marine cuisine served up as Cornish food
Ensures EU red tape can be eschewed!

Norton Panthology

by Nora Jay

“[Rosaleen] Norton eked out a modest living selling her art, and putting spells and hexes on people.
Her story has been captured in a new documentary …

The fascinating story of Norton’s life may have been lost had it not been for the commitment
of Sonia Bible to bring it to the screen.”

The Guardian

Prudes and prigs were unforgiving,
Yet, for all you may have heard,
I eked out a modest living
(“Modest”’s an elastic word),

Painting demons of all sexes,
Holding trances, working spells,
Selling art and placing hexes
(Just on people, no one else).

On I eked, through law and libel,
Prayed to Pan each Hallowe’en,
And behold! A human Bible
Now promotes my word on screen.

Glogotha Christi

by Ruth S. Baker

“’He expressly led you to believe that President Trump’s supporters believe that the president wanted … the cavalry ready for physical combat,’ Schoen said. ‘The problem is, the actual text is exactly the opposite. The tweeter promised to bring the Calvary, public display of Christ’s crucifixion, a central symbol of our Christian faith with her to the president’s speech, a symbol of faith, love and peace.’”
Law and Crime Trial Network

To rid our land from salvery,
I swore I’d bring the Calvary!
The whole cursade went swimmily.
We’re planning a fascimile.

I’ve Had My Phil

by Thomas DeFreitas

(To the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” theme)

Punxsutawney’s seen his shadow!
That means six more weeks of chill—
Stuck inside with Kimmel, Maddow,
Pringles, Netflix: what a thrill!
Icy gales and storms beleaguer;
Coffee’s guzzled by the vat.
All this cold stuff makes me eager
For the flowers of Easter, stat!

Philip, you’re a knavish rascal,
You’re a fiendish prankster, you:
Bane of February Two!
Vernal-veto, hope-defeater,
Groundhog-gremlin, Imbolc-imp:
As I watch the thermo-meter,
Through a shivering Lent I limp!

Punxsy, old prognosticator,
With you I’ve a bone to pick:
Why must snowflakes linger later?
I want blossoms, super-quick!
Soon enough we’ll have soft breezes,
Green leaves, bright skies: all that’s great!
But how biting are the freezes
In this slow month’s twenty-eight!

An Arm and a Legacy

by Alex Steelsmith

Although Tom Brady won nine conference championships for the Patriots, including three in the previous four years, they traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This year Brady’s Bucs won the championship, while the Patriots had their worst season in 20 years. The Patriots’ trade has been called “the worst transaction in Boston sports history.” When the Bucs won, Brady was not only vindicated but also paid a $500,000 incentive.

Tampity champity
Brady the Quarterback,
leaving the Patriots
looking like schmucks,

furthered his legacy
perfectly happy with
all his new Bucs.

Other: Doll

by Julia Griffin

“Texas sorry after mistakenly sending emergency alert for cursed Chucky doll …
The message went out over the state’s Amber Alert system, which is blasted to people’s
mobile phones, usually to help find a missing child. It was sent three times.
It described the suspect as being called Chucky and listed him as a 28-year-old with red,
auburn hair, blue eyes who stood at 3ft 1in tall and weighed 16lbs. He was said to be wearing
blue denim overalls with a multi-colored striped long sleeve shirt and carrying a large knife—
matching his appearance in the films. His race was listed as ‘Other: Doll.’ …
The department issued a statement saying: ‘This alert is a result of a test malfunction.
We apologize for the confusion this may have caused and are diligently working
to ensure this does not happen again.’”
—The Guardian

Test malfunction. Do not panic:
No one’s going to be hurt;
That was just a non-satanic
False emergency alert.

We don’t know (which may be lucky)
How our wires got so crossed,
But we’re sure, regarding Chucky:
Some lost kids are better lost.

Note in Advance of the 1st Congress, 1788-89

by Dan Campion

“Kevin McCarthy Wants You to Believe He Has No Idea What QAnon Is”
Vice News

Let’s seed the Senate and the House
With Laggard, Lunatick, & Louse,
And someone in cross-garter’d Hose,
To keep the Others on their Toes;
Plant boors who love Conspiracy,
Hate, Mayhem, & Contumely—
To prick their Fellows toward Good-Sense
& Virtu! Surely, Ages Hence
Shall take from us Example fit,
Their Congresses, Assemblies split
’Twixt Saint, Knave, Sage, & Tangle-Wit.

Cormac and Damian

by Ruth S. Baker

“In the search for Covid protection, Cormac the ‘extremely charismatic’ llama may hold a key
The llama has provided nanobodies that effectively prevent infection…”
The Guardian

“In a high security laboratory in Sydney …, virologist Stuart Turville found …
‘A beautiful, immunological unicorn …
[with] the most amazing Covid response I’ve ever seen.’

The unicorn is a 50-year-old father of three named Damian…”
The Guardian

Immunological Unicorn
And Charismatic Llama:
Sweet blessings for a world forlorn!
Their nanobodies have been shorn
With no to-do or drama,
For bipeds lacking hoof or horn.
“What luck for them that we were born!”
Sighs Damian, Immunicorn,
To Cormac, Llama-Charma.

The Wild, Wild West

by Pat D’Amico
(in a state in Washington State)

At the crack of dawn, my ride, I’m hitching.
My trigger finger’s poised and itching.
I can’t afford another miss.
I do not need the stress of this.
Who could have known; who could have guessed
The vaccine rollout’s Wild, Wild West?
I scroll and click but all for naught—
There is no spot to take a shot.

How I Spend the Pandemic

by Bruce Bennett

I sit around and eat.
What else is there to do?
I rarely leave my seat.
I sit around and eat,
an act that I repeat
each time as if it’s new.
I sit around and eat.
What else is there to do?

Sometimes I stand and sigh
and walk around the room.
It helps the time go by.
Sometimes I stand and sigh,
then I remember why:
it’s time for one more Zoom.
Sometimes I stand and sigh,
but I don’t leave my room.

What else is there to do?
I sit around and eat.
I look for something new,
but can’t think what to do.
There’s always Zoom it’s true,
but that feels like defeat!
Yet, what else can I do?

I sit around. I eat.