Poems of the Week

Be Careful What You Wish For

by Jan Schreiber

Trump wants a wall. The odds are chancy.
Trump hits a wall. Her name is Nancy.

Dutch Treat

by Julia Griffin

“A discussion panel at the Davos World Economic Forum has become a sensation after a Dutch historian took billionaires to task for not paying taxes.”—The Guardian

As Davos’ billionaires began
To scratch each other’s backs,
A strange, farouche historian
Leapt up and shouted tax.

“You do not pay enough!” he cried;
A slogan which forthwith
The massed philanthropists denied
As economic myth.

“Pray look around,” they urged him, stunned:
“Behold how much we give!
Our institute! Our special fund!
Our youth initiative!

“We’ve founded schools! Created jobs!
Just read this dossier!”
The ingrate answered, through their sobs:
“Don’t give before you pay.

“Tax, tax, and tax! No more BS!”
This unrefined refrain
Has guaranteed, as you may guess,
He’ll not be asked again,

Until he’s learned that truth the poor
Are so unapt to learn:
You cannot get a tax break for
An IRS return.

Conflict Of Interest

by Jerome Betts

“A farmer who became too upset when taking
his lambs to the abattoir gave his flock to an
animal sanctuary.”—BBC

Dear lambs, who skip on soft new sward
And race up grassy hummocks,
The feelings that such sights afford
Leave many in a flummox
As each spring strikes the same old chord
In human souls . . . and stomachs.

Rock On

by Edmund Conti

Cohen grieves
And Trump is burned
As Mueller leaves
No Stone unturned.

For Want of a Screw

by Jan Schreiber

“A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones
Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’”
—New York Times

Jill wants a job,
Jack wants one too,
But Apple wants
A little screw.

Here where the flag’s
Red, white and blue,
No factories make
A little screw.

But search in China:
In Zhengzhou
They’ll fabricate
A little screw.

Want full employment?
Here’s a clue:
Know how to make
A little screw.

More than a billion
(Going on two)
Chinese can thank
A little screw

For jobs that here
Aren’t coming through
For want of just
A little screw.

Jack and Jill wait
Till they turn blue.
Life’s bleak without
A little screw.

At Last, Trump

by Ruth S. Baker

“White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she believes God wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 election, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported on Wednesday.”—CNN

Because the States were in a slump,
The Lord supported Donald Trump
In his campaign for President,
Revealing thus the discontent
Of Heaven (as, of course, elsewhere)
With DACA and Obamacare.
So Donald was assigned the post
By Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Which might appear a rather odd
Decision on the part of God,
Did life not show (and Scripture, too)
The kinds of things He likes to do.

Herrick Hexit

by Nora Jay

Gather your rosebuds, wily May:
Old Time is still a-speeding,
And, less than two full months away,
A deadline’s not receding.

That glorious lamp of heaven, The Sun,
Directs you down to hunker;
Back, though, on earth, the deal is done:
You won’t get any Juncker.

Then be not coy, make jamboree
Before our final outing!
Think: all that rosebud potpourri,
May soon be Brussels sprouting.

Mencken’s America, Great Again

by Dan Campion

“Here the buffoonery never stops. … I never get tired of the show.”
—H.L. Mencken, “On Being an American” (1922)

Rapt fans await the Super Bowl
With cheese balls, brats, and beer.
The game will take a fearful toll
On diets. But a cheer
Will greet each devastating hit,
Each end-zone demonstration,
By gladiators young and fit,
The pride of MAGA nation.
And if the referees don’t muff
Too many calls, the best
Team wins—but if they lose, well, tough.
The volk still had their fest.

American Standoff

by Nora Jay

“The teen is smirking—his expression, for me, oozes entitlement.”—The Guardian

“Covington student did no wrong.”—CNS News

A Trump-supporting schoolboy’s smirk
Revealed him as a racist jerk,
Insulting arrogantly an
Indigenous old veteran—
Until a second video
Appeared and clarified that, No,
The racists here were not young whites
But old Black Hebrew Israelites,
Who claimed the tribes had damned their souls
By idolizing totem poles.
Meanwhile, the Trumpists went to work
Upon the victim of the smirk,
Declaring him an arrant sham
Who’d never been to Vietnam;
The Anti-Trumpists reeled, but soon
Rebounded like a woke balloon
And blamed the boy again—so Vox;
He found support, of course, in Fox,
And gave, for further sympathy,
An interview to NBC
Which somehow riled both right and left—
A thing which might have bridged the cleft
And thus produced an armistice
In some quite other world than this.
The vet was also interviewed:
This too’s been variously booed,
But even journalists now seem
Fatigued or running out of steam.
The videos are quite a botch,
And really not much fun to watch;
Besides, there’s plenty more on view—
Trump-Nancy, and the Oscars do.
The details of this sad event
Will quickly fade, all passion spent;
Just one vignette looks set to lurk:
That MAGA Mona Lisa smirk.

Fanfare for Sphengic

by Julia Griffin

“It’s a girl! Gender of penguin raised by Sydney’s beloved same-sex parents revealed”
—CNN

Welcome, little penguin girl,
Daughter of two penguin pops!
All the Internet’s a-whirl:
Welcome, little penguin girl!
Where’s the homophobic churl
Who’ll deny your fluffy chops
Welcome, little penguin girl—
Daughter of two penguin pops?