Poems of the Week

Love by Numbers

by Steven Kent

“We Wanted To Split Up. OkCupid Had Other Ideas”
The New York Times

The separation might have worked, but then
Our marriage rates an almost perfect 10—
Well, 9.8 to really be specific,
But OKCupid tells me that’s terrific.

The ups and downs we went through in the past,
Small things that cause a couple not to last
(Like my desire to be with other men)
Could always be a problem once again,

But hey, that score! How can we stay apart?
Though I can’t say I’ll never break his heart,
I aim to be more faithful when I’m with him
And trust the method known as algorithm.


by Julia Griffin

“[D]ozens of Korean words added to Oxford English Dictionary
The new words include hallyu—the Korean original for the wave of pop culture …
[and] bulgogi—thin slices of beef or pork … There is room, too, for mukbang,
or livestreams of people eating extraordinary amounts of food
while talking to the online audience.”
The Guardian

K-beauty makes the OED (as well as global moolah):
There’s room herein for mukbang on bulgogi. Hallyula!


by Nora Jay

“‘The last person to touch it was Nina Simone’: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on an old piece of chewing gum”
The Guardian

“You Took My Teeth”
Nina Simone

The last one to touch it was Nina Simone:
Its surface was mumbled by Nina alone!
You’ll have to find sugar elsewhere for your bowl;
Don’t hope for a taste of the Priestess of Soul.
No lesser saliva will ever absorb it,
This triumph of Trident (or possibly Orbit):
’Twould take nothing less than a double subpoena
To give up a gum strip once gnawed on by Nina.

Campus Culture

by Dan Campion

“University of Iowa homecoming corn monument to be largest in university history”
The Daily Iowan

We keep on good terms here in Iowa
With corniness. Scornful? Apply to a
School in a state
Where they don’t stay up late
Piling corn kernels up to the skyowa.

Water, Water Everywhere (Some Restrictions Apply)

by Steven Kent

“…16 million people or so lose access [to clean water in the U.S.] every year
when disconnected due to unaffordable, unpaid water bills.”

The Guardian

The land of the brave and the free
Remains an enigma to me.
Our view of clean water:
To have it you oughter,
But not if you can’t pay the fee.

The Ostrich and the Turtle

by Julia Griffin

“Turtle on runway causes delays at Japan’s main international airport”

“Wandering ostrich causes Cape Town traffic chaos”
—BBC News

Let the bird of longest legs
And the beast of chic-est shell
Keep apart and spare us hell!
Thus the world of transit begs.

Ostrich wanders down the road;
Turtle on the tarmac sits;
Motorists are having fits;
Pilots fear they may explode;

No one, though, desires to squash
Either obstacle, oh no:
Turtle’s conquered Tokyo,
Ostrich, Greater Stellenbosch;

Thus the latter fears no car,
And the former dreads no plane;
Transport struggles with the strain,
But no harm’s been done—so far.


by Jerome Betts

“Miniskirts are back:
Dior embraces post-pandemic
era with a new look”
The Guardian

It seems that the hemline has started to soar
Up from places let’s call sub-patellar,
Which is good news for some, but bad for far more
Whose knees are perhaps less than stellar.

“So-Called Leaders”

by Clyde Always

If carbon emissions can make you upset,
your quarrel’s with anyone breathing…

Miss Thunberg’s new tirade (her quippiest yet),
left many a world leader seething.
To chide them, she found (as the teenagers do)
repetitive syllables fitting.

Did Greta not realize how much CO²
she blah blah blah blah was emitting?

With Doctors Like This. . .

by Steven Kent

“DeSantis Names Doctor Opposed To Mask And Vaccine Mandates As Florida’s Surgeon General”
The Guardian

The sheep all follow what the other doctors say is true,
But not Ledapo—he thinks for himself!
Lose weight, eat veggies, exercise—that’s all you need to do,
And leave that “medicine” up on the shelf.

He went to Harvard, sure, but with an independent mind—
The course he charts is truly his alone.
Deep down he’s really one of us, and I believe you’ll find
He’s not some liberal “educated” clone.

I’ll grant right now the Sunshine State has lost a lot of souls,
With days of dark uncertainty ahead—
When our new surgeon general takes over the controls,
Who knows how many more might wind up dead?

But still we must remember, friends, what really matters here—
It’s freedom that we can’t let slip away!
And if it means you have to lose somebody you hold dear
Well, that’s a price we’re quite prepared to pay.

It’s Not the Swine Flu

by Alex Steelsmith

“Some Argentines turn to unusual pandemic pets for comfort…
Luciana Benetti found her plans for a big traditional 15th birthday party scrapped.
In its place, her parents gave her a pig.”

ABC News

some Argentinians
coping with Covid are
crossing a line.

Skeptical critics might
claim they are casting their
girls before swine.

The Arizona Audit: Who Knew?

by James Hamby

Our audit here is finally done.
The verdict’s in, and Biden won.

But we confirmed all these things, too:
The grass is green, the sky is blue,

All water’s wet, each desert dry,
Below is earth, above is sky.

We sought these facts with righteous zeal,
So rest well knowing real is real!

The Submarine Saga

by Dan Campion

“Biden and Macron plan to meet as the U.S. and France try to smooth things over
in their submarine saga”


I’d say a mustard from Dijon
Spooned out by President Macron
And mayo (lemon juice to lighten)
Spread liberally by our Joe Biden
Would surely foster haute cuisine,
A palatable submarine.

Going Down?

by Jerome Betts

“Dutch are world’s tallest people—
but they’re shrinking, study shows.”
The Guardian

If the burghers are starting to shrink
In their low-lying land prone to sink,
Will this decrease in size
Plus a sea level rise
Mean they end up knee-deep in the drink?

Rock Star

by Julia Griffin

“Mystery Woman Wrapped in a Sheet on Remote Island Called for Help in Perfect English”
The Daily Beast

“Croatian police on Wednesday named the woman as Daniela or Dana Adamcova, 57”
The Guardian

Until we know, she’s anyone:
An English priestess of the sun;
A votarist of quarantine;
A truant from a submarine;
A sacrifice, discreetly done;

A damsel, passive as a bun;
A siren that a man should shun;
A sheeted nymph of seventeen,
Until we know.

She’s on the rise, she’s on the run,
Part-lorelei, part-real, part-un-,
Part-something not at all foreseen;
She’s Everygirl, our rock-bound queen:
A lady with no limits—none!
Until we know.