Poems of the Week

Season’s Greetings

by Julia Griffin

“A viral Facebook photo shows two uniformed officers with cardboard signs taped together in what they called a ‘homeless quilt.”
—Vice News

We picked up two square miles of these
And made a quilt of cardboard. Please.
Help. Makes a kind of boring read:
Anything. Thank you. Hungry. Need.
Trying to make it. (Sure!) Will work.
(Yeah, right.) It’s like the Precinct’s perk:
The Comforter of Homelessness.
Happy New Year! Stay safe. God bless.

What I Learned in School Today

by Dan Campion

“Learning to fail is a skill like any other. Which means it takes practice.”
—“Here to Help” column in The New York Times

We learned to throw the towel in first,
Before the match begins.
My throw was judged by far the worst,
The champ of might-have-beens.

We wrote in cursive on the board.
They said mine was a fright.
In math was where I really scored.
Turns out I got none right.

At failure I’m a “prodigy,”
They say. I’ve got it made.
No need for practice, not for me!
They’re skipping me a grade.

Rat Trees

by Ruth S. Baker

“Bonsai trees shaped like rats are popular in Vietnam ahead of Lunar New Year”

It may be a hit in Da Lat,
But the one thing less charming, to me,
Than a tree that resembles a rat
Is a rat that resembles a tree.

Cat Persons

by Julia Griffin

Cats is said to be so ‘shockingly bad’ that it’s prompting walkouts from cinemagoers.”
—The Independent

Terrible Cats came out this week:
Terrible Cats have raised a squall.
Every cat has a weird physique;
Every cat makes your skin to crawl:
Cinema buffs can hardly speak;
Cinema critics are having a ball.

Old Deuteronomy’s wearing her fur:
It looks like a rug, more than something she grew;
Around it (creating a bit of a stir)
She’s wearing the pelts of ten other cats too.

The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat,
But there isn’t any need for me to scream it:
For he’s got fur but it’s not fur,
And let’s hope we never have to dream it.

What’s happened to Mr. Mistoffelees,
The Original Conjuring Cat?
His badger-in-lipstick look’s awful—he’s
Not magic enough to fix that.

Macavity the Mystery Cat
Is looking very raw:
That fur-cut’s simply criminal—
It’s really more a gnaw;
They’re baffled up at Scotland Yard:
There’s something nasty, yeah;
But if you know your Cats, you’ll know
Macavity’s not there.

Memory! Turn your face to the exit;
Just remember the good times—bid them sadly goodbye:
If you touch these, you’ll understand what none of us knows:
What’s the feel of CGI?

Long Term

by Nora Jay

The Democrats are feeling smug and cozy.
The gavel’s down at last! Calloo, callay!
“He’ll be impeached forever,” quoth Pelosi.
It’s certainly felt that way.

The Trump Family Circus

by David Hedges

The clown car appears to be stuck in reverse,
And Ringmaster Donald can’t think what to do
But tweet hissy fits and relentlessly curse
As bozos bail out — oh, and call it a coup.

Ivanka, aloft in her glittering tights,
Sails on through thin air with the greatest of ease,
Expanding her graft to incomparable heights
By putting the squeeze on the well-heeled Chinese.

Don’s son-in-law, Jared, loan-juggler supreme,
Plays footsie with Salman, the Saudi crown prince,
And kowtows to Putin’s despotic regime
As qualified diplomats grimace and wince.

Rudolfo, the screwball Ukrainian freak,
Reprises the guiles in his vast repertoire,
A sideshow replete with the president’s clique
Of bootlicking sycophants, starring Bill Barr.

While Mitch cracks his whip in the off-center ring,
Republicans circle, performing their rounds,
Attached, trunk to tail, in an unbroken string,
Unable to utter articulate sounds.

Don Junior and Eric spout off on talk shows —
Imperious ham-handed rich little kids
Defending dear Daddy, whose nose grows and grows,
With plenteous pro quos and copious quids.

Tally-Ho, Jolyon!

by Ruth S. Baker

“Prominent lawyer Jolyon Maugham clubs fox to death while wearing kimono.”
—The Guardian

A prominent lawyer named Jolyon Maugham
Has recently kicked up a media storm
By killing a fox. Was he dressed for it? O no:
Instead of buff breeches, he wore a kimono—
A skimpy affair that a geisha might shed,
Ill suited for knocking a fox on the head.
He tweeted these details to all on his feed,
In hopes of applause, which were punctured with speed;
The animal activists raged for the fox,
While satirists offered sartorial mocks:
Top law-men in lingerie fashioned for belles
Should not bash a fox! (Or do anything else.)


by Nora Jay

“Donald Trump Jr. kills rare endangered sheep in Mongolia with special permit.”
—The Guardian

Mongolia’s a wondrous place, and getting there’s not cheap,
But once you’ve done it, fancy! You can kill endangered sheep.
The name for them is “Argali.” They’ve quite stupendous horns,
And fleece which (once removed) will soothe the toughest hunter’s corns.
To slaughter this alarming beast you’ll need, of course, a gun,
A permit, and some proof that you’re a global leader’s son.
Equipped with these, come, blast away! By now you will have figured
That sheep, like other snowy types, are effortlessly triggered,
And soon you’ll have its lifeless head to hang up like a hood.
It may not look its very best, but you’ll look really good.

“I’ve never understood wind…”

… muses the great GOP elephant,
trumpeting, as always, his mind
(composed entirely of that element)
through his behind.

~Mark Granier

By Their Fruits…

by Bob McKenty

Ever since Cherry Tree George beat the drum,
The president’s role’s been considered a plum.
The prez gets to stand in the limelight, nice guy,
Top Banana, the apple of everyone’s eye.
He may earn the raspberries pundits confer,
But isn’t the type sour grapes will deter.
He won’t give a fig for their critical views,
Which he can succinctly dismiss as “fake news.”
But if it’s a lemon who’s taken the oath,
Let Congress impeach him (that’s pruning for growth).