Poems of the Week


by Clyde Always

“Some 7-Eleven convenience stores around the country, including in Texas and California,
have started using roaring classical and opera music as a tactic to deter homeless people
from camping out in front of their storefronts.”
New York Post

Got hobos and tarps?
Try oboes and harps.

A Polar Bear, Skinny

by Paul Willis

“FEMA fires California company for nonsensical Alaska Native translations on aid applications…
Residents… expected to find instructions in Alaska Native languages. . . . Instead, they were
confronted with a number of bizarre phrases [such as] ‘Your husband is a polar bear, skinny’…”

Los Angeles Times

Your husband’s a polar bear, skinny;
your daughter’s a wolverine, stout;
your son is a slobbering ninny:
that’s why we are helping you out.

For FEMA could hardly come faster
with aid in the wake of typhoons.
Too bad that the actual disaster
is our hired linguistic buffoons!

Presidential Oversight

by Philip Kitcher

If I let my mind wander, I often forget
where I set down my papers (a trait I regret)—
but I get all het up when I drive my Corvette!

How Do We Deal With Carbon?

by Nina Parmenter

“Technology to remove the planet-warming greenhouse gas CO2 from our atmosphere
must be urgently ramped up, leading climate experts say in a new report.”

BBC News

How do we deal with carbon? In the end,
you’ll all agree that cutting back’s insane.
Renewables cost money we could spend
on shoes! (Plus, solar panels are a pain.)
Electric cars need plugs and wires and stuff,
and as for make and mend, well, where’s the joy?
No. When you’ve thought about it long enough,
you’ll work it out. It’s clear we should employ
a team of Oompa Loompas with a hose,
a carbon-scrubber lashed to every bee
(assuming that there’s any left of those),
and fleets of rockets that will guiltlessly
blast all the crud to Mars! (Unless you’re strange
enough to think we’re capable of change.)

Bone Appetite

by Steven Kent

“‘We have to rethink the industry’: fine dining’s future in doubt as Noma calls it a day”
The Guardian

No more pine cones for evening repast?
No more duck brains in skull? I’m aghast!
I have hundreds to spend,
And I fully intend
To eat pheasant hearts right to the last.

Rosso Losso

by Nora Jay

“Gina Lollobrigida, Italian star of the 1950s and 60s, dies aged 95 …
Her fame was also such that in the 1960s she had a new cultivar of curly-leafed lettuce,
the ‘lollo [rosso]’, named in her honour…”
The Guardian

So ciaò, bella Gina,
Figura divina!
You never were clumsy or frigida:
The lettuce of Truss
We soon ceased to discuss:
We’ll remember the chic Lollo(brigida)

“A fondue-ness for cheese”

by Bruce Bennett

“Paying Fromage to America’s Dairyland: Gouda news
for Wisconsin, the state synonymous with cheese: Two of
its cities landed in our top 10 [‘best cities for cheese lovers’].”

That’s good for Wisconsin, I guess.
But really, I have to confess,
As cheesiness goes,
There’s no match for prose
That savors its own cheesi-ness.

Literary Figures

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“No one told me that reading would be a casualty of ageing”
The i

I want to read the works of Scott, and Charles Dickens too;
Their novels total forty-two, but worse,
There’s nearly forty Shakespeare plays to somehow be got through,
Plus sonnets and assorted other verse.

Now, of my three-score years and ten, there’s five-and-fifty flown;
The fifteen left is fewer than I’d need;
That’s even if I hid away and just ignored the phone,
And plied myself with caffeine pills and speed.

I need a writer I can read in whole before I’m toast,
Whose muse was more capricious and unruly,
Whose work appeared in bookshops once a decade at the most—
In point of fact, one not unlike yours truly.

Incarcerated People?

by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

“The Elder Parole bill would allow the state Board of Parole to conduct an evaluation
for potential release for incarcerated people ages 55 and older who have already served
15 or more years.”
New York Daily News

“Incarcerated people”?
We seem to have come to the stage
Of scrapping forthright language—
I speak as a person of age.

Rooted Out

by Clyde Always

“Onions are so expensive in the Philippines
they’re being smuggled into the country”

Onions, lately:
costly things.
Thus, a rise in
smuggling rings.

Moving Right Along

by Gail White

A Poinciana, Florida woman called 911 for help with
a burglary, then asked for a ride to the airport.

The caller requested
assistance with moving,
to put all the furniture
out on the lawn;
and then, one last favor,
a ride to the airport:
it’s back to New York
now that Christmas is gone!

Alas, a few problems
were quickly discovered.
The household removal
was stopped at the doors.
The moral: When asking
the cops to help move you,
it’s best if the house
and its contents are yours.

Chocolate Barbells

by Julia Griffin

“Hershey sued by New York man over ‘unsafe’ levels of metal in chocolate:
Christopher Lazazzaro alleges mass-market chocolatier failed to reveal
lead and cadmium in dark chocolate products to consumers”
The Guardian

(with thanks to Bob Dylan)

How much lead can a chocolate contain
And count as comestible still?
And what is the quota in milk or in plain
Before it will actually kill?
And who figures Cadbury’s cadmium caps
Since it fell under Hershey’s control?
The answer, my friend, is kept under wraps;
Just try not to swallow it whole.

Mirror Image

by Alex Steelsmith

“Media have framed the manatee die-off as an environmental wake-up call…
‘People keep talking about manatees being the canary in the coal mine.
But by the time this canary dies, all the miners are already long gone’…
[M]anatee deaths aren’t a signal of forthcoming disaster; their losses are the disaster…”
—National Geographic

Warningly, mourningly,
Florida’s manatees
sound the alarm as their
numbers abate.

Species cohabitate
manatees mirror hu-
manity’s fate.

Tectonic Shift

by Dan Campion

“Bend could see psilocybin service centers open by May”
Central Oregon Daily

So Oregon is on the route
Away from feuds and fuss.
Ken Kesey would be proud, no doubt,
His state’s jumped on the bus.