Poems of the Week

Fugitive Airborne Forms

by Julia Griffin

“‘I look forward to thinking about all forms of poetry,’ [Alice Oswald, the new Oxford Professor of Poetry] said, ‘but particularly the fugitive airborne forms.'”
—The Guardian

What are these Fugitive Airborne Forms
Abseiling along our coasts?
Elusive portents of versing storms,
Or lyrically truant ghosts?

Earthbound Forms might splutter and frown:
The epic, the cold pastiche;
Our FAFs simply won’t come down;
They’re light, and they’re off the leash.

But Alice now rules the Versiverse
(That’s Oxford, turned right side out);
Those Forms are in for a grounding—worse,
They’re going to be thought about.

Laffer Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

by Bruce Bennett

“Last year, famed Republican economist Art Laffer co-authored a hagiographic tribute to President Trump and his agenda. … Laffer accordingly will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.”
New York Magazine

Let’s give a cheer for Laffer
and for his famous curve.
He got the Highest Medal
from those he chose to serve.

He drew it on a napkin,
and rocketed to fame.
While billionaires applauded,
he cashed in on his name.

He praised our brilliant Leader
and now has him to thank
for singling out the squiggle
that helped some break the bank.

His history is spotted.
His theory isn’t true.
It doesn’t work in practice,
but what’s a man to do?

Though Trickle Down’s a phantom,
Supply Side is a fraud,
why not accept the kudos
while billionaires applaud?

Why not exult in Honors
one may not quite deserve?
Let’s hear it now for Laffer
who threw that famous curve!

Natural Resourcefulness

by Michael Calvert

“We’re trying to redesign the entire end-of-life experience.”
— Sandy Gibson, CEO of Better Place, which sells people the right to have their cremated remains mixed with fertilizer and fed to a tree.

I think that I shall never find
An end of life that’s redesigned

As well (or quite as profitably)
As feeding dead folks to a tree.

So, once your final dirge is sung,
We mix you with a bit of dung,

Then take you to a tree we’ve found
And scatter you upon the ground,

Where your remaining nutrients
Can have a new experience.

Since death’s the common lot of man,
That’s what I call a business plan!


by Dan Campion

Iran made a very big mistake!
—The President of the United States

We all are guilty of mistakes.
Perhaps you’ve made a few,
Like hitting gas instead of brakes,
Denying what is true,

Or diddling a trusting crowd.
To every mortal man
Some sorry pratfalls are allowed.
So, peace be to Iran.

Threnody for a Throwaway Thneed

by Julia Griffin

“Real-Life Truffula Tree Said To Have Inspired ‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Seuss Falls”

The very first Truffula Tree, so they say,
Has fallen this week in La Jolla, CA.

The very first Truffula! Why did it fall?
And why had the public heard nothing at all
Of this very important symbolical tree?
Try asking the Lorax or Once-ler, not me.

Yet this much I know: as the news travels on,
We’ll hear a salute from a smogged Swomee Swan,
And a hail from a Humming Fish—both in cahoots
With that Seussian troubadour, Light’s Bar-b[ar]a Loots. *

* Though Barbara Loots’s last name actually rhymes with “boats,” we couldn’t resist this one. — The Editors

“I’d Take It”

by Chris O’Carroll

All that talk about collusion
Is just fake news and mass delusion.
The one that helped me win was me.
But if some foreign entity
Pops up to offer dirt next year,
They might have stuff I want to hear.
So I didn’t do it, but it’s no crime,
And of course I’ll do it again next time.

A Burning Issue

by Barbara Loots

“The Show-Me state is set to be the first in the country to fully legalize funeral ceremonies previously reserved for Vikings, some Native American tribes and Jedi knights.”
— The Kansas City Star

The Statehouse in the Show-Me State
is busy with decisions.
Failing bridges? Budgets? Floods?
New ethical revisions?
The cost of education? Nah.
But let’s make sure we’re free
to torch our moms and dads outdoors.
We’ll be the first! Whoopee!

Whoopie Pie Pilferage

by Ross Moyer

“Thieves stole over 100 whoopie pies in Maine”
— Boston Globe

Maine has had a dreadful theft
of very special grub.
One hundred, count ‘em, whoopie pies
were pilfered from a club.

Who consumes so many treats?
Perhaps they’ll fence the cakes.
At least, unlike with stolen art,
the goodies can’t be fakes.

Capanna Caelestis

by Dan Campion

“The Ocean on Jupiter’s Moon Europa Has Table Salt, Just Like Earth’s Seas.”

Glum Saturn flashes gaudy rings
But lacks for señoritas,
While lusty Jove stocks basic things,
Like salt for margaritas.

The Anomalous Blob

by Julia Griffin

“Researchers have discovered something massive lurking under the dark side of the moon: a mysterious blob with the mass akin to a pile of metal five times the size of Hawaii. …
The team discovered the anomalous blob by combining data … . While the excess mass isn’t immediately obvious from the surface, it does seem to be having quite an effect, dragging down the lunar landscape in a curious ovoid depression…”
— National Geographic

Beneath the South Pole-Aitken Basin—
A crater festooning the Moon,
Since somebody pummelled its face in—
There’s something that’s like a balloon,

Or maybe a grapefruit or baseball,
Offside in a hole in the sky—
Some sort, that’s to say, of a spaceball
That’s five times the size of Hawaii.

“What is it? What is it? Don’t know yet,”
Say experts at work on the job;
“We think we’ve got some way to go yet
With this, The Anomalous Blob:

“It may be a bale of detritus:
Stone, silicon, sandbags, or socks;
It may be designed to affright us—
A spherical, ticking black box;

“Perhaps it is hollow and hairy:
A lonely, uncanny cocoon
Just waiting to hatch something scary
And gently unwind in the Moon …

“We’re sure, though (concluding this session),
Our Blob’s having quite an effect:
The Moon’s got an Ovoid Depression—
As really one ought to expect.”