Poems of the Week

Nusratted Out

by Nora Jay

“Bangladeshi MP allegedly hired eight lookalikes to take her place in exams …
Tamanna Nusrat, from the ruling Awami League party, is accused of paying the lookalikes to pretend to be her in at least 13 tests.”
—The Guardian

The me who took Sports Management
Was sure of 90+%,
While some more sums-y avatar
Took charge of College Algebra.
My very closest lookalike
Was down for Logic and for Psych,
Though greater love no double hath
Than offering herself in Math.
The self who took Domestic Science
Was in, we thought, complete compliance,
And my most money-minded me
Took Business and Accountancy.
Who really cares which Nusrat sits
For tests in Foreign Langs and Lits?
Only my wretched Ethics twin,
Who took the test, then turned me in.

Just Business

by Dan Campion

Poor Bibi and poor Boris lost
Some very big votes. Sad!
I mean, how much could it have cost
To grab some help from Vlad?

Concession here, concession there,
A handshake, nod, and wink,
Your deal comes out just right. Who cares
What Chucks and Nancys think?

Sweet Memerino

by Julia Griffin

Chris the sheep, a merino famed for once being discovered with the world’s heaviest fleece, has died in Australia. The animal generated global attention in 2015 after being spotted in the wild carrying what was described as six years’ worth of wool. A life-saving haircut followed, with a shearer removing 41.1kg (88lb) of fleece—later confirmed to be a world record.
On Tuesday, his carers at a New South Wales farm said he had died of old age. …
The sanctuary added that while Chris was best known for his fleece, to staff he had been ‘so much more’.”
—BBC News

In New South Wales, the farmers weep,
Then fondly reminisce
About the just-departed sheep
Known globally as Chris,

Whose harvest of merino wool
(And other odd debris)
Would once have rendered three bags’ full,
Each 13 + kg.

This awed the world, but Chris’s friends
Had found him so much more—
So now, they hope his state transcends
The best he’d known before:

He hears the music of the spheres,
And chews the grass of peace,
With no necessity for shears
To touch his risen fleece;

For what was once a greasy shroud
Is now an airy shawl:
A sweet, self-generated cloud,
Which has no weight at all.


by Ruth S. Baker

“[New Twitter star] cigarette cockroach is giving [older Twitter star] pizza rat a run for its money in New York”

Cigarette Cockroach is taking the air,
Smoke-scented spiracles gently aflare,
Barely perceptibly raising his hat
In the direction of Pizza King Rat.
Weighing the chances that each of them has,
Rat, say the pundits, rates first for pizzazz;
Roach, by comparison, has it for class.
Though among rodents mere whiskers might pass,
Next to antennae they look like old strings;
Nor has plain spine the charisma of wings.
“Hey!” cackles Razza, his jaws full of cheese,
“Siggi can’t even support his own fleas.
Voting for me, all you fauna should know,
You vote for yourselves. I’m the dude with the dough.”

Life Ain’t a Bowl of Cherries, Mary

by Janice D. Soderling

“New Jersey school district proposes banning students with lunch debt from field trips, prom”
The Hill

Sorry kid, you shoulda picked
some other mom and dad,
who pay their bills, who don’t get sick
or get laid off. Too bad.

Sorry kid, we have to shame
to teach a tough-love lesson.
Cash is king. Life ain’t no game
or free delicatessen.

Sorry kid, you’re also banned
from field trips and the prom.
Next time show up with cash in hand
and pick a better dad and mom.

Railing By

by Nora Jay

“Woman who stood on ship’s railing for selfie barred for life from cruise line”

So here I’m standing on a ship—
Yes, actually on a rail
(You need to view the YouTube clip
To get a proper sense of scale).

I know my arms are quite a blur,
But I was stretching like a cross
(See #SexyMariner,
And #SexyAlbatross).

That’s it, though, for my ocean trips—
The captain was a total pill,
And now I’m banned from cruising ships.
Check out this 10th-floor window sill!


by Alex Steelsmith

Last week Benedict Cumberbatch joined other celebrities who signed an open letter admitting they are “climate hypocrites,” but urging that attention be drawn to the more pressing issue of climate emergency. The letter says they will continue to speak out on the issue, and that their high-carbon lifestyles will continue to cause climate harm.

Wiggily piggily
Benedict Cumberbatch
makes a concession that
few will admit:

though his behavior’s not
this is a crisis; he
simply won’t quit.

Content and Its Discontents

by Chris O’Carroll

Donald Trump snorts lines of coke
Off Tucker Carlson’s ass.

Mitch McConnell’s bare hands choke
Poor children every day.

Zuckerberg supplies Assad
With all his poison gas.

If they were in a Facebook ad,
These lies would be OK.


by Julia Griffin

“Plan to exhume James Joyce’s remains fires international ‘battle of the bones’.”
The Guardian

As Bloom desired his kidneys (“his”
For breakfast, not dialysis),
Or as he longed for Molly’s heart
(Her least outrageous longed-for part):
Like him, his countrymen now yearn
For Joyce’s long-delayed return.
They want to have him nicely packed
And handled with respect and tact;
The son his land so proudly owns
Is not some common heap of bones.
Will Zurich give him up? They might
At least be moved by Dublin’s plight—
This urge to honor and anoint
Which somehow seems to miss the point.
Once someone craved to kiss the hand
That wrote Ulysses. “Understand,”
Replied that literary prince,
“It has had other duties since.”