Poems of the Week

Cotton-Picking Time

by Steven Kent

“Republican Senator Tom Cotton brags about ignoring Trump impeachment evidence
The Guardian

I have the keenest interest here
In truth and justice, I’ll be clear,
But not one fact that I might find
Could ever change my made-up mind.

Hare-Brained Dog

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Staffordshire dog Cheddar rescued from rabbit hole”
BBC News

Hounds follow rabbits anywhere they roam
Although, inside a rabbit hole, the earth
Retards pursuit. So did a burrowed home
Ensnare a dog called Cheddar—did his girth
Block passage in and out? Or did this hound
Repose at will, quite still but not stuck fast,
Avoiding fire crews digging in the ground
In vain, for six whole hours, until at last
No hope remained that they would tunnel through?
Extraction having been ruled out, the crews
Departed, thinking Cheddar must have too …
Don’t underrate a hare-brained dog you lose
Outside your home. He needs a night away.
Give him a break. He’ll reappear next day!

Dust to Dust

by Julia Griffin

“An Iranian hermit nicknamed the ‘world’s dirtiest man’ for not taking a shower for more than half a century
has died at the healthy old age of 94, state media has reported. … In 2014, the Tehran Times reported that Haji
would eat roadkill, smoke a pipe filled with animal excrement, and believed that cleanliness would make him ill.
Photos showed him smoking multiple cigarettes at once.”
The Guardian

Come, let’s mourn the Dirty Hermit!
We shall see his like no more:
Sad Iranians confirm it:
He has died at 94.

Clean-fanatics loudly holler
Hygiene shibboleths galore:
Dirty Haji in his squalor
Lived and throve to 94,

Eating roadkill, smoking feces—
All the cigs his mouth could store;
PhDs, revise your theses!
Still he puffed at 94.

Praise him now, the great correctant
Of those myths held truths before;
Throw away your disinfectant:
You may live till 94.

Circle of Loaf

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“Body of a man found in a [dumpster] at Doncaster Royal Infirmary”
Daily Mail

Old Fred requested in his will
To have an eco-funeral.
The hospital, they did it right—
He’s going to a landfill site,

Where his remains will decompose
And make a meal for gulls and crows,
Whose guano will manure the fields
And serve to boost the farmers’ yields.

Your sandwich might be made of grains
Which fed themselves on Fred’s remains,
So say a prayer and bow your head:
“Give us this day our daily Fred.”

Whining and Dining

by Clyde Always

“At San Francisco restaurant, pups chow on filet mignon …
Dogue, which rhymes with vogue, opened last month
in the city’s trendy Mission District.”
AP News

Slobbery, snobbery,
Dogue’s culinarians
bring the gastronomist
out of your whelp;

lauding its offerings’
four-legged foodies are
likely to Yelp.


by Iris Herriot

“Controversy is swirling around a proposed public lavatory in San Francisco
after a city newspaper exposed the project’s eye-watering price tag of $1.7m.”
The Guardian

(To the tune of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco“)

The lavabos of Paris seem somehow sadly cheap;
The bagni that are Rome are only fit for sheep;
My poor bladder’s been abused something rotten in Manhattan:
I’m going home to that rest room by the Bay.
I left my sense in San Francisco,
Deep in a grand WC,
To be where there’s a perfect stall to answer nature’s call!
The morning fog may turn to sleet, here’s my seat:
My loo waits there in San Francisco;
I’ll cry “Urethra!” learnedly;
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
I’ll take earth’s most expensive pee.

OK, Boomers

by Steve Bremner

“Farmers across New Zealand took to the streets on their tractors…
to protest government plans to tax cow burps and other greenhouse gas emissions …
Because farming is so big in New Zealand—there are 10 million beef and dairy cattle and 26 million sheep,
compared to just 5 million people—about half of all greenhouse gas emissions come from farms.”
Associated Press

Classily, gassily,
Kiwis are taxing their
Cows and their sheep—will this
Just be the start?

What’s next for herbivore
Will they tax vegans on
Each little fart?

The Reproach of Boris the Brazen

by Philip Kitcher

“Boris Johnson COULD still return to Downing Street
if Rishi fails to turn the polls around, allies warn the new PM”
Daily Mail

I have cut short my holiday
to heal the wounds that part us,
knowing that I was born to play
the role of Cincinnatus.

I’m charged with straying from the truth—
my critics make up stories.
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth
to have such thankless Tories!

Two Little Words

by Steven Kent

“Boebert tells Republican dinner guests they’re part of ‘second coming of Jesus'”
The Guardian

Enjoy the coffee, tea, dessert, the platter full of cheeses.
Bring back to power the GOP, and we can bring back Jesus!
I’ll close with two short words tonight and say them with abandon,
Two little words that sum us up. Join with me: “Let’s go, Brandon!”

Psephology Tautology

by Alex Steelsmith

“[A]ll eyes are now on the often ignored Texas Board of Education races…
and one race in District 7 highlights how critical race theory has become a key issue.”
The Texas Tribune

Texasy nexusy,
critical race theory
has, in this district, a
pivotal place.

Pollsters might say this is
true; after all, it’s a
critical race.

Crossing the Line

by Steven Kent

“Newsmax bans Lara Logan after Qanon-tinged on-air tirade”
The Guardian

Get Logan off the set tout de suite!
We have our standards here,
Although they’re highly incomplete
And certainly unclear.

She crossed the line, but we can’t say
Exactly when or how:
Perhaps by stating “Satan’s way”
Is immigration now,

Or claiming that young children’s blood
Is drunk by pedophiles
(All liberals), sure to cause a flood
Of lawsuits and denials.

We simply cannot have this kind
Of nut job on the air,
Yet if we find a saner mind,
There goes our market share.


by Nora Jay

“Senior Chinese Diplomat Says It’s His ‘Duty’ to Pull a Protester’s Hair”

I shall do my duty
With unremitting care.
No napping on the QT:
I’m constantly aware
Of all those snide and snooty
Protesters and their hair;
So I shall do my duty
Until their heads are bare.

Hubble Trouble

by Julia Griffin

“Black hole vomits years after gobbling up a star”

(To the tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star”)

When you gobble up a star
You’ll be less than popular:
Undigested spheroids will
Repeat on you;
Since that hot, plasmatic mass
Obviously gives you gas,
When you gobble up a star
Your fans are few.
See this lens we’re peering through?
You are vividly in view:
When you gobble up a star,
Please learn to chew.


by Bruce Bennett

“The implications [of research on black holes] are mind-bending,
including the possibility that our three-dimensional universe—and we ourselves—may be holograms”
The New York Times

“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt”—
Only, it isn’t solid. What we felt
Was nothing, since we’re nothing. Not such stuff
As dreams are made on even. Man, it’s tough!