Poems of the Week

Troll U.

by Nicole Caruso Garcia

“It’s perfectly acceptable—and even preferred—for you to stay quiet
if you don’t know enough about what you’re talking about.”
USA Today

Advanced degrees ain’t ever speedy, huh?
Cue terrorism, war—an easy fix:
in minutes, hordes on social media
have PhDs in geopolitics.

Froggy Want A-Courtin’

by Steven Kent

“Female frogs appear to fake death to fend off unwanted advances”
The Guardian

Their trick is not so rare as it appears:
My wife’s been doing this for years and years.

Pumpty Dumpty

by Ruth S. Baker

“Pumpkin weighing 2749 lbs wins California contest, sets world record”

The Pumpkin mopes. “2,000 lbs and dropsical:
My flesh is mush, my roots are downright swimming;
I’ve higher water-content than a popsicle,
And still that bully yells: ‘What are you, slimming???’

“I’m gorged with mulch, I’ve endless indigestion,
And still it’s all impatience and reproach.
O Fairy Squashmother! What’s your suggestion
For getting me in shape to be a coach?

“White mice? To make me move you’d need a rhino—
That’s just to have me squelch along the ground;
You’d have to fit my innards out with lino,
Or poor young Cinderella could be drowned.

“Now see me on some heavy-duty platform:
Three cheers! I’m crowned the Grossest Gourd of All!
Before I plummet, ending up in splat-form,
Won’t someone take this Pumpkin to the Ball?”


by Marshall Begel

“Michigan woman pulled from outhouse toilet after climbing in for Apple watch”
The Guardian

If hiking through the river dale,
Enjoying summer air,
You lose your way along the trail—
Don’t give in to despair!
Just call my name—I will not fail
To lead you back from there.

If summer storms come at their worst
And smash your ship at sea,
To leave you with a brutal thirst
And clinging to debris,
Call out my name—I will be first
To find and rescue thee.

If you should drop your pricy phone
Into the outhouse muck,
And climb into that hollow throne
Becoming good and stuck,
Then call my name—you’re not alone!
I’ll come and… wish you luck.

Parrotty Trick

by Julia Griffin

“A parrot has been reunited with its owner three years after it was stolen in France—
after shouting out its name to police. … When police seized the talkative bird… it began to squawk,
‘Jako, Jako, Jako’—a traditional name for parrots in France, like Polly. But one of the cops remembered
that a colleague who had lost his parrot with the same name in 2020 told fellow officers that
the bird would say its name if found…”
The New York Post

A parrot foiled its thief by shouting, “Jako!”—
A tale which sounds to me completely wacko:
Gendarmes would surely mock that owner’s folly
Who chose to call his bird the French for “Polly.”
If I’d a parrot, I would have it listed
As “Thisbe Theft” or maybe “Iris Isted”;
Or (though the less articulate might scoff)
Another choice would be “I. Wanda Doff.”
I want a name a stolen bird would shout right:
Like “Rob Berree” or possibly “Nick Doutright”;
But—though I see the charm of “Don Ignoreme”—
I’d plump for “Ivan Ownerwaitingforme.”


by Alex Steelsmith

“Todd Dillman [was in a Florida harbor] when he spotted a bear in the water…
He said the scene became even more shocking moments later… ‘I came back around
and looked over and he’s on the sailboat… walking back and forth, across the bow’
[attracting] a crowd of onlookers.”

Steadily, treadily,
one ursine prodigy
swam in the bay, raising
many a brow—

not only that, but this
proudly, before he was
through, took a bow.

A Swede in Need

by Eddie Aderne

“Sweden’s ‘queen of Noir’ Camilla Läckberg accused of using a ghostwriter”
The Guardian

Crime writer steals? It would be sad to see
The Swedish Noir-Queen läck integrity.

In the Forests of the Night

by Dan Campion

The news is overwhelming, no?
I’m sure all readers feel it’s so.
But think of Aristophanes,
The dean of wartime comedies,
And Margaret Dumont and Groucho,
Freedonia’s patroness and gaucho,
Brecht, Shaw, Kubrick, Country Joe,
Joe Heller, Twain, Bierce, Chaplin, Fo—
Of all the choruses who wore
Wry faces in the face of war.
And never doubt the force of wit
To hug that beast and throttle it.

Speaker of the House

by Julia Griffin

“Speaker McCarthy ousted in historic House vote…”

After Herbert Kretzmer

Speaker of the House, frantic for the job,
Clinging to my gavel till my fingers throb;
Cut a little deal, anything’ll do,
Sticking to the office like epoxy glue,
Teaming up with all who’ll have me,
Keeping scruples safe on ice;
What good are friends? I hate ’em;
Eight dumb votes, I’m pitched from Paradise!

Speaker of the House, shafted by the Fates,
Decommissioned, courtesy of Mad Matt Gaetz,
GOP forgets how I saved its rump,
Hammering those rioters but lauding Trump:
Everybody’s least-worst option,
Everybody’s empty suit;
Just mark my words verbatim:
Eight dumb votes, you all could get the boot!

Dam Disgrace

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“The first baby beaver born in London for 400 years has been caught on camera…
helping its parents build their dam.”

I thought we’d said good riddance to the days
When little children barely out their prams
Were put to work in mines and factories,
But now there’s baby beavers building dams?

I hope the press and public have a fit,
And force the legislation to the test.
If one employer gets away with it,
It opens up the floodgates to the rest.

Dudly Weapons

by Alex Steelsmith

“[Footage] appears to show a Russian soldier ranting about ‘brand new’ tank shells that arrived with no explosives
in them… Throughout the video, the commander can be heard repeatedly cursing in Russian…”
Business Insider

Kremliny gremliny,
failing artillery
causes morale to be
lower than nil;

bombs and commanders work
One won’t explode? Then the
other one will.

Hanks: No Thanks

by Iris Herriot

“Tom Hanks says AI version of him used in dental plan ad without his consent”
The Guardian

Tom Hanks cuts the dentists no slack:
“That ad,” he demands, “take it back!
I’d have to be mental
To talk up your dental:
And no, I’m refusing your plaque.”

The Latest Buzz

by Steven Kent

“California county abuzz after far-right figure appointed for mosquito control”
The Guardian

Them skeeters is bad, boys! You seen
How they swarm and annoy us, I mean.
But now listen: You’ll find
That Bill Gates is behind
‘Em—their sting is a secret vaccine!

Election Reflection

by Dan Campion

“Voting is now officially open in the 2023 Fat Bear Week competition, celebrating
the ability of brown bears to pack on weight for their hibernation cycle in Alaska.”

The candidates are gluttons, sure,
But they need no excuse:
Bears sleep for months, in dreams of pure,
Fresh salmon, berry juice,
And honey.
Politicians grub,
Meanwhile, for votes and cash,
The truffles of their tony club,
Where sweet dreams go to crash.