Just Keep Moving

Nothing good will come of this.
Proceeding isn’t recommended.
Pull the plug. You’ll never miss
This verse. It’s dumb. (But now it’s ended.)

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Or Maybe This Isn’t My Beach?

Palm trees sheathed in Christmas lights
With no Corona beer in sight’s
A sign that, maybe, advertising
Isn’t quite like life. Surprising.

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Quoth St. Stephen

My toenails are an unattractive
Lot, a sad, objective fact of
Which I’m all too well aware.
It’s why my feet are rarely bare
In places squeamish people lurk
Like public markets, church and work.
They’re not all bad–most folks are fine
With viewing seven, eight or nine,
But pupils cheer in Hades when
A witness wincelessly sees ten,
So he who keeps his dinner down
Shall be rewarded with a crown
To wear upon the Feast of Steve
(That’s two days after Christmas Eve);
If no one’s perfect, he who least
Is winceful headlines at the Feast
Of Stephen’s Stoning–(Drugs are wrong!)
To lead the festal folk in song:

Good King Winces Less looked out
On the feets of Stephen
Whilst his toe waved round about,
Cruelly twisted, even….

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No Soap Radio

You’ve never told me words more true
Than everything’s a joke to you,
Though oft it’s one I don’t quite get,
Or we’ve not reached the punchline yet.
I’m clinging to a shred of hope
There’s more than flightless birds sans soap
And radios at journey’s end.
Until the rim shot, just pretend
It all makes sense, and smile and nod.
Who writes this stuff? It might be God.

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My neighbor has a Giving Tree
That overnight bequeathed to me
A half a million leaves or so.
Why I deserve them I don’t know
But it would be both rude and crass
Were I to leave them on the grass
As if the sodden, windblown drifts
Of maple leaves weren’t welcome gifts
That annually make less hard
The dearth of trees in my own yard.
I filled the great green yard debris
Bin by myself! Thanks, Giving Tree.

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You’re Welcome

This sonnet isn’t going to write itself;
A haiku cannot
Spontaneously become
A deep seventeen

Without helph–
Uh, help (ignore the “h” behind the “p”).
There has to be a brain to take the blame
For tortured rhymes and unpronounceable
Arrhythmic phrases. If we cannot name
The culprit, how would Taste know whom to cull?
And that’s where I come in. When I compose
Abominations such as this each day
It’s on behalf of everyone who chose
To wield words in a more productive way.
That TV ad, that menu, highway sign?
Made possible by sacrifice like mine.

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Cat And Mouse And Westinghouse

The home invader wasn’t large;
The ‘frigerator was in charge
Entirely when I arrived.
A miracle the mouse survived
Until the pre-dawn hour when
The cat and I came stumbling in
To fill her breakfast dish and found
Its hairless tail still twitching ’round,
Protruding from the underfridge.
To say the cat “attacked’s” a smidge
Exaggerated. Try “ignored.”
Adrenalized, she’d still be bored,
So far from interested was she.
I tugged the tail. She looked at me
As if to say, Been there, done that.
Where’s breakfast?
Less a scaredy-cat
Than cat-who-knows-the-mouse-is-there-
Fed up, I fed her, watched her eat
And then, when satisfied, retreat
To do her business in the yard,
An act of callous disregard
For deeply-held traditional
Behavior (or, she just was full).
At any rate, there then were two:
The twitching tail and you-know-who.
Reluctantly, I shined my light
Beneath the fridge where, wedged in tight
Between linoleum and door,
A rodent lay who’d squeak no more.
How came it to this terminus,
Expiring in front of us?*
*À la the song, the cat came back
To watch and bathe and give me flak.

What mousely mission rendered him
Unto a dénouement so grim
As pinioning beneath a box
As helpless as a scold in stocks
From some misogynistic age
On which we’ve (mostly) turned the page?
I sat and wondered–mostly sat–
Until kibitzing from the cat
Convinced me that the time was nigh.
The hero of this tale was I!
Or, if not hero, then at least
Disposer of the Dying Beast.
The vent from ‘neath the fridge I pried;
Unable still to reach inside
The tiny gap to pluck the mouse
From out the Prison Westinghouse,
I ventured to the basement where
I found some tools beneath the stair:
Some pliers and a trailer hitch, in
Which my wistful hopes of kitchen
Corpselessness invested were.
The cat meowed. I glared at her,
The lazy wretch, then, first of all,
I slid the fridge out from the wall
Just far enough to wedge the hitch
Behind it. Then I snagged the twitchy
Tail that still stuck out in front
With pliers, gave a quiet grunt
(Much softer than had it been later),
Tilted the refrigerator
Up and back, and held my foot
Atop the pliers, holding put
The injured party just in case
Its tiny heart began to race
And one last burst of energy
Compelled it to think first of me
As Sanctuary Wearing Pants,
Not Undertaker. (Would my dance,
El bailar del ratón, be cool?
Undoubtedly. But as a rule
I dance when no one else is there,
Including mice in underwear.)
Appliance tilted up, I slid
The pliers back and as I did
The mouse gave up a grateful wink,
Gasped one last breath, and died. I think.
Quite honestly, I didn’t check–
Just bagged and hauled it right the heck
Outside and dropped it in the bin,
Then hustled back inside again
To wash my hands and scrub the floor
And mutter at the cat some more
Who, now the work was done, said, Hey,
What time is breakfast, anyway?
A fine domestic scene is that:
I catch the mouse, then feed the cat.

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