What The Cat Is Thinking

Your arms and legs invade my space
And haul around a human face
That glowers when I’m in the way.
I’m hiding in my room today.

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The Pumpkin Of Dorian Gray

As the season descends into frost
As wet drifts of dead leaves grow enmossed
As winter approaches
And Hallowe’encroaches
My mood turns ebullient and gay

Partaking of spirits and vice
I indulge in impulses not nice
Yet my soul can afford it
All thanks to a gourd–it’s
The Pumpkin of Dorian Gray

I carve it anew every year
And the practical benefit’s clear
However depraved
My behavior I’m saved
Though the fruit grows more foul each day

On the morn after All Hallow’s Eve
As my victims’ survivors all grieve
I will hum as I sweep
The malodorous heap
That’s the Pumpkin of Dorian Gray

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My little HP clamshell has no mouse
(There’s just a trackpad underneath my thumbs),
So how come when I use it in the house
I start to type, and here the kitty comes?
She sprawls across my lap, her hips and head
Each pinning down a forearm or a wrist,
And settles in like Goldilocks abed
While like the bears I’m helpless to resist.
I’ve learned to type with less than perfect form
In order that her sleep be undisturbed.
What does it say of me that it’s the norm
That she decides whose impulse should be curbed?
I used to think I’d earned my cat’s respect.
I’ve learned, alas, that that was incorrect.

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Blessed Ignorance

Dr. Jonas Salk was born
Too long ago for folks to warn
Him off from the conspiracy
That vaccines represent, so he
Naively vanquished polio.
Don’t blame him. How was he to know?

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Top 25

Ensconced at number two
On Things I Shouldn’t Do
Is “try to rank my faults”
They’re all the worst — no alts

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The Hard Deadline

It is 10:21 in Oregon a Saturday
six days before Hallowe’en, yes
my essay is due in fewer hours
than a standard weekday work
day, Utah has just scored on USC
the runner sliding backward seated
airborne through the tardy safety
breaks the plane and you say come
to bed or turn it down and I
say no he didn’t score and then they do

and pour another glass and double-A’s
from the remote and tell you no
I have to write and look at what it says:
and you say as I knew you would I thought
she was already dead? and so she is.

The winds have died a bit and trees
that stood this morning stand and wave
with fractured limbs and you say
turn that down it doesn’t rhyme so
what about the actress? She’s not dead
except she is and I don’t know
what else to do but drink and watch
the Trojans fall and wonder what would Frank
O’Hara say and you sit down
beside me, read the poem twice
and tell me, look, just come to bed

O’Hara doesn’t know or care that you
are tardy watching Southern Cal go down
it never rains in Southern California
trees don’t fall across coax at night
and soon it will be 9 a.m. at Penn
(which anyway is not a New York school)
I’m cold and taking off my clothes to sleep
Your essay? It will keep.

Perhaps you’re write — I’m right — Ms. Turner
died in 1995 so what’s the rush?
I did this I did that and called it good
although I doubt I should

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A Thorn By Any Other Name Still Pricks

This might look like a sonnet, but it’s not.
For one, it hasn’t any sort of rhyme
(Much less a scheme); for two, it lacks a lot
Of lines, although fourteen could come with time.
It’s not Italian, that much is clear,
Or we’d have seen lines two and three reversed
Which makes no sense. Spenserian? I feare
That mae be sowe–mye spelyng’s faire acurs’d.
But hold: a b a b b c b c
c d c d e e’s what Spenser wrought;
Though there’s a growing scheme, it seems to be
(So far, at least) the sort that Shakespeare sought.
It’s not a sonnet…well, it’s sonnet-ish.
It doesn’t matter. Call it what you wish.

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