Leap Day

It’s Leap Day! Just a day, you scoff?
No way! Today, all bets are off.
The normal rules just don’t apply.
Hey, ladies, is your guy too shy?
Too timid? Won’t get off the dime?
Today’s the day and now’s the time
For you to take the upper hand
And paint him pink! He’ll understand.
On Leap Day, dogs and ducks will dance
And penguins dress in panda pants.
Folk songs make punk rockers swoon
And turtles colonize the moon.
Always craved a rubber toe?
Today’s the day to make it so!
Republicans and Democrats
Crochet each other silly hats
And quit their inter-party bashin’.
Bowties are the height of fashion!
Lost your swimming suit? Take mine!
On February 29
Communal property’s the rule.
Want to eat your sneakers? Cool.
Toasted soup’s a healthy dinner,
Toddlers lose and praise the winner,
“Blockbusters” surpass the hype,
Cats teach hamsters how to type,
And when you try to get in touch
Your mother says, “You call too much!”
This calendographer’s lagniappe
Is when green traffic lights mean stop
And ice-cold feet in bed feel great!
It ends tonight, though. Best not wait!
Can’t be bothered? Fine. Fair warning:
Status quo returns come morning.
Dogs will bark and cats ignore,
Poverty will mean you’re poor,
And when you’re tired, you’ll need sleep.
But not today. Today, we Leap!

Nice Puppy

The Question to The Answer
Douglas Adams posed in L.U.E.*
Today might be, “If she had lived,
How old would Michael’s dog, Pam, be?”
(*That’s Life, the Universe and Everything
For those without their towels.)
Of course, The Answer’s 42
(Or Frt-tw, spelled without the vowels).
On February 28th
The Christmas union of a mass
Of white, fence-jumping fluff and his
Brief paramour, a Dobie lass
Named Missy, turned the Turners’ den
Into a nursery for a litter
So impurely bred the pups
Would set the AKC a-twitter.
Of the pups that Missy whelped
Not one resembled any other;
For all the genes the father helped
Provide, one girl looked like her mother.
All the rest were mix-and-match:
A spaniel, Great Dane, Labrador,
A poodle-peke thing, and the runt,
Our Pam, whom we’d been waiting for.
For seven years she shared our lives
Surviving even Doggie Heck
(Hawai’i’s canine quarantine)
Until a mongoose bit her neck.
As much as I love Kipling and
His Just So Stories, somehow I
Have never warmed to Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
Bite me, all mongi.

Lifetime Achievement Award

When Shakespeare was my age, Tom Lehrer might say,
He had two coiled years left to shuffle away.
My Grandmama, Helen, is now 99–
I had barely been born when her age equaled mine!
(That is, when my grandmother’s age was, in fact,
The same as mine now, my life’s dawn had just cracked.)
While von Sydow and Plummer reap Hollywood buzz
As the statue’s contemporaries, Helen was,
Back in May ’29, a brand-new college grad
With a teaching degree at sixteen. Not too bad!
In those days, of course, female teachers were Misses
‘Cause children can’t learn from a mistress who kisses.
When she married Fletcher, young Helen was canned
So her knowledge supply fed her own kids’ demand.
(I’m sorry to say that the teaching profession,
Respect-wise, has recently seen a regression
To back when skill, talent, achievement and love
Couldn’t ward off society’s ungrateful shove.)
I don’t mean to rant, but I can’t help myself:
How could anyone put Grandmama on the shelf?
A vibrant, dynamic young soul such as she
Should be everyone’s hero, as she is for me!
I’m blessed to have known her. My children are, too.
Grandmama, Happy 100th* Birthday to you!

*Pardon my honking the ordinal horn,
But her first birthday came on the day she was born;
She was zero years old when she first saw the sun…
The ordinal’s always your real age, plus one.

Full-Time Job

A quarter to eight when I run past your work
I look, then remember and feel like a jerk
4:38 — You’re not there for our walk
It’s just me and the dog in the park down the block
After my shower, say, 5:40-ish
I plop on the couch while you don’t prep a dish
For our dinner; three hours or so ’til you’d head
Up the stairs to the hole that you left in our bed

You leave for a week or a month or year
Then you’re shocked when you walk in and see the mess here
You think that I’m lazy and live like a slob
But not being with you is a full-time job

Saturday mornings you’d clean while I run
Meet your friend for a workout, return around one
The next seven hours or so we’re a pair
When you’re here; when you’re not, there’s a cavity there
Sundays we walk to get coffee and chai
Then hang the whole day, just a girl and her guy
If the girl’s gone the guy has to spackle the crack
In his schedule with something until she comes back

You leave for a week or a month or year
Then you’re shocked when you walk in and see the mess here
You think that I’m lazy and live like a slob
But not being with you is a full-time job

Rehearsal on Monday leaves 95 minutes
You’d be where you’re not. If I factor that in, it’s
Say, seventeen hours, plus Saturday’s seven
And sixteen on Sunday (togetherness heaven)
For forty full hours a week you and I
Are together; if life is a storm, that’s the eye
Without you I’m battered by whitecaps and wind
Barely staying afloat ’til your absences end

You leave for a week or a month or year
Then you’re shocked when you walk in and see the mess here
You think that I’m lazy and live like a slob
But not being with you is a full-time job

Outlaw In-Laws

To poaching we ascribe the fame
Attached to the MacGregor name
A century the clan was banned
For losing both the cattle and
The borrowed cash to buy the herd
(If we take Liam Neeson’s word)
That’s not to say the poaching habit’s
All one-sided: When the rabbits
Beatrix Potter wrote about
Were bored and hungry, there’s no doubt
The plot behind MacGregor’s place is
Where they went to stuff their faces,
Leading one to wonder, why
Would anybody choose to tie
Their lives and livelihoods to such
A family? Self-destructive much?
And yet, that’s what both Jonathan
And Jessica have done, and when
I think about it, my dad, too’s
An in-law to the You-Know-Whos.
Another trait that J & J
Can boast (or lie) about: Today
Is both their birthdays! Eisreachtú
Breithlá sona i-dlíthe* to you!

*That’s “Happy birthday outlaw in-laws.”
Irish Gaelic, though, because
My nifty Google Translate app
Can’t handle Scottish Gaelic. Crap.

Invisible Car

My invisible car is just perfect for me
If you could not-see it I’m sure you’d agree
It’s right over there, not in front of that tree

It’s either not-blue or just slightly not-green–
It depends on the light, if you know what I mean–
And sparkles like nothing you’ve ever not-seen

On warm summer weekends I drop the not-top
Grab a six-pack of 7-Up (it’s the not-pop)
And drive ’til I’ve had too much sun, then I stop

The salesman who sold me my ride was a gem
If the car gives me trouble he said to see him
And for free he threw in the invisible trim

It’s not a chick magnet (at least, not so far)
And it might have some dents but who knows where they are?
A not-sight for sore eyes: My invisible car

Nothing At All

I am quite capable of doing nothing at all
Conserving my energy waiting for nighttime to fall
Watching the world through the front window slats
Transient can-ranchers, neighborhood cats
Young men with strollers, old ladies in hats
In the rain without raincoats, umbrellas, no shelter at all

I can be left to devices completely my own
I am not one who gets nervous or ansty alone
Magazines, books and newspapers in stacks
Gathering dust where the cat leaves her tracks
Records and discs undisturbed in their racks
Nothing distracting to keep me from catching the phone

Someday we’ll look back and laugh at what you put me through
You’ll say I’m crazy for thinking that you’d ever do
Anything hurtful or thoughtless or mean
Like run my heart over then flee from the scene
I would have known that if I hadn’t been
So damn green
I’ll look back and laugh
On my own
Or do nothing at all
Until you call
I’m waiting on you
Nothing to do
Except wait here for you