On The Tip Of Its Tongue

A what’s-it-called, you know, that flattish thing
That lives inside itself, like in a tank
Or caravan? The one that doesn’t sing
Although it has a beak? That thing that sank
Because it doesn’t swim? That wasn’t it
But almost could have been; they’re very like,
So much they could be cousins,
Just a bit
More three-dimensional. Once, on a hike,
I saw the thing it isn’t on a rock
And screamed so loud you thought I’d been attacked
And then you laughed because I’d such a shock
I dropped my aviators and they cracked?
Well, anyway, the thing that isn’t that?
A snapping one is hanging from your cat.

Speedy Joe

I call my turtle Speedy Joe.
It’s funny ’cause he’s really slow
And pops amphetamines like gum.
That’s comedy where I come from.
Before you ask me if his name
Is Joe, it’s not, but all the same,
Admit it: Speedy Joe sounds cooler
Than his given name, Heath Shuler.

Shellfish Bastards

The carapace upon its back
Protects the turtle from attack.
Its armored underbelly, too,
Inoculates it from the flu.
That greenish, scaly skin it wears?
Anathema to grizzly bears.
The turtle’s tiny, pointy tail
Is where it stores its draft email
To keep it safe from Wikileaks.
If safety smells, the turtle reeks!
So, why so reckless with its eggs?
It dumps them on the beach and legs
It to the ocean: Later, quinks!
(Not the tortoise, though. It sinks.)


“Trumpence.” What a funny word!
I can’t believe I haven’t heard
The noun before. What can it mean?
The context makes it sound obscene
But that may be a product of
The trumpence-sayer’s lack of love
For what they were referring to.
Okay, what say we think it through?
“Pence” recalls a coin so small
That two of them is none at all–
“I couldn’t give a tuppence for
Your insults, sir, so rant no more!”

A “trump” in cards is useful, though.
All other suits are placed below
A trump-suit card despite its being
Worthless by itself…. We’re seeing
Something of a theme, I think.
Trumpence: Something on the brink
Of useless, rarely underrated,
Which is weirdly elevated
To importance through a quirk
Of circumstance. A lucky jerk,
Perhaps, who comes along
Exactly when the timing’s wrong
For everyone except himself?
A can still standing on the shelf
When all your grocery money’s spent
So, desperate, despite the dent,
You pop the top and choke it down?
The cranky Craigslist birthday clown
You hire when the bouncy castle
Pops? I doubt it’s worth the hassle
To’ve defined the word at all.
“Trumpence” means…I can’t recall.

Opposite Day

Washing dishes, clothes, the cat,
My day’s been filled with tasks like that.
Now my dry utensils hate me.
How my tidy whites berate me
‘Cause I’ve made ’em clean and pretty!
Not my cat, though. Happy kitty!

Leftovers Pizza

Pizza comes in many forms:
Cheese and treated meats are norms,
Along with vegetables or fish.
It’s truly an eclectic dish.
Mine tonight has mozzarella
On tomato sauce with, well, a
Random stack of stuff I found
Inside the fridge, all spread around
On top: Black olives, wilted spinach,
Piña chunks I didn’t finish
When I sliced it Wednesday night.
It’s prob’ly going to taste all right,
But even if it doesn’t, hey,
It’s pizza! Even bad’s okay!