Poetasty

I like using words in ways
I don’t expect. A turn of phrase
That turns a corner makes me smile.
Crook it like an old man’s stile:
Paint a cockeyed mental picture,
Make the crooked sixpence richer.
Is it poetry? Who knows?
A poet? I’m not one of those.
I’m just a guy who likes the sound
That words make when I write them down.

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Spenserians Need Not Apply

Five to seven rhymes in fourteen lines
With two or three ideas and a “turn”
Or volta–which, you’ll be chagrined to learn,
Is placed at different points for different kinds–
With pentametric iambs down their spines:
Spot that, you’ve got a sonnet! Shakespeare’d spurn
The references to ABBA, and he’d churn
Out couplets on which Petrarch’d levy fines,
But both the English and Italians
Were faithful to their favored sonnet forms
To such extent that they begat namesakes
As recognizable as two old friends.
For centuries they both have weathered storms
Of taste and fashion. (All the rest are fakes.)

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.