Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

The Tale of the Pi Characters;
     or, The Lay of the Case.
With a nod to Robert W. Service and Edward Lear

The octothorp and the pilcrow went
One night to the Baseline Bar,
Where a sleek duet of guillemets
Strummed ballads on guitar.

The pilcrow said to the octothorp
As he nervously lit his pipe,
“The parenthesis in period dress
Is definitely not my type.”

“Inverted commas, don’t you think?
Straight quotes are more my style.”
He sipped a drink of something pink
And composed a valiant smile.

But while he minded his p’s and q’s,
There, dotting her i’s at him,
In a velvet chair, fleuron in her hair,
Was the widow known as Em.

“Come hither,” said she to the octothorp,
“For I fully guarantee
that a man in his prime who wants a good time
Can always colon me.”

“Asterisk, I’m not averse,
No, not averse by far—
Comma long with me, for I can see
Fine specimens you are.”

“We hate to dash,” said the octothorp
As he hastily settled the tab.
“But I’m out of sorts and must cut this short—
My friend will call a cab.”

Just then the music quit—full stop—
And all the lights went dim,
As each head turned to see she’d spurned
That swelled rule, Diamond Jim.

With interrobang the bullets flew;
An umlaut joined the fray;
Descenders crashed and symbols clashed
In the general melee.

The ditto and the dingbat fled
And the diaeresis swore;
The manicule, who was no fool,
Pointed toward the door.

There in the quad the pilcrow lay
Sprawled on his ampersand;
Standing over him was a boldfaced Jim
With a bracket in his hand.

With lightning speed, the widow slipped
A dagger from her shoe,
And through the smoke in a single stroke
A wicked backslash drew.

A host of scare quotes stood in awe
As the barkeep cleared the joint.
“The bastard’s dead!” animatedly said
The exclamation point.

The hyphen ate the pretzel sticks,
The virgule drank the booze,
En dashed the sheriff in search of a serif;
The apostrophe refused.

“Just ligature face—are you all right?”
Our heroine implored;
With gentlest kisses on his ellipsis,
The pilcrow she restored.

“What capital developments,”
Said the octothorp to them—
“A punctual spark twixt Paragraph Mark
And the lady that’s known as Em.”

Thus locked up in the chase became
The pair now tightly kerned;
They invited the leading to sing at their wedding
And danced till the carriage returned.

A suitable superscript resolves
This typographic rhyme:
In the upper case, in each other’s embrace
They remained tilde end of time, of time,
They remained tilde end of time.

by Barbara Brannon

Anne was beheaded on the Tower green on May 19, 
meeting death with courage and even with jest.   (Encyclopedia Britannica)
When Henry the Eighth split from his wife,
He did not deign to spare her life;
His orders said Behead the Queen
Some years before the guillotine.

The swordsman's strike hit clean and true,
But something somehow went askew:
Anne's head went rolling down the hall—
And thus was born the Boleyn ball.

Right past the door, into the lane,
It rolled ahead into the drain,
And mournful folk were heard to utter,
Her Majesty's mind is in the gutter.

The moral of this alley-gory
Is an old familiar story:
Wives, learn from poor Anne's testimony:
Never ask for alimony.

by Barbara Brannon
in volume 5 issue 2

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Monday, August 6, 2018

August 6, 2018

The dinner lottery

Most people don't cook any longer.
They don't know how or fear
time in the kitchen will turn them
into sad housewives in chains.

Then there are those who imagine
they can. Some despise recipes
invent gooey stew the texture
and taste of Gorilla Glue, chops

fried to shingles good for water-
proofing a roof, salads only some
man hoping to get laid would eat.
Nobody ever threw together

an edible cake. Some at the other
extreme think It's high living
to cook only recipes that require
40 ingredients, some so obscure

you don't know if they're animal
vegetable or beetle grub. Perhaps
scrapings of some moon rock.
I used to visit friends who'd begin

cooking hours before we ever got
a taste. We'd all hover in their
kitchen salivating, fantasizing
take-out, and still the host

would have yet another glass
and chatter and forget an item
or two or three. At ten-thirty
we'd sit down to something grey

we'd fall upon, willing to eat
raw worms, cat food or even
the tablecloth. Dining with friends
can remind why restaurants exist.

by Marge Piercy

in volume 6 issue 1

A more pronounced degree of bravery, which comes with
exhilaration, is the ability not to give a damn for possible
consequences; not only to ignore them but to despise them.
- Ernest Hemingway 
In eating a burrito,
I aspire
To ride the edge of Death.
Full habanero searing,
Eyes tearing,
Engulfed in a triumphant fire,
Never happier. That flavor
Obliterates the drab world like a savior:
Exhilarating, perfect,
The burrito is worth it,
Though I get night terrors later.

by Elizabeth Sanker
in volume 6 issue 1

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Monday, July 30, 2018

July 30, 2018

with a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I outgrow thee? Let me count the ways.
I outgrow thee to the depth and breadth and bulk
My rear can reach when spreading out of sight
From the best Godivas and crème brûlée.
I outgrow thee to the level of every day's
Perilous ounce on scale and upper thigh.
I outgrow thee fat-freely, with scores of Baked Lays.
I outgrow thee purely, with no artificial sweeteners.
I outgrow thee with the passion put to use
In my new marriage and its Date Night pizzas.
I outgrow thee with fleshy rolls I thought I'd lost
In adolescence—with the pudge, pinch, and body-shaming
Of all my nightmares. And this I know surely:
Thou shall but fit me less well after washing.

by Alice Batt
in volume 6 issue 1

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Monday, July 23, 2018

July 23, 2018

A Gentle Farewell

If you should go, to take away my peace,
and turn the wrinkled page, I would not grieve
as medieval ladies seek release
in rage or madness when their lovers leave.

Or death. Leaping from a parapet
is high romance, but harmful to the bones,
but that's what medieval maidens get
for messing with their wayward pheromones.

When you are gone, I'll make a cup of tea
laced with just a thimbleful of schnapps,
rejoice a moment in my liberty,
and call or text a former friend, perhaps.

You think you hold my key to happiness,
but what I have is post-traumatic stress.

by Conrad Geller
in volume 6 issue 2

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