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Friday, August 30, 2013

Post-apocalypse for dummies, illustrated by John Yoyogi Fortes

Post-apocalypse for dummies

Food and water. Guard these with guns,
and if you can, keep them loaded.
The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
stockpiled by two boys, ten years old—
open your mouth and walk right up.

Some kids might not shoot if beseeched
by an old man with six orphans.
Make your fort far above the ground.
You’ll need a swing set to get in.
Postcard blockhouses in the sun

wait nervously while mobs of men
rock and topple the clock tower.
Sip water and watch. The children
are quiet with their vantage view.
People are living on the bridge.

The honeybees became too few.
There’s nothing Superman can do.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Musical Pins, illustrated by BIll Griffith! REVISED

Musical Pins

Which silly songs should I sing to my offspring?
Which among the endless favorites do I frame
in fleeting windows of cultural training,
training, bo-baining—banana, fana fame?
The Ministry of Silly Walks. Ning Nang Nong.

Everything on YouTube is, in ways, the same.
Which silly songs will my offspring sing to me?
Will they loop It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time
behind some failed candidate’s concession speech?
I dig it’s a catchy spoof, though I’m aging

with the standards in my organ’s memory.
To share is share enough! We have in common
maps, spots, sing-alongs, phrenological peaks.
The specific GIFs, luckily there, carry
our closeness closer in true and skewed rhymes—so

Sing the Beer Barrel Polka, that peppy air,
or make something up over Scarborough Fair.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Baba, an American Woman, illustrated by Angelin Miller

Baba, an American woman

When my grandmother was dying
I asked her—I don’t remember
the question, the exact wording—
something like, what truths have you learned?
Very old people sat watching

game shows. Baba was pretty far
gone already, prone to private
spirals of thought. We sat in chairs
at a round table. Two sedate
nurses counted pills. A bell rang

from the TV: a contestant
rewarded for a good answer.
She said, “America, a light
among nations…” Then she warbled,
“Israel.” “Israel?” She turned

her head toward the picture window
filled with a seasonless color.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Warts and all, illustrated by Angelin Miller

Warts and all 

At the marketplace, my eggs sell themselves.
My basil’s gone by nine, and my rhubarb
pies fetch a creamy price, so my walk back’s
weightless. It’s just me and my empty cart.
You see? It doesn’t matter that my face

scares bats. By day, my visage stays downward
on dirt, scales and coins, but my nose lifts up
ambling back with a jingle as the stars
glint like tavern lamplights off raised ale cups.
If I can jingle, who could say I’m cursed?

I was foul and fourteen when my pop-pop
pulled me bodily out to the garden,
bent my stubborn knees beside the turnips,
gave me a trowel, looked in me and said: “Start.
Warts and all. Start.” My body sprouted warm.

That day I became apprentice to dirt.
It never kills me that their comments hurt.