Kale

kaleWhile kale
for some tastes like shale,
and for the frail
they’d rather go to jail,
or the bite of a rabid Airedale,
than assail their palates with kale.

Steve Pulley
5/24/2018

This irreverent doggerel at the expense of kale is, of course, in jest. I practically wallow in the stuff . . . in salads, soups, sandwiches, stews . . . and if crunchy fresh, it’s even effective as a backscratcher in a pinch.

Note: That said, according to the unimpeachable Babylon Bee:
CDC Warns Consumers That Kale Is Still Disgusting

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The Tenant Who Lived in Our Attic

thetenantwholivedinourattic

The tenant who lived in our attic
exuded an atmospheric static,
almost as nice
as ozone or dead mice,
but still a scent most emphatic.

Steve Pulley
5/19/2018
Posted in Poems | 4 Comments

“Hello. I’m Mrs. Chatsworthy.”

mrschatsworthy“Hello. I’m Mrs. Chatsworthy. I just threw a stone through your front window.”

That’s how Mrs. Chatsworthy came to live with us. As a child, I was at first nonplussed about the woman locked in our basement. I’d discovered her early one morning when I was downstairs looking for my sneakers. I asked my papá about her at breakfast. He lowered the newspaper so he could see me.

“That’s Mrs. Chatsworthy,” he explained. He twitched his nose slightly and returned to his paper.

“I know, Papá. She told me so.”

He peeked over the top of the day’s headlines and nodded with a bland smile. “Did she, now? Yes, well, darling, she may be staying with us for a while.” He raised his newspaper.

“Papá?”

He again lowered his paper. “Yes, my sweet?”

“Why’d you have her locked in the basement?”

“Didn’t she tell you?”

“Well, yeah. She said she threw a stone through our front window. On purpose. Papá, can I go see?”

“Certainly, but after breakfast. And, yes, that’s correct. She did just that. Did she tell you why?”

I nodded. “Um-hmm. She said it was to get your attention.”

“Well, she did get that, all right, didn’t she? And?”

“And she said she won’t pay for a new window. Said she didn’t have any money.”

“That’s right.”

“So, why’s she locked up?”

He sniffed, then set down his newspaper. “Two reasons, sweetums. One, I don’t want her to simply leave without paying. It’s a pretty penny to replace a window that size, probably five or six hundred dollars, and it seems that it’s not covered by our insurance company. So it would come out of my pocket. I could call the police to come pick her up, but that still doesn’t pay for the smashed window, does it? And on top of that, she’d probably end up in jail or prison, and I’m not sure that’s where she belongs.”

“Uh-huh. What’s the other reason?”

“I’m trying to decide whether or not to cut her a deal.”

“What’s that mean?”

“I’m thinking of maybe offering her a job instead, to pay off the debt.”

“A job? What kind of job, Papá?”

“Housekeeper.”

“Housekeeper?”

My mother had gone away. Papá was never specific about it until many years later, but at the time I thought she either died or she’d run off with the mailman. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I once heard a neighbor say it to another neighbor. I didn’t think so, because I saw our mailman almost every day and there was no mention of my mother. So, I finally straight out asked him about it. He thought it was very funny and laughed and laughed, but then realized that I was serious, and I think he must have felt sorry for me, because he patted my head and assured me that he didn’t have my mother hidden away somewhere.

Anyhow, my papá worked all day and I was in school, so keeping the house clean was a job we did together on weekends. My papá said that if we hired the lady as our housekeeper … at least until she paid for the broken window, she could maybe fix lunch for me after school, and we could do other things with our time. I didn’t mind cleaning the house, but I also thought it might be nice to have a lady around. After all, here I was, eight years old and with no mom. I still missed her, you see.

The lady, whose name was Credenza Chatsworthy, accepted my papá’s offer. At first I guessed it was because she didn’t want to be “thrown into the slammer”, as my papá called it. But Mrs. Chatsworthy confessed later that she’d broken our front window intentionally so she would go to jail! Her husband had died the year before, of what I don’t know, and then everything fell apart for her. She had no friends or relatives to fall back on. Things afterward quickly slid downhill. She ended up homeless, was frightened to live in an encampment, and couldn’t find work to even feed herself, much less afford a place where to live. At least in jail, she thought, she’d have something to eat. Crazy, yes, but she was desperate by then. And so she pitched a rock through the first large window she found on in town. Ours. When my papá offered her a job to pay off her debt that would give her a safe place to sleep and three meals a day, she jumped at the opportunity. Even after her services as our housekeeper equated the value of the window, my papá offered her a paying job, and even helped finance her education in a local vocational and trade school.

A year later, my papá married Mrs. Chatsworthy. But that’s a whole other story. Aside from shutting up gossipy neighbors’ nasty speculations about their supposed relationship, I got to call her Mom. Worked out pretty good, too, because, one, she really is a very nice lady. And two, I now have a younger sister. Win-win.

Oh, also turned out that my birth mother actually did run off with somebody. But not with our mailman.

Steve Pulley
5/15/2018

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Tiptoe Through the Pergola

tiptoethroughthepergolaNight critters. Used to be that the only night critters ’round here that folks had ta worry ’bout were ‘possums, tree rats, a polecat or two, and maybe a few raccoons. Now we got ta contend with peacocks, coyotes, chupacabras* (rumor has it), man-eating tepezquintles* (so they say), and God only knows what next might be muscling in ta vexate us as well.

As it turned out, we didn’t need to wait long ta find out. Exactly one week later in popped the first infestation of Pangbornean tourists and, of course, being tourists, they had ta land their space trolley smack dab in our back yard, scorchin’ the lawn and squashin’ the wife’s prize tomata crop. Damndest vehicle I ever did see, I can tell ya that. Kinda like a cross between a humungous cucumber with windows and Grandpa’s Laurel ‘n’ Hardy jalopy…but with no wheels.*

The wife was understandably ticked. She’d tended that garden as though it were her own child. Spoiled it rotten, I tell ya.

“Elwin,” she cried, some time after we got over being discombobulated over their arrival, “ya simply gotta do somethin’ ’bout them gall-dern ferners trespassin’ all over mah prize Brandywines an’ Blondkopfchens.” Those are tomata types, case you didn’t know.

The wife — her name is Faith, by the way, though the woman hasn’t stepped foot in a church since she took manduction back in seventy-six; said it undid her — loves her tomatas better’n she does her own husband. That’d be me…Elwin, Elwin P. Doud. Not ta be confused with Elwood P. Dowd of “Harvey” fame. I never had an invisible pooka…not that I know of, t’any rate. Still, we got these “gall-dern” aliens rilin’ up the wife, and rightfully so, I might add, so who’s ta know but maybe they’re our assigned interplanetary pookas, playin’ games with us. ‘Course, these we can see plain as day—well, in their case, plain as night—since every couple o’ months now a crop drops in from Pangbornea. That’s the name of their planet. It’s got six orbitin’ moons, we ‘ventually learned. I’m no astronomer by a long shot, so’s the best I can do is point skyward and say it’s somewhere way the devil out there in space. Can’t even see the star it circles without a powerful telescope. I later found out I was pointin’ in the wrong direction. Their sun can only be viewed in the southern hemisphere, not here in the north. Bolivians and Chileans have a better shot at it, I’m told. But still with a powerful telescope.

That first night they showed up, and from outta nowhere, mind, they’d stepped off their ship just seconds before the wife an’ I were ’bout to head into town to see a movie. We heard ’em scufflin’ around somethin’ awful in the dark makin’ all sorts o’ funny noises, and when we caught sight of ’em we decided to stick around a spell, since there’s no movie in town, nor I reckon anywhere else, that scoops seein’ a passel o’ real live, honest-ta-God ETs in yer own back yard, wouldn’t ya agree? We presumed the group’s leader was the good-lookin’ fella propped in front of everybody, who easily could’ve passed for whatsisname on “The Bold and the Beautiful”, I think it is. I mean if whatsisname had calico skin, kinky burgundy-colored hair, and talked like a kinkajou. ‘Course, what you see over in Hollywood these days might well match him. Anyhow, he was tellin’ his entourage, “Step this way as our tour of Earth continues…”, or words to that effect. At least ways I think that’s what he was probably saying, since I don’t speak a scrap of Pangbornean or Pangbornese, or whatever they call it. One can kind o’ intuit these things the way a tourist guide stands in front of everybody and points this a-way and thattaway and prattles on about it, whilst his charges ooh and ahh and start shootin’ pictures every whichway. That’s when they finally caught wind of us. We were semi-hidden behind the wife’s BloomStruck Hydrangea shrub when she sneezed, and of course we immediately became the object of their chatter an’ picture-takin’. That’s when they also trampled the hell out of the wife’s Blondkopfchens, to see us close up.

Ya might ask why they landed after the sun went down, when it’s so much more convenient to gawk at the scenery in broad daylight. Well, for a time we couldn’t figure that out either. I ‘ventually suspected after a spell that they might not tolerate our daylight ‘less they wear a special covering ta protect their skin. Kinda like our vampires, I guess ya could say. Only these folks don’t appear to suck blood. Or maybe they do somewhere else, but they don’t hanker much for our terrestrian corpuscles. That’s my take, at any rate. The wife contends the contrary, however, that they were just playin’ it safe so they wouldn’t raise a hullaballoo among us earthlings if they showed up instead in broad daylight. She may well be right about that.

“Either way,” said the wife, “didn’t stop ’em from wastin’ my tomatas.”

“True,” I replied, “but I reckon they can’t tell the difference ‘tween a tomata and a slice o’ bacon. And who knows they might not be accustomed to our gravity and are a mite heavy-footed ’til they ‘climatize. Gotta cut ’em some slack for ignorance.”

“Or pudden-headed,” she harrumphed. “Least these night critters could’ve done was tiptoe ’round the pergola, don’t ya ‘spose?”

I scratched my head. Couldn’t come up with any excuse for them over that one.

Steve Pulley
5/12/2018

 

Posted in Stories | 2 Comments

Surprise!

surpriseCrouching inside the cake, waiting for the cries of “Surprise!”, Gypsy Moon (Dottie Puttiepudding in real life) wondered why people resort to such nonsense, much less actually pay others to pop out of gigantic so-called “cakes” clad in feathers, pasties, a cotton-ball tail, balloons and high heels, and then, of all things, belt out the “Happy Birthday” song to a perfect stranger. Or, for that matter, and surely more important, why she demeaned herself to perform such absurd antics. Okay, so the money was alright. Not spectacular, but alright. Aside from that, what was this doing to her self-esteem? She certainly wasn’t so perverted as to take pleasure showing off her endowments to total strangers. In such parties, there would almost always be some drunk or Lothario or drunk Lothario who felt it his sacred duty to paw her once she was outside the cake following up with some kind of exotic dance, usually accompanied by a pink boa, to please the birthday boy…or sometimes girl. On the plus side, though, she was rarely invited, or required, to stick around and continue entertaining the celebrants.

Dottie learned on the way over, however, that at this gig it wasn’t to be a birthday party,  but instead a wedding reception. So she, instead of singing the birthday song, was to cry out: “Congratulations! Happy Wedding! Happy Life!”, and other encouraging exclamations to that effect. If she regarded belting out “Happy Birthday” silly enough, bursting from a cake and wiggling provocatively at a wedding reception seemed to her in the worst taste possible. And she said as much to her boss, entrepreneur Max Midstaff.

“Listen, hon,” was the terse response, “ours is not to question why; ours but to do or die of hunger. We’re getting paid for this. Dammit, I’m paying you sixty bucks for thirty minutes. What more do you want?”

“Maybe a little more decorum?” she offered. “It’s a wedding reception, not some blankety-blank circus. Who’s backing this abomination?”

“If you really need to know, it’s some friends of the bride as a joke. Harmless fun, okay?”

“Friends of the bride.” Dottie rolled her eyes. “I guarantee you, Maxie, that the wedding couple will not find it funny at all. At least let me do ‘robot chic’ instead of ‘floozy broad’.”

“Not our circus, not our clowns, sweetheart. The clients want robust chick, not robot chic, so that’s what we give ’em. Chop-chop, let’s get moving. No time to moralize. People will be showing up any minute now.”

As Midstaff pushed Dottie, now sealed inside the gigantic facade of a faux wedding cake on wheels, into the home, she could but chalk this gig up to temporary fiscal desperation rather than an exploitation of her secret talents. And, she reflected with bitterness, all thanks to her erstwhile husband Eddie Edgewater, the rotten bastard. Eddie had, one fine day, run off with his reunited high school flame, Persephone Peony, thus joining forces him, a supermarket stock clerk cum amateur apiast, with her, a novelist of middling aptitude, consequently leaving Gypsy in the lurch, in arrears, and in need of a steady job. Her formal education did not go beyond high school. And with no formal training in either a profession or a trade, at this point unskilled employment was about all she could find.

When Dottie and Eddie married, he was launching into what he thought a promising career in grocery marketing, with aspirations to climb the supermarket vine into management. However, his germinating administrative skills, as it soon became apparent, proved deficient (to be generous), and he thus remained in the lower echelons of the business. It meant that both he and Dottie had to hold down menial jobs for the time being – the time being prolonging into months, then years. Also for the time being, starting a family seemed financially out of the question, as well. Eddie then took up bee-keeping as a possible source of income, only God knew why, since he lacked virtually any knowledge about bees other than what had fired his imagination on a PBS documentary he’d seen. But he persisted, claiming he was in search of a retro mutagen that would increase honey production and make them filthy rich. Which, of course, raises the question over how he knew what a retro mutagen was in the first place. Although bees seemed amenable enough to his attentions, his expertise remained mostly in the orbit of the clueless albeit zealous amateur than of a serious businessman. And Dottie, credulous only because of his dogged intensity and her ignorance, was okay with that, trusting that it was but a step to better things to come.

Then Persephone Peony showed up. Or as Dottie would subsequently come to distinguish her: “the alien pond scum.”

Perse Peony came from a monied family; briefly, they were stinking rich. She had been away to Cornell University studying creative writing, after which she wrote and published two modestly received books, after which she pretty much ran out of gas, literarily speaking, and hence had returned home after a six-year absence. When she and Eddie ran into one another quite by chance at a local beekeeper’s convention (she there for jars of honey, he for the latest publications on apiculture), the cinders of their former friendship fired anew. She cared little about Eddie’s love affair with beekeeping, but for reasons of her own (namely, a persisting jealousy of her former high school classmate Dottie Puttiepudding, and for no other reason than Dottie becoming the wife of Eddie Edgewater), compelled her to win him back, if only to spite Dottie. Eddie’s moral compass more or less being on par with his mediocre skills as a grocer, not to mention the allure of Perse’s purse, led him into her writer’s-cramped arms and concomitant mansion. What possessed Perse’s otherwise pragmatic parents to sanction such a union was anybody’s guess.

In a word, Dottie lost her husband, Perse purloined what might be described as a match made in chives and hives, and Dottie was consigned to work her debts off as basically an indentured birthday-cake performing artist, facetiously known as a “party-popper”.

Beginning to cinch up in the restricted space, Gypsy Moon (née Dottie Puttiepudding) attempted to angle her cramped body into a more comfortable position. She hoped that this shindig would get going soon, or she might not be able to burst from the wedding cake with quite the wiggly fanfare expected of her by her employer and his clients. Soon, though, she heard people arriving, lots of people judging from the quickly increasing hubbub, and before long Max Midstaff hissed, “Gypsy, get ready! The guests of honor are at the door.”

It was just about then that “Gypsy Moon” began to experience a nasal sensation. The kind of nasal sensation the prelude to, mildly put, an imminent nasal sternutation. It should be noted that she suffered an allergic reaction to a specific perfume, namely Ewe de Cologney, an imported albeit officially proscribed cologne knockoff with an added diaphanous, to many mildly pleasing, fragrance of exotic herbs, spices and aromatic compounds originating in Ghana, Togo and Benin, but for some people sensitive to sheep, one that triggers galloping attacks of reflex sneezing. Usually accompanied by copious spittle sprayed in every direction. Dottie Puttiepudding was one of these Ewe de Cologney atopic allergy sufferers. And someone in the growing crowed was a user … and perpetrator of potential disaster.

Dottie rubbed her nose furiously hoping to ameliorate the growing itch in her nose. She worked her way into a crouch so at the call “Suprise!” she could quickly erupt through the lid of the cake to make her public appearance, ostensibly to the raucous laughter of the guests and the gaping astonishment of the newlyweds. And hopefully, prayerfully, sans atomizing everybody within range. Definitely would not leave a good impression. Then she heard sudden, wild applause and cries.

“SURPRISE!”

And thus commenced what might be described as a poetic debacle show of shows:

Gypsy Rose rose. She lifted her lithe arms in a suggestive pose,
inadvertently popping a bra strap, her left ample bosom did it expose.
Her audience froze.
Then gasps, cheers, and pandemonium arose.
Gypsy covered herself with hands and elbows.
Bride and groom screeched in a Capella throes.
She turned to them then in shock, and, as one might now suppose,
herein Ewe de Cologney did its final job on her nose.

The wedded couple, covered from their head to their toes in an array
of Gypsy’s snot and spray,
were none other than Eddie Edgewater and Persephone Peony,
now virtually, almost literally, washed away.
And Gypsy, upon reflection, felt now jubilantly avenged
by all this high-society horseplay.

As Gypsy had anticipated, Eddie and Perse were not at all amused and quickly retired from the gathering amidst the whoops, cat calls and hollers of their rollicking guests, who followed shortly afterwards, summarily kicked out of the house by Perse’s outraged parents. However, and contrary to his expectations, Max Midstaff not only received his contracted fee, but his waggish clients, delighted beyond all bounds of their wildest expectations at the result of their joke, doubled what was owed him and lavishly tipped the nonplussed Dottie Puttiepudding for her stellar performance, promising the two future gigs of like nature.

When they’d finally cleaned up and retired from the scene, Max and Dottie glanced at one another with satisfied grins.

“Best damn gig we’ve ever had,” he said admiringly.

Dottie nodded, smiling, then cocked her head slightly. “Maxie, tell me the truth. Did you by chance know that Eddie is my ex-husband?”

Midstaff’s eyes bulged. “He was your husband?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Not a clue, I swear it.”

Dottie eyed him, and he may have noticed a tear or two dribbling down her cheeks. “Okay, if you say so, but it’s a fine thing if you knew and arranged it for me. Either way, I thank you.”

Max Midstaff, sighing, now wished he had.

Steve Pulley
5/8/2018

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National Poetry Month – April 2018

The challenge: 30 days, 30 poems…nationalpoetrymonth2018
(fortunately, we were not required to take quality too seriously)

1. Lest We Forget
We would be remiss
were we to April dismiss
our daily poem of bliss,
sweet as a French kiss.

2. Gleaming Cuspid, Wallet Busted
(a visit to the dentist)
Getting a canine back in line…
…fine,
but two will make you blue,
nervous as a shrew.
And while Lidocaine
will kill the pain,
the drilling byzantine,
though turns out divine,
all the same leaves you numb:
wallet empty–ergo, glum.

3. I Always Thought Tuesday Was Washday!
I always thought Tuesday was wash-day,
yet here I am sloshing a day late the clothes away.
It turns out Tuesday is for mending,
Monday for clothes tending,
while the rest of the week spending
on iron, market, closet, and kitchen
groanin’ an’ bitchin’!

“They that wash on Monday have all the week to dry…”
Victorian advice on housekeeping routines set in stone the idea that Monday should be wash-day, so that everything could be dried, pressed, aired and folded well before Sunday, the day of rest and clean clothes.

4. Mystic Flower
Weathered flower
upon the bower,
I remember thee
when thou wert fresh,
no less than filagree.
Now bent and wrinkled
with age now sprinkled
o’er with splotches,
clothed in swatches
of frailty and hoar…
you’re still my mystic flower.

(This poem is a reminiscence of my parents. My father’s pet name for my mother was “Mystic Flower”.)

5. Misunderstanding the Implications
The lights went off at eight today
and stayed that way for hours two,
which gave me time to mull a bit
how’d we be in a monumental stew.
The biggest pain occurred to me,
when the lights came on again,
was in recalibrating all my clocks
that said 8 right now but it was really 10.

6. Breakfast of Champions
When it comes to my breakfast,
I am keen for food that will last.
Ready-made cereal I will not chow down.
No, sir; no ma’am, I don’t mess around!

Supermarket boxes of chaff?
Oh, please, I beg you, don’t make me laugh.
I have, dear friend, in this here my food bowl
enough foodstuffs to appease an ill-natured troll.

Blueberries, strawberries, pistachios and their nuts,
a smidgen of milk, no ifs, ands, or buts…
Granola, pineapple, almonds, banana,
enough to satisfy even Hannah Montana.

(Note: This, in fact, was my breakfast this morning; alas, Hannah Montana was unable to join me.)

7. Morning Constitutional
A walk around the block each way
is supposed to put you in a frame, they say,
where you can keep your demon age at bay
to face another day.

The exercise’ll do you good, you pray,
as though stumbling down the street will pay
back all those idle years astray
and keep your dying day away.

But your walking stick also has a say
and trips you up in your driveway
and down you go in strange ballet
to a bed for your horseplay…

…bruised and battered old souffle.

8. Some Days
Some days it’s hard to be poetic.
You get in a mood that’s frenetic.
You’d rather write prose
with your elbows and toes
instead of assonating pathetic.

9. So, How’s That Book of Yours Coming Along?
In 1995, in a fit of folly,
I came up with an idea
I thought then ever so jolly,
to write of my travels
U.S. and abroad…
England, Israel, Austria,
Deutschland and Spain,
Vietnam, Costa Rica, Chile,
Bolivia in the main.
Of course, the idea soon all unravels,
Since nothing rhymes quite right with it
but grovels and cavils.
But I didn’t know that then,
intending to tell like it was,
without all the prissiness
of a baedeker wuss.
Three-hundred plus pages later
and twenty-three years older,
having become a testator
and beginning to moulder,
I’m still giving it a shot
before I bid adios, aywariku,
khoda hafez, and so long,
and maybe quiet the cat-calls of
“how’s that book of yours coming along?”

10. A Good Night’s Sleep…Not
Tossing and turning in my woebegone bed,
I realized a new mattress would be swell instead.
Checking my bank book the very next day,
I thought a fresh feather cushion would surely belay
the pain in my backside and not leave me dead.

Alas, my cash balance had fallen in arrears,
the result of tax season confirming my fears.
So I return to my bed of proverbial thorns:
a paillasse of lumps, troughs, jactitating storms,
this mattress for me no music of the spheres.

11. How Now, Connubial Marsupial
How often I thought awesome
the waddling ‘possum
in my back yard garden,
soliciting no pardon
whilst nocturnin’
with some marsupial blossom.

12. April Kvetch
This month’s climax
to pay my tax
left wallet hollow
and me to wallow
with nothing witty
to lessen the inane
pain
but self-pity.

13. Conversations with a Virtual Assistant
I chat with Cortana,
she chats with me.
I ask of the weather.
Says she cheerfully,
“Today Santa Anas,*
tomorrow a breeze,
though light as a feather,
it’ll still make you sneeze.”
I ask for the time,
she questions back…dour,
“Do you mean the hour,
or referring to thyme?”
I now want to know the capital of Spain.
¡No sé de que hablas!”,
she responds with disdain.
What more can I say
over crossfire with Cortana,
how’s one to romance
an electronic vox humana?

* Santa Anas are strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California.

14. All HAIL!
(Note: For this bit of nonsense, you’ll find “hail” somewhere in every other line)

Today, April 14th, we lionize hail,
a catastrophic, icy, sometimes talented cocktail.
In 1910, for example, ace painter Mikhail Vrubel
died in Saint Petersburg with nary a ruble.
In ‘57, Mikhail Pletnev, pianist, conductor,
born in Arkhangelsk, a musical constructor.
In ‘86, record hailstones of 1 kilogram
gave Gopalganj, Bangladesh, a hellish grand slam.
In 1999, a hailstorm fell upon Sydney,
becoming the costliest natural disaster in Australian history.
On the bright side, though, in Thailand it’s Songkran,
New Year for every Thai woman, child and kinsman.
To top it off, and concluding this gelid trivia,
I was once fulminated by dynamite, lightning
and, yes, hail in Bolivia.*

*True story, though it occurred in February, rainy season in that country, not April.

1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded (1 kilogram (2.2 lb)) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.
1957 – Mikhail Pletnev, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor.
1910 – Mikhail Vrubel, Russian painter and sculptor died (b. 1856)
Thai New Year, or Songkran, celebrated from 13 to 15 April (Thailand)

15. Napping on Sunday
Napping on Sundays?
An impossible task.
The answer is obvious,
don’t bother to ask
the wherefore or why;
simply put, it’s as blue as the sky.
For, the moment you nod,
the telephone rings,
from a fast talker, clearly a fraud,
or a home delivery:
wrong address…chicken wings!

16. Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Groom
Today’s mailman was a sweet, smiling girl,
on her head a hairdo called a sausage curl,
which had somehow snagged her overloaded pouch
and left her letters and junk mail in turnabout whirl.

“They claim a carrier is the job of a man,”
said she, but I’ll prove them wrong, yes I can,
‘cause no one else totes a bag on their head
with a hairdo looking like a jet’s turbofan.

Nothing could I do but say I agreed…
far be it for me to object to her creed
that a postman or woman could coif what they will
as long as they delivered my pension with due speed.

17. A Peculiar, Unhoneyed Lesson in Beekeeping
Edgar Edgewater,
amateur apiarist,
so enamored of bees
he became their expiatist

instead of extinction
for their undeserved stings,
he deputized himself
as their receiver of slings

and smarting stung folks,
ever eager to please,
peppered him with stones
instead of the bees

his daughter did he enlist
to attend to their store,
by selling honey in buckets,
whilst he was pelted galore

therein for atonement
bee savior Edgewater,
to extract their honey for money,
was thrown to the slaughter

18. On Falling Out of Bed*
Falling out of bed each day
may seem an ordinary thing to some,
since gravity and tossing
combine to frolic fun.

But that should be a warning sign,
for falling out of bed, you see,
is no entertainment ground,
nor a pleasure spree.

You could bonk your head,
bust an arm, break your neck,
or strangle in a blanket.
So, what the heck!
You want a funeral banquette?

*On finding myself on the verge this dawn.

19. Poets Spout Seasonally
Poets spout of seasons fair and foul,
Higgins and Doolittle of the rain in Spain,
Maurice Sendak writes it with a nasty scowl;
in “Where the Wild Things Are”, he makes that plain,
while alternative rock band ‘Poets of the Fall’
sing of Finnish autumns not at all.
I must say that in the main,
writing April poems daily is a pain.

20. Breakfast of Champions
Today my breakfast was this,
a lesson you must not miss
if you want to last until lunch
without first having to brunch:
First a large bowl
in which these ingrediants you must stow,
then in no particular order
(please don’t be a hoarder):
pieces of pineapple,
forsake morning Snapple,
prune juice’ll do
for an intestinal breakthrough,
Almonds but seven
will send you to heaven,
Don’t forget sliced banana
from Ecuador or Havana.
Blueberries, strawberries–
they’re not adversaries–
a handful of pistachio
will grow no mustachio.
A cup of granola, a smidgeon of milk
makes it all go down like exquisite silk.

21. Curses! Foiled Again!
Rebus, a picture puzzle,
is a word you rarely hear.
If I never use it
I doubt I’ll shed a tear.
But today it found its way
to 57 down
of my daily crossword
and stumped me to the ground.
I had to read the answer
on the last page of my puzzle book,
leaving me to whimper,
feeling like a wordsmith schnook.

22. Paranasal Blues
I have a chronic case of “sinus”,
short for headache sinusitis,
somewhat different from rhinitis,
more a blanket without Linus,
while not as bad as cystitis
can still provoke gastritis.
Cured by a necromancer,
or less dramatic steam, hot spoons, and camphor,
or a snort of cayenne may be the answer,
converts my -itis to detritus.

23. Haiku
Rejoices the heart
wherein speaks of spoon and coo
daffodills and woo

24. Sliding Through a Headcount of Countries Visited
(on opening a box of old slide trays hiding for years in the garage)

Revisiting slides
of many years ago
revitalize memories
of travels worldwide,
treasuries of the gypsy gringo
learning the lingo…
Israel, Germany, Costa Rica
Panama, Vietnam…
Austria, ja, alas not Siam.
England, by circumstance,
though in France…hélas,
no time for a dance.
Just one day in Spain
no cuenta, que pena, what a pain…
In the main, pues, no rain on its plain!
But the real fun came along,
and I speak not of trivia,
were my long years in dear Chile and
my beloved Bolivia.
Así, mis amigos, corren los años,
algunos felices, otros, pues, desengaños,
una ensalada de memorias…maravillas, acrobacias,
por las cuales solo digo…¡muchísimas gracias!*

*And so, my friends, race the years,
some happy, others, umm, disillusions,
a medley of memories…marvels, acrobatics,
for which I can only say…thank you very much!

25. Living in the Boonies*
hovel, habitation, house…
stone, straw, mud…
adobe, abased abode,
want, travail, immiseration,
still family…
still home.

*A reflection of visits into rural Andean Bolivia

26. Travails of a Rhymer*
You may criticize my poems,
and that’s quite alright by me,
but just so you know
it’s beastly
joining whoopee
with banshee.

*Rhymer: n. A writer who composes rhymes; a maker of poor verses (usually used as terms of contempt for minor or inferior poets).

27. Addiction
I’m an addict,
yes, I am,
not to drugs,
but to Japan…
and to Korea,
their heroes, comics,
thugs I send my hugs,
they tickle me-a
(nothing else rhymes with Korea
but Sophia, urea and tortilla).
I speak of course
to their mini-dramas.
I swear to you
they’re the cat’s pajamas!
Romcoms, thrillers,
they give me chillers…
Over ten years watching
Asian dramas nifty,
I’ve seen an even
three hundred fifty!
Ergo, it is my conviction
that I have a serious addiction.

28. Pangbornean Blues
Nothing quite so forlorn
as a hopeless longhorn,
unless it’s my ‘possum Pangborne.
A hunk of lonely beef,
while suffering grief
–to be brief–
can’t compare to my Pangie-pooh’s grouch
that she’s no ‘possum,
but a sawed-off, rather awesome
Great Dane with an inordinate pouch.

29. Today I Got Nothin’
Today I got nothin’
but nothin’,
not a thing to rhyme about.
You can pout, shout,
kick me in the stuffin’,
hit me in the snout,
but it won’t do me nothin’
now to spit a poem out.
Go ahead and cast about.
Do your stuffin’,
do your roughin’,
do no good to even pay,
‘cause I got absolutely nothin’
of a rhyme inside to play.
You can snarl,
you can gnarl…
Even go ahead and pray,
but it won’t change nothin’,
No verse from me today.

30. Poetry Month Ends Today
At long last it’s finally over
and, like a grim hangover,
I can’t tell if I’m rum
and thunderstruck
that the ordeal is done,
or I’ve been finally run over by a truck.

Writing doggerel every day
shouldn’t be in April, but in May,
May being month of blooming flowers
instead of April showers,
or so they used to say
before the Climate Warming fray.

Either way, it’s finally over
and, moreover,
I can now return to prose,
and thumb my noble nose
at all things sweet and terse
that smack of verse perverse.

It’s finally over…

Steve Pulley
1-30 April 2018

Posted in Poems | 2 Comments

Heat Sink

heatsinkAn old friend of mine, Janglespurs Smith, was the sole survivor of a recent heat sink incident in the city of Orange, California, where scads of unwary people in his neighborhood perished abruptly during a freak cold snap when their body heat, without warning, dissipated into the frigid air, leaving them with what local climatologists described as an “energy deficit, the enervating effect of cold weather.” Which is a fancy way of saying that the poor devils froze to death. Miraculously, nearby citrus orchards, however, managed to escape unscathed.

That Janglespurs survived at all is only because he happened to be soaking up to his nose in a hot bubble bath at home, immersed in Bernard Cornwell’s novel, Sharpe’s Fury, based on the real events of the winter of 1811 that led to the extraordinary victory by the British over the French at the Battle of Barossa in Spain, instead of performing something constructive like scraping ice off the sidewalks . . . which, as it turned out, was exactly what his panicked neighbors were doing, and subsequently died for their efforts. I have a theory that the denizens of Pompeii ended up pretty much the same way whilst shoveling volcanic ash from their respective doorsteps instead of paying closer attention to what Vesuvius had in mind. On the plus side, though, it has been a field day for latter-day archaeologists and grave-robbers who like to putter about in ancient people’s calamities.

When the bubbly surface of his tub water started to ice up, Janglespurs, not to be detoured for a moment from Richard Sharpe’s cliff-hanger operations, adroitly applied his left toe to the hot water knob, brought the temperature back to its original hearty state, and turned to page 342.

Steve Pulley
12/24/2017

Posted in Stories | 4 Comments