Several Ways of Choosing a Wife

Here’s a helpful suggestion for choosing a wife:
Don’t pick from the bin that says “Tragic view of life.”
Sure, she’ll share your love of Friedrich Nietzsche,
But I find that kind to be overly prietzsche.

While you wile away hours talking Schopenhauer
You could be outside fertilizing the flowers.
If I had to choose between that and Paul Ricoeur
I’d rather get fresh air spreading manure.

On the other hand, if you’re the type who enjoys conviviality,
Get yourself a beauty queen, or at least a Miss Congeniality.
I tried that once, it was draining all right,
When you have to keep smiling the whole freaking night.

If you told her a joke, she’d say “You’re a stitch!”
You’d never be tempted to call her a–witch.
But there are limits to one’s appetite for pleasantry;
After a while you want to go back to the peasantry.

No, the best choice of all is like Chinese food,
Sweet mixed with sour, refined with crude.
Outgoing/reserved, changing like seasons,
Keeping you on your toes, at least within reason.

I’m happy to say, on this Valentine’s Day
Watching guys in tights, dancing modern ballet
That I’ve married a woman, by a stroke of luck,
Who can walk out and say, “Well that totally sucked.”

Available in print and Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “The Girl With the Cullender on Her Head (and Other Wayward Women).”

Long Story Short . . .

I write to make cruel but justified sport
of people who use the phrase “long story short.”
You can bet–if you happen to think that I’m wrong–
when those words are heard a tale’s gone on too long.

To say them, of course, only makes the thing longer
which makes my objection just that much stronger.
I’ll tell you one thing and I mean it, old sport—
Why can’t you contrive to just keep the thing short?

You say you dropped excess words–“To make a.”
I appreciate that, but I think you’re a fake-a.
Your story is still near the size of King Kong.
It’s a PBS pledge drive—a Grateful Dead song.

I’m not very fond of you rambling sorts—
who seem to think talking’s a spectator sport.
Your monologue dates from a prior millennium
If there exist any longer, I’d sure hate to see ‘em.

And so let me close with some linguistic mortar—
To stick ‘twixt the bricks of your verbal disorder:
If when next I see you your mouth is still talkin’ it—
I’ll take off one shoe and put a sock in it.

When Glutens Run Free

Where do glutens go when they set them free?
This, of late, has been a mystery to me.
Is there a gluten preserve out in the Great Plains?
I’m being serious—can someone explain?

I imagine the looks on the glutens’ faces
When they let them out in the wide open spaces.
After living a life of oppressed confinement,
I bet there’s joy at their brand new assignment.
Although at first things must seem strange
After being cooped up, then suddenly free range.

If glutens run free, from the hills to the sea,
Will there be room for you and me?
I suppose it could get like the buffalo,
Who used to stampede both to and fro.

Like the man who didn’t know he’d been speaking prose
I hadn’t realized I’d been eating glutens
But now I’ve discovered, like a latter-day Newton,
I’m full of them, from my head to my toes.

What’s a Man For?

It’s an age-old question, that defies analysis,
and leads to a certain mental paralysis.
One I ask myself as I stare out the door:
“What, after all, I am here for?”
If the wife’s within earshot, she’ll promptly respond
With an answer that won’t strike most ears as fond:

She says, “That’s simple, there’s no mystery
about your purpose in life, what you mean to me–
You’re here to take the garbage to the dump
and when you get back, hook up the sump pump.”

Sometimes when she’s bought a brand-new appliance
My purpose in life is legal compliance:
She asks me to fill out the warranty card–
“You like that stuff–I find it hard.”

Other times her message is more subtly sent,
Writ lightly instead of scrawled in cement:
And so I find a note on a carton
of food she’s rejected–that much is certain–
She’s eaten some, and now is quite candid:
“Please finish this stuff–I really can’t stand it.”

The Object of Her Affectation

There once was a girl, and I briefly dated her,
who treated each moment as if it were the-atre.
Ordinary reality was much too quotidian
Whether you were together ante or post meridian.

Each time we’d sit at noon a-munchin’
We didn’t eat lunch–we’d had a luncheon.
I always wondered what possible leverage
she got from calling her drink a beverage.

She was something, all right, quite high falutin’-y,
Your clothes, your manners, all came under scrutiny.
“You’re wearing blue socks?” she’d ask with alarm,
as if that antic hue would do her great harm.
“Or course not, my dear,” you’d reply with assurance,
“They’re black,” she’d back off, but would try your endurance.

She wore tailored outfits for tennis and sailing,
though fashion’s not great for salt water bailing.
You wondered finally what you’d ever seen in her
(this before you’d ever, um, actually been in her)
and then recalled, she batted lashes first at you–
and thus was the woman so well deserved by you.

She apparently thought highly of your frozen demeanor
Your excessive reserve must have brought out the queen in her.
Your stiff upper lip, among other body parts,
Seemed to her the perfection of the Creator’s arts.

And so, when we parted, when I said we were through,
And she started sobbing, once we were no longer two,
And she asked me “Why?” and I gave her the news,
She squealed “Me stiff? Good Lord—what about you?”

Ah Cahn’t Talk Wiff Mah Mouf Full

The dental hygienist rides the train
Into town and then out again.
Her job, in part, is to inflict pain
On those who dental flossing feign.

(Her scrubs this day are the color teal
Perhaps the better to make folks feel
That everything’s ducky, there’s no need to squeal,
Their teeth will be fine by the very next meal.)

The hygienist’s a lass who must inspire cheer
When she sticks her left breast into your ear
And says, as her shiny tools cause you to fear,
“Any changes in your health since you were last here?”

(She also has a set that are indigo
Not sure that’s good for the mood, you know
It’s close to blood red, and so although
It’s fine for some girls, on her a no-no.)

She starts to scratch with her sickle scaler,
It’s sharp, the implement never fails her.
Then she shifts to her tartar scraper,
Causing you to shift and succumb to the vapors.

(Some days she wears a Wedgewood blue,
A somewhat reserved and distant hue,
It doesn’t inspire, no good to pitch woo.
That’s okay by me, I don’t know about you.)

She pokes around, and asks if you’re brushin’—
She must have learned torture from Tsarist Russians.
She inquires about your dental history,
Why she needs to know remains a mystery.

You swallow hard, the saliva ejector,
Sucks all the spit that it can detect there,
She looks—mysterious—behind her mask,
You have just one thing that you want to ask.

At length, at last, you’re finally through,
She smiles, and then the spotlight’s on you!
“If you don’t mind, I have one suggestion–
When my mouth is full I can’t answer questions.”

Where Are the Karens of Yesteryear?

The Megans, the Caitlins, the Courtneys
come blissfully marching along.
I know if I wait then shortly
they’ll be followed by a Siobhan.

Where are the Nancys and Deborahs
I knew so long ago?
I seem to recall lots of Barbaras
and a Karen or three or mo’.

Somehow these names have faded
into memories of the past.
At the time, before we were jaded,
we assumed that they would last.

But they turned out to be merely fashions
that now are out of date.
They once were spoken with passion
but have met a mortal fate.

I suppose it’s all for the better
if it keeps fading gigolos
from penning vapid love letters
and taking off all of their clothes

for there’s no surer sign to a winsome young lass
that she’s dealing with aging men
than to hear these words as they make a pass:
“Er, what was your name again?”

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