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.”

Upfaked Out of My Love Shoes

It was a New Year’s Eve in the ’90′s
and I was at loose ends. I decided
to skip the midnight show
and go to a party with friends.

After the obligatory dance with my hostess
to her then-favorite popular song
(If memory serves correctly, it was
Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long”),
I scanned the room for possibilities
and was struck by a frame that loomed ahead of me.

A dirty-blonde woman in a little black dress,
her face a picture of chagrin
Was similarly looking around as if lost
other’s heads ending at her chin.

Six foot two if she was an inch
(I’m only 5’11″), She had that
je ne sais quoi about her
that caused my dough to leaven.
I figured, what the hell, I’ve got nothing to lose
except for my place standing next to the booze.

I sidled on over and caught her eye, and gave her
my best friendly smile-the one that says
“Don’t dial 9-1-1 on your cellular phone–
I’m not coming on just to jump your bones.”

She smiled back and we started to talk
about this thing, that and the other.
I asked her what she did, her time to kill
she said “I’m a basketball nut-I like Louisville.”

 

I loved her right down to her leastest neutrino–
“That’s the school that relieved us of Rick Pitino!”
Who made the ill-advised trades I’d had my fill of-
(who did we get for Chauncey Billups?)
The coach who made big bucks from motivational speeches
and sucked life from the Celtics like a plague of leeches!

“I know what you mean,” she said thoughtfully
as she gazed off into the distance:
“Eudora Welty is not walking through that door, fans,
neither is Flannery O’ Connor.”
Did I hear her right?  I swear, on my honor,
She definitely had no flies upon her.


 Eudora Welty

 

I was stunned like a mule hit by a 2 by 4
if you’d struck me with a feather I
would have been on the floor.
“You like Southern Lit by Gothic Girl Writers?”
I asked as she sat and I scooted beside her.
She nodded and spoke with a Blanche DuBois air–
“Most men are so vulgar-your type is so rare!”

I’ll skip the next twelve months and pick up a year later.
We’d dated–I think–but I’d not consummated her.
I was wondering-when exactly will we do the deed
to which all romantic grapplings inevitably lead?

Another New Year’s party, another dance,
another opportunity for romance.
We were getting along famously enough
when she said “I’ve got to go and pack my stuff.”

“Why,” I asked, “Are you planning on moving?”
“Yes,” she replied, “I’m going back to Kentucky.”
“Why now? Why there?  It seems unbehooving–
why should I be the one who is so unlucky?”

“I guess,” she allowed, “I should have told you sooner.
There’s a guy back home-we’ve been taking a break.”
So all of this time, I shouldn’t have spooned her.
“I hope that this won’t cause your poor heart to ache.”

She left the next day, I’ve not seen her since,
and what might have been
to this day makes me wince.
She at the low post, me at point guard,
feeding her bounce passes, nothing too hard.

A spin move, a head fake, a drive to the hoop
or me throwing a lob for her “Alley Oop!”
With all of the picks that I could have set her
I find even now that I can’t forget her.

From “The Girl With the Cullender on Her Head, and Other Wayward Women,” available in print and Kindle format on amazon.com.

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?”

These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things

Portable crappers, and phat gangsta rappers,
Overdressed lawyers, who think that they’re dapper,
Blonde second wives who are festooned with bling–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

New SUVs that my teenage son crashes,
Posh window treatments with jabots and sashes,
Pant legs that stick ’cause they’ve got static cling–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

When a friend croaks, when my feet stink,
When I’m feeeeling sad . . .
I simply remember my least favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Cool summer cocktails whose tonic is flattened,
Obnoxious parents with children they’ve fattened,
Hearing your cell phone when you let it ring–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

Visible butt-cracks and sandals with sweat socks,
Income and sales tax, celebrity de-tox,
Middle-aged men who still wear college rings–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

When the pierced tongue, and the nose ring
Become more than fads–
I simply remember my least favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Non-urgent emails with little red flaggies,
Mice that my cat kills in clear plastic baggies,
Ersatz Gambinos who say “Ba-da-bing”–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

Travel by buses and overstuffed bedding,
In-laws who offer to sing at my wedding,
Being held hostage, all tied up with string–
These are a few of my least favorite things.

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