Archives for posts with tag: comedy

Saint George - Key Art
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

George Lopez
looking to secure eternal glory
Tied one on last night,
trying to sleep it off
on the casino floor

−a little bit crazier
−a blurry line between your work and your life
−always had trouble connecting with people
That area that makes people very uncomfortable
is always a great place to find comedy.

Latino icon in comedy and television.
      created a life dreamt about as a little boy.

SOURCE: “George Lopez returns with St. George,and talks diversity on television” by Carolina Moreno, Huffington Post (March 7. 2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I opted to focus my poem on George Lopez’s personal struggles rather than on his new TV show, St. George. In reading the interview, I discerned personal turmoil that is channeled through comedy. It struck a chord in light of the recent death of comic Robin Williams. I have seen George Lopez perform live, and it is unbelievable how funny he is, how he pokes fun at everyone, even his own ethnicity. The audience responds to his manic, full-on performance with sustained laughter.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn‘s work has appeared in Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, HOUSEBOAT, Red River Review, and The Applicant. She has poems forthcoming in Diálogo, a publication of DePaul University; Label Me Latina/o, and Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz. She has been twice selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet. Her play, La Tamalada, was produced in Fort Worth. She belongs to Dallas Poets Community.

by Jackie Fox

People expect wacky.
They say “Smile,”
and you say
“I am smiling.”
They expect crazy.

People will tell you
some really nasty joke
and go, “Use it.”
I can’t use that.

It’s not true I can grow
in whatever time it takes
to leave here.
Celebrity is cybercrack.
You try to stay.
Funny keeps them alive.

Your subconscious
is always dark.
The id is always.
Maybe we’ll cut
to five years from now—
But I don’t think so.

SOURCE:  Time magazine, August 25, 2014.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I saw your call for submissions I initially thought of celebrities I could poke fun at, but reading an interview with the one I had in mind left me completely blank. And aside from your project, I couldn’t stop thinking about Robin Williams. His loss felt so personal to so many of us. I reread this interview in Time magazine and it spurred me to try to create something. I didn’t set out to create an elegy but it felt like one, and I hope it honors him.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Fox lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband Bruce. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, most recently in Bellevue Literary Review, LitRagger, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, and is forthcoming in Rattle. She has completed one semester toward an MFA in the University of Nebraska creative low-residency writing program.

by Richard Garcia

How about these paperclips?
Consider the humble paperclip.
Paperclips do not like to remain in their containers.
Paperclips can be found at the bottom of the sea.
The first paperclip was made of mastodon ivory.
Some paperclips are covered in plastic.
Some paperclips are plastic.
Metal paperclips are desirable.
You can twist them while on the phone.
You can use one to pick your teeth.
It is not recommended to use a paperclip to pick your teeth.
A paperclip can unlock a handcuff.
A paperclip cannot unlock a plastic handcuff.
Last time I mentioned paperclips
I received boxes of paperclips in the mail.
Here are some candy paperclips.
You can use them to attach important papers together.
You can eat candy paperclips.
Paperclips are like some marriages.
They clip things together temporarily.
Please don’t send me any more paperclips.
You can use paperclips to brush your eyebrows.
It is a little known fact, but every computer
has a secret tiny hole somewhere on its body
into which you can insert a straightened paperclip.
Usually, a frozen computer will start up again
when you insert the unfolded paperclip into its tiny, secret hole.
Your IT guy at the office would rather you did not know
about the tiny, secret paperclip hole in your computer.
Paperclips have been sprinkled into space by scientists.
Paperclips ring the planet. Some planets have rings of ice,
boulders, bits of exploded comet, purple and yellow meteor dust.
Our planet has a ring of millions of paperclips.
Recently it had been noticed that the paperclips
are joining together, each clip attaching to each clip
forming a paperclip chain in the ionosphere.
Maybe Mankind could learn something from all
the paperclips that have fallen into remote corners of our offices.
Here are some biodegradable paperclips made of recycled paper.
Here are some paperclips made of compressed diamond dust.
Here is a paperclip I have carried in my pocket since 1944.
It saved my life at Omaha beach by deflecting a sniper’s bullet.
As you can see by its girth, they don’t make paperclips like they used to.

SOURCE: Rattle Issue #33, available at Visit the publisher at

by Stephen Burt

Likeness held in the hand,
I can link any thin thing
to any thin thing: rarely cold
to touch, and unassuming not withstand-
ing my silver paint’s sparkle. I can connect
a map of Connect-
icut to an atlas of Iceland,
or flatten out the mountains of Vermont.
I have no use for a doctrine of non-
attachment, although I once
put an argument for it together:
I see through and remember any sliver
of paper or ribbon that has ever passed
between my stainless teeth…

In hope that what I join
nobody will put asunder,
I preside eagerly over
every union I encounter; I pretend
that anything I make fast,
will hold fast, though the ever-
sharper incisors of my mother,
Time, her servant, Dust, and her other
servants, Water and Sunlight —
the enemies of the news
today, and of anything you write
tomorrow — will in fact devour
everything I touch:
each letter and artifact
will go the way of all files —
cursive and print will join up,
gold and black merge and indigo,
each stock and weight at last
as good as any other in
the empty chamber I will someday know.

SOURCE: “Swingline Stapler” appears in Stephen Burt’s collection Belmont (Graywolf Press, 2013), available at

PHOTO: Collectors Edition Swingline 747 Polished Chrome Classic Desk Stapler, available at


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. He grew up around Washington, D.C., and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. Burt has published three collections of poems: Belmont (2013), Parallel Play (2006), and Popular Music (1999).

Burt’s works of criticism include Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Art of the Sonnet—written with David Mikics (2010); The Forms of Youth: 20th-Century Poetry and Adolescence (2007); Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (2005), with Hannah Brooks-Motl; and Randall Jarrell and His Age (2002).

Burt has taught at Macalester College and is now Professor of English at Harvard University. He lives in the suburbs of Boston with his spouse, Jessie Bennett, and their two children. (Source:

Author Photo: Jessica Bennett, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Act One (Excerpt)
by Oscar Wilde

JACK [Nervously]:  Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl . . . I have ever met since . . . I met you.

GWENDOLEN:  Yes, I am quite well aware of the fact.  And I often wish that in public, at any rate, you had been more demonstrative.  For me you have always had an irresistible fascination.  Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you.  [Jack looks at her in amazement.]  We live, as I hope you know, Mr. Worthing, in an age of ideals.  The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest.  There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence.  The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

JACK:  You really love me, Gwendolen?

GWENDOLEN:  Passionately!

JACK:  Darling!  You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

GWENDOLEN:  My own Ernest!

JACK: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

GWENDOLEN:  But your name is Ernest.

JACK:  Yes, I know it is.  But supposing it was something else?  Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

GWENDOLEN  [Glibly]:  Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.

JACK: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don’t much care about the name of Ernest . . . I don’t think the name suits me at all.

GWENDOLEN:  It suits you perfectly.  It is a divine name.  It has a music of its own.  It produces vibrations.

JACK:  Well, really, Gwendolen, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names.  I think Jack, for instance, a charming name.

GWENDOLEN: Jack? . . . No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed.  It does not thrill.  It produces absolutely no vibrations . . . I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain.  Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John!  And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John.  She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude.  The only really safe name is Ernest.

JACK:  Gwendolen, I must get christened at once—I mean we must get married at once.  There is no time to be lost.


Read this hilarious classic in its entirety at Project Gutenberg.

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Leo Cullum, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

by Shel Silverstein

Said the pelican to the elephant,
“I think we should marry, I do.
’Cause there’s no name that rhymes with me,
And no one else rhymes with you.”

Said the elephant to the pelican,
“There’s sense to what you’ve said,
For rhyming’s as good a reason as any
For any two to wed.”

And so the elephant wed the pelican,
And they dined upon lemons and limes,
And now they have a baby pelicant,
And everybody rhymes.

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Harry Bliss, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

EDITOR’S NOTE: Instead of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, this werewolf father reads the lycanthrope version.


CAPTION: “I’m looking for a book by T. What’s-His-Face Boyle.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Mick Stevens, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

CAPTION: “But when she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.” 

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Mike Twohy, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at