Archives for posts with tag: Humor

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Clean up on aisle . . .
by Bridget Harris

All days
make me feel bad
for existing.

Like are white claws really an essential item?

I am glad
to be wearing
a mask.

It will disguise
the embarrassed look
on my face
as I walk up
to the check-out counter.

The least I can do
is smize
at the grocer
who has
probably been dealing
with people
like me
all day.

I ask how his day is going so far . . .
He says:
well an hour ago
somebody came
into the store
set up a yoga mat
and started
doing yoga
in the middle
of the aisle
so I had to say
excuse me, ma’am, uh,
you aren’t allowed to do yoga in Jewel-Osco.

I tried to make his day.
He just made mine.

PHOTO: From the book Yoga and the City by Alexey Wind, available at Amazon.com. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Like many, I have tried to “get through” this pandemic. And yet, in my effort to “get through” it, I often forget that other people are experiencing this period of time in a completely different way than I am. Most of my days are full of the same monotonous nothing, but I am grateful for the people who grace me with their presence and surprise me. This one is for the grocer who rang me up at Jewel-Osco. May everyone reading this experience a moment of sonder for someone else that you encounter. Their day was in fact different than yours.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bridget Harris is an actress, writer, and creator born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Now in Chicago, Illinois, she believes the future of art is collaborative, paying artists equitably, uplifting untold stories, and recognizing our shared humanity. Visit her on instagram: @b_frances_h and @yourqueenscratch

licensed tommy alven
Eskilstuna Rag
by Chris Vannoy

The snowflakes are dancing around me
and I am smiling!
Ginsberg is sleeping in Izzy’s basement and I am smiling
as Irene screams slam poetry standing on top of the piano
where Tom Waits bangs out a new tune with a cigarette
dangling from his lower lip
while Dylan’s ghost throws down another whisky
and I am drunk on IPA.

Charlie Chaplin taps his cane
listening to the thumping beat of sweet jazz blues
as the psychedelic jukebox drops another record
onto the turntable of the world
where Bessie Smith melts magic from the microphone
and Miles blows his midnight horn

Marlene catches my eye with a wink
And we are dancing, dancing, dancing…

PHOTO: Eskilstuna, Sweden by © Tommy Alvén, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written on my first visit to Stockholm. I met Israel “Izzy” Young and he told me that Ginsberg  used to sleep in his basement when he visited there. “Irene” was the host at a poetry reading in Eskilstuna…the Dylan reference is there because I was on my way to see Dylan Thomas’s childhood birthplace in Swansea, Wales…Tom Waits…I worked at the same pizza parlor he did…just six months after he quit…the rest of the characters I think you know already.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Vannoy has been writing for most of his life. Promoter, editor, teacher, and tireless advocate of words both heard and spoken; he works endlessly to raise up words from page to ear and from mouth to the air. The originator of the Poet’s Tree featured and open reading series, as well as editor of the Poet’s Tree Press, He is also curator for “Bedder” poetry reading series and the International Beat Poetry Festival in San Diego. He has read at Mills College in Oakland, California, and at The West Coast Regional slam at Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California. In 2017 and 2018, he’s read in Stockholm, Sweden; London, England; Cardiff, Wales; Swansea, Wales; Margate, England; Ramsgate, England; Dover, England; Chatham, England; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California. In 2019, he was appointed Beat Poet Laureate of the United States by the International and National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. Find him at youtube and soundcloud.

Alan in mask 5-4-20
Chicken
by Alan Walowitz

This Covid is killing us slow
so, I wear a mask and go quick when I walk —
what they say in hoops, beat your man to the spot.
Some guy I know shouts from his stoop,
Where you think you’re going so fast?
I wave and say: Hey, Mr. Slow —
why cover your face three steps from home?

But some won’t wear a mask when out.
They spot you coming a block away
and stand their ground, and force you
wide — like we’re kids in a game,
it’s them or you: you swerve; they win.
So, it’s me who veers toward the street again.
They oughta nod, or at least wave hello.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. In the Muddle of the Night, a chapbook co-written with Betsy Mars, is due in 2020.

Blue mask, ice lolly
My Blues
by Massimo Soranzio

I’ve got a nice blue mask
to cover nose and mouth
and matching latex gloves,
should I touch anything.
Of course, my jeans are blue,
and my polo shirt, too,
and my sneakers are blue:
feeling—and looking—blue.

Losing my irony
during this long lockdown
would mean going insane:
no one could ever cope,
in this situation,
without finding relief
in what’s ridiculous,
absurd, preposterous.

I can cry, behind my
sunglasses, and now I
can laugh, too, behind my
mask, and no one can
see, but—would anyone
care? We keep a distance,
avoid other people,
hurry to run back home.

I’ve got a nice blue mask,
and I am blue all through,
I want to laugh again
in a world full of pain,
but laughs do not come cheap
right now, I’d sooner weep—
when I turn on the news,
I start singing the blues…

I’ve got a nice blue mask,
and I am blue all through—
who wouldn’t be: would you?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Trying to figure out the best way to enjoy the first ice lolly of the season while wearing a face mask.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio is a teacher and translator living on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy. His poems have appeared online and in print in a few anthologies, including Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology. He blogs at reflections.wordpress.com,  where he wrote mostly about his lockdown for NaPoWriMo, in the month of April 2020.

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May Day 2020 – Monologue
by Ken Hartke

Mayday! Mayday!
How can this possibly be a Friday?
What the hell happened to Thursday?
It seems the daze dribble out unseen.
Um . . . days. Oops, Freudian slip.
I probably need to watch that. People talk.
On Wednesday, the ants took over the kitchen.
I remember that like it was yesterday.
That was my big safari day.
I went deep; into the seldom-seen regions
— parts unknown down below the sink.
Raid smells funny. Squirt — squirt.
The ants retreated but are undefeated. They’ll be back.
My mask is in the car. I just checked. Again.
My lifeline to real people.
It’s still there. It is still there from Tuesday.
That was my last contact with the outside world
— Contact, as in the spoken word; as in
to a real human. Three humans…I just counted.
Monday, I went for groceries.
Yeah…Definitely Monday.
Masked Monday. Everyone is masked.
Masked, masked, masked…
We have up and down aisles now. More rules.
I’m the one going the wrong way — rebel that I am.
Old ladies give me the masked stink eye as they pass.
(Maybe that was a wink?)
A crafty friend made me a mask — blue with white ties.
Very nice, too. I discovered that I can’t tie a knot
behind my head. My usual surgical mask,
the one in the car, loops behind my ears
along with my glasses and hearing aids.
It’s busy back there. I think I need bigger ears.
Pretty soon my hair will be so long
I won’t even need a mask.
I compared eyebrows with my cat
— he still is winning. But not by much.
He is my therapist at this point.
He thinks I’m nuts. He’s starting to hide.
I notice there’s a lot of that going around.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I think the novelty of masks and isolation has worn thin for some of us. We are prone to mind games and second-guessing after weeks of solitary confinement — as many single people are experiencing. That is the idea behind this rambling “monologue” poem (of sorts).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Hartke is a writer and photographer from the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, but was originally planted and nourished in the Midwest. His New Mexico images now inspire much of his writing. He has contributed work for the Late Orphan Project’s anthology These Winter Months (The Backpack Press), and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. He keeps an active web presence on El Malpais and other places.

DEUTSCH door
Peanut Butter
by Steven Deutsch

“She recognizes you,”
Trish said.
My twin sister was always
the optimist.
The half full half
from the day we were born.

But, I could see
the empty behind mom’s eyes.
No amount of optimism
Would free her.
That door was shut
for good.

My mom’s door was
always open,
the coffee pot
always on,
and cinnamon-raisin babka
so often on the table
it was as if it appeared
by magic.
Our house a beehive
of aunts and uncles,
neighbors and cousins,
and the occasional someone
no one recognized.
Where had it gone?

Trish and I took
a last spin around
the apartment.
The place so small
it was hard to believe
it housed so much
commotion.

Then I closed
and locked
the old blue door
one last time.
“Remember when we
smeared peanut butter
all over the doorknob?”
Trish asked.
I laughed
and remembered
the spanking
we never received
since Mom
was laughing too hard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mostly I walk around with an idea for a poem and play with it as I wander. Often, I seem distracted. Exactly three days and four hours after getting the idea, I sit down and write out the poem. I never need to change a word.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over the past two years, Steve Deutsch’s work has appeared in more than two dozen journals. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press. His full length book, Persistence of Memory, will be published in September 2020, again by Kelsay Press. He takes full responsibility for the blog stevieslaw.com.

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Front Door
by Steve Bogdaniec

I don’t know what to say about it

It’s not a miracle or a
metaphor for something bigger
it’s not even ours technically
we rent this place

It’s a front door

It doesn’t care about your dreams
you can’t confide in it
don’t try

It’s not something to behold
it is something to separate the outside from the
inside

It is covered with white paint
worn and dirty near the handle where we’ve
touched it for
six years

The front door is not art

It is not reassuring
it’s not abusive either

This door is no murderer,
but is it squeaky clean?
hell no
in the hallway, no one is
innocent

There’s no front hall closet
or anything like that
so we have a metal rack that fits over the top
for our coats
and my wife’s purse and four scarves

There’s paint on the hinges
sloppy

Love the glass doorknob though
my mom’s house has some of those
they look old

Do we need a more compassionate front door?

The keyhole is pointless
we’ve never seen a key for it
and there probably isn’t one anymore
the door has a deadbolt and a
chain at the top
instead

But I like that the keyhole is still there
some time, I should try
to look through it

I just looked through it
really dusty in there, but it
looks like it works fine

We figured out the best place to
leave ourselves notes
is by the lock on the front door
we never go out the back,
so you’re bound to see it
even if you don’t leave
sitting on the couch in the living room
there will be a green note staring you in the face
reminding you to grab your lunch

My biggest gripe would be
you need to make sure it really closes when
you close it
sometimes you’re in the hallway thinking it’s
shut behind you
and there is a cat on the doormat
ready to escape

This is all minor though
it’s really fine

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I loved the idea of this prompt so much more than the prompt itself. I wanted to do it, but I didn’t know what to write! I certainly don’t mean this piece to mock anyone else—I just do not have a connection with my front door. In the end, I tried to create something out of this lack of connection.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Bogdaniec is a writer and teacher, currently teaching at Wright College, Chicago, IL, U.S. Steve has had poetry and short fiction published in  numerous journals, most recently in Eclectica Magazine, Silver Birch Press, and Jellyfish Review. His work can also be found in the Nancy Drew Anthology: Writing & Art Inspired by Everyone’s Favorite Female Sleuth. Check out stevebogdaniec.com for links to published work and updates on new stuff!

Sittner_1
Free to Be
by Porsche S.

MY door
my dog door
allows freedom
allows independence
it flaps
it flaps open
it flaps closed

I use my nose
coming & going
learned to do it
with favorite treats
1 inside & 1 outside
it took 2 treats
easy

wildlife teases me
squirrels run fence pickets
chipmunks dig up gardens
moles make surface tunnel tubes
rabbits leave organic kibble
gopher requires eviction
I harass them all

as long as I know when
Mom inserts panel blocker
my nose & face
avoid being smooshed
freedom
independence
life is good

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Porsche is an ancient standard Schnauzer who believes she’s still young. In her retirement, she has recently finished a memoir that her human Mom, experienced at dogspeak, is editing. Porsche enjoys telling the tales of her interesting life; she is always ready for another chapter.

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ABOUT THE EDITOR: Leslie Sittner’s print works are available in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press (2016 -17-18-19-21), Adirondack Life Magazine, BraVa anthology, and read on NPR. Online poems and prose reside at unearthed, Silver Birch Press, 101Words, 50 Word Challenge, 50 Word Stories, and Epic Protest Poems. A collection of essays about European travels with her ex-husband in the late 1960s awaits publishing. Leslie is currently editing the memoir Porsche mentions above.

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Hot Fudge Sauce
by Susan W. Goldstein

One of my least favorite, between college semester jobs, was in an ice cream shop . . . excuse me: Shoppe. The owner was a dirty old man who would pinch my butt whenever I was leaning in to scoop from the drums of hard-as-rock ice cream. I was too shocked to say anything, but I am certain that he lost money that summer, as I ate most of the profits when he wasn’t looking. (I mean, have you tried rum raisin with hot fudge sauce?)

One incident evolved into a long-standing family joke. A customer was trying to be helpful, as she pointed out that I had a big drip of hot fudge sauce on my collar bone. I looked down and didn’t see anything, so she pointed. And I began to laugh! It was a beauty mark that would forever be called my “hot fudge sauce.”

I did not return to this store the following summer. Instead, I sought employment at the Weed Pizza Parlor, its unofficial name. At night, after closing, the manager would make pizza that was covered, not in oregano, but in non-medicinal marijuana. I was still a naïf, and would run home to my parents and report what those wild and wicked kids were doing. My folks just advised me to keep working during the day, because summer was almost over and I guess that my mom didn’t want my whiney little self hanging around.

IMAGE: “Hot Fudge Sundae” by Sandy Tracey. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I don’t know why I took these crummy minimum wage jobs, instead of applying for internships or something useful. Perhaps I knew back then that I would one day need to draw from each of these experiences to fuel my writing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan W. Goldstein is Livin’ la Vida Loca in Delray Beach, Florida — if you define such as a sensible bedtime and early rising to begin typing away on her little laptop. She has been proudly published in Mothers Always Write, Silver Birch Press, Mamalode, Medium, and JustBe Parenting, Lunch Box (Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2017 ), and is a winner of Hyland’s “A Mother Knows” campaign. Coming up later this month:  Sammiches & Psych Meds.  Follow her blog, at very-seriously.com.

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Blue Hair and Game Hens
by Karen Sawyer

I was 17 and working as a banquet waitress at a formal event of mostly elderly people. The first course went smoothly, but no one warned me about the slippery main course, Cornish game hens and sautéed vegetables. As I leaned over to serve the plate in my right hand, the hen on the plate in my left hand slipped right off the plate and down the back of a lady whose hair and gown were both a pale shade of blue. We were both shocked and horrified. Not knowing what to do next, I ripped the napkin off her lap and started wiping the greasy mess off her back, then I grabbed the Cornish game hen and ran for the kitchen. My supervisor rushed out and somehow handled the whole situation with grace and charm.

When it was time to serve dessert, my hands had almost stopped shaking and I no longer felt nauseated, so my supervisor sent me back to the scene of the crime. I should have reconsidered when I saw the tall, ice cream-filled parfait glasses sitting on tiny saucers.

Sheepishly, I approached the table of my earlier humiliation. As I set down one saucer, I looked to see an empty saucer in my other hand. I went numb when I realized that the parfait glass was now resting upside down in a woman’s open purse on the floor. She was sitting across the table from my first victim who yelled, “Why is she still here?” I melted into the woodwork and, well, frankly, I don’t remember what happened next but I did get to keep my job.

My boss told me I would look back and laugh. She was right.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at age 17. I don’t have a picture of me at this job but this is the age I was when the incident happened.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What can you say about an incident like this one? As a 17-year-old girl, I thought my life was over.  My parents happened to be dining in the restaurant next door and stopped in after the banquet to say hi. When I saw my dad walk in the door, I completely fell apart.  He didn’t say a word, he just hugged me.  I’m sure he was chuckling under his breath as I sobbed my way through the whole story, but being a good dad, he didn’t say anything except that everything would be okay. I can now see the humor in it and it has made for some good laughs when I’ve shared it with others. It was a character-building night that I will never forget.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Sawyer’s work has appeared in Precious, Precocious Moments, Wounded Women of the Bible, The Secret Place Devotional, guest posts in Mother Inferior blog and Unsent Letters blog, Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend magazine, and MONTROSE ANYTIME magazine. She has contributed numerous articles to ehow, and Demand Media’s other web-based sites. She taught elementary school for seven years before her children were born. Karen lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband of 29 years. They are the parents of two adult children.