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Robin Helweg-Larsen: Sycophants

Perhaps the old-time hierophants
Structured our language with covert fantasia,
Secreting extra meanings in our words in a cold rage.
Are sycophants ever sick of ants?
Is euthanasia good for youth in Asia?
Discuss. (Or just diss, cuss: for badinage seems bad in our old age.)

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Bill Arnott: True Story

I have a friend
named Laurence
goes by Lol
sent me condolences
“Sorry your dad passed away”

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Gail White: St. Anselm Proves God’s Existence

That than which nothing greater can be thought
exists within the mind and can’t be naught.
If in the mind, then of necessity
it exists also in reality.
And if it’s just a word game, meant as fun,
tell me a big idea that isn’t one.

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Dental Economy: L.A. Mereoie

In age, though comfortably placed,
Well off, to tell the truth,
Old Amos, never known to waste
His money when a youth,
Still gets the giant tube of paste
With which to clean his tooth.

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Liza McAlister Williams: The Fourth Of July

Mosquitoes in the country, and thronging crowds in town –
Rockets going up, up, up, and sparkles coming down!
Everyone in festival, casual attire:
Funny hats, and stars and stripes, and sunburned skin on fire.
Too much beer inside of us, and too much noise without . . .
All hands to the cannon! Let’s give those Brits a rout!

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Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana: Mum & Dad Visit Japan

They didn’t get the etiquette. Yet Mum had to admit that the Tokyo cleaning ladies rocked
their pink suits and little white socks – they bowed as we boarded the Bullet Train.

And, in the Kyoto rain, Mum liked the slight white-gloved taxi man, who held a huge
umbrella for her, as she stood by the Golden Pavilion.

At Hiroshima, Dad produced a brown banana from a Sainsbury’s bag carried from Heathrow.
Mum told him off as he ate it at the Peace Park, beside the A-Bomb Dome.

On Miajima island, deer followed Dad and his orange carrier bag. He ate cabbage pancake,
calling it windy food, while Mum requested a knife and fork, without intending to be rude.

Later, at the hotel’s evening buffet, Dad said his creamed corn soup was cold and rather
bland. He’d ladled yellowish water from a bowl, where the utensils had been left to stand.

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David Shields: Just a Crack at Auden

May, with the Right behaving
Like the club bore droning by the fire,
Was powerless to discover
A non-Heraclitean river
To step into twice – or more.

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 Janet Jenkins-Stotts: Fishing (Tanka)

Drop my wormed hook in
Shallow water; the result
Is quick but small. Throw
It back and catch another,
Repeat. Fish are slow learners.


Three carp. Two white, one gold