A Sponge on the Wind

He had a sponge for a mind,
soaking up learning like water.
He’s a genius his acquaintances bragged…
Their moons aglow, reflecting his light.
Problem was that Plato and Shakespeare
And Einstein were lost,
When the sponge was rung out.
But the learning’s still there,
He reassured,
And will flower again,
Like fields of corn
Soaked with a new season’s rain
But a wind came up and blew
His now dry, feather-light
Sponge of a mind
To the Sahara.

I Could Drive to My Age Once, Anywhere

I could once drive to my age,
Anywhere, in any state,
Within the law.
But now just in Texas,
Can I drive to my age
On a couple of stretches
And not set off a radar gun.*
On the other hand, there’s the Autobahn,
Where a driver’s age, even triple-digits,
Will not exceed the speed permitted.**

*Texas allows 85 mph on a few roads.
**Top speed on parts of the Autobahn is 155 mph.

The Quandary of Excessive Glitz

Doris came with noticeable diamonds,
A tad over-large,
At least for lunch.
You know, Doris,
Her lunch friend said,
They do look real.
Oh, these little baubles?
My midday diamonds,
They’re really nothing.

But sensing she night be over-jeweled,
Doris reddened
And buttoned her blouse
To hide her necklace
And kept her left hand in her lap.

The truth for diamonds…
Less is more,
Since smaller are more likely real.
Tasteful, demure…
And not dismissed as snobbery.

So Doris now chastened,
Keeps her diamonds at home in a safe
And swears never to wear
More than emeralds
To lunch..

Plan Ahead

When you’re over 80,
What’s abundantly true is…
You should always know,
Where the nearest loo is.

How Long Is a Fad, Just a Fad

A fad is over,
Before I know of it.
By the time I hear
That something’s a thing,
It’s already done.
New dances, new fashions, new food,
New art, new wine, new tech,
Each has a moment
That slips past my ken,
And then,
It’s gone…
Quick as a wink…
Like yesterday’s news,
Except to be fair,
Pink hair,
Which I saw and said…
It’ll last a year,
I’m sure never two.
But still it’s here.
And rap, as well, a fad no more,
But a graybeard genre,
That, heaven forbid,
I’m getting to like.

Tony Bagged a Tiger

Tony Quinella bagged a tiger…
Double-bagged really…
A very large tiger
In a very large bag
That lying on its side
Looked like a cave.
And the tiger walked in.
As soon as he did
Tony grabbed the four handles,
Set the bag straight up.
And the tiger did
What tigers do…
Landed upright on its paws.
Then mad as a wasp,
Slashed the bag,
That sharp claws shredded.
But each time he did,
The magical bag repaired itself,
Until the tiger, confused,
Realized there were cosmic forces at work
And slashing was useless.
As soon as he stopped,
Tony, with ape-strong strength,
Lifted the bag onto a flat-bed truck,
Tied it down, so it wouldn’t slide off
And tried thinking of a use
For a bagged tiger.

Grepsy Tarbox Nixed Desperate Measures

Grepsy Tarbox worried
About waking up sleepy every morning,
About life being same old, same old,
That maybe she’d seen it all before
And the rest was all rehash.
What kept her going was a 20-year obsession…
A problem she worked on every day…
Without finding the tripwire to its secrets.
One day at the end of her rope,
She tied a Gordian Knot around the obsession…
One end bound in intertwined complexity,
The other in a simple half-hitch
Looped through a taxicab door handle,
Hoping a tire-squealing start from a red light
Would haul it away forever.
It did.
But then she suffered
Acute separation anxiety,
Having lived with it so long.
She anticipated her obsessional loss
And had made a carbon copy of it,
Which allowed her to go back
To waking up sleepy,
And feeling life was same old,
Same old…
But familiar.

And the Band Played On…Sans Soloist

Austin “Nimble-Fingers” Foresman
A prodigy page turner
For concert pianists,
Tried to be nearly invisible,
As he riffled pages of sheet music
Between thumb and forefinger,
Isolating the next page to turn.
He’d track the last note bottom right,
Then flip the page just in time
To reveal the first note top left,
Without causing the slightest break
In the soloist’s concentration.
But it was Foresman’s fate one night
To flip three pages at once,
Leaving a prominent pianist lost,
Thirty bars ahead of the orchestra.
Trying desperately
To turn back two pages,
Foresman riffled in panic
And turned back four.
The pianist tried pulling the notes from memory,
But couldn’t.
It is known in page turning circles
As the “Foresman Flub”,
The greatest faux pas
In page turning history.

How Rural Is My Pate

Each hairbreadth of mine
Was lost in a density of hairbreadths,
Anonymous as cornstalks
In an Iowa cornfield.
Now each hairbreadth of mine
Is at least a thousand hairbreadths away
From its nearest hairbreadth neighbor…
Like rural farmhouses
That get farther and farther away
From neighbors.
And the farms, as well, ripple away
Down narrower roads.
And soon we run out of farmhouses
And the land is as naked
As a vacant moonscape.

Where the Wild Things Dine

Where’s Fenster,
Asked Feinsod of Pester,
Two zoology Ph.Ds,
Hip-deep in a nighttime swamp,
Looking for Mary River Turtles,
Amidst the venomous, toothy beasts
In Nature’s inventory.
Shouted Pester…no reply.
Well, I hope he’s okay,
Said Feinsod with muted solicitude,
Or at least that his notebooks float…
I’d hate to lose his research, too.
All in all, I’d say
He was good company,
Wouldn’t you agree, Pester?
Oh, come on Pester,
Enough zoology humor.
But there was only a menacing ripple
In the quiet of the swamp.