The Rhino at the Tricycle Shop

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Well, today is Shakespeare’s birthday and possibly also the day he died, give or take fifty years, and in honor of the Bard of Avon, I am offering this poem written for Mike Allegra over at heylookawriterfellow for kindly drawing this picture for me. Some of the words even rhyme. And because this day also marks the beginning of Write a Love Poem Fortnight, it is a love story. As one of my sister’s exes used to say, “It’s spring. Love is in the air. If you’re not in love, you’re not breathing hard enough.”

 

Rudy the rhino was cycling to Judy’s house,

Planning to ask her out for a meal.

Rudy was psyched. He would wine her and dine her!

But all of a sudden he heard his wheels grind.

(Now before we go on, we should point out that Rudy

Was kind, eco-conscious, aware of his duty

To avoid fossil fuels: hence the red trike.)

But for all of his virtues, our friend is a rhino,

A big, heavy fellow. His trike was quite small

And all the wheels bent, both before and behind.

As he pulled into the tricycle shop and he stopped,

The squeal of the metal brought out Bertie Bunny.

“Oh, Bertie!” said Rudy. “Money’s no object!

Please fix my trike. I am late for my date!”

 

Bertie, laconic mechanic, wiped oil off

His paws with a rag as he paused to consider

The mangled Turbo Triangle detritus.

He sighed, “This will take me at least until Tuesday.”

Said Rudy, “Oh no! But my need is quite dire!”

Bertie pulled out his pliers and wires and a hammer

(His canvas workbag was really quite full)

And finally a skateboard with very thick wheels.

“Rudy,” said Bertie. “I hear you, my fine rhino.

But cry no more or your horn will turn red.

I’ll give you a loaner, my great lovelorn fellow.”

So Rudy skated off to his date with dear Judy

A little bit differently than what he’d planned.

And Bertie the bunny just sighed, “That was funny.

But I’m glad to do my small part. Ain’t love grand?”

 

Illustration by Mike Allegra.

Readers Reply with Hue and Cry!

In response to my little rant the other day about rhyme, I received the following poems, the first from 10000hoursleft (also known as Mek):

After looking up the meaning of profundity
I came to the conclusion you’d likely be
Lumping me in
Oh for my sin
With those in the 98 per cent
Who keep aiming for ascent
To the lofty heights of the minority
To be a 2 percenter my priority
Joys of creative expression
Need not get a mention
Now, I’ll have to stop rhyming

 

And the second from Mike Allegra over at heylookawriterfellow:

Master sculptor, bearing chisel,
Paused his work so he could wizzle.
And so the marble had to wait,
For sculptor to evacuate.

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(Drops mic and strides purposefully toward the exit.)

 

So I offer here as an apology a sloppy English sonnet. It’s got the rhyme scheme, but I dropped that whole iambic pentameter thing because I am tired after a long day’s work, and iambic pentameter would just be too much on an empty stomach at 7:41 pm.

Apology

I pick up the mic dropped there by Mike

And scanned the sky for ascended Mek.

They used dread rhyme in a way I like

Unlike those whose Yules get decked.

You see, the Food Network is to blame

For my Poetry Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Their December hacks of Clement Moore

Send me screaming to the border.

It seems that rhyme may perhaps have uses

For getting the poet’s ideas across.

It’s not just used by silly gooses;

Sometimes its users are just the boss!

So I will try to embrace the rhyme,

But please, Lord, please, not all the time.

Thoughts for a Doodle Do…

So my pal Mike Allegra over at heylookawriterfellow is doing his semi-annual Doodle Contest. So here are my words: panther, dapper, samurai, flying pig, poetry. Because the Middlebury College mascot is a panther (and let’s face it, my cat Musashi is kind of like a very formal, tuxedoed panther), Musashi is dapper, I studied Japanese fencing, I had a coaching company with a flying pig logo, and um, er, uh, can’t remember the reason for the last one, might have to think about it more…

HOW TO ENTER

To get your name in the drawing, leave a list of five words in the comments section below. They can be any words at all, but – and this is important – the words cannot be completely random. Each word must be connected to you in some way.

For example, here are my five words:

Capybara

Bert

Skipping

Juneau

Chip ‘n’ Putt

The connection between you and the words doesn’t need to be deep or profound, it just needs to exist.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING

Want me to stuff the ballot box in your favor? Fiiine. I’ll add two more ballots if you announce this contest on your blog and link back to this page. That’s three chances to win!

Don’t have a blog? No problem. I’ll give you one extra ballot if you announce this contest on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. (Be sure to post links in the comments.)

PRIZES! (PLURAL!)

As I mentioned, the winner of the drawing will get a custom made, one-of-a-kind, Mike Allegra doodle suitable for framing! Woo!

But the winner will also get something else:

An original, one-of-a-kind, Mike Allegra-penned story! This story will contain all five of the words you supplied to enter this contest. I can’t promise you a good story, but I will do my best.

So do me a favor and choose fun words, OK?

DEADLINES, ETC.

Your entry is due on or before Tuesday, April 5. The winner of the drawing will be announced on Wednesday, April 6.

That’s it! Give me five words and get going!

GOOD LUCK!

That Poem about the Quokka

A friend in need, Mike Allegra, heylookawriterfellow, recently gave me a writing topic when I was sore in need of ideas. He wrote, “Aw! Blockage stinks. But I’m here to help; write about quokkas. You’re welcome.” I had never heard of these, but when I Googled it, here is the picture that looked back at me.

quokka1

The kangaroo’s cousin, cute little quokka

With teddy bear eyes and a winning small smile,

Nicely nocturnal you feed on the seedpods,

Leaves and soft bark by the light of the moon.

 

Quick! Make a wish! A big steaming mocha

Or peppermint muffins stacked up in a pile:

Some sign that you haven’t been mocked by the food gods.

The Nightblooming Rainbow will bring it right soon.

Badass Women in Combat Gear: Valentine’s Day Edition, Or, Dorothy Parker Was Wrong

((For those of you who, like me, were not Math Majors in college, I apologize. But this particular blog post seems to need a ridiculous number of parentheses and a rather surprising number of braces {curly} and brackets [square]. Be warned.))

There is a fairly famous rhyming couplet by the 1920s Algonquin Round Table wit, Dorothy Parker, that has been widely anthologized (and it suddenly occurs to me that a whole slew [this is a technical literary term] of the editors anthologizing this were {white} men], which says, “Men don’t make passes/At girls who wear glasses.”

I have been thinking about this since Mike Allegra (heylookawriterfellow) asked me to add to my BWCG series some BWCGs who wear glasses. I thought of this most recently after viewing a teaser for this coming Tuesday’s Agent Carter, in which Agent Sousa (the delightful Enver Gokaj) says to (an injured and therefore unavailable-for-the-mission) Agent Peggy Carter (the even more delightful Hayley Atwell) that what they need for the coming mission is someone who can “blend in with the glamour and throw down in the gutter.” Damn, Spanky, I LOVE the writers on this show!

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Any Gentle Reader who has spent any time at all reading this blog will recognize that this is not only the dual nature of what I look for in my Female Leads of TV, Film, and Life, but also a micro-blueprint of who I would like to eventually be. I have to admit that the second part sounds much less painful to me than the first part, because as Agent Dana Scully admits in the most recent New X-Files episode, running/fighting in three-inch heels is no country for really anyone, but absolutely not Women, Older Men or Sane People of any Gender. Okay, she didn’t say that.

But as Jane Austen might have said, “It was nowhere said, but everywhere implied.” Come on. Amy Acker has said that at one point her only “stunt ability was running in heels” (Citation, as Wikipedia would point out, desperately needed. My guess? A ComiCon. San Diego? Maybe. Who knows?).

ackerglasses

My point here is simply that Dorothy Parker was wrong and Mike Allegra is right. (Full disclosure: I wear glasses. So sue me. {Twenty-odd years at MIT’s Writing Center (some of them more odd than others) has made me as blind as my cat Musashi, if not as a bat or a possum. [If M. were a little boy, he’d be wearing Coke bottle glasses and a bowtie]}.

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So in honor of a Sunday-facing Valentine’s Day (black Tuesday meets the Lord’s day), I offer you some of my favorite female actors (Nope, don’t call me a teacheress, professoress, editoress or martial artistess; I avoid calling them actresses for the same reason) in glasses.

 

I tried very hard to chase down the pics I have seen online of Lucy Lawless as herself, rather than Xena, wearing glasses, to no avail. Similarly, her soul-grandmother, Linda Carter (the always-and-everywhere Wonder Woman, despite DC’s brilliant work with Gal Gadot).

And because I believe it is important to look back and forward at the same time, I also give you Ingrid Bergman and Scarlet Johansson.

Also, the classic, brilliant, unimitatable Katherine Hepburn on a skateboard, because duh.

katehepskate

To my pal, Mike Allegra, men and women who love women in glasses or, you know, on skateboards: YOU’RE WELCOME. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. NOW WE WILL LET THE WEATHER BECOME WARM AGAIN.

Weather Reminds Us of Our Own Existential Helplessness

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So a while back I signed up for a Meetup party that is happening this evening. Last week, Weather Underground was predicting 8-12 inches of snow for today in Boston. By Tuesday, it was down to 1-3 inches and by Thursday 3-5 inches and today it is back to 1-3 inches here, but apparently our friends down South have already got 31 inches and counting, and we have received a wet dusting. WHY DO THEY EVEN PRETEND TO KNOW WHAT’S COMING?

I will admit a tiny bit of schadenfreude for all those folks down South who didn’t share in our NINE F@#$%ING FEET OF SNOW last “spring” who might just possibly have felt a trifle left out. Well, there you go. Enjoy.

Facebook peeps have been posting amusing maps of the Midatlantic area, showing the areas in which inhabitants will need lots of books or yarn or just a few/little. The pictures of back porches are already in. And here in Boston, where I can still make out the colors of the cars in my street beneath their light dusting of powdered sugar-like snow, the stores are full. Now it makes sense to me that Trader Joe’s would be full. It’s the kind of place you can buy your booze and your bread and milk. But Sephora’s? It’s a ghastly cold day with Weathah about to come down on us and THIS MANY women need to get a blizzard stash of eyeliner? At least I have an excuse. I signed up for this party a few weeks ago and this morning woke up to realize I have never actually been taught to do my makeup, beyond the simple 1950s style my mom tried to teach me before my prom that I was way to nervous about poking myself in the eye to really absorb. And since, if you’ve spent a certain amount of money in their insiders program you can get these 15-minute mini-makeovers, I figured, go in, get them to make me look good and explain how they did it, buy the stuff, and go to the party looking a whole lot better than I would if I tried to do it myself without the practice. (One of the downsides of a girls’ high school and a university career: my whole life has been Mind Over Mascara. Sigh.)

So all I can say is that when Bostonians hunker down tonight or step out to the sidewalk and driveway to clear all the sh–er–shnow off their cars, they are going to be looking damn fine.

winter-woe

Illustration by Mike Allegra.

The Donuts of Our Discontent

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So the other day my pal, HeyLookAWriterFellow, wrote about Unfortunate Donuts and even illustrated it amusingly (he is one of my favorite contemporary artists, along with Laura Wilder, Anita Munman and Berkeley Breathed). This got me thinking about Perfect Donuts that I have eaten (all two of them) and set me up for the 7-Eleven’s 50-cent donut deal yesterday morning, which led to the glazed donut I ate half of yesterday and am finishing today, because no one should eat that much sugar in one day if there is absolutely no chocolate in it.

One of the perfect donuts was a coconut-covered jelly stick. I ate it in Cranston, Rhode Island in about 2001 or 2002. The other was an all-too-brief Starbuck’s creation, a rectangular blueberry-raspberry jelly-filled perfect balance of starch, sweet and salty goodness. Naturally, after only about two months, they stopped making them. Probably the gods complained. They just HATE it when humans create something perfect.

How do you write

a poem about a donut

you ate a decade ago,

how do you recall

the texture on your tongue, the zip

of sugary goodness, delicate

balance of salt and sweet, the color of jam

moistly melting

 

And now I have no idea how to end this….

Illustration by Mike Allegra 2016.