As published in Healing ad Conflict
(c) Ray Zimmerman, 2018
Full Speed Ahead
I wonder how there came to be
a plastic island in the sea.
No challenge to avoid a crash.
Cleave right through, our course is brash.
Beware if barnacles adorn your boat.
They’ll snag each plastic piece afloat.
Cigarette lighters float in the wrack
thick as lice on a heron’s back.
Old bleach bottle and plastic bag;
sent to landfills by both dame and hag.
The plastics escape with torrential rain;
Go down the river like soap down the drain.
Birds and turtles feed on this mess.
Dead in a week would be my guess.
So, keep your plastic safe at home.
Don’t send it out to sea to roam.
For Immediate Release
Contact Star Line Books: (423) 577-5629
Poetry of Humor
Tuesday, July 30, 6 PM to 7 PM
Star Line Books is pleased to announce a celebration of humorous verse, light verse, and satire, to take place Tuesday, June 30 at 6 PM. Bring your own poems or those of others and be prepared to read them out loud.
“Wet dog is the friendliest.” – Ogden Nash
Poetry of Humor is a Fifth Tuesday event. Ray Zimmerman is producer and host for Fifth Tuesday events, now in their fourth year at Star Line Books.
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, its too dark to read.” – Groucho Marxs
Speaking in a book review:
“This novel should not be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” – Dorothy Parker
The Dow is up.
The Dow is down.
or wearing a frown.
The Tao of Tao Te Ching
is not the Dow of Dow Jones fame
though they are pronounced the same.
Dow fluctuates, but Tao is eternal.
Wining and dining can lead to whining.
Cat wants out.
Cat wants in
Cat stands in doorway looking out.
Put cat out and he wants back in.
Put cat in and he wants back out.
Doggie doors were invented for cats
who refuse to use them.
By the way, thanks for the dead mouse.
I suppose they are tasty,
but I threw it in the trash.
Aren’t humans perplexing?
My cat Sam was a thug.
Despite being neutered
he got out at every opportunity.
He sprayed neighborhood trees
and regularly beat up other male cats.
He used to sneak up behind me
as I typed at the keyboard.
He would box my leg
with both paws and tun away.
He died of heart failure.
Bull ’Gator’s Lament
What’s that man lookin’ at, down here in this cypress swamp, so thick with branches that sun barely gets through? He’s lookin’ at me, Old Bull ’Gator, and I’m lookin’ at him. Why don’t you come on over for dinner?
Speaking of dinner, you should have been here when I grabbed that turtle from his sunny spot over there by the water hyacinths. When I broke through to meat, those tourists thought a riffle shot had gone off. Fish, man, bird, or turtle, I get my dinner.
Sometimes though, man eats us. He’ll come down to this swamp and put a bullet in a ’gator’s brain. Those poachers don’t waste any time. They skin the ’gator out right here and cut up the tail meat for Cajun delight. The hide gets made into boots.
The poachers never got me though. Bigger ’gators missed their chance too. I had to be careful when I was young, because we been known to eat our own. But now, I’m king of this here swamp.
Springtime is my favorite time of year, with Spanish Moss fluttering in the breeze, like curtains in an old mansion house. That’s when I get to bellowing. My bellows echo off the cypress trunks and all through the swamp. Those lady ’gator’s bellow right back. When one of them judges Old Bull fit, we spin like two demons in a whirlpool.
Pretty soon, she’ll be building a nest out of mud and sticks. When the eggs hatch that fierce old momma ’gator hears those young’uns grunting She gently pulls the nest apart and tenderly frees the baby ’gators.
That’s when she won’t want Old Bull around, because we’ve been known to eat our own.
Maybe I’ll just wonder off and watch those fishing boats go by. Perhaps one of them will flip over. Man, fish, bird or turtle, I get my dinner.
Look over yonder at those little ’gators sunning themselves on their momma’s snout. I believe one of them is a baby bull. He will have to grow some before he can be king of my swamp.
A Unity of Minds
Could a mockingbird mimic the strains of “Jupiter: Bringer of Joviality,” or any other section of “The Planets,” that whimsical set of tone poems composed by Gustav Holst? Imagine the morose tune of “Mars: Bringer of War” issuing from the throat of a bird. Though such complex mimicry may be beyond the abilities of birds, animals frequently amaze and amuse us with their behavior, sometimes mistaken as antics.
Why do these behaviors hold such charm for us? Is it the recognition of our own triumphs and foibles when we look at them? We see ourselves in their behavior, and even their anatomy. The bones of a bird’s wing are those of a human hand, revealed in the glow of an X-ray. The same is true of a whale’s flipper, which moves them through the ocean in tandem with the thrust of a tail.
Humor vanishes and we gasp when hearing of how a captive killer whale, incarcerated for years, bit more than the “feeding hand” and took the life of its keeper. Intelligent beings, they learn tricks rapidly, but intelligence makes them dangerous captives. For millennia, killer whales have survived in ocean currents, but escape becomes a “current event.”
We forget that they are killers, able to take a seal or a man in a fast attack. Charm ends here, for they have become too much like us. We too kill to survive. Whether dining on wild harvested venison, or range fed beef, we sacrifice other lives on the altar of our continued existence.
This is also true for wild killers. They are not meant to perform for our amusement let alone on a regular schedule. Such shows may be said to generate respect for our wild kin but do they really. We will only make peace with our animal neighbors when we see them in us, just as we see ourselves in them.