Off The Scale

We sprang from a primordial soup

Of RNA and cosmic goop

We breathed through gills and swam in schools

Among the depths and rocky pools

Bedazzling, streamlined, clad in scales

Propelled by tails with fins for sails.

Until one day, so goes the lore

We cast a fishy eye to shore

And surfed the tide across the sand

To where the water meets the land

Not ones to walk, we lacked technique

All thanks to our unique physique

But in the end we found our feet

Soon after, gills were obsolete.

Yet, evolution is perverse

And laughs when we go in reverse…

For, now we’ve waterparks with slides

We snorkel, sail and scuba dive

We swim with dolphins, live on boats

And show our small fry how to float

Tots splash in puddles with delight

While summer’s one long water fight

Still, others love the touch of rain

But when asked why? they can’t explain.

We left a world now out of reach

The day we clambered up that beach

The price of such a compromise?

This constant need to moisturize

Hero Material

Batman sports a special cowl

He fashioned from titanium

Spider-Man prefers to prowl

In something called vibranium.

Dad’s a cop whose navy blue

And shield reflect his heart

Granddad fought through World War 2

In boots that fell apart.

Wonder Woman’s golden lasso

Makes folk tell the truth

It’s the way your mother asks you

Which makes her a sleuth.

Superpowers lie within

The clothes don’t make the man

Thor just needs a rolling pin

It’s true

Just ask your gran

Poets Cornered

I was recently interviewed by Paul Szlosek for his blog: The International Imaginarium for Word & Verse. Paul is an American author (Paul’s Poetry Playgroundhttps://playground.poetry.blog) and photographer (Paul’s Wonderful Word of Color https://thewonderfulworldofcolor77109243.wordpress.com) who stumbled across my poetry and wanted to chat about it.

The photo used in the article was snapped by one of my students waaaaaaaaaay back in 2007 when I was teaching at a university in Ukraine. It’s all about the shirt.

Anyway, here’s the link:

https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-international-imaginarium-for-word.html

Peace Nicked

“Have you been following events in The Ukraine?”

“John, we no longer call it that.”

“No longer call what what?”

“We no longer call it The Ukraine.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We just say Ukraine now; they’ve dropped the The,” Laverne gave me the lowdown.

“Who did?”

“The Ukrainians.”

“Don’t you mean Ukrainians?”

“That’s what I said.”

“No, you said The Ukrainians.”

“Oh, for God’s sake…”

“Why is it I’m only hearing about this now?”

“Try spending less time on TikTok.”

“I enjoy watching eco-tourists run for their lives.”

“Fair enough,” Laverne shrugged.

“So, when did they ditch the The?”

“I believe it was around the same time Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded as KFC.”

“Do you think their KFCs serve Chicken Kiev?”

“We don’t say that either.”

“What? Chicken?”

“No, Kiev.”

“You’re kidding.”

“We now pronounce it Kyiv, like Steve.”

“Who the hell cares how he says it?”

“Who?”

“Steve Downey.”

“Please tell me you didn’t just say that.”

“And how would the Downeys know Ukrainian anyway? They’re a bunch of redheads.”  

“Sweetie, I want you to stop talking,” Laverne took my hand. “This is all the result of transliteration.”

“I thought their flag was pink, blue and white.”

“In the past we had a habit of anglicising names which proved tricky to pronounce and no one really questioned it. Now there’s a bit of a reset happening, that’s all.”

“My stress levels go through the roof every time I have to say anemone.”

“When did you last need to say anemone?”

“Two and a half hours ago.”

“I’m talking about foreign names.”

“Brunhilde.”

“Place names.”

“Melbourne.”

“More foreign than that.”

“Machu Picchu.”

“It’s Bombay becoming Mumbai and Calcutta becoming Kolkata, that sort of thing,” Laverne clarified.

“We weren’t that far off on those two,” I felt I ought to give credit where credit was due.

“My issue isn’t with the consonants so much, as the bloody diphthongs.”

“Your Vietnamese neighbours? What have they done now?”

“Stop it,” Laverne giggled. “Hey, did you know that Kanye’s changed his name as well? Apparently he now goes by Ye. My son told me.”

Ye?”

“Yup.”

“Maybe it’s short for Yeuch.”

“Or Yikes.”

“I still fail to see the significance.”

“Well, according to Ye himself, ye is the most common word in The Bible.”

“Blessed be the fruit.”

“Oh, there’s more… Ye then enlightened us further by explaining that ye can sometimes mean thee.”

“Which Ukrainians have dropped like a hot potato,” I reminded my friend.

“They dropped a The, not a thee.”

“Be that as it may, I think Ye will find that the most common word in The Bible is, in fact, the.”

“So we’ve circled back on ourselves,” Laverne groaned. “How do we bring this to an end?

“Here’s a crazy idea: add a The.”

The End

Same Difference

Dictionary | Definition of Dictionary by Merriam-Webster

In this age of doublespeak, I’ve come up with alternative definitions for the following:

burger: what a tiger says when it’s cold

understandable: what a bull whisperer is paid to do

dresser: a personal valet’s job

earring: tinnitus

tumour: ordering another round for you and a mate

former: ordering a round of doubles for you and a mate

forests: bracelets

tracking: Usain Bolt

parking: Tiger Woods

blinking: Kanye West

bonking: Hugh Hefner

mismanagement: the yellow Tic Tac

permits: gloves for stroking your cat

whisky: very much like a whisk

fetish: not unlike a fet

sofa: up until now

mastered: everyone taking a dump at the same time

Hebrew: Jewish beer

ornate: have you considered Nate?

window: what gamblers hope to do

papal: directions for using a slot machine

president: the resulting damage when a gift is dropped

icon: mirage

painting: what you see a doctor for in Jamaica

terrier: more like Terry than Terry

school: fine by me

Romania: the latest rowing craze

Slovak: Vak with a low IQ

Budapest: Siddhartha Gautama’s interminable chanting

miming: in reply to Which of your vases do you treasure most?

presume: before the jet engine

confound: the recapture of an escaped convict

subdued: cool underwater mariner

analogue: proctologist’s casebook

duplicity: New York, New York

catholic: person with an abnormal dependence on cats

popsicle: father’s scythe

abundance: twerking

distant: scorned sister of your father

tantric: skin bronzer

carnation: USA

statutory: bust of Winston Churchill

psychopath: trail for the insane

francophone: telecommunication handset for Spanish generals

bisect: niche cult for those who swing both ways

comradeship: Potemkin

mango: “I believe the gentleman’s leaving”

sarcasm: existential void that existed between Nikolai II and his people

oxymoron: air-head

sensible: have Cybill go

freedom: what Lincoln did

mannequin: psychotic relatives

extrovert: former trovert

anti-matter: regarding your uncle’s wife

fireplace: the boss’s office

boomerang: a Hallowe’en dessert

numismatist: the former mismatist’s replacement

hot tub: a sexy overweight person

independent: a locally crafted necklace often sold at music festivals

mariner: what a hillbilly will be doing once the farmer learns his daughter’s expecting

naughty: what your grandmother keeps in that flask behind the bread tin

barbecue: the nod for Ken to make his move

Constantinople: the inability to abide a certain colourful gemstone

mystical: a burlesque entertainer who titillated patrons with her feathered boa

collar: Mother’s Day advice