Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Praying Mantis


One hot day I was playing outside,
When all of a sudden, something green I spied.
A big praying mantis stood as still as could be,
Cocking his head quite intelligently.

His head looked like a martian’s,
His eyes bulged out like beads,
But his knowing, calm expression,
Made me feel at ease.

I told my heart to beat more slowly,
And my fears, they did subside.
I saw a sweet look on his face—
So sweet, I could have cried.

I thought that we’d begun to breach
The gulf between man and beast.
We’d go down in history—
My alien friend and the civilized me.

He opened his mouth as if to speak,
And I inclined my head for a closer peek.
If I could decode this message concealed,
The secrets of the universe would soon be revealed.

As I drew closer
To lessen the space,
He drew his limbs inward…
And jumped in my face!!!!

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Romilar and Bachegaloupe

Hampster on Swing

This poem is dedicated to my sister, Lois, and our niece, Vanessa.

The day my poor dog
Fi-Fi died,
I moped all day
And whined and cried.

We went to the pet shop
To get a small pet,
But I didn’t want fish,
Because fish are too wet.

We couldn’t get mice
Because they look like rats,
And my Mom is afraid
Of rats and bats.

Well, hampsters aren’t rats,
And they look more like mice,
And they’re not at all scrawny—
They’re pudgy and nice.

Only two left,
So we bought the deuce—
Both males, said the man,
So no kin they’ll produce.

We brought them both home
And built a small coop,
Naming them Romilar
And Bachegaloup.

They stood on my shoulders
And crawled around in my shirt,
And out in the yard,
I made them tunnels of dirt.

That whole summer long,
They never got bored,
But once school started,
My two friends I ignored.

I faithfully tended
To their little needs,
Giving them water
And feeding them seeds.

Although I felt guilty
About losing touch,
They certainly didn’t seem
To need me that much.

Then one day when
I was changing their litter,
I saw some pink toys
All in a flitter.

My Mom was surprised
When she saw those pink toys—
So Romilar and Bachegaloup
Aren’t both boys!

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An Uplifting Experience


One day in November when the weather turned cruel,
My brother and I were returning from school.
We jumped off the school bus and ran down the block,
But we couldn’t get in—the door was locked!

We knocked at the door ‘til our knuckles were red,
But Mom didn’t respond from her snooze on the bed.
So we banged and we shouted, ‘til we could do so no more;
It was then that we heard the mighty roar of Mom’s snore.

What do you do
When it’s twenty degrees,
And the cold is biting
Your nose and your knees?

My brother, who was older and smarter than me,
Said the back kitchen window should open easily.
We ran out back, but the window was high,
And to me it seemed as high as the sky.

He boosted me up with all of his might,
And I pushed up on the window, but it was shut too tight.
Just then Mom opened the door that we’d tried,
And my brother let go, and he ran inside.

I thought I would fall flat on my face,
But somehow I stayed suspended in space.
The hook from the clothesline under the sill,
Grabbed the belt from my stomach, preventing my spill.

The belt bit my ribs as I squeaked like a mouse,
My stomach was plastered to the side of the house.
After what seemed like a year or two,
Mom opened the window and pulled me on through.

That the doomed shall be saved,
And the lost shall be found,
Is the wisdom I’ve gleaned,
From just hanging around.

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Ode to Sugar

Calico Cat

Sugar’s the cat who lives next door,
And sneaks onto the porch and sprawls on the floor.
She sheds her fur all over the place,
And it floats through the air and sticks to my face.

She meows real loud when she sees me each day,
As if I’d been hiding—not wanting to play.
She claws at my clothes when I wear something nice;
“Don’t kiss her,” Mom says, “’cuz Sugar’s got lice.”

She sleeps in our window box each day for hours,
Not caring one bit that she’s ruining our flowers.
She’s scratched the “Wel” off the “Welcome” from the mat by the door,
And that’s why Dad says Sugar’s welcomed no more.

“Danged Cat!,” shouts my Dad, waving the broom,
As she bolts off the porch like a bat out of June.
But she skulks back again, even though Dad’s been rude,
Biting her fleas and sniffing for food.

Mom says if I kiss you, I’ll surely get worms,
But that’s only fair since you don’t mind my germs.
You like when I sing in my silliest voice.
As the cutest of kitties, you’re my number one choice.

I laugh when you lick your spread-apart toes,
Or you spray a cute sneeze through your calico nose.
So when no one’s around, I sneak you a snack,
Kiss your cute nose, and hope you’ll come back.

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The Goochey-Wa


This just in:  Glorietta Schmalkov, International philanthropist and President of the Goochey-Wa Subsidiary of Universal Motors, arrived at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, just minutes ago.  She is to be the Guest of Honor at a reception tonight following the International Peace Symposium.  More news to follow.

To be truthful, I got my Ph.d for all the wrong reasons. I’m a working class intellectual and that’s pretty much the way I like it. Did I have something to prove?  Well, not exactly, but because I had always been with so many people who had doctorates, some people used to assume that I had one, too. I would feel a sense of depreciation when I’d have to set the record straight, and then watch, in my mind’s eye, the fickle needle of their “estimometer” bob downwards. Plus, after a while, it just became an issue of relative deprivation.  Having a Ph.d, though, is most thrilling for me because now, when people say, “Oh, Dr. Schmalkov…,” I can interject with an unassuming “Just call me Glorietta!”  Ah, such understated largess!  Now that’s real class!

But this is where my story begins.  I was invited to present my doctoral dissertation at a foreign language conference which was being held in a southwestern university.  I had rented a car at the airport and after what seemed like a long time of driving through a rocky lunar landscape of dusty white caliche, the GPS directed me onto a narrow gravel road which quickly descended into what looked like a giant excavation.  I slowed down and found a small patch of level surface, and very gingerly tried to make an economical “K” turn.  The left back wheel took a crunchy dip, and now the whole car was sliding precipitously backwards down a scree slope.  Uuufff!  My head banged against the door as the car flipped over. Everything went black. When I opened my eyes, there were some University security guards there who knew who I was. Although I was somewhat shaken by the experience, I was so relieved by the presence of this one guard in particular.  He was so nice and lighthearted, and he told me not to worry, that what I needed was a Goochey-Wa.  “A Goochey What?” I’d asked.  He repeated, “A Goochey-Wa!”  He explained that it was a new Japanese contraption, a lightweight motorcycle that was equipped with towing winches (for lack of a better term) and special tires that could crawl up and down the sides of ravines thanks to a system of anteater-like tongue apparatuses on the surface of the wheels.   These skinny, rubbery tongue-like lashes could be ejected and retracted up to one hundred and fifty times a minute from the surface of the tires upon contact with the terrain. Once these “tongues” were deployed, they could quickly snake around and pry themselves into little cracks and chinks, thereby stabilizing the vehicle as it navigated just about any terrain in which it found itself.  It was solar powered, and made no noise. There were no hooks on a Goochey-Wa, because this baby didn’t drag anything—it gently picked up its prize and carried it off. Nothing got shoddy treatment.  Why?  Because the towing winch, called a “flowing winch,” was nothing as  analog as a reel and pulley system. These cables were more like whips which jettisoned forth from a large vertical protuberance from the center of the motorcycle which also happened to be the back support of the driver’s seat. These long whips, just like the material on the wheels, were made from a special nanorubber, perfect for rescuing dead vehicles, desperate people, and panicked animals. This nanorubber had special galvanic properties–when stimulated by the least amount of moisture, it had the ability to cling electrostatically to just about anything, even a sheer rock wall. When it was in action, the Goochey-Wa looked like a crazed sea anemone gone fly fishing. “Yep,” said that nice, sweet security guard, “what you need, Dr. Schmalkov, is a Goochy-Wa.” “Just call me Glorietta,” I said.

I woke up in the hospital babbling about the Goochey-Wa. They told me that I had been comatose ever since my head had hit the door. I was incoherent at first, but then, although I remember none of what initially took place in the hospital, they tell me that I demanded to see the President and CEO of Universal Motors immediately to tell her about my Goochey-Wa.  Not only did I appear lucid enough to describe in detail what I had seen and heard in the coma, but I also had a top-notch patent attorney retained on my behalf to be present at this meeting.  They tell me that I negotiated an air-tight deal for myself in which I would be the President and CEO of Universal Motors’ new subsidiary, Guchey-Wa, and that I and my designated heirs would retain perpetual, exclusive rights to the manufacture, sale and use of the Guchey-Wa.  The World Court would ensure that the Goochey-Wa would only be used for peacetime activities and never for violence, the exploitation of people, animals or the environment, or for any other nefarious deeds whatsoever.

What did I do when I really regained my full consciousness?  I laughed with incredulous joy! My husband was there and he told me everything that had happened.  I almost didn’t believe him, so he showed me the picture in the New York Times (the online version, of course), and sure enough, there was a picture of me wearing earrings, lipstick and a string of pearls.  Although it wasn’t my best picture, I have to admit that the accessories really jazzed up that hospital gown.

“Thank you so much, Dr. Schmalkov, for this fascinating interview.”

“It was my pleasure.  And…just call me Glorietta.”

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