The Orange Predator

I think that this poet never shall see
a predator foul and so smarmy as he.

His fowlish predation is ever so sweet,
he can grope any chick without moving his feet

which, along with his hands, are really quite tiny.
His brain is so small and his mouth is so swiney.

With faked indignation he tries to deny,
though he sees little need for a gal to comply,

or so he told Stern on Stern's radio show,
boasting to Howard like some horny crow.

"I can do what I want because I'm so famous
and handsome and charming and rich and
smart and huge and did I say very very rich and
very very handsome and just very very,"
(laughing Ivanka sits tall by his side,
enabling her father, the snide ignoramus).

Orange refining the meaning of smarmy.
Orange re-whining out lies to his army.

He steps like a goose and cuts down the tall trees,
honking and hinking and fouling the breeze

His lily-white shit that he dumps on the ground
is for Conway to gather and sell by the pound.

But this poet finds peace in the presence of trees,
even the trees that can cause him to sneeze,

and a walk in the forest does help him recoup
the hope and belief that the foul orange dupe

will goose-step and shit such a large smelly mass
that Congress will finally impeach his (not so) small ass.

poems are fashioned by fools like me,
but no one can help the brand new GOP.

by Michael Coolen

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When Michael Coolen was born, he swears he heard Thus Spake Zarathustra blasting in the delivery room. His father said he didn't cry when he arrived. He sang "sounding just a teeny like an opera by Bellini." In addition to published writings, Michael is also a published composer with works performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, MoMA, and the Christie Gallery... without having to rent any of them himself.


Who'll Be Chief Scorner?

Who'll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove.
Who Killed Cock Robin?

Who'll be chief scorner?
I, said the Critic,
With barbs analytic,
I'll be chief scorner.

Who'll settle the will?
I, said the Lawyer.
Ms. Thrush? I'll destroy her.
Then I'll send in my bill.

Who'll write the obit?
I, quacked the Hack.
I, who know jack,
I'll write the obit.

Who says, I told you so?
I, said the Teacher.
Me and the Preacher,
We told him so.

Who'll gloat without shame?
The Angler affirms:
He stole my worms;
I'll gloat without shame.

Who'll sully his name?
I, cried the Prude.
His very name's rude,
Yet he ducked all blame.

Who'll build on his grave?
I, said Big Business.
Progress is progress.
We'll build and we'll pave.

Who'll rub out all trace?
I, said Fox Robin.
No sense in sobbin'.
Gone to ground's no disgrace.

by Dan Campion

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Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press) and coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press) and has contributed poems to Able Muse, Light, Measure, Poetry, and many other magazines and anthologies. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.


Sea Leaver

I must get back to the land again, the realm of fields and sheep,
And shun this heaving nightmare, the so-called rolling deep.
Why did I move from Ledbury, near Langland's Malvern Hills,
Where I walked out and whistled, not puked and took pink pills?

I must go up on the deck again, to those slime-encrusted planks
And the boat's roll and the bosun's role? No sanguinary thanks!
I must stay away from the sea for good, as it only makes me vomit
And leaves my head in a ghastly state so I can't tell cleat from grommet.

The way out? Not the marlinspike, but certainly the pen
And salty reminiscences (with omissions now and then
Like the nausea, almost constant, lads' unsavory shore-leave morals)
Pave the path to published glory, sherry butts, and royal laurels.

by Jerome Betts

Sea Heaver

I must bend over the side again and spew out a meal or three.
The sea goes on giving this ghastly gift, and I give it back to the sea.
And all I ask is a steady deck, so my skin doesn't prickle and pale,
And no queasy lurch undoes my gut and drapes me over the rail.

I must escape this clammy despair that has touched every pore with its kiss.
As dry heaves wrack me, I gag and gasp that death would be better than this.
And all I ask is a patch of scop to stick on the side of my neck
So the swells that judder the ship don't drive me to pray for a fatal wreck.

I must stay home from the sea next time, to spare me this hellish ordeal.
I couldn't feel worse if Captain Bligh were hauling me under the keel.
And all I ask is a Muse that doesn't steer me back to the ocean
And make me sick all over again with its churning, choppy motion.

by Chris O'Carroll

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Jerome Betts edits Lighten Up Online, the quarterly verse webzine (www.lightenup-online.co.uk) from his Devon (England) fastness or slowness, near, but never on, the sea, and contributes to Light, Snakeskin, The Asses of Parnassus, and other repositories of wit and mirth.

Chris O'Carroll is a Light featured poet and a contributor to The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge. His poems have appeared in Barefoot Muse, Bumbershoot, Iambs & Trochees, Shot Glass, Snakeskin, Thunder Sandwich, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Unsplendid (no kidding, those are real poetry journal names).


Julia's Reply

Whenas in silks my Julia goes...?
It pleased the poet, I suppose,
To versify my furbelows.

No Puritan, or too strait-laced,
I did, though, think it in poor taste
From one who claimed his life was chaste.

It irked me how his eyes would note
What lay 'neath gown and petticoat,
Less godly priest than parish goat!

by Jerome Betts


Whenas in jeans my Julia dances,
My yearning for some hot romance is
A thing her dance-floor flair enhances.

As denim-clad her hips she swings,
The curves to which the fabric clings,
Write hymns my eager bloodstream sings.

Tormented by the flames she's fanned,
I'm out of luck. I understand
She's dating some guy in the band.

by Chris O'Carroll

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Jerome Betts edits Lighten Up Online, the quarterly verse webzine (www.lightenup-online.co.uk) from his Devon (England) fastness or slowness, near, but never on, the sea, and contributes to LightSnakeskinThe Asses of Parnassus, and other repositories of wit and mirth.

Chris O'Carroll is a Light featured poet and a contributor to The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge. His poems have appeared in Barefoot MuseBumbershootIambs & TrocheesShot GlassSnakeskinThunder SandwichTilt-a-Whirl, and Unsplendid (no kidding, those are real poetry journal names).



How do I outgrow thee? Let me count the ways.
I outgrow thee to the depth and breadth and bulk
My rear can reach when spreading out of sight
From the best Godivas and crème brûlée.
I outgrow thee to the level of every day's
Perilous ounce on scale and upper thigh.
I outgrow thee fat-freely, with scores of Baked Lays.
I outgrow thee purely, with no artificial sweeteners.
I outgrow thee with the passion put to use
In my new marriage and its Date Night pizzas.
I outgrow thee with fleshy rolls I thought I'd lost
In adolescence—with the pudge, pinch, and body-shaming
Of all my nightmares. And this I know surely:
Thou shall but fit me less well after washing.

by Alice Batt

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Alice Batt lives with 3 males (one grown and two nearly grown) in fewer than 1,200 square feet. Her life is a mind-numbing buzz of computer-game trivia, "percussion vs. tuba" rivalries, and roundhouse kicks to the head (not her own head, usually). For fun she spews invectives at Austin traffic and tries not to get thrown into fences by thoroughbreds.