INTERVAL ONE: Eight Eights

Robin Helweg-Larsen: I Started Out Alone

I started out alone
With no numbers and no words.
The people gave me food and clothes.
I loved the sun and birds.

And when I reach the end
Numbers and words all done,
Have to be fed and dressed again,
I’ll love the birds and sun.

(First published Bewildering Stories, 2019)

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Russel Winick: Criticism

If someone criticizes me
I’ll ponder what they say,
And if I deem their point well taken
Try to change my way.

But if I judge their criticism
As unfair to me,
I’ll keep on doing what I do,
Concluding “C’est la vie!”

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Steven Kent: Plowman’s Nightmare

My farm was famous for its yields,
But now the county wants the land.
I know they plan to force my hand
And redevelop all the fields.

Soon gaudy mansions will be there
On streets they’ll give a rural theme
Like Peach Farm Way and Plowman’s Dream
And Apple Blossom Thoroughfare.

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Duncan Lawrence: Art Appreciation In The Tate 1968

We were shuffling round the works on show, in reverential awe,
Admiring all the pieces by that sculptor, Henry Moore.
When cutting through the crowds strode this ordinary dude
Who dealt a monumental blow to a bronze, reclining nude.
The loud, resounding “DONG” well, it shocked us to the core.
As the reverberations ended, that cat was out the door.
I’ve forgotten all the artworks through the intervening years
But that Christ Almighty! clanger is still ringing in my ears.

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Pat D’Amico: Decorative Duct Tape

I’ve heard it said in many homes
That those who have Y chromosomes
Are programmed so they can’t escape
And must, at all times, have duct tape.
While those whose chromosomes are X
Regard this as a bit complex.
But interference would be wasteful.
If it must be, let it be tasteful.

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Alexander Blustin: The Night Clerk

Moon, your sly, month-long wink
Implies you're in on it; you know.
You up there, grey powder-face, hello?
We'd like to ask, but off you slink.

What are we supposed to think -
Discretion or hypocrisy?
The colour of bureaucracy,
You slip away through seas of ink.

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Janice Canerdy: Unintended Consequence

I see two ladies in a weight-loss ad.
The model on the left looks much like me.
She’s frowning, clearly on the chubby side;
the other’s smiling, slender as can be.

The frowner on the left seems sad and hungry!
I bet Ms Slender is a heartless judge
of women who aren't skinny as a rail.
The sight of her just makes me want some fudge.

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Daniel Galef: Monsters of the Imagination

That howling you hear is
a dastardly warlock,
that underground rumbling’s
an oyster-skinned Morlock,
the creak in the floorboards,
bald, long-fanged Count Orlok—
The knock at the door
is a Person from Porlock.

Porlock Weir Somerset (harbour) with three boats