While working on a rhyme, by wordplay I was inspired
I mused why a bicycle cannot stand alone; it is two tired.
I know that once you are gone you have lost your final say
But the fact remains that a will is still a dead giveaway.
Although I was distracted, I knew it could be worse –
I was learning that a backward poet writes inverse.
Words bumped and shouldered as a marina thick with boats.
A democracy means your vote counts; in feudalism, your Count votes.
Once I had gotten started I wrote with true devotion
A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
I tried to write without wordplay, my pen was sore distressed,
If you do not pay your exorcist, you can be repossessed.
I grabbed a fresh sheet, dove back in as inspiration beckons
When a clock is hungry, it always goes back four seconds.
Sometimes the meter plays hard to get, so I have to fudge it
You will be stuck with your debt if you find you cannot budge it.
Each new pun hits my mind with a clap like stormy thunder
I wonder if a Local Area Network in Sydney is The LAN down under.
I think of the midget fortuneteller, escaped from a prison barge,
Who now is on the loose – a small medium, at large.
The awful puns are taking over, invading all the space in my brain.
If you jump off a bridge in Paris, you have to be in Seine.
The puns stopped for a bit, one of those long pregnant pauses,
Then resumed by reminding me elves were subordinate clauses.
I scribbled and wrote as the stack of puns continued to grow.
Bakers will trade recipes if you really knead to know.
My desk was littered; my manuscript was now a mess,
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
The puns overcame me, for a moment I thought I smothered.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
I was not raised to be a quitter, never allowed to be a whiner.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.
By now you have guessed, my writing has become encumbered.
I cannot help that all of a calendar’s days are numbered.
I would just use them up! Then I would be free!
He broke into song because he could not find the key.
When I finally came to the end, I would feel sweet,
So let me just say a boiled egg is hard to beat.
This was working, this was working just fine!
A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.
I was rounding the curve, I had outlasted the trend –
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
So I am sorry for this lexicon graphic form of battery,
Because a plateau is also a high form of flattery.
I could breathe fresh air again, when once I was enveloped.
I had a photographic memory, which was never developed.
Only a few more to go, I was certain I would cry.
When she saw her first gray hairs, she thought that she would dye.
I could now see the desk top; the pile was now so small!
When you have seen one shopping center, you have seen a mall.
I was nearly finished; here was the next to last one!
Acupuncture can be best described as a jab well done.
Therefore, I finally ended my poem, victory tasted oh so sweet –
Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
Two time Pushcart nominee Christopher Reilley is the former poet laureate of Dedham, MA. He can be found reading and browsing in Worcester, MA. His third collection, One Night Stanzas, is now available from Big Table Publishing.
Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.