Thursday, May 18, 2017

Schadenfreude/Jubilation Companion Poems

Whenever you look to buy something new,
Like a cool t-shirt or a nice pair of shoes,
Someone will tell you to say adieu
To your new purchases, but please pull through;
You know they won't bring any joy that is true,
But those shorts are on sale and they look good on you, too!
It's been said way too much that money turns you askew,
So do what you want and do what is you.

Alright, you get it, you've been told to see through
The evils of materialism and all it can do.
So what are you supposed to do in lieu
Of indulging yourself in your earned revenue?
You can kiss your beloved or enjoy a nice view;
You can fall in love in an old wood canoe
You can hug your best friend or laugh at a baby's "achoo!"
You can frolic in the flowers (you always loved that peacock blue);
But let's be honest, and I'm no guru,
That those who believe in fake happiness are far and few.
No one knows true joy, and we all know it's true.
No one is fooling themselves; we have more than a clue.
There is no escape from Earth's dark rendezvous,
So why not just buy those overpriced shoes?

College Rejection Letter

"this is not a reflection of you,"
says the black ink
on the white page
on a tuesday night,
"we're so sorry we can't let you in."

the letter looks better
with miserable tears
blurring out the original words.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ron's Shoe - A Dialogue Poem

“Did you eat Ron’s shoe?”
I sternly ask my dog, Brett.
I know it wasn’t old Georgie
(he’s too, well, old).
And it couldn’t have been little Angel
(she’s too, well, angelic).
That leaves the final suspect
(he’s a newcomer to the scene).
Brett’s had me pulling my hair out for weeks now
With his constant bouts of trouble
So when I ask who ate Ron’s shoe,
“Woof,” is all Brett can confess, “Woof woof.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Grave Situation - Inspired by Dylan Thomas

I wish I had a pun for this situation.
Everyone is so serious and it’s making me nervous.
Don’t you want to hear a joke for this grave cremation?


Yes, I’ll contribute to the familial donation,
And of course I’ll attend the woeful church service,
But I really wish I had a pun for this situation.


I hardly knew the man; I was on a long vacation,
So I won’t cry when the old guy gets put in the furnace.
Oh come on, don’t you want to hear a joke for this grave cremation?


I don’t appreciate your apathy accusations.
I simply don’t enjoy an emotional catharsis
And I wish I had a pun for this situation.


Why can’t death be a fun celebration?
Let’s focus on his life, not my supposed neurosis.
Now don’t you want to hear a joke for this grave cremation?


Worship his work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Or the crazy way he talked about his dog being anthropomorphous.
I just wish I had a pun for this situation.
Don’t you want to hear a joke for this grave cremation?

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Creature

Deep in a creek there’s a creature that reeks.
Not a Greek myth or an antique gift from the stone age,
Not to tweak with or to play hide and seek with or engage.
It’s a funny little thing but it’ll kill you in a second.
No frills, no thrills, no goodwill, and they’re found in Quebec, and
They say it was invented by the bay just down the way
By a scientist whose science is a bouquet of crazy.
Well not a scientist, really, but rather another funny thing:
It was a giant alien cyclops the size of a triceratops
Who has a biomed degree he probably faked in photoshop.
The miniature creature will lure you in with song;
A long song so strong it'll make you come along.
No sense of right or wrong,
Not legal in Guangdong,
A fear of Neil Armstrong’s.
So if you find yourself in Canada make sure you have some stamina
To avoid the monster doctor's concoction like some vague pneumonic plague,
Or you'll suffer a fate more unfortunate than the mills of Amoskeag.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Marty McFly (Back to the Future) and Joel Robinson (Mystery Science Theater 3000)

MARTY: So this is the future?
JOEL: Well, the not too distant future...
MARTY: This isn't right! I have to be back in 1985! Where are we???
JOEL: Um...it's a bit difficult to explain.
MARTY: What do you mean?
JOEL: Well, I'm sort of trapped on this space craft. The Satellite of Love, actually. And I'm forced to watch these bad movies, really bad. Worst of all time. So--
MARTY: Wait, wait, what? Why?
JOEL: These mad scientists are trying to see what movies will cause insanity to take over the world. So anyway, I built these robots to help me get through them. Which means that all the spare parts are gone, so we're all stuck here.
MARTY: This is heavy.
JOEL: Oh, don't worry! We have fun up here...kind of...
MARTY: I need to go, I have a whole life on Earth in 1985! How did I even get up here?
JOEL: I'd love to help you, but the next movie is starting!  We have to go!
MARTY: I don't want to watch a movie, I want to get home.
JOEL: It won't be so bad. At least it's not "Manos:" Hands of Fate.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Tragicomedy of Stewart Willis

“5.2 million dollars?” cried Stewart as he lied in his fifty thousand dollar bed. He threw his thirty two thousand dollar phone across the room, wincing as he saw a glint of broken glass fall to the floor when it fell to the floor. Oh well. He can just buy another one.
Wait a minute, no he can’t. He’s 5.2 million dollars in debt.
As a popular nineties sitcom star, Stewart Willis had always lived a life of luxury. His favorite thing to do was spend, and it was no problem; residuals were still coming in from late night reruns. Though he had lost his popularity with the new age, for some reason people simply could not give up the cheesiness and forced comedy of Bidets of Our Lives, so Stewart continued to shovel his money into the furnace of materialism. Although he loved money, however, he was not very smart with it. This was probably why he had found himself in 5.2 million dollars in debt.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Boogeyman - Inspired by The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

The kids were fast asleep in their den,
Their parents up late watching Cutthroat Kitchen,
The dog squeaked his monkey toy and constantly pawed at it,
And the boogeyman came creeping--
Creeping--creeping--
The boogeyman came creeping out of the kids’ small closet.


“Mom!” cried the youngest, in fear for his life,
While the oldest ran to her desk for her handy pocket knife,
And the middle simply froze, shaken to his core,
And the boogeyman started banging,
He would not stop his banging,
The boogeyman kept banging against the closet door.


The mom looked at the dad and told him, “Your turn,”
While the dad sighed and paused the Food Network rerun.
He dragged his feet to their room; they do this every night.
But as he begged the children to go to sleep,
Please, just go to sleep,
The boogeyman still was knocking and gave the dad a fright.


“Barbara!” yelled the dad, not believing his eyes,
“It's your turn, Craig!” screamed the mom, not wanting her comfort jeopardized,
Then some silence ensued, till the mom got up and groaned,
And trudged to the kid’s room,
Trudged unhappily to their room,
Trudged in to see and her family as pale and still as gravestones.


There is no boogeyman!” exclaimed Barbara, turning the light on with a flicker,
But she whipped open the closet door and saw a strange hooded figure.
She rolled her eyes and ratted out the mischievous boogeyman to keep him at bay.
She already knew mischievous boogeyman,
The mischievous boogeywoman:
“Your sister is home from college, and it's April Fool’s Day!”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two People Are Leaving a Building

Two people are leaving a building. No, wait, scratch that. Two people are fleeing a building. Sandra and David emerged from the prison as they waited for the deafening sirens to snitch them out for their master prison-break. By the time this occurred, however, the couple was far enough away to know that they were free. They were picked up in their friend's getaway car, making out the whole way to their sparkling piles of stolen gold jewelry that would make Scrooge McDuck seem like a common bum. Sandra and David slid the car door shut and held hands as they frolicked into the warehouse that had sheltered their loot. No one could find them here. Hand in hand, the couple descended into their gold pile and looked at the rusty, mysteriously stained roof. Jesus could walk on water, but Sandra and David were walking on gold. As the couple lied down in their treasure and gazed into each others eyes, they realized that there was nothing more romantic than spending a Tuesday evening breaking out of jail with your beloved.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meet Minnie Bonnaire


  1. She is seventy-five years old
  2. She is a retired cruise ship captain but now works as a fortune cookie writer
  3. She lives alone in a small apartment in Saint Petersburg, Florida
  4. She has three cats and four dogs
  5. She has two birds, Reggie and Sampson
  6. She has a fear of confrontation
  7. She is secretly insanely wealthy
  8. She has short and curly graying red hair
  9. She is terrible at art but she does it anyway
  10. Her favorite show is Arrested Development
Minnie Bonnaire loves giving the illusion that she lives a peaceful life, but she hates actually living one. She wakes up to the sweet sounds of her birds, Reggie and Sampson, having a conversation about how much they love each other. Or hate each other. She can't really tell, but it sounds nice. After making her bed, she heads to the kitchen to make some breakfast. She always burns her toast, but she blames it on her toaster rather than her negligence in favor of her rambunctious clan of cats and dogs. Life was simple enough so far, but this was only the first half hour of a very long day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Character’s Answers to Insightful Questions (Minnie Bonnaire)


  1. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A soft knitted quilt
  1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A life without animals
  1. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Oh heavens, Come on now, I know a book/movie/show/quote that reminds me of this...
  1. Which talent would you most like to have?
To be a great chef
  1. Who is your hero of fiction?
Lisa Simpson
  1. What is your greatest fear?
Awkward situations with other people
  1. What is your greatest extravagance?
My plants
  1. When and where were you happiest?
Visiting Disney World for the first time as a young girl
  1. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My pets
  1. What is your favorite occupation?
Fortune Cookie Writer

Renee’s Answers to Insightful Questions

  1. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Those magic shades for windows that lift up (you know how)
  1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Fahrenheit 451 book burnings
  1. Which talent would you most like to have?
Chef
  1. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Indeed, Oh my goodness
  1. Who is your hero of fiction?
African American pirate from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ode to a Librarian

Behind every Great Gatsby,
Every Cat’s Hat,
Every Sorcerer's Stone,
There is a librarian who cares.
As Swift as Jonathan,
As many Hughes of happiness as Langston
As much magical Frost as Robert.
You are our Giver,
Our Greatest Expectation,
Our Adventure in Wonderland.
You are our librarian.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ode to Mr. Loesch

You lead the classroom with the strength of Sparta
And teach us with the wisdom of Athens.
You guide us with a heart warmer than a Chicago summer
And a wit sharper than a Chicago winter.
More poetic than the rains of London,
More loving than the brotherly love of Philadelphia.
And like Alexandria, the pearl of the Mediterranean
You are a pearl of Trinity High School.

Sonnet for Movie Theaters

There’s something magical about movies
That connects humanity far and near.
But there’s magic not found on DVDs
For that, I go to the movie theater.
I buy twenty dollars worth of theater food.
That’s a small popcorn and a fountain drink.
But even though draining my wallet sours my mood,
“I Want You Back,” just like boy band NSYNC.
Watching new movies on a home TV
Is just not the same and just upsets me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Junk Drawer

Tasoula Michelakis’s Junk Drawer
  1. Scuffed up plastic sunglasses from a family trip to Wisconsin Dells
  2. A two dollar bill with a smiley face drawn on in sharpie
  3. A small cheap action figure from an old Burger King kids meal.
  4. A travel sized bottle of conditioner that was a prize from a carnival last summer.
  5. A spork.
  6. A box that used to have chalk in it but is now filled with tiny colorful nubs.
  7. A black GameCube controller.
  8. A now scentless air freshener.
  9. A hair brush for dogs.
  10. A dried up pink sharpie.


Tasoula was known for many things, but being neat was not one of them. Although she appreciated the way that a junk drawer can tell a strange, fragmented life story, opening it up was always a tedious task, and her heart beat fast every time as she anticipated how much of its contents might explode out. She jerked the drawer until it finally became unwedged from the GameCube controller she had hidden there years ago to keep her siblings from begging to be player two. As she studied its contents, searching for the Sharpie she knew was in there, she noticed a strangely contorted piece of bright yellow plastic. Suddenly waves of red overtook her vision as she recognized the villain: a spork. Why was there a spork in her drawer? She hated sporks. The prongs are too tiny to be an effective fork and too painful to be an effective. They’re just so dumb and pretentious. Sporks are not fun. They are not helpful. They are not contributing to society. She picked up the fork and threw it away. Such a vile utensil has no place even in a draw as junk-filled as Tasoula’s.

We Are All Movie Stars

The galaxy is a movie,
And we are its stars,
But we never considered
Who could be watching.
Is it God?
Maybe.
Santa Claus?
Probably not.
What I think
Is that there is an alien out there somewhere
Who sits through every war,
Every romance,
Every underdog,
Every single one of humanity’s stories,
With a bag of popcorn
And a photo of their favorite human
Hoping to someday meet them,
Get their autograph,
And tell them how much they love them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Real Estate

Being a a real estate agent in such a mudpile of an economy has never been easy, but I think today is the day I finally quit. It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and earlier today I was setting up a newly renovated house after the poor thing was the victim of a drugs bust about a year back. Since then, the cocaine has been removed from the walls, the neighbors have forgotten those blaring police sirens at 2 am, and Old Man Shallenberg has “moved out.” As I breathed in my signature lilac air freshener, I added lemon circles to the water pitchers and headed to the doorway to greet visitors for today’s open house. This was my favorite part of the job: the house is empty, I am wrapped in the artificialness of my off brand Febreze, and I can just pray that someone is feeling adventurous enough to buy. As I basked in my scheduled five minutes of peace, I heard a faint screeching sound. Weird, but I didn’t care enough to investigate. The sound grew louder, however, and I recognized the sound to be music. Screamo music. Surely Old Man Shallenberg would not have had any screamo records laying around, and being a lover of jazz I knew it wasn’t me. This might have made for a great story, but I am not a storyteller. I ran into the kitchen to retrieve my air freshener and bolted. There is just no way I am dealing with some emo teen ghost. I smacked down the open house sign on the lawn and kicked off my heels as I sprinted down the street, my heart pounding out of fear and how out of shape I am. It was then that I realized two things: One, thank god that my Fitbit is charged, Susan at reception can eat my dust. And two, a career in real estate is just not for me.


Whatever.


I hear Baby Gap is hiring.

I Don't Understand

I don’t understand
Why parents let their children watch Caillou
Why Kidz Bop has so many albums
Why there are five films too many in the Sharknado franchise.
And I really don’t understand
Why good shows get cancelled while The Big Bang Theory is still on air
Why Nickelback was ever a thing
Why people thought La La Land was a good movie.
Somehow, however, I understand
Why television is not a graveyard of brain cells
Why music is found in the bones of humanity
Why cinema is still alive.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Palimpsest

You were there
As I entered the gates,
Waiting for my painted face
To light up with delight.
I would wait for you,
And you would wait for me,
And together we were happy.


You were there
As I stood before you,
Listening to your wisdom
To ensure that you were safe
And I was safe,
So that together we could be happy.


Yet as time went on,
As pages on the calendar fell like petals,
You still were there,
And I was not.
The world went on,
And you did not.

I entered the gates,
Waiting with my painted face
To light up with delight.
I ran to you,
And you were not there.


Irreplaceable, yet replaced.
Unforgettable, yet forgotten.
Young, yet too old.

Because for some reason Universal Studios thought it would be a good idea
To just up and get rid of the iconic “Back to the Future: The Ride” and
Replace it.
Yes, replace it.
Replace you, my love,
With The Simpsons Ride.

The Simpsons Ride.

The freaking Simpsons Ride.

As I entered the gates,
With an unpainted face
Dimly lit with content
I ran to where you once were,

And I noticed that Universal Studios was trying to be slick

And put Back to the Future references into the freaking Simpsons Ride.
But when my vision cooled,
When my melancholy melted into mere nostalgia,
You were there.

Point of View: Kellyanne Conway vs. Ashlen Trapalis

My Point of View

In a cafeteria as disgusting as this one, you can only expect to find more disgusting things. A shriveled up french fry here, a mysterious grease spot there. But my standards are pretty low, and the amount of dollars in my wallet after ordering more horse head masks off Amazon than I needed is even lower. I can’t afford to be picky. As I walk down the discolored main walkway, avoiding multiple sticky spots and scanning the menu for anything vaguely edible, I realize that this place doesn’t even sell french fries, so I’m not sure what I actually saw back there. Soaking in the grossness of “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash,” I realize that spending one second longer in this dump would be a mortal personal offense, so I decide to take “Cheapo” up on his offer and, well, “Dash” as soon as possible. As I wait for the pimple-faced minimum wage worker who clearly hates his life make my food, I notice a familiar-looking blonde woman sitting on her knees in the corner, hastily scrolling through her iPhone as though any divergence of her thumb would be her doom. Why she is like this, I can’t say, but--wait. Oh my god. Kellyanne Conway? I almost shout to her. What is she doing at “Cheapo’s?” I’m pretty sure this place used to be a landfill. Kellyanne! You work for the president! You’re better than this, babe! God, this is weird. I bet I’m going to be watching The Rachel Maddow Show tomorrow night and discover that there is a whole secret scandal about this place having connections to the White House, just wait. I thought the vileness of “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash” would have ended at the steaming pile of “Burger with Cheese” that the depressingly deflated employee just plopped down on my tray, and yet I am somehow able to find one more disgusting thing.


Kellyanne Conway's Point of View

No one who comes to “Cheapo’s Mash-n-Dash” is going to recognize me here. You cannot tell me that any one of these people has turned on any channel other than TLC. I feel so safe and free; I can do whatever I--No. Nooo no no. Oh no. A teenager just walked in. And a female one, at that. Alright, Kellyanne, just play it cool. I feel sweat drip down my forehead, but I quickly wipe it away as she does some stupid looking dance moves to to avoid the especially grimy spots on the floor. Or maybe that is just what the kids are doing these days, who knows. I make a note to look this up later on. Ha, she just went to push up her glasses but then realized that she wasn’t wearing any; what an idiot. Alright, this is no one to worry about. It does seem as though she is staring at me… Yeah, keep staring like a democrat! I should have stayed with Ted Cruz, I don’t need this! Okay. Okay. Calm down, Kellyanne, calm down. Oh god, is she tweeting? I can’t take another hashtag. If I have to invent one more fake massacre, so help me God, I just might quit.