Posts Tagged ‘joke’

April Fool

Perhaps there is a spaceship where astronauts

grow tomato plants in zero gravity.  Perhaps there is a zip code

where anyone can live, their mail circulating in some imagined zone.

Perhaps instead of a tax refund, I am buying you an air conditioner

or a refrigerator or those teal shoes that you love.

I am leaving them on your front porch, surreptitiously,

for you to find.


Perhaps I am pouring water on you to wake you from sleep,

only it’s a pitcher full of shredded newspaper,

confetti of the displaced, the forlorn,

the slightly out of date.


Perhaps I am beckoning you near with only a whisper,

trying to dump water, soapy and warm,

down the front of your blouse, rendering you rain-

soaked, stained and foolish.


Or maybe I am a lie, a single red tulip,

planted years ago in a patch of dirt beside the house

that bursts forth unexpectedly every year this day.


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One of them says, “Where is that part

of the wooden flat surface that is most

vulnerable to marring and penetration?

Where is the word that indicates such

gentle kindness and is also a pun

meaning the one who mixes the cocktails?”

The other says, “Can I get a Campari

and soda?” The other one says, “Who

wants a shot of pickle brine?” The first

one says, “Why would you put olive

oil in a cocktail?” The first one says

“I’m drinking a drink named for my

people.” The first one says, “You want

the purple door.” The other one says,

“The stairs next to the plaque.” The first

one says, “Let them eat toast!” The second

one whispers, “Parsnips baked with brick.”

The toast is served. All joking ceases.

Seeds are toasted. Applause.

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Cat’s on the Roof

My favorite joke ends with the line, “Mom is up on the roof.”

Earlier, a man asks his brother how to tell a friend that his cat

died. “Break it gently,” he says, advice which tells us how to do

so many things: dump a lover, crack an egg, tell a student that

he’s failing. But there aren’t enough roofs for all the tragedies

that befall us, all the ways the universe thwarts what we want,

substituting instead  what fate ordains should be.

Meanwhile, back in the joke, the brothers still can’t

deal with death. No surprise that my favorite joke has a death

wish: I’m obsessed with it. Daily, fear of death stalks me,

a stealthy cat, pouncing with claws out, or tamely rubbing against

me. In the mundane acts of life, we’re assaulted by profundity.

The punch line is: all of us will die. The joke, in this regard, is true.

The trick is how to get the body off the roof.

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