Sumer is icumen in
lhude sing holy crap it’s hot
it’s so hot
the birds don’t land on the sidewalk
for fear of blistering their tiny feet
so hot
it’s possible to collect enough sweat in a little jar
to pickle an entire egg
so hot
people are posting pictures of cars trapped in snow
and mocking us for complaining about the heat
damn you
damn you to hell
along with the rest of ancient Mesopotamia


When a tooth extraction
goes horribly wrong
and you spend a week downing
so many pain meds
that you’re pretty sure you’ve given yourself an ulcer
and you have to sing in the evening
and it’s 34̊C plus humidity
and your face feels like half of it is melting into a puddle of pain
and the postal lady won’t let you mail your packages
because she says they’re too heavy and they’ll cost you too much and
one of them is going to Japan
for crying out loud
and you have twenty-three customs forms to fill in
plus eighteen more later on
but you can’t concentrate on that because of the appalling pain
and your dentist can’t see you for another forty minutes
generally you just write a terrible poem
and hope for the best.

Almost There

I have climbed the mountain
to the very top
and now I am looking over it
and goddamn it
there’s another mountain
and it’s taller than the first mountain
and has more steep bits
plus a lot of goats
gamboling on its precipices
mocking me

Mysterious Clock

I set you
to go off at 7:00
and you did
according to you
but it was actually 6:30
so where
did the extra half hour
come from?

O Clock of Mystery
let me unlock
your vast insignificance
as a monkey
unlocks a banana

You must mean something
you must mean something
you must mean something
and now it’s 7:48


It’s comforting to think
that the kid who bullied the hell out of you
all through high school
is going to be smacked upside the head
by cosmic forces
and probably end up
dead in a ditch somewhere

But he isn’t

He’s going to continue to be an asshole his entire life
and become the CEO of a company that owns half the earth
and develop an immense contempt
for the crawling little people who are too lazy to achieve his lifestyle
and die at the age of ninety-two
with his teenage bride beside him


Toothless Pain

It was fine
for a day after the extraction
but now it feels as if
someone is slowly
and excruciatingly
setting my jaw on fire

I shouldn’t have laughed in the face of dental pain
and alerted the vengeful tooth demons
to my existence

Forgive me
vengeful tooth demons
for I dearly wish to be able
once again
to chew
on the right side
of my mouth


The stationery store is an insidious fairyland
an otherworldly carnival full of hidden dangers
oh look
it’s a tape dispenser shaped like a frog
I need that
I only have three other tape dispensers
none of them frog-shaped

and there is a ruler
green as poison
while my current ruler
is only clear plastic
I must have it
I must have
the poison-green ruler

and the scissors
O the scissors
the beautiful scissors
in packages of four

if I make it alive
through the thicket of art pens
and emerge winded
near the packing-material wasteland
I must still brave the erasers
and the hole punches
and the ring binders
and the tiny filing cabinets meant for index cards
and if I lay eyes on the coloured paper
I am probably doomed

damn you
stationery store
I do not need another pencil case
but that one is shaped like an orca
and is looking at me
with soulful puppy-whale eyes

Tooth of Wisdom

wisdom tooth
it was sad to see you go
even though you apparently
had a huge cavity
that was eventually going to start hurting
a lot

Now there is only
a gaping hole
that occasionally gushes blood
possibly because I think the stitches fell out like half an hour after the extraction
a gaping hole
that signifies
my heart

My dentist asked me
if I wanted to keep you afterwards
because I guess he once had a patient who got really upset
when the assistant threatened
to throw his tooth away

But I didn’t even bid you farewell

I just went home
and grimaced a lot
since my face was so frozen
that for a long time
I couldn’t even feel my right ear

Brain Fart

She spells her name with an “i”
not a “y”
an “i”
not a “y”
so naturally
I used both
in the same sentence
without realising
and now have to redo a bunch of work
and am sad
so sad
because she spells her name with an “i”
not a “y”
and I
did not notice
the difference