The POTW: Verse Til It Hurts


POTW #705
(Week of 29 November, 2009)

I got a new alarm clock yesterday, to replace the one I'd been using since sometime in the 1980s. There are many nice features - it has great big numbers so I can (sort of) read it with my glasses off, it sets the time on its own by some mysterious voodoo, it has battery backup memory, and so on. Quite thrilling, as alarm clocks go. But there's one thing that bugs me, which is that every once in a while it changes the display to temporarily show the radio station the alarm is tuned to, instead of the time of day, thus confusing my gullible self into thinking it's seven forty when it really isn't. I cannot imagine any good reason it would be designed for this sort of behavior, nor is there any mention of it in the instructions, or any apparent way to defeat it. I got to thinking how it only takes one tiny flaw to overshadow all of the impressive features of an alarm clock, or a microwave, or a person. And it occurred to me that sometimes the converse is also true, at which point I decided to write the following poem:

Redeeming Feature

His breath is a sewage treatment plant
His hair qualifies for a brownfield grant
Emotionally at the juvenile stage
While his lice have begun an industrial age
He eats like a thresher, spews food on the rug
Conversationally he's a vacuous thug
He's immune to employment, apostate of chores
He's a fountain of methane, he belches, he snores
He practices punting his grandmother's beagle
Feeds thumbtacks to cats and insists that it's legal
He hangs up the neighborhood kids by their socks
And pelts them with cow manure, compost and rocks
He swindles the elderly, tortures the sick
He laughs at the homeless and pokes them with sticks
He sugars the gastanks of strangers for fun
On weekends he likes to set fire to nuns
But oh, you should witness him flossing his teeth!
Majestic above and methodic beneath
He handles the filament like it was gold
It's truly a wonder of skill to behold
The rhythm and confidence, musical flair
Beethoven, Mozart, Nureyev, Astaire
He is a surgeon, he is a priest
A painter creating his masterpiece
A consummate artist he deftly becomes
When plucking the plaque from between teeth and gums
And surely such talent is reason enough
To forgive all the infinitesimal stuff?

Copyright © 2009 by Dave Grossman

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