(after Dorothy Parker)
I offer you my effort to create
a simple sonnet worthy of a word
of criticism, question, or debate
with no assumption flattery’s preferred.
For if you judge it awkwardly enjambed,
pedestrian, unbearably clichéd
unwitty or ho-hummingly iambed,
you’ll never witness my composure fade.
And though you tell me I have not employed
the most appealing diction in my quest,
then I will not be in the least annoyed —
I’ll gladly pay the penalty assessed.
But critic, if you say my stanzas fail
to scan, I’ll come out fighting tooth and nail!
Mary Boren, 2001
Public Domain Photo
So you’re ready to claim a conspicuous space
in the global economy’s happening place,
joining ranks with the flashy ga-zil-li-on-aires
who are lolling about, eating chocolate eclairs?
Hold your horses, stop the presses —
Online selling’s fraught with stresses …
demographics, trends, and traffic’s
sudden swerves. The pressure’s rising!
Buying’s decidedly wild and sporadic.
That dusty old stuff from your grandmother’s attic
won’t have what it takes to appeal to the nations
without some professional, slick presentations.
Camera ready? Check the lighting!
Featuring the most inviting
angles, shooting beads and bangles,
lock ‘n’ load and get to writing!
(How ya think yer gonna sell it
if ya dunno how to spell it?)
Eye-catching, eloquent product descriptions
send overworked brains into foaming conniptions!
The rigid demands of a steep learning curve
take perception and patience and vision and verve.
Auctions closing! Buyers dozing.
Gotta beat the competition!
Pack it snug and ship it free.
Handle with integrity.
Savvy shoppers know the rules.
eBay doesn’t suffer fools.
Whew! I’m jazzed, anticipating
steady sales and top dog rating!
Am I kidding? No, no, ma’am!
I’m a seller! Yes, I am!
Yes sir, yes sir, you can do it
too! Indeed, sir, you can do it!
“You’d better let my people go!” he shouted
at Pharoah, ’til at last they gained their freedom.
Right off the bat, he then commenced to lead ’em
into a raging sea. (They balked about it
but followed nonetheless.) The trail was crowded
with hot and thirsty, weary folks who doubted
they’d ever find a home. The children needed
new shoes. Fed up with manna, lost, defeated —
there was no turning back. The women pouted.
Anticipation of the Promised Land fills
the biblical account. Why God chose Moses
might well be moot today. In retrospections
on forty years of circling through the sandhills,
the fundamental question, I propose, is:
Why didn’t he just stop and ask directions?
Mary Boren, 2002