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Ask an expert for advice. Think of a question you’ve never asked, but you have wanted to ask. (Mine: How long until a peanut butter sandwich will be poisonous if you eat it? (A day? A week? A year?) Or make up a question: How do I tell my parents that I’m in love with an evil clown? Now, become the expert. Answer the question in as much sensory detail as possible. Give the poet who’s asked for your expertise far more information than was requested. Describe everything that could be sensory (in as much detail as possible) in that question (clown nose—that red rubbery bulb—the smell of it, the sound it makes when you pinch it—and mold spores spreading across that piece of old bread the sandwich was made with a year ago). Let your freewrite wander into territory beyond the question. Trust your expert to tell you more than you wanted to know, which will be what your actually wanted to know, which will tell you why you chose to ask that question.

Still wondering
By Renée Szostek

Why did
Honors English
class have more boys than girls?
I never received an answer
I liked.

Teach a Cat to Fetch
By Jodi Ann Korte

Whining, lamenting on a radio show
Listener, now caller, wants to know
How to teach a striped furball to fetch
To one-up the uptight roommate wretch
Touting large yellow labs are much smarter
To teach a small cat, would it be harder?

Anything is possible, I know
But that’s not how it usually goes
Some cats will do this naturally
But that is not the issue, you see
A better question would be to ask why
You’d want to make an armadillo fly
You say your cat has extra toes
It’s not a matter of paw, you know
You say your cat has two-color eyes
Super-puff strength hidden belies
It’s not a matter of logic or wise
This is where the difference lies
The psychological chasm between the two
Is demonstrated by its reaction to you
A dog will over-express its love
With runs and jumps and playful shoves
Always returning possessions propelled
Loyal, there is no parallel
Felines are notoriously known
For having less affections shown
Meow-makers want worship, they will show up
To whisker-tickle your nose or push off your cup
About teaching cats, I must disagree
Instead, how trained do You want to be?
A servant to a sly sleek haired beast
A source of food reliability, at least
Demonstrate on hands and knees
Play with any toy you please
Blue cloth fish are good, even more
Plastic balls where treats are stored
Snort, through your floor-touching nose
Push that plaything, see where it goes
If long nails are had, that would be great
If not, well, a fuzzy-coat illusion create
Bounce frantically after the rolling bait,
Pounce immediately, don’t wait
Grasp as if you have razored claws
Do not expect raptured applause
Just be sure that cat observes
Your can-do attitude, do not curse
Happily prance back to the obvious spot
Ignoring rugs burns, back pain, whatnot
Objects stuck in wounded knees
May be just what the situation needs
If none of this appeals
I’ll tell you what will seal the deal
Still your deep-seated, craving desire?
I suggest revenge to excel higher
The shadowy logic recommended, then,
Is releasing mice, first try 10
All one sex, to not go too awry
Not all the same color, you must try
Anything to tempt a little kitty brain
Don’t tell a soul, you’ll sound inane
Waiting for payback could be a bore
Anticipation should be ignored
The pet will come forward
Delayed victory scored!
When your mouser drops one at your feet
Say to your friend, “Hah! Isn’t that neat?”

Be satisfied, if not, don’t fret
Figure out why you’re not happy, yet.

By Renée Szostek

I asked my teacher
why he gave me a B, when
I had earned an A.
“Ninety years from now, no one
will care what grade I gave you.”

How do I Get Downtown?

Each cuts a stubborn course straight to the center,
But through the heart,

Now, pull over and get out a real map.
Open it, read it, love it, carefully refold it.

Now you know a little more:
Detroit sits north of the border
Made of countless Miles
Radiating spokes
Cross-hatched cross-streets
Islands in between.

Next, roll down the window, stay a while,
And try to understand.