The Day He Reigned

by Jenny Hale Pulsipher

The day he rained
Was one ‘a them fed-up days.
The sky’d been growlin’,
Makin’ a fuss, and not
Makin’ a thing else.
No rain. Nothin’.

Like to ‘a kilt the beans,
Squash too, right near.
And the dirt got so’s it’d
Stick in yer skin
Like some thirsty tic, even
The weeds looked choked.

Well, he was here,
Sittin’ like you’re sittin’,
Starin’ at the sky
Like they’s holdin’ a war.
My land! His face
Was red’s a turnip.

“Somethin’ sittin’ wrong in
Yer stomach, Lem?”
I would’na asked ‘cept he
Looked mighty queer,
Like a kettle ’bout to blow
Or heifer ’bout to bolt.

I figured he
Was either gonna cry
Or spit, but that
Warn’t what he done, no sir.
He grabbed his gun
‘N arc’d it up

‘N fired at the grey heaven.
My! I
‘most dropped.
But that warn’t all, next he
Lit out fer the barn
Like I’s seen chickens do
—All flap ‘n no feet.

He was up top
By my next blink, a cursin’
‘N spinnin’ his arms
Like some ornery windmill,
As if the sky’d
Pay him a mind.

Then he let loose a grunt
So powerful
It shook that barn from peak
To core, and off
He flew till he warn’t no more
Than a dirt clod ‘gainst th’ sky.

This ain’t no tale.
Straight up! Lands, if I warn’t
Confounded. He
Looked ’bout pea-size fer a bit,
Then the sky up’n
Swallered him—whole.

It growled s’more, turnt black
Like he warn’t
Settin’ right somehow,
Then, with a snarl
It spat him out, musta’
left a nasty taste, that’n.

He got pea-size
Again right quick, looked like
He’d hit my barn
The way he ‘s a fallin’.
That’d be his end
Fer sure—chickens too.

So I hightailed it up
The barn ladder
(At my age that’s some doin’)
‘N pried a sheet ‘a
Tin roof off in time
Fer Lem to whoosh through—howlin’.

‘N howlin’ too
Rain chased down after him,
Fer all the world
Like grasp in’ fingers set
To pinch fer spite.
‘N Lem jest laughin’,

Smug’s a settin’ hen,
Wet ‘n happy
On the barn’s stack ‘a straw.
Ya mighta guessed
He broke some rafters down .
Didn’t seem to hurt much,

Leastways his grin
Didn’t look pained to me.
Well, I cain’t say
That rain’s my favert stuff,
So I dumb down
‘N asked Lem in.

The crazy fool said, “Nope.
Thanks the same, but
I’d ruther lie here ‘n smell.
The rain’s so sweet.”
So I went in myself
‘N let him waller in it.

Rumor got ’round
(Spread by Lem hisself
‘S what I’m thinkin’)
That Lem’ d incantated
That rain ‘n yanked
It loose from the clouds

By his sheer force of will,
Jest swung hisself
Up thar ‘n had a chat,
With them stubborn rain drops
‘N said if they’d rain, he’d too.

That’s baloney.
He mighta gone up to talk,
But sure’s sunrise
He didn’t come to no
Agreement. Nah.
That rain ’bout cooled him.

It was outright revenge.
I know Lem Drake.
Mor’n likely he took a stick
Up’ n tickled
The rain out ‘fore it was
Set to come. That’s like him.

So it set out
To git him too—only rain
Ain’t awful smart
‘N didn’t figure that
Its pelts wouldn’t
Count fer much. Shoot,

Lem enjoyed ’em. Cool ‘n
Clean like a bath
All the way down the sky.
Yep. When all’s said
It was a right good thing,
Jest enough to save the crops.

Funny thing is
Lem gave up the farm.
He got jittery
‘Most ever time he heard
Rumblin’ up above,
So he lit out fer

His corn ‘n wheat
Like skinny orphans standin’
In the cold dirt
‘N went to the warm, wet ocean,
Far’s he could git from the sky.

The Overweight Poet Poems

by Wayne Taylor

At a Matinee Performance Of I Henry IV, the Overweight Poet Contemplates Falstaff

What a noble piece of work thou art,
Sir John Falstaff: How like an angel;
In aspect-ratio how like a god;
The 25-carat jewel of Shakespeare,
A 25-stone sculpture of Michelangelo’s
Made flesh. This play is your rightful title,
Usurped by that most underfed of traitors,
That thin prince, that skinny pretender
Who hasn’t the girth to bear royalty well.
But you, Falstaff, have the rolling gait
Of majesty, not like this peasant who portages
Himself across the stage like a puff,
And who will turn his high-born back
On you as if you were day-old mutton.
Sweet, sizeable wag and enormous bard,
You could walk among the stars, at home
In the dark brilliance of constellations:
O, brother of my soul! Were we Gemini,
Libra would tip the Universe into our hands.


The Overweight Poet Contemplates the Naming of Five Kittens Delivered on His Back Porch Around Midnight of St. Martin’s Eve

I thought this cat was fat,
Obese with canary
And gourmet garbage
When she came three days ago.
But she’s a cheap street prowler
Got in trouble by an old Tom
Who left her when his eyes cooled,
Leaving me to midwife
Her into shameless thinness.
Four of the wet, eyeless creatures
Were female, discovered
By a discreet lifting of tails
(Indelicate but necessary for their christening).
Today their eyes opened,
And they shall be named:
The orange tabby I’ll call Scurvy;
The weak cream-colored kitten
I’11 name Ann or Rexia
(I still can’t decide);
The rum-colored unsteady cat
Looks Dyslexic and is so named;
That toffee-colored girl
I’ll name after my first wife—Hysteria;
And the big chocolate bruiser,
The man of the batch,
The fat one who eats like a true poet
(His sisters are fussy,
But he needs his strength)
Shall be cleped Waldorf
(After the Astoria).


The Overweight Poet Enters Sardi’s

“I am with Martineau’s party,”
I say at seven,
“He will be late.”
And I enter Sardi’s
World of gourmet odors;
New furs,
Imported tobacco,
Dry-cleaned tuxedos,
And expensive perfume.
The maitre d’ seats me
In a velvet-backed throne;
(He probably took the reservation,
recognized the name but not the voice
softly on the phone:
“Thees ees Marcel Martineau. A reservacion
for troise at sevan. ”
The boob doesn’t know that Martineau
Is filming Beau Geste
With Zefferelli
In Indochina.)
He hands me the leather-bound menu:
Spinach salad,
Asparagus l’ orange,
Veal and Duck
In wine,
Crepes a la Napoleon,
Croissants with Persian Honey,
Monte Blanc ’43,
And the cherries jubilee
Will be fine.
Tears come to my eyes
Like saliva;
This is Mecca,
With a lot more class.


Besieged on All Hallows’ Eve, the Overweight Poet Fulminates Against Ravening Urchins

Curse this trickle of cryptic genetics
Dressed in palilogetic costuming
Who kick my door with rhythmic kinetics!

I am plagued by frantic schizophrenics
Who think there are sweets just for the asking.
Curse this trickle of cryptic genetics!

I’m sick of these identic cosmetics
That every spoiled beggar is wearing
To kick my door with rhythmic kinetics.

Off with your masks of plastic synthetics!
Stop with your fecund killickinnicking,
You cursed trickle of cryptic genetics!

Scram you pediatric diabetics!
Before you get a stinging shellacking
For kicking my door with rhythmic kinetics.

Why can’t phagocytic pyrotechnics
Disinfect the sidewalks by consuming
This cursed trickle of cryptic genetics
Who kick my door with rhythmic kinetics?