A Visit from the Recycling Truck

Concept and first couplet by Susan Young; completed by David Sklar

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house
Empty boxes and paper were strewn all about.
I stood in the living room, steeling my nerve
To take the recycling out to the curb.

The papers were scattered all over the floor,
In drifts in the corners, and one at the door.
I gazed at the carnage, admitted defeat,
Then swept like a fiend all the way to the street.

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Our pile of used wrappings had gotten so tall
That it shook when I swept, like a bowl full of jelly
(the same at our neighbors’, and their pile was smelly).

All the way up and down on both sides of the road
The mounds of bright papers looked fit to explode,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
The recycling truck! As it slowly rolled near,

There appeared to be something wrong with the suspension.
It shook as it went, like that jelly I’d mentioned.
In that gray, hazy morningtime, such was my luck
That the driver passed by without stopping the truck,

And I heard him explain as he trundled away,
The truck is all full, so I’m done for the day.”

Before I Kill You (an arch-villainelle) part 6 of 6

Before I Kill You (An Arch-Villainelle)

by David Sklar

Originally published in Stone Telling

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue’s eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

It enters a robotic water main,
which, on command, can self-electrify.
Before I kill you, now, I will explain:

I’ve added some enhancements to my brain—
you’ll nev— What’s that? You’re out? Good grief! Good bye;
good riddance. It’s a good thing I’m not vain;
next time, before I kill you, I’ll explain.

 

  

Before I Kill You (an arch-villainelle) part 5 of 6

Before I Kill You
(an arch-villainelle)

[originally published in Stone Telling]
(parts 1-5 of 6)

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue’s eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

It enters a robotic water main,
which, on command, can self-electrify.
Before I kill you, now, I will explain:

I’ve added some enhancements to my brain—
you’ll nev— What’s that? You’re out? Good grief! Good bye;

     

Before I Kill You (an arch-villainelle) part 4 of 6

Before I Kill You
(an arch-villainelle)

[originally published in Stone Telling]
(parts 1-4 of 6)

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue’s eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

It enters a robotic water main,
which, on command, can self-electrify.
Before I kill you, now, I will explain:

I’ve added some enhancements to my brain—
you’ll nev—

Before I Kill You (an arch-villainelle) part 3

Before I Kill You
(an arch-villainelle)

[originally published in Stone Telling]
(parts 1-2 of 6)

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue’s eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

 

 

Before I Kill You (an arch-villainelle) part 2 of 6

Before I Kill You
(an arch-villainelle)

[originally published in Stone Telling]
(parts 1-2 of 6)

Although I’m not particularly vain,
I’m sure you’d like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I’ll explain

my brilliant plan. Don’t bother to complain;
you won’t escape, no matter how you try.
It’s not that I’m particularly vain,

it’s just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

 

Story of My Life

Story of My Life

 

I woke this morning, and had in my mind

the segue I’ve been struggling to find:

I don’t know how I got from there to here

does everything I need it do, and adds

iambical pentameter. I swear,

It makes me happy. And it makes me sad:

A simple honest line I love so much

it’s tragic I can only use it once—

or maybe—can I make it a refrain

that I can use again? Again? Again?

Spring Limerick Triptych

A rabbit, a lamb, and a duck
were trying to flag down a truck
full of colorful eggs—
the lamb stuck out her leg
and barely missed being lamb chuck.

 

A duck asked a lamb and a rabbit
while dyeing eggs, “Golly dagnabit,
why on earth do we task
ourselves with filling bask-
ets each year?” and the rabbit said, “Habit.”

 

A rabbit, a duck, and a lamb
met a pig, and they started to jam.
“Don’t try to outdo him,”
a spider who knew him
said. “He’s an INCREDIBLE ham.”

Poe to You

Poe to You

Why do birds tap upon my door
And declare “Nevermore”?
Just like me, they long to read
Poe to you.

Why do bells never seem to cease?
I can’t get any peace.
Just like me, they want to read
Poe to you.

In the cellar there’s a cask
Of aged amontillado; I
Invited you to come and have a drink,
Then I bricked you up inside the wall
and then installed a toilet and a sink.

Aaah, aaaaaah, poe to you,
Aaaaaaah, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! poe to you.

Now your heart beats beneath the floor—
I can hear through the boards.
Just like me, it longs to read
Poe to you.

Aaaaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaaaaah!
Poe to you.