The Queen of Cheese Presents: Excerpt from “The Soiree of the Pig and the ‘Phibian” (in Old Possum’s Practical Puppets)

A pig and a frog do not usually mate,

But once in a while they go on a date–

After all, they’re accustomed to staying up late

From working together on network TV

That anyone raised in the ‘80s might see

(And green’s not the easiest color to be),

So they go to the clubs ‘til a quarter to three,

And they

hop hop hop hop

hop hop HOP HOP

And neither one wishes the evening would stop.

T.S. Eliot calls the Poetry Crisis Line on Ash Wednesday

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Because I do not hope to turn again

COUNSELOR: Could I get you to pull over before you continue this call?

CALLER: Because I do not hope

COUNSELOR: No, it’s for your own safety.

CALLER: Because I do not hope

COUNSELOR: Whatever it is, it can’t be completely hopeless. What is it you’re hoping for?

CALLER: to turn

COUNSELOR: Is there a lot of traffic? Just pull over now, and make the turn once you’re off the phone.

CALLER: Desiring this man’s gift

COUNSELOR: Are you gift shopping? If you’re in a mall parking lot, I can understand why turning seems hopeless.


COUNSELOR: Is it a close friend? What are you planning to get him?

CALLER: that man’s scope

COUNSELOR: Used mouthwash? As a gift?

CALLER: I no longer strive

COUNSELOR: No kidding.

CALLER: to strive toward such things.

COUNSELOR: Yeah, you’ve seriously stopped trying.


COUNSELOR: Because it’s a gift. A present should be something…you know, … something someone will actually want.

CALLER: Should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)

COUNSELOR: That’s more imaginative than used mouthwash, I’ll grant you. But, um, when it comes to gift ideas, you might also want to steer clear of endangered species.

J. Alfred Prufrock re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Do I dare / Disturb the universe?

COUNSELOR: That’s a big question. And a bit vague. Can you be more specific?

CALLER: In a minute

COUNSELOR: Take your time.

CALLER: there is time

COUNSELOR: Yes, there is. Or, um, are we talking higher physics? What time is and whether it exists? Because I just meant you don’t have to rush.

CALLER: For decisions

COUNSELOR: Exactly. Take all the time you need to decide.

CALLER: and revisions

COUNSELOR: And yes, you can change your mind.

CALLER: which a minute will reverse.

COUNSELOR: Yes, you can change it back, too. But be careful of changing your mind too often, or you might confuse yourself.

CALLER: For I have known them all already,

COUNSELOR: You mean all the choices?

CALLER: known them all:

COUNSELOR: Or all the people who might be affected?

CALLER: Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

COUNSELOR: Just to make one decision?

CALLER: I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

COUNSELOR: I’m familiar with that method. Many people find it helpful.

CALLER: I know

COUNSELOR: So how many spoons do you feel like you have left?

CALLER: the voices dying with a dying fall

COUNSELOR: So, not many. Do you think–

CALLER: Beneath the music from a farther room.

COUNSELOR: Yes, it can help to step out of the room, and remove yourself from the situation.

CALLER: So how

COUNSELOR: Well, you might consider–

CALLER: should I presume?

COUNSELOR: I’m not trying to be presumptuous, sir. But I do think you might have more spoons left if you could streamline your decision-making process.

The Queen of Cheese Presents: The Show Tune of J. Alfred Prufrock

I have wandered half-

Empty streets before

Like a patient etherized beneath a sheet before.

Women come and go;


They discuss, but I just need to pee.


Do I dare disturb

The whole universe

With decisions and revisions that I might reverse?

Spend the afternoons

Counting coffee spoons

Then decide that I’d like to take tea?


And should I comb my hair forward?

And do I dare eat a peach?

I should have been ragged pincers

That scut across the silt beyond this beach.


I have doffed my socks

On this beach before,

I have wondered if I dare to eat a peach before,

Heard the mermaids sing

Each to each before—

But I don’t think that they’ll sing to me.