Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When the Street Begins

It is 5 o'clock somewhere
but the hangover
is somewhere too

and there are places
where the bad news
has been learned from already

so the people
from the recent past
can wise up

learn from the headache
and not make
the same mistake

of underestimating
their bad reaction

and having to clean up
way more puke
than they expected

once they and their bar buddies
have parted ways

and find themselves
too alone again

and this is all in fact true
not one of those
wild ideas

a couched-in-humor
serious idea

that seems only to come up
when 5 o'clock rolls around
in our time zone
when you're channeling Shel Silverstein

and catching a glimpse
of that adult world
in some far-off land

which is a healthy mix
of logic and compassion

and is in fact
still happy to break your fall

when the sidewalk ends.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Silent Star

We still call natural disasters
acts of God

and tornadoes come
out of nowhere
and leave with everything

so it is an apparently
vengeful God

one that won't show
Him- or Herself

one that

outside of the destruction
left behind

won't be talked about
on the news for weeks

and put on trial
for crimes against humanity.

God isn't vengeful

though He feels relieved

off the hook
in a sense
but not really.

Tornado country
is not well-off

but there's no one
around to blame

just a moment to give thanks
for what and whom
He left on Earth

and nothing to do
but rebuild.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Special Rites

Sarah Palin said something
and what she said was sensational

and it was about
President Obama's failings
as a leader

and who should care

since she's just a quitter
who can't settle graciously

for living under Obama's
race-baiting socialist rule

and she is ageless and perfect
in every picture

which is actually bad
because a politician's job
when done with a measure of nuance

not typically found
in a fascist

(same difference
you elitist) dictatorship

is very hard
on the hair and complexion.

She said "Well if I
were in charge

they would know
that waterboarding
is how we’d baptize terrorists"

a statement that
is accidentally brilliant

in that it just may settle
the debate

between so-called "secular progressives"
and so-called "traditionalists"
(thank you Bill O'Reilly)

which is "Is Sarah Palin
an affront
to basic human decency?"

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bless This Ness

After a satellite image
appeared on Apple Maps
showing Nessie
the Loch Ness Monster in her

(or "his" or "its"
or maybe "their"
since the beast could have

multiple rational
and free-thinking heads)

first major sighting
for more than a year

which is the longest gap
between confirmed reports
since 1925

businesses all over Scotland
are preparing marketing campaigns

around that creature of myth
and late-night binge drinking.

Naturalist Adrian Shine
sees cynicism behind this
direct marketing campaign

saying "The whole point
about the Loch Ness Monster

is that it has not been promoted
in this official manner."

No doubt that commercial
interests have exploited
real people's holy days

exaggerated and even invented
seasonal marketing mascots

but some of these
crass adaptations

have been reabsorbed
into the culture

even becoming
folk heroes along the way.

But in reality
marketing is nothing new
for regular people

who tell stories
that increase social cohesion
while limiting independent thought

or condone new stresses
and new diseases
in their fellow men and women
(which may or may not
include themselves)

trading one means
of feeding a family for another

while relying on
real-time daily mythmaking

through the sincere and unified
adoption of new routines

that "fingers crossed"
are self-fulfilling prophesies

that will make those
fuzzy daydreams come true.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Phoning It Home

If you find yourself
wandering and delirious
in New Mexico

approaching the landfill
near the town of Alamogordo

and you rue your judgment

because that imagined oasis
on second glance
is not as such

maybe you were right
the first time.

No it's not water
(which only
comes in bottles anyway)

but a truckload
of Atari's abandoned

"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial"
video game from 1983

of which the company
was forced to dispose
during that year's
"video game crash"

after having spent millions
to get the rights from Spielberg.

Those who actually played it
would remember it

as one of the worst titles
of all time

but you could finagle
a few dollars from nostalgic gamers
with "ironic" collections

of terrible vintage stuff.

A desperate venture
to be sure

but a bit more moral
than going into meth.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blown His House Down

Contrary to that old
cautionary tale
the Three Little Pigs

a straw house can last
one thousand years
so long as it's
fortified with mud

and the longest
ongoing arguments

for why Cliven Bundy
should be considered
a patriotic hero

and not an ungrateful moocher
who let his 900 cows
munch for 20 years
on federal grasses

and presumably would not
breathe a sigh of relief

at the cessation of his
government oppression

were he suddenly
rounded up and consigned
to a fun life
of truly "free" ranching

can survive unchallenged
until the spirit of his life

is betrayed by his utterance
of the letter.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tell it to Someone

if you do not
or can not
believe it yourself

that life will go on
after your lifetime
is through.

Which is not to say
everything will be all right
in the end

and it is not to say
everything will be terrible
in the end either

because the concept
of "the end"

implies that one current
minute division of time
is the world's final hurdle

which feels terrible
but also a relief

as in an end to suffering
for all.

The realization
that the smallness of our "blip"

is still bigger than what humans 
can know

feels a relief
but also a burden

because existence means work.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Re-Routing the Wheel

Federal Communications Commission

Chairman Tom Wheeler
has proposed new
net neutrality rules

meaning that broadband
network owners

would be allowed to sell
an exclusive high-speed
toll road

to whichever content providers
want it
and can afford it.

Wheeler is a Democrat
who says he is committed
to an open Internet

but open and free
is still a "pipe dream"

albeit with fewer and fewer
cumulonimbus clouds

barring the now
prehistoric metaphorical
superhighway Vine

from being swung upon
by the so-called

who still have to rely
on their sweet old

Insta-Gram to snail-mail
their selfies to.

The Internet in theory
gives the privilege
of being in a place
called Nowhere

and you are a person
in a specific place on Earth
repping your particular location

while being granted
the inherent trust

of being just another Greek-prefixed
byte in the stream.

Despite that rather Snappy-Chatty tune
a trustworthy little birdie
may have innocently Tweeted
through the Glass

that stream probably will never
"trickle down".

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Nearly 3 million dollars

in bonuses was given

to more than
twenty-eight hundred

of the Internal Revenue Service
between October 2010
and December 2012

but twelve hundred
of these people
had tax issues

or official-conduct violations.

Now granted
their bonuses are something like
one ten-thousandth

of what CEOs get
for their more egregious
stealing from the commonwealth

and those responsible
for the bonuses
will likely be reprimanded

but hypothetically

who can begrudge
the more relatable
Joes or Janes

from doing what has been
successful for those
who have inherited power

in a would-be democracy?

Optimists believe
the people will wise up
and rise up

pessimists believe
the people will be subsumed
and meet our doom

and while these two
were discussing
how they saw the world

finding both points of contention
and overlap

the CEO had a few quick meetings
filled up two glasses
with both their "-Mist" suffixes

and said
"You both look so thirsty."

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Monday, April 21, 2014

She Carries On

Keep calm

and turn eighty-eight
years old

and be admired
by the descendants

of the hardscrabble farmers
and newly-Industrial laborers
who would've rebelled

(or at least stood
on the soapbox
in the center of town

yelling about how unfair
it all was

to a sympathetic crowd
before retiring to the pub)

or the somewhat more
upper-class people
who just happened not to be

too tired to become
a righteous revolutionary mob
in the same day

and did.

Keep calm and be noticed
for your "very kind eyes
with a mischievous glint"

by the photographer
who captured you.

Keep calm and despite
your station
and now mostly-symbolic title

continue to be seen
as a living how-to guide
on the basic traits of womanhood
(and humanhood)

looking good
and taking charge.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mass Media

In a show

of unabashed liberalism

yesterday the Pope tweeted
a prayer request

"for the victims
of the ferry disaster
in Korea and their families"

to his three-and-a-half
million followers

meaning that what is supposed
to be an empty gesture
that does nothing

may instead

through the instant virality
of the interwebs

have an impact
on the situation at hand.

And today
on this holiest of days

he tweeted
"Christ is risen! Alleluia!"

which is simply unacceptable
because anyone
who uses two exclamation points
is probably a heretic

meaning someone
who takes time off
from fearing God

in order to showily
"love" Him.

(And where has love
ever gotten us?)

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


There is still time to enter

the National Geographic
Traveler Photo Contest

or you can just continue
to sit in the intersection

of that guttural
and instinctive color appreciation

that for sighted people
provides answers to questions
we never thought to ask

and envy.
(That's cool too.)

As a child this poet
asked a parent

if it were possible
to record dreams

not because they were spectacular

(and sometimes the most
mundane ones

were given the most explication
of all their insignificant details)

but because
the black (or even blue)
formations she scribbled onto a page

would become something subjective
in a reader's mind

which was well and good

but still no match
for those randomly-firing neurons
that gave her those

"real-photolistic" ineffable
and ephemeral

pre-dawn splashes of color.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Place to Go

It doesn't matter what

the Weather Girls said.

One can not simply
invite all the world's women

to a centralized location
in "the street"

and have them wait for that
downpour of men

that they claim is imminent.

First of all
they wouldn't fit

(well they technically would

but there would be minimal
elbow or purse room)

second of all
some of them would be hoping

for it to "rain women"

and third of all
even with such variety

they might nonetheless agree
on some common cause

for which they feel
a wee bit (or a lot)
held back or treated unfairly

and start marching in protest.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Void of Floyd

Miley Cyrus

has been hospitalized
since Tuesday night

(no not from OD'ing
on twerking while
sticking her tongue out

though it's forgivable
to think that)

due to a severe reaction
to antibiotics.

She tweeted her St. Louis
fans Wednesday morning

since she wouldn't
get to play for them
that night.

But rumor also has it
that she is still in mourning
of the recent death

of her dog Floyd
(reportedly killed
by a coyote).

Her mom Tish Cyrus
bought her a new puppy
named Moonie

but Miley gave it back

because new puppies
can never fully
replace old ones

even after we humans
have done our best to move on

and not all celebrities
regardless of how malleable
they themselves are

think of their pooches
as toys.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

X-Why Axis

Researchers have discovered

an "interacting protein"

on the surfaces
of both sperm and egg

that helps the two
recognize each other
and join.

This protein has
been nicknamed "Izumo"
after a Japanese marriage shrine.

Izumo pairs with "Juno"
named after the Roman
goddess of fertility

(and who later
reincarnated herself

inside of Ellen Page's character's uterus
when she hooked up

with lovable athletic
nerd Paulie Bleeker).

Since the first meeting
of sperm and egg
is the progenitor of
our beloved homo sapiens

(well at least after
the original Big Bang)

and therefore
that of our beauty and cruelty
and mundanity and weirdness

should we also mourn those
who never got to live
in the first place

never even long enough
to be miscarried
or stillborn

whose particular
combination of cells
never formed

for those reasons
which are split into dozens

of college sociology
and history classes?

It sometimes seems easier
than working with
the people we've got

including ourselves.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Ted Yoho

the Tea Party

(yes they somehow
still exist)

congressman of Florida

when asked
by a black constituent

if he considered
the Civil Rights Act of 1964
to be Constitutional
he said

"I wish I could answer
that 100 percent."

(If only he had then
taken the chance
to declare 

his solemn duty
of defending the Act
from people he may know

who actually would
want it stricken
from our record.)

In his defense
many Founding Fathers
owned slaves

and other Fathers
didn't protest enough

for the document
to be changed
in the 18th century

and yes "Constitutional"
is sometimes used casually

to mean "American-ly
moral and correct".

One could almost
feel sorry for congressmen
and women like him

people with ideas
who aren't smart enough
to learn a fact or two 

or wise enough
to pretend to care
about them.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Monday, April 14, 2014

If "I" Were Divided

so meaning if

the subject pronoun
that we use to refer
to ourselves were split

into "body
mind and spirit"

or "left
right and other"

or "agree
disagree and standing by

to observe things
as objectively
as possible first"

and we could pick
which part was doing
the "I"-ing

would we only create
more news with endless
spiraling speculating

would discourse be enhanced

or would we arrive
at some reality
that is best for all?

Yes and no
and maybe so?

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Holy Animals

(Sung by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square)

Oh faithful
do you understand me now

I'm smilin'
for this "selfie"

but I'm sad

'cause leaders are lyin'
when they disguise
themselves as angels

for even great people
can do bad.

I'm just a pope
whose intentions are good

oh Lord
please don't let me
be misunderstood.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Somewhere in the City

When this poet was young

and first heard the expression
"Shining city on a hill"

(probably on some
news show that didn't
seem important at the time)

used to describe
the United States

(both as an ideal
and as an already-achieved "state")

her very mature reaction was
"Why are they calling
a country a city?"

This writer then
had a basic grasp
of metaphor and
figures of speech

but the nominal inaccuracy
was grating.

Names of things
places and people are indicative
of changing biases

maybe preference
for scientific classification
or poetic beauty

or because all the others
were taken.

Sometimes the act of naming
helps expand our consciousness.
Sometimes it limits.

Sometimes it matters
what category or subdivision
of Earth you live on.

Sometimes we're all
in this (or on this)

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Friday, April 11, 2014

What the State Meant

Yes all you well-heeled

well-meaning Republicans

paying one's taxes
is the law and laws
can and should

be tested and questioned

and yes most folks like
having more money
rather than less

but laypeeps poorer than you

(the ones you are allegedly
trying to swoon

as we can see
through your kindly-televised
brainstorming sessions)

readily give up a portion
year after year

to pay for the continued
functioning of a modern
civilized society.

The part of taxes
the laypeeps don't like?

Funding government activities
they find morally repugnant

and funding people in power
who take the money
make the laws

and suppress and oppress
all those people
who we all know

don't actually exist.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Just-ice Do It

Today the invisible hand
perpetuating the forward movement
of our shared timeline

sent the trajectory
of a shoe from

fed-up Iraqi journalist's
hand at Bush Junior's
press conference in 2008

to that of a woman
in Las Vegas in 2014 watching

Hillary Clinton speak
at the meeting of the Institute
of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Like Bush
she dodged the shoe.

Say what one will
about Hillary's presidential campaign
against Obama

or her term as Obama's
Secretary of State

but if your medium
of expression is footwear-flinging

it helps to be
less cryptic
when you bare your sole.

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday's Gone (With the Windows)

Yesterday Microsoft

ended support
for Windows XP

meaning the company
no longer provides security updates
to the popular OS

except in the form
of upgrading your system
to Windows 8.

What if our government
had people
that didn't want

other people
to keep something

that made their lives
more functional

(however slightly
or maybe even
just bearable)

and said they had
to upgrade themselves
in order to receive
those benefits?

(Luckily such an ideology
is purely hypothetical.)

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peaced Off


When war was "hot"
it left us cold.

We'd learned that lesson
when "mission" started

as "accomplished"
and ended
nine years old.

War's the answer not
but we ought
to be as bold

and make peace
the cause
for which we fought

not just 'cause
we said
"We fold."

This poem © 2014 Emily Cooper.