For posterity

The Pirate Captain bangs his GAVEL;
the crew prod the blindfolded victim forward onto the PLANK.
‘Stop!’ shouts the chief, you’ll SPOIL
the photo. Stand up straight and don’t STOOP.’

Walking the Plank: this was originally published in Pyle, Howard (August–September 1887). “Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main”. Harper’s Magazine.

Grannie cooks her last meal

GORGE yer food if ye must but know that yo’ll
SCOUR the pans, and the mixin’ bowl. Ma
SINEWs is WREAKed, wreaked, I say, and it’s
soon I’ll be down with the dust. Ay, dust’s to be my bedroll.

Azerbaijani woman cooking
photo: Elxan Qəniyev


DULLY, with a kitbag, ‘neath the boiling sun, I sweat
FORTH to go where men will pounce on an
OUNCE of gold, and soon I hope to set my
STAMP just west of north, in a dry-bed gully.

In early spring 1898, an estimated 10,000 gold seekers were camped on the shore of Lake Bennett waiting for the ice to clear. They assembled their supplies and built boats and scows to take them down the Yukon River. Until the railroad was completed in 1900, Bennett continued to be a major jumping off spot for the Klondike gold fields.


The woman brushes past my sleeve, the FLIRT!
My heart rushes, as if to leave my chest, to FLOAT!
And like the moon, now blushing, waned or WAXEN,
Is crushed to see she weaves towards another. Fickle WOMAN!

The Flirt by Karl Witkowski


A GENT at the soiree, suave, sang
TENOR. A fierce lady knee-gripped her
CELLO, firmly, scurrying notes. He,
REGAL, stood steadfast, yet outstripped her.

La Musique, or The Cello Lesson, by Henry Ossawa Tanner. This painting didn’t get a good reception, so he painted The Pilgrims of Emmaus over it. The picture above is from a monochrome photo of the original painting.

While minding your own business…

SNAKEs sneak up on you. You may be sitting on a
BENCH, and next thing, there’s a snake begging for a few
PENCE, hissing at you, flashing its fangs. No mercy!
CLASP it by the neck and tail, twirl it and toss it!    

A sneaking snake in the Wildlife Sanctuary of Bondla, Goa
Photo: Subin Sebastian


BERET or chapeau, sir; what’s for today? Brilliant or
BLAND, witty or weighty, where do you stand? Are you
CHALK or cheese, sir, all talk or tease, sir, should you
CHECK your mood at the door, sir, near the hatstand.

Portrait of an American gentleman – and hat. 19th century.
Unknown artist

Marching as to war

Being ever so slightly jittery, I whistle a little DITTY –
or dittery, if you want it to rhyme. I march on the FLANK
of a glittery army, marching in time. I bank on the MARCH-
ing battery to keep us from harm, to give us some TEETH;
since mine are so ever so chattery – like my heart underneath.

Before the Attack – at Plevna
Vasily Vereshchagin

Today we present the new five-line DQP.

The hick dines out

FILET Mignon considers itself a superior cut of steak – don’t
GORGE it down. You’ll make it frown. Don’t let the restaurant
SINGEr distract you, though she is superior too. If a fez-hatted
TUBER-player can accompany her, and she stay sweet, consider your meat. 

Seattle-based vocalist Katy Webber and tuba-player Salamandir (of Snake Suspenderz) performing at Chumleighland tent theater on Camano Island, Washington, USA. 2009.
Photo: Joe Mabel


GLASS and HOUSE should appear in the same Quordle
is like four words in Connections making immediate sense.
for EXIST and FINAL to appear together is existent-
ial. It makes the brain dawdle – hobbled – and warble
like the magpies: Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle!          

Denis Glover, New Zealand poet, and creator of the well-known magpie ‘warble’
that appears in one of his most famous poems, appropriately named, The Magpies.