January 20th, 2014

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Ideogram: Potato


I was born a potato, but I wasn’t born to be a potato, if you catch
my drift.  The recruiting posters tricked me.  That red white and blue
Yankee Doodle jim-dandy Mr. Potatohead pointing his finger at me.

Be all the potato you can be.  Ha!  With a break or two, I could’ve
been something the besotted send along with a valentine to their
beloveds.  Like a rose, say, a rhyming poem, a box of chocolates.

But we potatoes, we don’t know how to speak up for ourselves.
We’re too quiet.  Because there aren’t many things that make less
noise than potatoes, you think we don’t have dreams, or feelings.

A spud can be hurt.  Really.  So watch what you say when you’re
frying or mashing, baking or boiling.  And don’t blame me if you eat
too darn much of us and end up looking like the sack we come in.

Poem by Joe Smith
Illustration by Honoria Starbuck
pinhole camera

Ideogram: Riddle


While the grownup conundrums are out by the barbecue pits
scanning the night skies with binoculars for signs of Sputnik, the
little cute as button riddle from next door leads him into the bushes.

I’ll let you see my answer if you let me see yours, she says.  Oh, he
was just a wee riddle back then, hardly knee-high to the lazy
grasshopper, with hardly enough of an answer at all to brag about.

He never guessed back then there were so many riddles—this
unlikely breath called life is reckoned to be one, and dark matter,
and the last of the Romanovs, and death.  And so many answers.

He was way too young to know a riddle isn’t a riddle once the
answer is revealed.  That’s why go-go dancers can’t be riddles, why
that winged marvel the Sphinx leaped from the high wall of Thebes.

Poem by Joe Smith
Illustration by Honoria Starbuck