On a Workshopped Poem

How nice! You've seen to every single thing.
Congratulations on your deft removal
Of any phrase that might offend or sting
The consciousness of Those Who Grant Approval.

There is no word disparaging or vicious;
No heinous hint of ethnic derogation.
Your verse is free from anything suspicious
Like thought or wit or humorous deflation.

You've excised terms insensitive and callous,
All slurs, invective, insult, and aspersions.
You've stayed away from vulva and from phallus
(We do not sanction those obscene diversions).

Indeed, you've labored long and hard. And now
Your poem is as placid as a cow.

by Joseph S. Salemi

Joseph S. Salemi teaches in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College in New York City. He has published three books of verse, and his poems, essays, translations,and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred journals world-wide. He is a regular columnist and book-reviewer for the Expansive Poetry On-Line website.

Sodom & Gomorrah

Remember the tale with so much travail
of Lot and the woman he married?
God's instruction she spurned. Into salt she was turned.
When fleeing she shouldn't have tarried.

God said He could pardon the city of Sodom
and, with it, nearby Gomorrah,
despite all the sin and the news rather grim
that no one was reading the Torah.

If they could find ten who lived as just men,
He'd hold back the brimstone and fire.
Or even if one wasn't having such fun,
their towns wouldn't have to expire.

Would the Lord God have cared if the women had dared
to stand up and say, "Count us, too"?
Or would He have declared, "You cannot be spared.
You're JUST women, and that simply won't do"?

by John Larkin

John Larkin is a retired Electronic Engineer. He has been published in Paterson Literary Review, Edison Literary Review, Home Planet News, Big Hammer and others. He has been a featured reader at several New Jersey venues.

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