KEWPIES ON PARADE Here come the kewpies to the fete. What jewels, what gowns, what suits. No wonder throngs of gawkers wait Along the street agog to sate Their eyeballs on such beauts. Here come the kewpies. Stand back there And give them room to pass. The plain must make way for the fair And not contaminate the air With their plebeian gas. As in antiquity the gods Would trip down from Olympus To answer prayers with gracious nods, Amaze men with their perfect bods And favor them with glimpses Of glory, even so parade The kewpies, flashing teeth Slick dentists have been overpaid To render fit to be displayed In magazines, beneath The punchiest of headlines, ones Expert ex-poets write Whose punishment for whoring puns Is dough enough to ward off duns But not abashment’s bite. A dazzling thing it is to see, The tooth-filled kewpie grin. What most of all impresses me Is its transmissibility, For, in all kewpie kin, In every kewpie lass and lad, The grin shows as much white As in each kewpie mom and dad. I don’t know why this makes me mad. The hell I don’t—it’s spite. For try though I do, when I smile My few teeth won’t appear. My mouth’s not only out of style, It houses a crude palate: while They burp wine, I belch beer. They’re rarities. I’m commonplace. Their glittering allure Lends glamor to the human race And not—my gift—the gloomy face That goes with being poor. They die and live on on TV. I die and am forgot. A flickering eternity Awaits their confraternity. In death, I’m simply—not. O happy kewpies, let me then At once admit to you, If I had it to do again, And my pick from the lots of men, I’d be a kewpie, too. INTO THE SUNSET Just think, Tonto, I’ve got beyond My sixtieth year—borne that blow— And never had a blonde. You’re gaping as though I astound You, but I swear to you it’s so— I’ve never had a blonde. I’ve had a redhead, a brunette, And also—a long time ago— A black-haired girl—and yet Not even a peroxide blonde— Why not I can’t say. All I know Is God did not respond Whenever I—reduced to prayer— Begged him to send me here below A girl with yellow hair. I’ve been as far as Trebizond And back—a weary way to go— And never had a blonde. Six billion people tread the ground. I’ve walked among them, to and fro, But never had a blonde And never will now. Hair like gold Still humbles me, but I have no Knees left, because I’m old And nothing—no wave of a wand— Can change that. Goodbye, then—but, oh, How it makes me despond That, though these hills will be around Till Silver flies—Silver, hi-yo!— I’ll never have a blonde.
STEPHEN BAILY has published poems, plays, and short fiction in some fifty journals. He’s also the author of three novels, including “Markus Klyner, MD, FBI,” which is available as a Kindle e-book. He lives in France.