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.