The Pedestrian’s Curse.

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I am sick and tired of the perilous degree

To which our sidewalks come to when the weather is icy.

Like a baby glacier, all the snow lays unremoved;

My chances of a nasty fall are certainly improved.

 

My curses on you, householder – whoever you may be,

For neglecting all the shoveling that is your first duty.

May icicles impale your lazy heart, and polar bear

Invade your laundry to rip up all of your underwear.

 

Because of you I have to wear a pair of crampons now,

As over frozen rivers and crevasses I do plough.

I ought to have a dog sled to traverse my daily round.

(And have my huskies leave you little presents on the ground!)

Thoughts on Walking Through the Neighborhood at Dusk.

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When I was but a slippy youth, impelled by lusty flush

To run and skip and hide and sing like any careless thrush,

The boys and girls around the street joined in my serenade,

Or fought with clods of earth or set up stands for lemonade.

 

The slightest hint of mildness in the weather caused adults

To open all the windows for some gossip (or insults).

We yelled our silly heads off as we scalped each other like

The Westerns on the TV, or went on an oval hike –

 

Around the alleys, past trash cans just full of won’drous tripe,

Scuffing on the clinkers as we rolled a broken pipe.

Mrs. Berg put up a sign that said “Stay Off The Lawn”.

Old Benny on the corner drank his Schlitz and gave a yawn.

 

Cranky Mrs. Hannigan put out her wash to dry

(They said she beat her husband so until he’d start to cry).

Nozzles on the hoses sent the dew upon the grass,

Held by men in t-shirts with their arms as stiff as brass.

 

The cavalcade of bikes and trikes and hopscotch-playing girls

Made the sidewalk squirm just like a box of baby squirrels.

To sit inside when sun and wind made love to all the trees

Was just about as stupid as a snort of anti-freeze.

 

Even Mrs. Henderson, as old as Herbert Hoover,

Smiled upon the bedlam through the chinks of parlor louver.

The noise was a cocoon that wrapped the neighborhood in fleece;

Underneath the woofs and tweets there lay a modest peace.

 

Today – today, I walk by neighborhoods and cul de sacs

Where fam’lies park their minivans and figures made of wax

Sit inside the windows playing games intensely bright

While the beauty of the world fades into unmourned night.

 

The quiet doesn’t cheer me or promote much peace of mind.

The lack of noise, like lack of sight, is something dull and blind.

The yards are neat and comely, and the children are well-bred;

A lemonade stand here would get you handcuffed by a Fed.

President Nicolas Maduro, of Venezuela.

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I am the mighty leader of the Venezuelan state.

The name of “Nick Maduro” carries lots and lots of weight.

I capture missionaries who are spying on our land

And get them all deported at my grandiose command.

 

You Americans are snooping all around our commonwealth,

Preparing to invade us with your doctrines and great stealth.

The Venezuelan people do not need your Yankee ways;

We are Castro-centric till the end of our born days!

 

I am paternalistic with my people in Caracas;

If they disobey me I will beat them with maracas.

So send your sneaking diplomats back home where they belong;

In my barrio bajo I am honored with sweet song!

Ode to Casey’s General Store.

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Whenever I’m in Casey’s, or any other store

That sells the kind of snacks enjoyed by jaded omnivore,

I can’t help feeling guilty – as if I’d been remiss

In chewing on a Slim Jim and guzzling  Swiss Miss.

 

Do not these staples power metabolites and germs

That in our track intestinal neutralize pin worms?

Surely drinking Snapple does elevate the mind,

And can blood sugar levels be very far behind?

 

I hear tell they have gasoline somewhere or other, too;

But all I want is Copenhagen for a luscious chew.

Convenience stores are just the place to get a healthy meal;

And if you are believing that, you are a big schlemiel.

One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison.

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I read emulsifiers in my choc’late shake may cause

My gut to be as useless as a piece of rotten gauze.

Reader’s Digest says that processed meat is even worse,

And eating lots of hotdogs will land you inside a hearse.

 

Saturated fat in coconuts and soups therefrom

Make the outlook for weight loss unusually glum.

Even popcorn microwaved has sodium galore;

Eat a bowl and see as how your blood pressure will soar.

 

Frozen diet entrees are not really too nutritious.

And fruit juice is all sugar, its benefits fictitious.

Ev’rywhere I look an article warns that I’m feeding

Poison to myself . . . and so, I’ve given up on READING.

Provo poet lives to make people laugh

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For more than 20 years, reporters around the world have been receiving poems from a Provo man who reads their work and has something to say.

“It’s an obsession for me,” Tim Torkildson said. “Whenever I read something interesting I just have to respond to it in verse.”

Sometimes sent electronically, other times in the mail, poems range in length but are always witty and always rhyme.

He subscribes to at least seven papers — ranging from The New York Times to his hometown paper the Minneapolis Star Tribune — and responds to anything that “tickles” or “outrages” him.

The first poem he remembers sending was back in 1993, a serious poem about the Waco, Texas siege.

Since then the 61-year-old has written thousands.

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During an average week, he’ll write and send five poems to various reporters and news outlets. About 90 percent of the time he doesn’t hear back, but the few times he does is what keeps him going.

In January, Rachel Abrams from The New York Times wrote about the curiosity and persistence that eventually led her to interview Torkildson and publish three poems he sent her.

More recently, Torkildson said he received feedback from a reporter in Europe who called him a “genius” and told him she would “treasure” what he had done with her stories.

To hear feedback like that from a professional writer is gratifying, Torkildson said, especially as a college dropout. He likes the friendships it forms, and hopes someday his hobby could lead to a full-time poetry-writing career.

“I miss doing something that makes people happy,” he said.

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For a good chunk of his life, Torkildson worked as a clown for the Ringling Brothers. His poetry writing started years ago when he was a young father traveling with the circus. Since his kids were home in Provo, he’d write them poems as a way to stay in touch and let them know he was thinking of them.

After arthritis forced him to leave circus life, Torkildson spent 15 years teaching English in Thailand before finding his way back to Utah Valley.

In July 2014, Torkildson received some press from multiple national news outlets after being let go from his part-time job in Provo for supposedly promoting a “gay agenda” through teaching about homophones.

In between jobs, he’s searching for something that makes him and others happy.

“I’m not made to cause people unhappiness,” he said. “If I’m not entertaining people I’m not happy.”

(From an article by Keri Lunt Stevens in the Provo Daily Herald, Wednesday, March 4. 2015)

Uncle Sam to Pay Millions to Illegal Aliens, Courtesy of the IRS!

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During a hearing last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the tax consequences of the President’s unilateral action that essentially grants amnesty to five million people in the country illegally,  specifically as it relates to their eligibility for the earned income tax credit (EITC). Guidance issued by the IRS in 2000 suggests individuals benefitting from the President’s immigration action will be eligible to claim the refundable EITC for previous tax years in which they were not authorized to work in the United States.   Grassley asked Koskinen whether the IRS intended to revisit the 2000 guidance in light of the President’s executive action.  Koskinen agreed to respond and recently did so by letter.  The letter confirms the IRS intends to stick by its previous interpretation of the EITC eligibility requirements.  As a result, individuals in the country illegally who are benefitting from the President’s action will be eligible to claim the EITC for up to three previous tax years even though it would be based on earnings made while working illegally in the United States. According to IRS data, the average EITC credit in 2012 was just over $2,300 and the maximum available credit in 2014 is  $6,143.  Grassley made the following comment on this information.

 

“An estimated five million people in the country illegally will remain here under the President’s executive action.  Given the IRS’ interpretation of tax rules intended to prohibit undocumented  workers from qualifying for the EITC, these individuals will be eligible to claim billions of dollars in tax benefits based on earnings from unauthorized work in the United States.  With the stroke of a pen, the President rewarded those working illegally in the United States with a tax benefit that is designed to encourage low-income individuals to enter the workforce.  Given that the IRS is intent on standing by its present interpretation of the eligibility requirements, I’m working on legislation to uphold an important principle that many of us in Congress support.  The tax code shouldn’t reward those who broke our immigration laws.”