Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Chicken Wedding and Other Flights of Fancy

Harry and Pauline

Dear George,
Sadly, our Autumn quarter poetry writing workshop has come to an end, so I thought I would share some of my poems of the season.  The Chicken Wedding, held almost half a century ago now, was the biggest event in local TV history.  Like half of Cincinnati, Katja and I stayed home from work to watch it, and I decided it was time for a commemoration.   A couple of these poems were inspired by Halloween, including a sonnet about my imaginary stepsister, Morticia.  Apart from that fantasy, everything else is as true as pumpkin pie. 

The Ballad of the Chicken Wedding

If you are a Cincy old-timer
You’ll remember the Paul Dixon Show 
’Twas the toast of WLW-T
Silly nonsense as you and I know

Paul Baby was the Mayor of Kneesville
As corny as corny could be
He  called it “the dumbest show ever”
And gave out salami for free

A fan sent a rubber chicken one day
Paul gave her the name of Pauline
He held her up during Kroger ads
Then tossed her out of the scene

Soon a second rubber chicken arrived
Paul announced that Harry was his name
Pauline gave Harry a winsome smile
Within minutes she became Harry’s flame

Viewers wrote in and asked and begged
Will Harry and Pauline ever marry?
Paul mulled it over and finally relented
Though at first he had been rather wary

The wedding was set for March Eleventh
The year, Nineteen Sixty-Nine
Paul Dixon presided over the event
The chickens were looking so fine

Harry had a tux with a boutonniere
Pauline wore a white bridal gown 
Paul Dixon himself wore a black top hat 
It was torn in two at the crown

Bonnie Lou and Colleen were the matrons of honor
Bob Braun was Harry’s best man
Marian Spelman sang the wedding song
Bruce Brownfield led the house band

This was the wedding of the century
The people took a day off from work 
Kids skipped school to see the affair
The ten-year-olds watched with a smirk

After the wedding was over and done
The couple took a white limousine
The reception was held at the Lookout House
Hundreds came to see and be seen

The chicken wedding was a triumph
Number one in the station’s history
Paul Dixon always thought that amazing
He found his appeal a mystery

The cast is now gone to the Show in the Sky
But Pauline and Harry remain
Even though their feathers are tattered and gray
They still coo love’s ardent refrain

All Hallows Eve

On Halloween we shed our normal selves 
We dress as ghosts or pirate kings and queens 
Then frolic with the goblins and the elves
And fill our sacks with purple jelly beans

But Halloween is more than tricks and games
For it’s the night the dead return to life
The witches’ brew is bubbling on the flames
And Dracula is seeking his sixth wife

The children ring the bell in search of treats
They’re clueless about what awaits their fate
Ten snarling werewolves prowl the city streets
A ghoul digests the bulbous flesh he ate

I think that I will stay at home tonight           
I’ve worked myself into a state of fright

My Stepsister Is A Vampire

You’d never think it when you first see her
Her eyes are green, her hair is red and long
But weird things happen when she’s near a mirror
And two sharp fangs confirm that something’s wrong

Another fact is she does not grow old           
She’s ninety-eight but she looks twenty-nine 
I touch her brow and feel her skin so cold
A piercing shudder races down my spine

She brings men home and soon they disappear
I ask about them but she shakes her head
Something’s going on that is quite queer
Last  Sunday I found three of them stone dead 

Despite these quirks I love my sister true
That’s only right ‘cause I’m a vampire too

An Ode to the Lean Cuisine

I’m normally not a braggart           
But I’d say I’m a very fine cook
I never even boiled an egg before
Now I think about writing a book

When our son lived at home years ago
His mother made dinner each day
But then he went off to college
And family meals went by the way

It was every cook for himself
Healthy Choices were first my routine
I picked them because they were healthy
But then I learned how to be Lean

Lean Cuisines are not frozen dinners
One should view them as frozen cuisines
They’re invented by the finest chefs in France
Who prepare them for kings and for queens

There are over a hundred varieties
Amazing but that is the truth
They’re so low in trans fats and calories
It’s like dining at the Fountain of Youth

There is Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
Supreme Pizza and Five-Cheese Lasagna
Stuffed Cabbage and Baked Rigatoni
Shrimp Pasta and Chicken Marsala

We always have forty-plus boxes in stock
They fill the top half of our freezer
I’m partial to turkey and salisbury steak
Macaroni if I feel like a geezer

My favorite, of course, is Swedish Meatballs 
It’s a dish that my dear mother made
Lean Cuisine might have stolen her recipe
There are unsavory tricks in this trade

My culinary skills are quite polished
First you open the box at one end
Peel back two corners of the plastic
Six minutes — not seven or ten

I eat Lean Cuisines every noontime for lunch
And then have a second for dinner
Now that they have breakfast items too
America will soon be much thinner

This is the end of my tribute
Lean Cuisines are the star of our times
I wish I could think of more to say
But I seem to have run out of rhymes

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