Faust Money

___________________________I sold my soul for silver.
___________________________In blood I signed my name.
I soon enjoyed the benefits of wealth, success, and fame.

___________________________I sold my soul for silver.
___________________________The day came to collect,
And I couldn’t pay with cash or with renown or with respect.

___________________________I sold my soul for silver,
___________________________But, after it was sold,
I realized that I should have sold my soul for good old gold.


Soaplessly in Love

Miss Twye was soaping her breasts in her bath
When she heard behind her a meaning laugh
And to her amazement she discovered
A wicked man in the bathroom cupboard.

—Gavin Ewart

My motives (at the time I swore,
And I’ll swear once more),
Were ninety-nine and forty-four
One-hundredths’ percent pure.

I’m just a soap enthusiast,
As gentle as a Dove.
It’s suds that make me wooziest,
Not sick, misguided love.

That froth like champagne, or like cava,
Only fed my zeal.
Her gaze was fiery as molten Lava,
And hard as cold Castile.

So sure she was of my inner badness,
Her needle leapt the Dial.
No Method was there to her madness,
I never got fair trial.

As pale as Ivory, I clutched my scarf.
I’d no Defense to sing.
Feeling I was going to Barf,
I sprang out like the Irish Spring.

I ran for my Lifebuoy, like a dope,
A Comet down the stairs.
But I only ever had eyes for the soap.
I was looking at her Pears.

My motives (at the time I swore,
And I’ll swear once more),
Were ninety-nine and forty-four
One-hundredths’ percent pure.



Daniel Galef’s comic verse has been published in Light Quarterly, Measure, and New York Magazine, and he is a featured author in the Potcake Chapbooks series of mini-anthologies from Sampson Low.

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6 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    “Faust Money” is an excellent example of Poulter’s Measure. It is lucid, straightforward, perfectly grammatical, and alludes to an important story in the Western literary tradition. And to cap it all, the thing is genuinely funny.

    The second poem is based on a great idea, and the use of the various brand-names of soap is clever. But it has some metrical problems.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Barf was originally an Iranian soap. The word “barf” in their language means “snow,” which is a standard product-name for a cleanser.

  2. James Sale

    Funny, well-written and very enjoyable. Also, it’s good to see a reference to the now long dead poet Gavin Ewart. He was quite a big name in the UK until his death – and now he seems strangely forgotten. He was of course a wonderful comic poet with a thrusting and devilish wit. I booked him as a poet to appear at the Southampton Guildhall for Poetry Carnival UK in 1985 (to an audience of 2000 people on the first night – seems almost inconceivable now), when I met him, and I still have a handwritten poem by him on a letter he sent me about the terminal illness of his mother. So thanks for reminding me of him too!

  3. C.B. Anderson

    OK. Your motives were ninety-nine and forty-four one hundreths’ percent pure. But, as I once read in MAD magazine, this means that they were fifty-six one hundreths’ percent just plain rotten.

    • C.B. Anderson

      I’m not sure that the possessive apostrophe in “hundreths'” is appropriate. It’s a simple plural. A hundreth is one part in a hundred, and any number (larger than one) of them requires the “s” plural ending and nothing more.


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