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Forked  

a palindrome poem

I’m a toxic-tongued witch with some bitching to weave.
No trite tittle-tattle will make me believe
My lips drip with syrup and never with sin—
That’s ludicrous gossip—nonsensical din.
My tongue bursts with bile and has barbs at its tip—
Its scornful, it’s sharp, and it cuts with each quip.
Those mired in its mantra would never assert
My tongue isn’t cunning, acerbic, and curt.

My tongue isn’t cunning, acerbic, and curt.
Those mired in its mantra would never assert
Its scornful, it’s sharp, and it cuts with each quip.
My tongue’s dipped in bile and has barbs at its tip?
That’s ludicrous gossip—nonsensical din!
My lips drip with syrup and never with sin.
No trite tittle-tattle will make me believe
I’m a toxic-tongued witch with some bitching to weave.

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Sorceress

She is polished and pernicious,
Her demeanor is delicious.
She will soften the suspicious
__With her smile.

She’ll abash you then disarm you,
She’ll harass and she’ll alarm you,
Then she’ll nonchalantly charm you
__That’s her style.

She’ll reject and then she’ll choose you,
She’ll respect and then she’ll use you,
She’ll protect and then she’ll bruise you,
__In a flash.

She’ll dismiss you then possess you,
She will curse you then she’ll bless you,
She’ll distress and then impress you
__With panache.

She’ll accuse and then assuage you,
She’ll abuse and she’ll upstage you,
She’ll amuse and she’ll enrage you
__Every day.

She’ll assist you then she’ll spurn you,
She’ll enlist you then she’ll burn you,
She will twist and she will turn you
__Every way.

She will praise and then berate you,
She will raise and then deflate you,
She’ll amaze and still frustrate you;
__You can’t win.

She’s capricious and malicious,
She is smoothly surreptitious,
She conceals a core that’s vicious
__With a grin.

First published in Snakeskin

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Don’t Feed the Trolls! 

Goad goad goad goes the toad in the ether.
Mock mock mock howls the internet lout.
Jibe jibe jibe chides the beastly bequeather
_Of irk
__That a jerk
___Likes to shout.

Snipe snipe snipe pipes the sly cyber griper.
Moan moan moan groans the grim gobby ghoul.
Hiss hiss hiss huffs the gruff pissy viper—
_The snake
__Who makes saints
___Lose their cool.

Pick pick pick is the mode of those bozos.
Sock sock sock every fun-sucking sap.
Prick prick prick all those gaseous egos—
_The trick—
__Starve each schmuck.
___Snub their crap!

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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38 Responses

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much for this, James. I’ll give it a go!

      Reply
  1. Roy E. Peterson

    Susan, I believe you employ the “expansive I,” as I call it, and you simply are employing the first person in your adept deft poem. I refuse to believe you embody a witch. “Sorceress” was a fun read and reminded me of the song, “She’s Got Bette Davis eyes.” I believe I picked up the target of “Don’t Feed the Trolls.” You have always been great at alliteration and this one is superb!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Roy, I love your astute comment… it has me smiling. “She’s Got Bette Davis eyes” is one helluva song and I’m thrilled ‘Sorceress’ reminded you of one of my 80s faves. As for those trolls… inspiration comes in many guises on this wonderful site, and for that I’m most grateful. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Russel Winick

    Great stuff as usual Susan! I especially liked Sorceress (“She will curse you then she’ll bless you”). Now, who could that be about?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Russel, thank you very much… who could that Sorceress be, indeed?! 😉

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    “Forked” is one helluva brilliant piece. Poetic palindromes are very hard to pull off, and are usually done at a much simpler level than Susan’s poem here. She’s writing tetrameters with a strong dactylic pull, in smack-dab solid rhyming couplets.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Joe. I am smiling. I loved composing that palindrome… it was a challenge, and I adore a challenge, especially a poetic one!

      Reply
  4. Jack “Michael” Dashiell

    Once again, Susan, you amaze me. These 3 poems show your industry with words. I love your use of unique stanzas and of course witty humor. It surely shows formal poems aren’t necessarily old- fashioned.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Michael! You’re spot on when you say “formal poems aren’t necessarily old- fashioned” – I love
      formal, I don’t love archaic. Taking the beauty of form and breathing new life into it is my favorite pastime. I’m glad you appreciate it.

      Reply
    • Joshua C. Frank

      Me too! They’re all really good, but that one wins by far!

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        The inspiration for this poem came from an astute commenter who blessed me with some invaluable advice wrapped up in a contagious smile of poetic wit. Having read it I simply had to write… and I will draw upon the advice when needed – I’ll try very hard not to feed those pesky trolls! Thank you, Josh for your inspiration and your wisdom! 😉

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Susan, that’s wonderful to hear, that a bit of verse I wrote inspired you to write a full poem! You’re so welcome… but it’s nothing compared to the wonderful examples your work has been for me.

  5. Cheryl Corey

    “Trolls” is so unusual and immediately captured my attention. I love the way you have not only end, but internal rhymes as well. It’s a fun piece.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Cheryl! I like to flirt with fun… and I had the flirtiest, funnest time with this one.

      Reply
  6. Yael

    Wow! These are all great, and especially the Palindrome is amazing. Palindrome is a pretty cool and exotic sounding word in its own right, I like it, and I really enjoyed your reading of it.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Yael. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the palindrome, which I had huge fun writing. I made a recording to capture the differences in mood and meaning in the first and second stanza… the welcome embrace of being a ‘toxic tongued witch’ and the shame and denial. The very first poem I read of Mike’s was a palindrome called ‘Galaxy’… I think it led me here to Texas.

      Reply
  7. Rohini

    These are all brilliant! Thank you for that glittering interlude. I loved the palindrome.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Rohini – I love the delicious term, “glittering interlude”… I’m going to store it in my magic jar of words to gaze at when days need a bit of glitter.

      Reply
  8. James Sale

    Fabulous work, Susan – marvellous verbal dexterity, each one, and I am not even sure which is my favourite! They are all so good.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Yay!! Thank you, James! High praise, indeed, and I’m basking in it like a diva!

      Reply
  9. Norma Pain

    I just love your poetry Susan. I especially liked “Forked” and your reading of it made the message perfectly clear. I loved the movie “Gone with the Wind” and have watched it a number of times. “Sorceress” is a spot-on description of Scarlett. All three poems are splendid. Thank you for brightening my morning.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, thank you very much. I’m thrilled you enjoyed them all. When I saw Evan’s chosen picture, I thought it was spot-on for ‘Sorceress’. I read ‘Gone with the Wind’ when I was around ten and loved every chapter of Margaret Mitchell’s one and only book… perhaps Scarlet sprang from the twisted labyrinths of my mind when I wrote this poem. 😉

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Mary. I’ll wear my ‘flair and fun’ badge with pride today. I’m over the moon you enjoyed the poems.

      Reply
  10. Shaun C. Duncan

    These are fantastic, Susan. “Forked” is particularly good and your reading of the piece really added to my appreciation of it. The lines are packed with your usual poetic brilliance but the structure is even more impressive.

    I also loved “Don’t Feed The Trolls!” It has a real toungue-twisting quality that makes it a lot of fun to read out loud.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Shaun, thank you most kindly. I appreciate your fine eye. I think ‘Forked’ is so fun to read. I read it aloud at a Zoom poetry session in the U.K. yesterday and it went down well. Someone suggested I swap the stanzas around… I’m thinking on it. The fact that I can do that is the beauty of the palindrome. I have a special affection for my ‘Trolls’ poem… it was one of those poems that came in a flash and took very little time to write, and is such fun to read aloud.

      Reply
  11. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, is there ANYTHING you can’t do with words?
    These are so good that I am frothing whilst reading.
    The Palindrome is a new form for me and yours is so clever. I agree with the “Betty Davis eyes” comparison to “Sorceress” and “Trolls” is great to read out loud at the dentist as the novacaine kicks in. Thanks for a great read, as usual.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, your reaction to my quirky trio has made my day. It’s great when words ignite, excite, and bring a smile. There’s plenty I can’t do with words… at the moment. I have such fun trying, I’ll conquer those wayward words soon… watch this space. Thank you very much!

      Reply
  12. Mike Bryant

    Susan, I love these three and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing as you worked on them. We did meet over palindromes… I might be your palindrome. 🙂

    A palindrome can be read the same backwards and forward.
    The middle element of a palindrome can stand on its own or be repeated,
    123454321 – the ‘5’ is alone,
    Or
    1234554321- the ‘5’ now repeated but still a palindrome, like “Forked”

    Numbers or even groups of numbers can be palindromed by repeating them in reverse order so they read the same either way.
    123454321
    Or
    12 34 56 34 12

    In the same way palindromes can be formed with letters, words or lines.
    racecar = letters
    Or
    jump grab toss grab jump = words
    Or
    Your poem “Forked” is a rhymed Line Palindrome Poem.
    There are also Word Palindrome Poems and even Letter Palindrome Poems.
    The Word and Letter Palindrome Poems almost never rhyme, and almost never make any sense.

    A case in point… A Letter Palindrome Poem:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/woahdude/comments/1tks02/demetri_martins_224_word_palindrome_poem/

    And… one of my favorite letter palindrome phrases:

    Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mike, you are my poetic palindrome. Thank you for this informative and inspirational comment. I feel a word palindrome coming on… the letter palindrome might have to wait. Someone once told me, life was too short to stuff a mushroom. I feel the same about letter palindromes… although, I am partial to a stuffed mushroom. 😉

      Reply
  13. Brian Yapko

    Susan, these are three amazing poems both for form and content! The palindrome works beautifully with its cunning split-personality message. (“Who, me?”) The Sorceress is a bit confounding to me in subject matter but nonetheless a joy to read. I imagine we all get to play multiple roles in our lives and this one really brings home the paradoxes of being fallibly human. This poem seems particularly musical and I wonder if you intended this as a song lyric? A similar question for “Don’t Feed the Trolls” which also seems like it should be set to music. The subject matter is brilliant but, alas, advice that is most difficult to comply with. A splendid set all three, Susan.

    Reply
  14. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Brian, thank you for your grin-inducing comment on ‘Forked’ and its “…cunning split-personality message. (“Who, me?”)” – what a great description for my cheeky poem! I love it!

    ‘Sorceress’ is my purring lioness… a pussycat on the outside… don’t get too close. I didn’t think of song lyrics when I wrote ‘Sorceress’ and ‘Trolls’, but I like nonce forms that sing… and sometimes they just come to me. As a child, one of my favorites was by the late, great, outrageously eccentric, Spike Milligan:

    On the Ning Nang Nong
    Where the Cows go Bong!
    and the monkeys all say BOO!
    There’s a Nong Nang Ning
    Where the trees go Ping!
    And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
    On the Nong Ning Nang
    All the mice go Clang
    And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!
    So its Ning Nang Nong
    Cows go Bong!
    Nong Nang Ning
    Trees go ping
    Nong Ning Nang
    The mice go Clang
    What a noisy place to belong
    is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!

    How can you not smile after reading that one?!

    With much appreciation for your fine eye.

    Reply
  15. David Watt

    Susan, I just love your obvious enjoyment at playing with words, and entertaining us in the process. For me, your poems highlight skillful form, feminine wiles, and sage advice. Thanks for all three!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you for this beautiful comment. I am thrilled my enjoyment is obvious… I think joy is contagious and I am happy if my words bring a smile. I also love your summary – “skillful form, feminine wiles, and sage advice”… I’m reveling in your words and grinning from ear to ear. What more could a poet ask!

      Reply

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