Be Careful What You Ask For

“Genie, please make me a banana split.”
Poof! “You are a banana split! Just feel
yourself sliced down the middle. Doesn’t it
feel cool, dear Tony? I’ve thrown out the peel,
and now that slit is widened by three scoops
of rich vanilla ice cream. I’ll add nuts,
whip cream, chocolate sauce, the cherry … Woops!
Forgot the spoon—need that to get those guts …
well, former guts of yours. What’s that you say?
Tony, come on—now’s no time to get cute:
don’t say you didn’t mean it quite that way.
Besides, shouldn’t banana splits be mute?
All right, I’ll change you back; but what a waste—
I seriously like the way you taste!”



What Politics Is Coming To

A traveler stayed with us, and we
spoke long of strange activity
in London, Moscow, Hong Kong, Rome,
and cities that we might call home—
Seattle, Portland, Ottawa,
New York, and others, where the law
may be suspended at the will
of some mere whim, or where a bill
may pass that clearly turns against
a citizen with no defense.
Shame on all these who legislate
so wickedly, or abrogate
the public trust by backing schemes
they sell as feasible sweet dreams
intended, rather, to enslave.
Shame most of all on those who’d waive
their freedom through rash, ill–cast votes—
so led astray, these foolish goats.



Julian D. Woodruff, who contributes poetry frequently to the Society of Classical Poets, writes poetry and short fiction for children and adults. He recently finished 2020-2021, a poetry collection. A selection of his work can be read at Parody Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Carmina Magazine, and Reedsy.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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21 Responses

  1. Mary Gardner

    Julian, Thank you for these. I especially enjoyed the amusing banana split sonnet. Moral: Beware of smart-alecky genies.

  2. Phil L. Flott

    The rhyming in What Politics Is Coming To is simply masterful. I am in envy of such an ability.

  3. Roy Eugene Peterson

    You are right on the money about “What Politics is Coming To!” The problem is we are already there!

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      You’re right, of course, Mr. Peterson. It would be nice to think we could get straitened out!
      Thanks for reading.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thanks, Mike.
      Let’s hope this guy’s right. What gets me, though (among other things), is this: after 2 1/2 years, how could ANYONE be intending to vote for Biden?

  4. Brian A. Yapko

    Both very enjoyable poems, Julian. I love the whimsy of the delicious “Be Careful What You Ask For.” As for “Politics” — whatever you do don’t go to Portland. The lunatics are running the asylum.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thank you, Mary. Glad you liked . It’s amazing to me how current doings can remind one of something very specific from long ago. I never watched this show much, but I do remember this moment.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thank you, Brian. Delicious, but with a definite bite, I hope.
      Portland, yes. They decided they didn’t get enough rain there.

  5. Cynthia Erlandson

    Good stuff, Julian! The best phrase, I think, is “sweet dreams intended rather to enslave”, which sums up so succinctly both the intended plans of the enslavers, and the ignorance of those who vote for and accept those plans.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Right on, Cynthia. Chesterton put it something like this: “It’s a pity how few politicians are hanged.”

  6. Julian D. Woodruff

    Oh dear—an embarrassing booboo … When I submitted these to Evan, I inadvertently forgot to add that “Be careful” was inspired by an episode from an old tv show, I Dream of Jeannie, created by Sydney Sheldon, starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman. The show ran on NBC from 1965 to 1970. I definitely can’t take credit for the incident that sets this poem off.
    No wonder Evan edited my spelling of Jeannie without comment! I hope he changes it back and adds this note at the top. Apologies!!

  7. Margaret Coats

    What a rich banana split, Julian! My memory was sharp enough to recall the Jeannie program, in which Hagman was Jeannie’s husband Tony. The genie was more congenial than Samantha in Bewitched, and there was no supercilious mother-in-law. Your Politics poem flows naturally through schemes and dreams for a big bang of an ending rhyming “votes” with “goats.” Perfect absence of sheep and shepherds, and careful choice of locations including Rome. You describe wolves rather than mention them. Nice work!

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Thank you, Margaret.
      You consistently find more in poems than I do–and that includes my own.
      I missed Bewitched; I must have been hacking away at Tchaikovsky and Ravel.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        I was crazy about “I Dream of Jeannie” when it ran — Barbara Eden was the hottest piece of girl-flesh on the screen, even though the TV censors refused to let her show her belly-button. An absurd puritanical restriction!

        Elizabeth Montgomery in “Bewitched” was also very cute, but she was much more intensely sexy in the Twilight Zone episode with Charles Bronson about two enemy soldiers who confront each other. Man, was she hot!

  8. Paul A. Freeman

    I don’t think you could have two more different poems! In ‘Be Careful What You Ask For’, I was reminded of Gene Kelly getting mobbed by female fans and asking Doug O’Connor to call him a cab – which he did.

    Thanks for the reads.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Two sides of the same coin, to me, Paul. A side: socio-pathology (the whole trans- / abortion- / assisted suicide(?)-regret phenomenon; side B, the greed and corruption of politicians that drives side A.
      Thanks for reading.

  9. Jeff Eardley

    Julian, the first is great fun. I recall the tv series over here in the 60’s. As to political matters, I am staggered that of all the amazing intellect in the US, you end up with Biden. We are no better over here having suffered from Johnson and the appalling Liz Truss. Great read today. Thank you.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Well, Jeff, at least you got rid of LT in a hurry. I think I’d have to say Biden stands a good chance of being re-elected (but see Mike Bryant’s link, above).
      Thanks for reading.

  10. Shaun C. Duncan

    “Be Careful What You Ask For” is witty and brilliantly executed. The rhymes are great and the use of enjambment propels the comic-horrific narrative at great pace. At first glance it might seem to have little in common with the more sober (though no less skillful) “What Politics Is Coming To” but in the current climate it reads as a wicked allegory of the trans movement. Fantastic stuff, Julian!


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