Poor Lonely Irony

Valerie Bandura

Mylene pours the wine while Lauren deals

the cards and Andie reads the question

as Caleb cackles, Oh no she didn’t,

before we slide our picks across the table

from which Afton chooses, Two midgets shitting in a bucket,

to complete, Santa surprises bad children

not with coal but with blank, over

Surprise sex exclamation point, or AIDS,

because she does not wish upon bad children

pedophilia or sordid death, even from Santa,

a humor as black as a gun barrel

she may as well herself shove into the dark

mouth of the child. It’s funny, right

until it’s sad — or true? And then what?

Where do you draw the line

between humorous and offensive?

Steve told this one for years to entertain himself:

Go to an art show, he’d say, and admire a painting

by a woman, stand back, cock your head,

and when the painter comes by, say, Did you paint this?

And she’ll say, Yes, I did.

It’s just beautiful, you’ll say. Thank you, she’ll say.

And then you’ll say, I’m really impressed

by your talent. Can I rub your snatch? Irony,

that bad guest at the party, who farts

and won’t excuse himself, or won’t

lay a napkin in his lap, gets put out

in the rain, without his keys, learning his lesson,

though the conversation inside

is so terribly witty, so downright clever,

everyone’s too busy listening to the noise

of their own guffawing to have anything brave to say.

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