a cynophobic confessional

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No disrespect to my
dog-person friends
(to whom this will sound like
a bunch of non-sense),

but I just don’t dig on
the canine race.
I cannot help but to
imagine worst case

each time I pass
a doggie on the street,
I visualize them
sinking their teeth

into my ankles or
sensitive thighs,
as their nonchalant owners
feign their surprise.

This scenario has been
my lifelong fright …
and it doesn’t help that
their heads are crotch-height.

Listen — I know
not all dogs are vicious,
but you gotta admit
they’re a fairly capricious

species, in general,
endowed with…


FAKE FACTS

the First Move is under way

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Reports emerged on Friday of a flurry of activity at the White House as Trump staffers began transporting stacks of boxes from the executive residence, to be hauled away by an awaiting caravan of moving trucks and SUVs.

Destination Unknown

Many of the boxes appeared to be carrying containers for documents and gift items, possibly destined for 45’s presidential library — whose location, designs, and, quite frankly, justification, are yet to be publicly unveiled.


2019 to 2020

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It’s kind of my thing.

I began translating poetry from my native Hungarian in January of 2018. Starting with of children’s rhymes, I proceeded to expand my range to more adult fare, from the humorous to the introspective and to the downright bleak and fatalistic.

This past year, I also made a conscious effort to seek out the work of female poets, who are conspicuously underrepresented in the surveys and annals of literature. It’s been a thrill to explore the poetry of talented contemporaries as well as 20th century masters Margit Kaffka, Ágnes Nemes Nagy, and Anna Hajnal.

My tried-and-true approach to the craft…


a verse translation

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a poem by Jenő Dsida, translated by Joe Váradi

Smiling, Weary Wish

Would be nice, to dreamy-drowsily lie
down upon a foam-colored cloud,
as it lumbers stealthily 'cross the sky.

Eyelids closed, two hands lolling
to be swung, swayed to gentle sleep
steel-blue evening, magenta morning.

All my lethargic torments forgotten,
my bed intimating ambrosial dreams:
swaying grenadine, quilts soft as cotton.

And God himself would cease his wrath,
He’d smile and whisper into the wind:
Poor, tired little angel, who’s lost her path.

Jenő Dsida (1907–1938) is among my absolute favorite Hungarian poets. He lived a tragically short life overshadowed by World War I. …


a flight of limericks about Republican infighting

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Sen. Ted Cruz

There once was a Texan named Cruz
In 2016 he endured many a bruise
ㅤㅤTrump pelted your loved ones with turd
ㅤㅤYet you prop up his ass, undeterred
Rather than concede defeat to the Blues

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Now here is one remarkable creep
He just sued his own party’s Veep
ㅤㅤScheming to compel Pence
ㅤㅤSome 80 electoral votes to dispense
This goober is as vile as the ocean is deep

Vice President Mike Pence

Torn between God, Ambition and Mother
Smothered in presidential blubber
ㅤㅤSubserviently obsequious
ㅤㅤSlippery, oleaginous
This cracker creeps me out like no other

and two more, from the archives

Sean Hannity

There once was a talking head named Sean
Where he lacked intellect he had plenty o’ brawn
ㅤㅤWho’s to say you ain’t lyin’
ㅤㅤDude, you were Cohen’s secret client!
And on the phone with the Prez, dusk ’til…


SONG PARODY

sung to the tune of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin

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I let you sleep on the couch
Left you home, unattended
Tell me, Sadie, why did
You let your bowels run free …?
This I cannot unsee,
What a freakin' disaster
Some of it even got under
My favorite carpet’s done …

♪ ♫ Hot steaming turd
A large revolting pile of doo
Did I not tell you, “No”
Or where to go
I wish that I were dreaming
♪ ♫ Hot steaming turd
Our living room is not your loo
Were you not potty trained? …


a verse translation of a poem by Margit Kaffka

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Margit Kaffka (1880–1918) was a Hungarian poet, writer, teacher, a member of the Nyugat generation. She died in the 1918 flu pandemic along with her young son.

Quietude

I know naught
Of silence that burning secrets wrought
And wherein seeds of brewing storms awake;
Wherein covert promises plant their stake.
Of silence that draws thunderous reply,
Taut cord, that snaps its final ply,
Or which stirs a grand harmony
Of life, joy, and fatal destiny,
Come what may! Come, as it ought!
— of such silence I know naught.

But I do know
Where melancholy’s gnarled vines grow,
Halfwit carrier of a disfigured past,
Endless lonely hours till dusk at last,
Whence mute, impassive shadows depart,
Casting no blame, settle around my heart,
And for the heart to wait — it hasn’t any right —
Tomorrow comes, as the present day arrived,
Minutes beget minutes, for it must be so,
— This silence I do know. …


a Christmas rhyme translation

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a Christmas rhyme by Sándor Weöres, translated from Hungarian by Joe Váradi

Candlelight,
hopeful, bright,
Christmas baker’s warm delight.
I recall when I arrived,
where the sky lays down its treasure,
offers it free, for our pleasure,
gentle stars, shedding sparkles
showering down through the night.
Candlelight,
hopeful, bright,
Christmas baker’s warm delight.

Later on I happened on
a house with plates overflowing,
dancers swirling, songs a-glowing,
tended to by throngs of angels
shepherding the Yuletide cheer.

Candlelight,
hopeful, bright,
Christmas baker’s warm delight.

also by Sándor Weöres (1913–1989):

the original:

Téli nyalánkságok

Gyertyafény,
szép remény,
karácsonyi sütemény.
Egyszer arra jártam én,
hol az ég a földre tárul,
mindent ingyen ad, nem árul,
sziporkázó csillagok
záporoznak könnyedén. …

About

Joe Váradi

Editor of No Crime in Rhymin' and Language Lab | the Woke Bloke ..."come for the sarcasm, stay for my soft side"

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