a surreal love story


Square Peg had been on edge.

In a world of contours and nuance, of free-flowing forms, he saw himself as — a misfit.

Surrounded by ebullient personalities, of nebulous shapes and sizes, he was — an outsider.

He felt cornered.

There was that persistent pressure, pounding his every square inch.

He was afraid that he might crack, buckle and implode.

Round Hole had been feeling empty.

She wasn’t sure how long, but the gaping void inside of her had grown larger over time.

The emptiness in the pit of her stomach was expanding, pushing her to her limits.

The emptiness…

a verse translation, for the Day of Hungarian Poetry, April 11

the poem “Kertész leszek” by Attila József, translated by Joe Váradi

Plant my garden, nurture the seeds,
Rise with the sun, uproot the weeds,
Care for none to fill my hours,
only my anointed flowers.

My anointed flowers will be
Lovers who ask nothing of me,
and if they grow into nettle,
I’ll still cherish every petal.

Smoke my pipe, toast with elation,
safeguard my good reputation,
safe from danger, safe from harm, when
I plant myself in my garden.

This we all need, indeed we do, from east to west, let us pursue — if this world must come…


mercy bo-koo

photo credit:

So, we’re at this fancy French restaurant the other night, right?

Just finished peroosing the cart doojer, breathing in the ambien, enjoying the mill-yo.

When this guy comes up to us, out of the blue, and (get this) claims to be “Our Somalian for the evening” — and starts selling us on some upscale wine. Goes into a whole back and forth about what we’re thinking of ordering, what color wine we like and such.

I was taken aback, to say the least.

Not for nothin’, the guy didn’t even look African!

But then he got to talking about regions…

a verse translation

a poem by Gizella Hervay, translated by Joe Váradi

Pedestrian Bird

the map bleeds hijacked trains contort and writhe your photo on the shelf bleeds — I fade into twilight infantry trucks through streets bodies laid out in lines bringing our bread back to the barracks — end of times I stand with hands worn raw soul stripped bare at the crossroads and sound a final blare do you hear it still love in reverse on a blind track phone lines crackle lungs hoarse mapped on an iron rack map of our skulls neatly inventoried deemed sound an inventory tag reminder of…

szatirikus vers

Üzleteltem haverommal,
mint strómannal a focitárs:
- Lóci ne szöszmötölj annyit!
Gázt szerelsz még, mit csinálsz?
Hagyd francba a villáskulcsot,
Felcsút főgóréja leszel!
A turpisságok végtelenek
miket Viktorod kieszel!

Hiába szídtuk ellenzékből,
a ballibokra mit sem hatott;
kénytelenek voltunk végül
kőbe vésni a kétharmadot.
Ültünk hosszú méla lesben
(s addig játszottuk a demokráciát),
míg végül Feri Öszödön
oly szépen el nem szólta magát.

Közben szorgosan mostuk,
forgattuk a lóvét házrul házra,
a kifacsart nyereséget
háttéremberekre ruházva;
Tiszti Kaszinóból székház,
a székházra bankos vevő — 
Papának dolomitbánya,
a gánti pont megfelelő!

És ahogy dőltek a tao-pénzek, úgy épült újjá a világ…

a song parody of The Rolling Stones’ Beast of Burden

♪ ♫ Don’t want to download your latest version
I’m old school — have tech aversion
All this techno-jargon is really confusing me

Can’t even find your latest version
Googled for hours, my hands are hurtin'
All I want is this stupid app to work for me

ㅤㅤAm I old enough?
ㅤㅤAm I jaded enough?
ㅤㅤAm I dumb enough?
ㅤㅤDidn’t major in EYE-TEEEEE

♪ ♫ Don’t think I have your latest version
The online help is a useless diversion
Might as well be Greek
'Cause it’s making no sense to me

ㅤㅤAm I dull enough? ㅤㅤAm I tired enough? ㅤㅤFrustrated…

No Crime in Rhymin’ Feb — March 2021

homegrown by the EiC

Esteemed Fellow Punsters and Rhymologists!

Cut an editor some slack — whipping up that Venn-diagram was a decent amount of effort, I don’t feel bad about reusing it.

More to the point, after almost two years of being the online Universe’s premium, and possibly only, outlet dedicated to funny poems, I’ve pretty much cycled through all the classic paintings in the public domain that depict jolly medieval court jesters, our publication’s mascot.

a verse translation

a poem by Domokos Szilágyi, translated by Joe Váradi

Neither Woke, Nor Asleep

ㅤㅤI am joyful just a bit,
ㅤㅤmy torments, small, I submit

Neither woke, nor asleep, not living, nor buried deep, neither thirst, nor hunger pangs, neither work, nor idle hands, not this way, nor that — neither crippled, nor robust, fits and starts end in a bust — lie to me, I asked, tell the truth, all the same — I have become just as lame as a newborn, as helpless and forlorn; neither woke, nor asleep, not living, nor buried deep, neither thirst, nor hunger pangs, neither work, nor…

Joe Váradi

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store