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Ron Koertge: Three ghazals

Around the bush

Around the bush

The gardener’s ceramic mug says, No Beating Around The Bush.
It’s not invisible ink if I can read it. Stop beating around the bush.

I was on my way to the lamasery of coincidence. Eyeliner, gloves,
atomic shoes with poplar soles. Who’s been excreting around the bush?

Sweetheart, try holding your breath in your hands this time.
Oh, the pure spirit of a true ruffian. Delirium-inducing browbeating around the bush.

The usually nonchalant sheep are annoyed. The shepherd’s reading Nathaniel
Hawthorne out loud. Can that explain the bleating around the bush?

We could go to the same mall, I guess, but we can’t meet or speak.
Imagine I’ve disappeared. You, too. They found the bleeding around the bush.


The lion is polite. Before lying down with the lamb, he has her over for drinks.
The lamb is flattered. At the stream, everything else steps away when he drinks.

There’s nothing worse than a sick swan. Trying to get out of the pond,
he collapses. There’s nobody to tell. He’s heavy and wet and he stinks.

The vet is as hot as her tomcat. They go off in different directions,
come home mauled, then tuck in and purr about their high jinx.

Tiny photos of dead soldiers. Some in uniform, some in graduation
ties. I think about deer getting hit by cars and my heart just sinks.

The owl in the massage parlor upsets the patrons. The way he stares
as girls in sunglasses file by. The way he never blinks.


Nostalgia Cable brings back Howdy Doody–a thing on a string, a gizmo.
Tying off as I watch, I remember my heroin mentor called the syringe a gizmo.

Of course she’ll make it in L.A. She’s already been Miss Ice Cube Tray,
Miss Search Engine, Miss Apprehension, and Miss Gizmo.

“It might be dangerous, but we’ll be right outside.” A book with a gun
in it. A hidden microphone. Safe-word for I like this too much–gizmo.

His dangling parts fascinated her, which he took as a very good sign.
But she’d never talk dirty, referring to everything down there as his gizmo.

Li Po tires of lotus and wild geese. He thinks of his son, Po-Chin,
fascinated by the peddler and his costly, intricate gizmos.

Ron Koertge

Ron Koertge

Ron Koertge currently bets on thoroughbred horses, writes poetry (Fever from Red Hen Press) and fiction for older teens (Strays from Candlewick Press).

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