Chapbook Update 14: Elizabeth S. Wolf

This is from the chapbook The Poetry and Prose of Prison, written by Frank Olms. This poem reminds me of Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash, taking a light tone to a not so funny situation.


Is That a Bug in my Drink?


I went to the mess-hall and sat down to eat

Grits and potato and some kind of meat.

The meat in a gravy sauce lookin’ so fine.

Some called it turkey I called it mine.


Mechanically separated—ou sounds so painful.

Served up by a sargent so loud and disdainful.

Two kinds of drink come up with this meal.

Neither of which has any appeal.


The white drink I’m sure is of some ilk,

Some say it’s soy while others say milk.

But the colored one- the origin of which

I’m not really sure but it smells like pine- pitch.


Then the sergeant yelled, “DO NOT TALK!”

I sipped at the white drink, it tasted like chalk.

But the colored one, of hues that can change

Also contained a creature so strange.


I did lift it out with my red plastic spork,

As the powers-that-be trust us not with a fork.

I dropped it into a section of tray

Near a dollop of grits like a mountain of hay.


It stodd on six legs so I know it’s a bug.

It coughed and it sputtered and started to chug

It coughed and it choked I began to think

The little bug had too much of that drink.


and the bug said:

“Well I’m so little and life’s such a gift

I really appreciate getting that lift”…


I stirred the meat and gravy and tater

And told the bug I’d talk with it later.


But it asked of the grits I said they’re not bad.

But I’d like them more baked, broiled, or fried.

It took a taste and said that I lied,

It laid on its stomach, and then on its side,

And from the grits, the little bug died.


Then the loud sergeant yelled, “EVERYONE”S THROUGH!”

I picked up my tray, then ate the bug too.