Polk It Up

President Polk entered the tavern and made his way around the full tables and knifed through the bustling crowd at the bar to order an ale from the harried bartender. Nobody showed a sign of recognizing the president of their country being among them. They were busy drinking, eating, and making boisterously merry with their fellow countrymen.

Once served, Polk took a large gulp of the brew, appreciated the taste, and then raised the tankard high and bellowed, “Polk it up!”

Silence clapped the room.

Chair legs scrapped the floor as a customer slid so as to easier see the speaker. Silence swallowed the sound and digested for another long second.

“Eh?” asked an extravagantly bearded man standing next to the president. “Polk it up? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s a catchphrase, my good man!” the president belted. “It means be bold, be daring, be adventurous!”

“Do you mean Polk as in President Polk?” another man asked.

“The very one!” the president said. “Recently inaugurated and ready to get things done!”

“Don’t know anything about him,” another man said. “Is he really bold and daring?”

“Remains to be seen,” someone said. “I’m just glad Tyler’s out of there.”

“We all are!” the president said. “I’m simply spreading this soon-to-be-very-popular catchphrase!”

“I miss Van Buren’s sideburns,” the extravagantly bearded man said.

“I voted for Clay,” another man said.

“Clay’s done,” the president growled and raised his tankard again and again bellowed, “It’s time to Polk it up!”

Frowns deepened and curious expressions grew curiouser–until someone at a table started laughing, and then the laughter spread like frantic wildfire, racing ’round the tavern, with the place quickly rolling in mirth.

President Polk scowled at the lot, took a deep swig of ale, theatrically wiped his lips from the back of his hand to the end of his forearm, and stormed out of the place.

A dark cloud followed the president as he made his way back the the President’s Mansion, inside to his desk, where he scratched the tavern’s name off a list and peered at the remaining three taverns at the end of the list.

He nodded at the names and said, “It’ll catch on eventually,” then went to bed.

Phony Foam Phone

Drawing of a girl holding a large, fake phone

Get that phony foam phone
away from me,
since I gotta call
Frank in Philadelphia,
on a real phone.
We’re supposed to go
fishing on Phil’s farm.
Where’s my cell phone?
I put it here a minute ago.
You didn’t sell it, did you?
Frankly, I don’t know what the heck
you’re doing with that goofy
phony foam phone anyway.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. This poem is in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Boat Delivery

Down the sidewalk from my house,
a few blocks away,
a boat rests on a trailer
next to a truck parked in the driveway.

I guess the neighbor
bought the boat
from a boat store,
but I like to imagine
a massive wave
carried the boat from the lake
and left it here.

Of course,
no fishes or people
were harmed in the wave’s crash.
The fishes that were in the wave
took a bus back to the lake.
I doubt they had money for bus fare,
so maybe fish can ride buses for free.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. This poem is in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Tale of Two Captains

Captain Morgan held fast to the rigging
as the ship keeled sickeningly to port
before finally, exasperatingly, righting itself.
He snapped,
“I told you we needed to wait another day
before Rounding the Horn!
This storm’ll be the death of us!
The ship’ll be dashed
into a thousand pieces!”

Captain Crunch, also holding fast,
narrowed his eyes and growled through
the tiny gap between
his gritted teeth,
“She’ll hold up, just you wait and see.”

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

A Risky Confession

Photo of many Hawaiian shirts hanging on a bar in a closet.
by elCarito/Unsplash

I have worn
Hawaiian shirts
for five days straight.

I’m not Hawaiian,
nor do I live
in Hawaii.

If you feel the need
to contact
the Fashion Police,
that’s your right.

if they show up
on my front step

(one officer plucking 
an errant thread
off her stylish uniform)

I will
go quietly.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams