Three poems

The Left


Barack Obama is Left

so is George H.W. Bush


10% of the world is Left

first identified in a fetus

by the hand held closest to the mouth

Sign of the Devil from sinistrality sinister

Latin sinus meaning pocket Roman togas

having only one on the Left side

German linkshänder French gauche clumsy graceless awkward

Dutch twee linkerhanden hebben is to have two Left hands

in Hebrew Left symbolized power to shame society

brought to Christianity as Natural Evil by Ambrose of Milan

in Ghana to sleep on the Left side is to be dead

an insult to shake with the Left

but encouraged as in India for chamber pots and excreta

southpaw goofy cack-handed from Latin cacare

downunder a Molly-Duker

not always negative

Roman augures proceeded from the East

the Russian levsha a skilled craftsman

in Leskov’s Tale of the Cross-eyed Lefty

items somewhat inconvenient for the Left:

cameras can openers fishing reels

on-off switches on dangerous machinery

firearms chequebooks boomerangs

the QWERTY keyboard favours Left

3000 English words typed with only the Left

compared to 300 with the Right

the Left earns 10–15% more than the Right

statisticians say Left is increasing


Clinton is Left

so was Reagan.

Joe Dolce





for Lin van Hek

Lin née Whitehead fair-headed of all
a mirrorpool at foot of the waterfall
these the Old English bard might call
fine flax or flowering Linden tree
the drunken Scot staggering see
or Eibhleann when French uprooted to Éirinn
by Norman invaders settling therein
the pleasant and beautiful radiant fair Lin
the steepest ravine the precipice
the black pool as in Dublin
some Gaels would insist
but all entwined fire
there by her love lit
breithlá sona duit. *

* Irish Gaelic for Happy Birthday (pronounced BREH-law SON-uh-gwit)

Joe Dolce

The Fading Art of Write


Letters typewrite onto the page

crisp little taps standing at attention

identical height width length

in latest designer font

dressed by Garamond and Caslon

while actual handwriting

eaten by moths is left

in tie-bags outside St Vinnies


endless childhood hours spent

drawing perfect letters on ruled paper

keeping O’s R’s and W’s neatly

framed between parallel lines

have come to naught


I long for the script and whorl

of home-made handwriting again

my granddaughter a Benedictine monk

sits patiently at kitchen table

slowly crafting single letters


I will steal some of her blue striped paper

and try to earn the gold star.


Joe Dolce

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