May 9-15, 2022: Poetry from Kristy Snedden and Jim Babwe

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Kristy Snedden

Kristy Snedden has worked for 30-plus years as a trauma psychotherapist. She began writing poetry in 2020 . Her poem, “Dementia,” was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in December 2021. She has work forthcoming in Amethyst Review. She is currently a student at The Writer’s Studio.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Kristy Snedden and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Zoom Therapy

He told me stories about Kent State and Jackson State and Peace Trains, Brussels
Chocolate, half-marathons and the Swiss Alps.

Later that session, I wept about my father’s Parkinson’s Disease and the Danish
killing their mink and showed him the wraparound scars on my heart.

When he told me stories about healing a man in Palestine,
he was surprised by his tears, the ones I couldn’t quite see on the screen.

I wondered how much more I could take and whether I was broken,
and cried about space junk littering and trash pods in the ocean

and he told me that as a child he loved the cartoon Popeye. We laughed.
remembering Popeye’s muscles swelling after he ate his spinach.

When I confessed fear about my husband’s dementia and withering body
and distress about suicide rates and drug relapses and my brother’s ghost,

he told me about a horse that turned into a moose and a church in Argentina
filled with light, a homeless woman knocking at the door.

When I messaged him after a session about needing to be heard,
he sent me an ear emoji.

And once, when I was speechless and shaking about recent events,
he texted me a meme of Popeye eating spinach.

Jim Babwe

Jim Babwe is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona. He also went to the following schools: Cal Tech, Stanford, USC, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Oxford University in England. For the sake of full disclosure,  he admits he only went to the bookstores at those schools. Also, to be clear, he believes that people can get a world-class higher education at any accredited institution–as long as you keep paying the tuition, stay diligent about your studies, and keep personal intoxication levels at or below the recommended minimum.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jim Babwe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Stylish Certificate and
Free Popcorn for Life

Last Sunday
at the Santa Fe Springs Drive-in
Swap Meet Talent Contest,
intense competition
reached unprecedented levels,
and it would be difficult
to imagine a greater variety
of unusual entries.

Martha wore a beekeeper’s
protective clothing
and with bare hands,
bent silver spoons
into unusual pendants.

Mindy sang “America the Beautiful”
while sitting on a huge block of ice
and gargling a pink liquid
commonly recognized as an effective
upset stomach remedy.

Leonard covered himself
with thousands of stick matches,
uttered a warning to young children,
lit himself on fire,
and extinguished the flames
with a fly-swatter.

Ronnie unveiled his new
rocket-propelled bicycle,
accelerated to an estimated 80 miles per hour,
hit the ramp, and successfully cleared
12 school busses plus a bouncy castle.

Melinda roller skated upside down
in a swimming pool created by
a surrealistic construction company.

Mrs. Valdez baked a homemade
lemon merengue pie
inside an electric guitar
previously owned by Les Paul.

Mona performed impossible magic tricks
with her nose, made money disappear,
stole her mother’s 1972 Pontiac Firebird,
and flattened all four tires
when she re-entered the drive-in
via the exit road.

Lance melted credit cards
with his bare hands
and called the bank
for replacements.

Karla hovered above glowing coals
while juggling pitchforks, cotton candy,
and a bottle of inexpensive tequila.


These individuals
amazed everyone in attendance,
but the winner,
a first-time competitor named Larry,
amazed them even more.

Speaking confidently like a 5th grade teacher
dictating a spelling test (but slightly faster)
he delivered a lengthy string of flattering adjectivesó
one for every spectator in attendance,
including each of the five judges.

Because of the unusually large crowd,
he used all of the following words
several times.

articulate
attentive
beautiful
brave
courageous
creative
dedicated
dependable
deserving
energetic
enthusiastic
fabulous
focused
generous
gifted
helpful
honorable
impeccable
industrious
joyful
judicious
keen
kind
loving
loyal
neat
necessary
observant
optimistic
patient
perceptive
reliable
resilient
selfless
supportive
thoughtful
trustworthy
understanding
unique
valiant
valorous
willing
wise
xylophone

Immediately after finishing
his uncannily accurate
one-word assessments,
Larry added a puzzling,
unnecessary apology to The Alphabet
for failing to include
M, Q, Y, and Z.

Next,
he offered a poignant apology
to Melinda when he said,

Melinda. I’m sorry.
When I got to X,
I could only think
of two words: x-ray and xylophone
and I figured xylophone was better
than x-ray.
At this time, though,
I will remove xylophone
from the list and add
wonderful just for you.

All 5 judges
stood to applaud.
Everyone else would have risen
to their feet,
but they were already standing.

Judges agreed
on a unanimous decision
in favor of Larry.

The judge who summoned Larry
back to the stage
awarded him
with a stylish certificate
plus an unexpected bonus-
a lifetime coupon for free popcorn.

He concluded the presentation
with a warm handshake
and an emotional expression
of gratitude
to thank Larry
for employing
powerful words
to change the world.

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