Two Poems

Pants on Fire

— Villanelle for Michael Cohen

Is it possible to lie and not be deemed a liar?
When only truth is true and so we know
a lie like that will light all pants on fire.

Falsehoods spread, then deepen in the mire
and some will say, oh that is just for show.
Is it possible to lie and not be deemed a liar? 

When first light shines on one lone crier,
remember he is not alone.
A lie like that will light all pants on fire.

See the fall guy, see him aiming higher
and watch him drown in undertow.
It is hard to lie and not be deemed a liar.

Yes, you can repent your grievous errors.
Things happen for—not to—you, it is told.
Have you ever had your pants on fire?

We could forgive this frightened choir
at last, reflecting all the lies as they unfold.
But it is true. If you lie, you are a liar
and all together, light yourselves on fire

Judy Garland’s Date with a Munchkin

— On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Wizard of Oz 

There was nothing untoward in this encounter.
Unlike other Munchkins in Munchkinland,
men in their forties, who traumatized Judy
every day by sneaking tiny hands
up Dorothy’s skirt, Meinhardt Raabe

was closer to her age and saw a striving actress—
made by MGM to reshape herself with Dexedrine
for weight loss and other pills to sleep at night—
contemplate the question of college. Having recently
graduated himself, Meinhardt thought

he might have something to offer her.
And so, with Judy’s mom in tow, they went
and shared a meal one night. Whatever wisdom
was conveyed from Munchkin coroner,
to Hollywood girl-next-door, his advice

dispersed, like a rainbow, way up high.
The evening was always savored by Meinhardt
who later said, that dinner was the high spot of my life.
For Judy, we can only guess it was just one more
moment of lost courage, heart, and brain.

No air balloon or ruby shoes to take her home.
As she would say in later years,
behind every rain cloud,
there is a lot of rain.

Lisa Vihos Photo.jpg

The poems of Lisa Vihos have appeared in numerous journals, both print and online. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and has a new chapbook, Fan Mail from Some Flounder (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018). She is the poetry and arts editor of Stoneboat Literary Journal.