Five Poems

The Steroid Lady

The steroid lady stands, flashing her smile,
   upon a pedestal at Muscle Beach.
She’s come a long way, baby; the last mile
   was not beyond her iron-willed, wiry reach.
Delts, lats, pecs, abs, obliques, gluts, hamstrings, triceps,    
   erectus spinus:  she walks in beauty like
a knight in well-oiled armor, flexing biceps,
   and spreading lats and giving traps a hike.
What hope for man is left?  She’s made of iron!
   She looks like Mike, my hirsute little friend,
but that she’s hairless.  Is she also barren?     
   For mothers must have fat or hormones end.
The softness of a woman has been taken.
I feel as if my manhood’s been forsaken.
first appeared in Sparrow 62

On Muddling Through

I like the English saying “muddle through.”
It's always better than perfecting things,
although the human race keeps trying to,
keeps carving for stone Victory stone wings.
first appeared in The Dark Horse #3


Caesar and Cleopatra

When Cleopatra rolled out from the rug,
that was the end of the Republic.  Caesar,
involved in mid-life crisis, felt the tug
of pagan godhood, plus the need to squeeze her.
She took him on a tour of Egypt, showed
him secrets, like the tunnels used by priests
in their predictions of the Nile, and rowed
him on her barge.  She showed him that her breasts
were fully formed, those of a goddess waiting
for him to join her in the Royal Way.
“A balding man should wear a crown.”  Her baiting,
her teasing, proved Great Caesar’s feet were clay.
She laughed to see democracy go down
and Caesar turn from great man into clown.
first appeared in Light, Double Issue 64-65


The Night Sweats

By our intensity, with hanging head,
we spell the wolf away, who pants and croons
outside the door, who wants us to be dead
so he may have his meal.  By magic runes
we rid the world of wide-winged evil loons
whose madness mixes metaphors instead
of bringing clarity, whose looney tunes
make breathless nightmares in our sweat-wet bed.
Hear them who creep toward our peace of mind,
destructive artifices of our brains,
to wreak their havoc!  Run, leave them behind!
And in the dark we try to run in chains
and can't escape because the night is mined
to blow us up in spite of all our pains.   
first appeared in Sparrow 62

The Bosnian Cherry

. . . the explosion appears to have
shocked the tree into blossom.
Friends, look with faithless unbelieving eyes
upon this miracle the bomb has wrought,
as now, in shocked conversion, I tell you
of spring against the devastated skies
of winter war, the hopelessness war brought,
and how, enveloped in explosive blue
of acrid smoke, this tree could still devise
beyond predictability.
                                     It caught
the bomb’s enormous heat, and grew
fluid with sap, miraculous with surprise
of spring, for all combatants to be taught  
anew a faith unlearned by deathly cries,
a blossoming the human heart has sought.
This cherry tree denies a war is fought.
first appeared in Measure, Vol III, Issue 1

About E.M. Schorb

E.M. Schorb's work has appeared in Agenda, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Yale Review, The Chicago Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Antioch Review, Stand, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. He is the author of several collections; Time and Fevers won the latest “Writer’s Digest” Award for Self-Published Books in Poetry and is also a 2007 recipient of an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing. Another collection, Murderer's Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press.