Saturday, April 07, 2012

Got Your Taxes Done?

Sacramento Poet Annie Menebroker (right) 
and her poet-daughter, Sue McElligott

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Coming soon to a tax return near you:
Deductions for taxes that were
Stripped from your earnings
Sapped from your paycheck
Never to be seen again
Put in a secret fund
Overseen by
Spent on


—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

Arzla dies today
from a mistake made
on an income tax line
a bit more than a year ago:
left out a zero
and the actually-earned
and taxed, levied
became $ 16,789.12
in the government's eyes.

She never cashed the five-figure refund
they sent her but saved it
for the finance flood she knew was to come
thinking to not accept the money
was no problem
at all
in the long, short
and every run.

With penalties
told to her via
cold white paper
and printed signature
from Fresno,
Andorra and Lichenstein's debts
were smaller than hers
each day piling up
over the lack of a zero
mistakenly left out
last April 13.

120 days of accruing
did not play well
on her normal mind
and faith in good nature
and forgiveness
was lost forever
one August day
nearly seventeen months later.

Now she watches reality shows
knowing what she sees
is no better
on this side of the screen
as on the edited,


Daphne and Georgia
were the leads
in the school play
both were openly gay
the city went into a ditter
Georgia lost her job
as a babysitter
for the Honorable Ronald Layer
the well-known-to-be-corrupt mayor
who rifled the taxpayers' pockets
with under-the-table deals
on the securities market.
The show was canceled
before opening night
Mr. Layer did what he ordered
was socially and purely right
Daphne, last I heard,
won a Fulbright.

—Michael Cluff


In the hallway over by the old playroom
there is a portrait of Uncle Otto
before the war
before the scar
after Aunt Suella
left the children unattended
upstairs during the big blackout.

Gathering dust
does not compose
the nature of this
overlooked part of the manse
small marbles just below
Oscar's painted right
tuxedo hand
certainly will
long after the passageway's
lamps are
allowed to burn uninhibited
once more.


(Norco Community College
April 4, 2012 1:28 p.m.)
—Michael Cluff

The guard tower
on the hooded hill
over at the prison
right next to campus
sees directly into my office
albeit three hundred yards away
but fingers can easily slip
and bullets fly non-stop
any which way they are sent
without restriction
or regard....

and I have been known to
thumb my nose
of use a single finger
where interchanges
with authority are manifested.


Today's MediumNip: 


Tax his land, tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work and tax his dirt.

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his car, tax his grass,
Tax the roads that he must pass.

Tax his food, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
If he cries, then tax his tears.

Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he's good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom!"
And when he's gone, we won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance tax.



Sandy Thomas and Trina Drotar
South Natoma Library Reading, 4/4/12
—Photo by Ann Menebroker, Sacramento
[for more of Annie's photos of this event,
go to Medusa's Facebook page]