The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues
SEPT 2023 Issue


Being frames from the Sunday Comics without images

1. Join the Fun

You may win a nice prize

Now, look what you’ve done

It’s too hard to explain, Elmo

I need every book you’ve got on empty nest syndrome

You said you knew what it meant and you don’t

But is this how I really look?

Wow, Slick, that’s real slick

There must be a way to stop your arms flapping around like that

2. I Earn Every Bite

So, what does that tell you?

Laughing exercises all 32 muscles in your face

The final innings against your team’s biggest rival

Mr. Trump has so much to teach us, doesn’t he, Dad?

Rats. It’s probably that round headed poet

Uh, Bruck, Derek. Come on, guys, you’re supposed to be checking for drugs and weapons

I just caught Mr. Bumstead red-handed

If it’s called daylight savings time

Will you save some time for me?

Why are we asking him for directions?

3. Lies Ahead

But if you can’t file with the principal, LuAnn

Who can you file with?

I want to get pretty before I go back to the hospital

And just exactly who is “we”, you little rat?

Are you sure a thousand dollars is enough?

Dog Proof? I think not

What makes you think mud is healthy?

I call them her buns of steel

From the leftovers of their meals,

Maeve has been saving scraps of lard—

Enough to hold a key’s impression,

Landscape is the greenhouse of the soul

Because he’s calling from across the street

I, however, play the course less taken

You missed the big battle Lucky Eddie. Where were you?

Not mine. You’ll make my fake tan all streaky

Tonight’s top story is my contract has been renewed

Coach didn’t want me to tell you, but the bus is about the leave

Mr. Eyepatch’s shrink, guru and surrogate Daddy.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get him to talk?

OK boys, then you can cook your own supper

This isn’t the beginning. This is the ending

They enjoy a lot of the same foods as us

Let’s form some protein symphony reactionary teens

Who continued to sin throughout the night

The worm took me to an early bird

Cheer up, Fuzz. I’m sure Snoopy couldn’t do it the first time either

4. Invasion of the Belly Snatchers

I’m on the couch

I’m fluffing up the pillow

I shouldn’t have to scream about it more than once

There wasn’t any water in the pool

Hey, know any “Hootie and the Blowfish?”

With my honor intact I start my day

Do you really believe Harrison would say, “Yes, Lu Ann, I showed you that porno video on purpose to

watch your shocked face. It made me laugh to see you squirm. Oh, and by the way, I’m the one who

made that obscene phone call to you and put the naked doll on your desk.”

I wanted to observe them unnoticed

10-40 hike

Could I have the key to my cell

I’m taking my beauty bath

Cause I don’t act like a boy

Must’ve been the midnight express

With its 200 trillion slugpower engine,

The slugmobile races toward the gleaming city...

You’ll be all you can be when I say you’re all you can be

Is it really worth all this trouble just to walk a few blocks

If I wanted a fixer-upper, I’d keep the house I’m in

5. Howard Stern Free Zone

Oh, no, not the silent treatment

I’m walking my pet ant

Do the hex and I’ll give you a raise


We award the plaintiff $20 million and the jury $2 million

Find six differences between these two panels

He forgot to look both ways before crossing

Bell a set

Inn bat

Tag skin

Sell a lob

It’s enough to make a man sick

They put up this sign to keep the tourists away

Unidentified fried object

According to your crystal ball, your life will change

The “Stone of Destiny,” the ancestral rock of Caledonia shall this day be ours

It’s our regular Sunday group

Here’s your list of fake acronyms for the staff meeting

Fetch the ball, Odie

You’re six. You can talk and read and sing.

You can swim and count and ride a bike

So, compared to a brand-new baby you’re extra special

Golfers enjoy the game more when they feel guilty

I must say, the real satisfaction in cartooning

Comes from sharing one’s work with others

Sorry, Mate, I don’t know exactly—

Most of the time I just ignore it

6. The Noodle with a Knife in It

And the neck flies

Quick, get the magic marker

What’s the surprise?

Your mother tried to call

So, I hung up

They’re boring, they’re loud, they’re annoying

And they can’t take a hint

Someone should notify the Audubon Society

About me and my big mouth

Hey, it’s heckling Sunday

I miss my capacity for outrage

One of us is a cheap, lying, unscrupulous weasel

As I’ve said before,

Never take a shortcut through a miniature golf course

Please come again after I’m dead

Time sure crawls when you’re waiting for the pizza delivery guy

You weren’t saving those, were you?

You’d probably need ‘em later to kick yourself with

Or I could gently tap each one on the shoulder. Naah

Yee-ha. I won five front-row tickets to comptroller mud wrestling

It’s our most popular exercise machine—

A TV without a remote control

Take me back to my childhood and leave me there

First letter, second letter, first letter, third letter, third letter, second letter

Dogs can do a lot of things birds can’t do

I need the number for Doctor Kevorkian

Look at you, you lazy lump

Gentlemen, start your forks

If a little lamb is a lambkin, what is a little sleep?

He had two hours in the pool

And now he’s wrinkled

Tom? Who’s Tom? I’m Ernie, Ernie Neidermeyer

Lord, why did you have to make me so hateful

That sounds like our old cuckoo clock up in the attic

I wonder if I’m too old to emigrate?

I paid her a commission to leave the store

OK, Otis, look cute.

7. The Reason Wile E. Coyote Hated Hospitals

You can tell a person by the sound of their walk

You’re a lot of fun, plus, you can’t talk

This is deep background

He’s sleeping as fast as he can

See, these are magic fingers

There are free goodies in the broken room

I’m never taking you through the car wash again

He’s blowing on a little flame to get the sticks going

Yeah, I hardly recognize myself without a bow tie

Who is that guy anyway? Just get rid of him

Is it my fault parsley doesn’t grow wild in this neighborhood?

The phrase “show no mercy” is understood by all

Contextually. Dad says you like bugles because you’re always tooting your own horn

I need to head-bang while I’m geeking, so I hope you’re cool with that

They’re totally non-violent, educational, earth-friendly,

Unisex and designed to promote cooperative play.

Commercialization is the cornerstone of our society

Do turtles have souls?

8. Whew

We can make photocopier ink last longer by adding water to it

You’re right he won’t fetch

What’s wrong with dog lips

How about raw numbers?

I count 13 steps leading up to the scaffold

Well, I could have dried up like a prune

No, the dress doesn’t make you look fat

I suppose you’re going to hold me to that promise

They have feelings, too

The catapults soon resumed their volley

Why don’t we stay in here for while

I’ll have the chameleon

No, no! The tough get going this way

Someone has to be a policeman to insure altruism

Keep it short, keep it feasible, keep it simple

A million-dollar wish doesn’t go as far as it used to

We’re not playing a game; we’re producing a big budget event

An’ Dad didn’t have to use any bait.

9. “Poppa Loved Momma / Momma Loved Men / Momma’s in the Graveyard / Poppa’s in the Pen”

From now on we’ll nurture the passion

Of our rebellious employees

And form strategies around them

Here we have some junk mail with your name on it

Quit jabbering and fire that sucker up

Wow, is that pathetic

I swallowed the toy whistle in my breakfast cereal

My own kid despised me until I bought…

The news is so depressing

But can’t we strip bare their lies only on weekends?

May I speak to the man of the house?

Define “man”

It’s hopeless, Mom

Probably a tire company or something.


James Sherry

James Sherry is the author of 14 books of poetry and prose, most recently Selfie: Poetry, Social Change & Ecological Connection (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022) and the poetry book Entangled Bank (Chax Press, 2016). Since 1976, he has edited Roof Books and Roof Magazine, publishing nearly 200 titles of seminal works of language writing, flarf, conceptual poetry, new narrative, and environmental poetry. He started The Segue Foundation, Inc. in 1977, producing over 10,000 events of poetry and other arts in NYC. For more, see


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues