portion of the artwork for A.E. Reiff's poetry

Hamogamous Johnny
A.E. Reiff

“Prehistoric super-roach in my bathroom.
Went to three delis (3!) to find a can of Raid.
(I know it’s bad, but I CANNOT step on or squash a roach.
The sound it makes … ohhh. It’s a very bad sound.” (HT 9 July ’12)

Coalroach Bros Joelney,
JoelLee went up to Koalkrotch House.
Brothers from the coal pile down had shot a sister’s cub!
Ants stormed the Rouse, mashed Koalkrotch hopes.
“Exterminate Them Ants” endorsed the Tame and Thatched Ootheca.
Then came the ♫ Called Hamogamous ♫.
Joelney & JoelLee were made Presidents.

JoelLee damned the Toproach hat while Joelney combated wasps.
They placed Old Roach Nabúcodonosor upon their heads.
On Blattaria, they spoke from roofs, they wrote the troops.
Blattopterrans launched with pride.
“Nabú! Nabú!” they cried.

But this was not the only crux that drove the cockroach out.
Elders prate when a Koalkrotch saw a shoe it should retreat.
Escape by oversight, dodge left or right! The average shoe gives time!
But JoelLee called the plan outworn. Joelney: “the shoes have grown!”

Those leaders sought a Koalkrotch brain e’en bigger than their own.
They swarmed a change. It won the prize. High heel in back of the shoe!
Hoorah! They broke it down at Koalcrotch Club.
“Not left or right, go down! Go toward the shoe.”
A new day dawned.

Congress munched as JoelLee told the high place in front of the heel.
Nymphs chanted as Joelney revealed, “no left o right, go down!”
Congress rose up! Critical mass! Here was a roach with theories to match.
They passed the law that day and marched them home.

From the kitchen shelf with wings they flapped,
soared like Koalkrotches from space!
JoelLee saw a bigfoot then and flew for the battle to take place.
Victory to the symbiont! Joelney closed, it was a beautiful move.
Safe in the high place! Joelney! JoelLee! but stop! look out! the heel!

That day’s Strum Sewer hit them both between the eyes.
El Presidentes muert, it said. Congress assembled anew.
“Coalrathies Lost ....” the story told how JoelLee brought peace for the roach.

Hurt under his cup dreaming Health Care passed …
Breaking new ground that silver spade … made a sharp thrust in his back …
Joelney dreamed the bill was law and it killed him. THATS ALL!

The Laurel Roach made ready to sit on the heroes brow.
Strum Sewer lay with the front page news on the stoop beside the tub.
In the bathtub then the funeral was held for the Nabu leaders who died,
rows of Koalcrotch jammed them in, Ho foen! Hoe fen! They cried.
Many a thatched oothecan hung on the humid wall.
A Koalkrotch in Black came forward and spoke:


Fellow Koalkrotchians we come,
to honor in behalf,
Remembering with willingness,
to praise them in their death.
Let each one now perform his part,
and sing in praise of JoelLee’s heart,
And take this step to
welcome our Joelney home.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 38 | Fall 2012