Once in a while, we like our Sundays to be lighthearted . . . sprightly . . . Ogden Nashian, even. In this mood, we turn to Caryl Avery, whose wry takes on all things edible, love vs. lust, and frustration at cocktail parties have appeared in our pages.  Asked about her inclinations in writing light verse, she says, “I like to take the ordinary and stand it on its head. It’s about finding the surprise.” Here, for your amusement, are a few of Caryl’s verbal headstands.



There’s been some confusion about the meaning of personal;

It doesn’t mean only intimate or private things

that are yours or hersonal.

To avoid further confusion

And prevent any delusion

About belongings that are disqualifiable,

Here’s a partial list of the kinds of things for which we won’t be liable:


old love poems or metronomes

diaphragms or diagrams

wedding rings or bedding springs

used toupées or worn Roget’s

upper plates or roller skates

camisoles or curtain poles

dirty books or fishing hooks

tax returns or potted ferns


So the chances of your collecting from us are pretty slim,

Whether the belongings you leave behind are personal or im-.



Deer Crossing:

I’ve spied two or three.


Children Crossing:

Used to be me.


School Crossing:

This I gotta see.



Why advertise it?

All it does is make people think you’re careless.

If you’re really spareless,

Why not ask the landlord for a copy?

It’s better than that Day-Glo sign that tells the world you’re sloppy.



Did you ever notice that whenever you go into a public bathroom, there’s always one stall

that says “out of order”?

And inevitably there’s no attendant to tell you what the right order should be?

Or why it matters?


Published by permission of the author.


Caryl AveryCaryl Avery has been an award-winning journalist, magazine editor, advertising copywriter, poet, and creative writer for more than 30 years. Former senior editor and psychology director at SELF Magazine, she has published articles in virtually all the top magazines, from New York magazine to Vogue. Today, after nearly a decade as executive editor and advertising copywriter at Clinique, Caryl heads her own shop in New York as a creative consultant and copywriter. She recently returned to two old loves—light verse and lyric- writing. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and she is currently writing a book of culinary light verse called Eggs Benedict Arnold. Her parody revue CUTS: An Uplifting Musical, for which she is seeking additional producers, recently played to sold-out houses at the York Theatre in New York City. [email protected]

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  • ellensue spicer-jacobson March 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Love her way with words!!! I’m jealous.