Many years ago, I learned that readers hate two specific things the most: poetry, and corny old jokes. Thus was born The Poke. You’re welcome.

Escargot Slow

Why do the French eat all those snails?
Because those folks are plenty rude —
Our meals, they think, are epic fails
So they turn their backs on all “fast” food.


I eulogize you, dear boiling water:
By God, you have been kissed.
I speak for you because I oughta —
Please know that you’ll be mist.

Empty Nests

Russian dolls, I truly hate ’em.
You’ll never see them on my shelves
I resent ’em. I berate ’em
They’re so full of themselves!

The Internot

Of all the sad words in the written arts,
The saddest are these: “Slideshow starts.”

A Groaner

There’s an exercise that lazy people do a lot.
It’s even got a name: The diddly squat.

Quacking Jokes

So a duck goes into a bar and onto a stool
And orders a beer and a burger and fries.
The bartender’s shocked but tries to stay cool —
“You can talk!” he exclaims. But the duck just sighs.

“I lay plaster in buildings — I’m a working jerk
But my job’s almost finished, I very much fear.
I’ll be blowing this town, looking for work.”
So the man drew the duck a freebie beer.

The barkeep was smiling the very next day
As the duck waddled in and sat himself down —
“I think you can get a good job right away!
I just heard that the circus is coming to town!”

“They’d love to death someone with your special skill
And I’d vouch for the fact that you are a gent.”
The duck narrowed his eyes, looked down his bill —
“The circus: You mean the place with the tent?”

“That’s it!” said the barkeep. “You nailed it, bud!”
“And with cages for beasts? Caravans for the staff?
Canvas for roofs? Floors made of mud?”
“Yes, yes, yes,” said the ’tender, starting to laugh.

The duck wasn’t smiling. He made right for the door.
“Then tell me what they’d need a plasterer for.”

Email Gene Weingarten at Twitter: @geneweingarten. For previous columns, visit

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