The HyperTexts

David Sklar

David Sklar lives in a cliffside cottage in northern New Jersey, and almost supports his family as a freelance writer, editor, and drug pusher. A Rhysling nominee and past winner of the Julia Moore Award for Bad Verse, he has more than 100 published works, including poetry in Ladybug and Stone Telling, fiction in Nightmare and Strange Horizons, and humor in Knights of The Dinner Table and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He’s also the creator of the Poetry Crisis Line, which features new verse-related cartoons every Monday and Thursday at

If You Think I’m Uncivil

A Guillotine has to stay hungry
to keep her competitive edge—
she likes to stay sharp, like she’s stringing a harp
when trimming a neck or a hedge.

She breakfasts on kings and on princes
and lunches on bishops and earls
and, finally, dines on whatever she finds—
like dissidents or little girls.

The Guillotine likes to stay hungry;
she knows all the right strings to pull—
she gobbles up everyone there in the Square
but never appears to be full.

She comes to the party invited
but stays when the other guests go,
and if you request that she help with the mess
she’ll cut you off with a sharp no.

The Guillotine’s constantly hungry;
she can’t seem to master the urge.
She’s much too impatient to learn moderation;
it’s always a binge—and a purge.

She breakfasts on royals and nobles
and lunches on bishops and priests
and finally dines on whoever opines
that maybe it’s time she should cease.

The HyperTexts