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Tabasco Joe

Sarah Parry

He went by the name of Tabasco Joe, 

Loyal sofa-mounted malkin of Pete,

Yet reigned loyalty reeks so bitter-sweet. 

His scarlet coat like raspberries in the snow.


His little lungs tussock'd with tobacco, 

For Pete loved to suck on the devil's teat, 

Chain-smoking like the cigar-club elite, 

Tabasco Joe's chest tarred like a fresh road.


A passive-smoking pussycat was condemned, 

Chugging along like an old steam engine, 

Simply for serving as a loyal friend!


Pete's regular roll-ups were killing him,

The blackened lungs that the vet cannot mend. 

Tabasco Joe: the loyal grimalkin.


From Weyfarers No 100 (June 2006)