How to Do Laundry



Folded Clothes

First, find some clothes

That need washing.

If you don’t have any,

Borrow some from

A neighbor.

They’ll be glad to

Let you clean their clothes

For them.

Next, find a washing machine

And a dryer or clothes line.

If you don’t have these, buy them

Or use a laundromat.

The choice is yours,

Although having your own

Washer and dryer eliminates the need

To carry around a bunch

Of quarters.

They’re heavy, and you could

Get robbed on your way.

Now take the dirty clothes

(Yours or someone else’s)

And don’t forget the bed clothes

And linens

And put them in the washer,

Taking care to make sure

The load is balanced.

If you don’t, your washer

Could beat itself to pieces

And you would be unhappy

And still not have clean clothes.

Add your favorite laundry detergent

Following the manufacturers’ suggestion

For the amount. Please note that their

Directions are only suggestions.

You can dump in a whole bottle

If you want to. Of course, suds will

Stream from the washer when you

Open the top and flow all over

Your house. You’ll be able to

Clean your house using these suds,

So it’s all good. Your house will smell

Fresh and sparkling and your

Friends will be impressed when

You come to visit.

When your wash is finished,

You have options for

Drying it.

You may use a dryer

Or you can put your wet

Clothes on a clothes line

If you can find one.

You can also drape your

Wet laundry over chairs

Or indoor drying racks

(A third possibility)

Although it will take

A week for them to dry.

It’s your time.

Clothes on a clothes line

Use free solar power to dry

The clothes (how can anything

Be so retro and so cutting edge

At the same time? I don’t know.

(If you do, call me.)

You can also put them in

The dryer, but that costs.

You choose. I’ll wait.

When your clothes are dry,

The fun has only begun.

You must fold your clothes,

Bedclothes, towels, wash cloths

And linens.

To do this, first take your briefs,

Shake them to remove

Wrinkles and fold them

Carefully so they won’t wrinkle.

Why we must do this is

Beyond me, because most people

Will not see your briefs

To know what they look

Like. At least I hope no one does.

If they do, don’t tell me.

I can’t stand the thought.

Next, take your shirts

And treat them like your

Briefs, only shirts are

Larger. If you have

Difficulty telling briefs and shirts

Apart, ask a friendly person to

Help you with this. Do not

Ask a grouch, who will tell you

A shirt is a pair of briefs or

Vice versa. That would not be

Good if you tried to wear

Your briefs as a shirt.

Take it from me. Don’t try this

At home.

Next, fold your pants

Carefully for the same reasons

You did your briefs. The difference

Is that people will see your pants,

So no wrinkles, please.

Thank you.

(If you are a man. I will not

Tell you how to launder

Women’s clothes because

I do not wear them. Some men

Do, and I support their choice.

Having a choice is important,

Don’t you think? Good. I do, too.)

Now it’s time to fold the


Rest of your laundry.

Towels, wash cloths

And linens are no problem

They are smaller and

You can fold them

By yourself.

But bed clothes are easier

If you have someone to help you.

I hope you do.

If not, have your dog

Or cat help you.

They’ll be glad to do it

And maybe they won’t

Wake you up in the middle

Of the night wanting to

Be fed if they can have a part

In folding the bed clothes.

Once you have your clothes folded,

You can have fun with them.

Put your nice clean socks

Over your hands

And pretend your arms and hands

Are the legs of the Rockettes.

Have yourself a high kicking

Christmas show time!

If it’s not the Christmas

Season, I won’t tell.

It will be our secret.

Take a shirt and, moving

The arm, pretend you are

Tom Brady throwing a

Touchdown with

A properly inflated ball

(If you can.)

And then, take a pair of

Pants and imagine that

You are a ballet dancer

And make your pants

Do plies and jetes and

Other French words

I do not know how to spell,

Even in English.

Take a sheet and pretend

You are sailing in the

America’s Cup and you

Are winning or

Take a towel and tie it

Around your neck

And pretend you are a

Flying hero. I don’t care

Which one, but I liked

Playing I was Superman

But don’t let me stop you.

And so, if you do all this

You will have had fun

Washing and drying

Your clothes and

Using your imagination

With them.

And you can tell everyone

About all of this.

I just know you will.


Dan Verner

April 25, 2017

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Rainy Day in Paris

Paris Street, Rainy Day, by the French artist Gustave         Caillebotte


What color is silence?

Is it the same as cold rain

On a cloudy day

Or the tinge of a flash of flame

In a stone fireplace

Or the shade of wind

Sliding by casement windows

Or the hue of an unwelcome


Or the clarity of an

Unshed tear?

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For the Loss of Saleema, Our Student




Pakistan Landscape

A Landscape in Pakistan

A small woman from Pakistan and

Older than most of our students,

You wore traditional garb,

Favoring browns and tans

That seemed to come from tree

And earth and river.

When you first came

You did not smile and

Kept your head down,

Standing by yourself

In the hall during break

While other students

Talked and laughed.

Maureen, your other teacher,

Knew how to bring you out,

Joking with you

And lowering her face to yours

So you would look at her.

Gradually, you did look up,

And spoke and laughed

And talked to other students.

And so you learned this language

Foreign to you and

So difficult for adults.

I loved

Your courage, persistence,

Shy smile and quiet dignity.

We read that you,

Away from us in the country

You came from,

Would not be coming back


At the next class,

We teachers had not the heart

To teach, and

So we sat in plastic chairs

That night and



Dan Verner

April 23, 2017


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In the Silence




Today I went to a church

For a funeral and

I noticed two women

Signing to each other

In the total dead quiet

(appropriate for a funeral,

I suppose) and I thought

That they could speak with

Their hands without breaking

The silence.

And I thought back to when

I asked my daughter

Why young people preferred

Texts instead of calls

And she said, “We think it

Rude to interrupt anything

With a call. Texts are nowhere

Near as disruptive.”

Sitting in that quiet,

I thought that signing is

Better than texting, even,

Because with texting,

Buzzers sound, however

Quietly, but signers

Exchange thoughts,

Meanings and ideas

In the silence, in the



Dan Verner

April 22, 2017


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The New Yorker always surprises me

When it come although

It comes every Thursday or Friday1

It’s not that I forget that I have

A subscription—it’s that

The magazine is so different

From everything else in my life.

It’s as if a tiny little UFO

Showed up in my mailbox

Or Bigfoot knocked

At my front door.

You’d be surprised, too,

Wouldn’t you?

That’s how it is

With The New Yorker.

Maybe I don’t expect

Some of the outré

Articles and statements

Within the magazine

Or coverage of issues that

Almost no one knows about

Or the cartoons that make no sense.2

Whatever it is, I can look forward

To being surprised

Almost every week.


1 Five combined (i.e., biweekly) issues appear in February, June, July, August and December and at other times, as indicated on the issue’s cover.

2 My favorites. Aren’t they yours?


Dan Verner

April 21, 2017

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How To




In spite of what people say, this is NOT an engraving of me practicing my manners.

When I was in elementary school

Our teachers saw it as their mission

To civilize us since we were, some of us,

Uncivilized in spite of what you might

Have heard about the “good old days.”

We as students weren’t particularly good

All of the time. It was too much of a strain

And so we fell into wayward behavior.

To combat this, our teachers made sure

We took our hats off when we entered the school

(Boys only) and learned the order and style

Of introductions: younger to older, man to woman,

It was all so civilzed.

Also telephone etiquette:

Always identify yourself

At the beginning of calls.

When you answer,

Simply say Hello, or,

If you are ambitious,

State your name

After you say hello.

Use a pleasant voice

(The teachers called it

“the telephone voice).

Say only what you need to say

Unless it is a social call

And even then, don’t talk for hours.

Don’t let anyone interrupt you

While you are on the phone

Unless you excuse yourself

To see what the person wants,

And always say good-bye

When ending a call.

Saying “please” and “thank you”

Were absolutely mandatory,

As was excusing yourself

After a sneeze and saying

“God bless you” to the person

Who sneezed.

The boys thought we had it rough:

We were expected to rise when

Girls came into the room,

To hold doors for them,

And to walk on the curb side

So we would be the one

Who was splashed should

A car drive through a puddle

Right by us.

We learned to write friendly

And business letters,

Observing all the conventions

And niceties,

And I won’t go on any more

(Remembering telephone rule

Number three)

Except to say that,

For most of us,

The lessons took,

And we are

All of us (aren’t we?)



Dan Verner

April 20, 2017





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Sad Little Poster



Lost Cat

On the telephone pole

In front of our house is

One of those sad little posters

Announcing a pet gone missing

With a picture of a dog on it.

It could be anyone’s pet,

But it belongs to the sad little poster

Who made the sign

And who had tacked it to

Poles all over the neighborhood.

I walk by and silently say a prayer

For the pet and the poster of this

Piece of hope, and I hope

The almost palpable sadness of

This situation resolves itself

Into the most jubilant of joys.
Dan Verner

April 19, 2017



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