VICE AND VIRTUE SONNETS  On Cleanliness and Dirtiness


Connolly’s Cleanliness Catechism

“Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.”
—Benjamin Franklin, Thirteen Virtues
Thank you, Mother. Wash your hands before dinner
get out of here take those muddy shoes off outside
get in the bathroom right now or you get no chow
there’s food all over your face have you no pride
why should I have to clean it up it is his vomit?
when you’re finished go out and help your brother
Get ready for church, take a shower, comb your hair
shine your shoes change your socks and underwear
brush your teeth and try to help your little brother
those were every Sunday orders heard from Mother
but she made the mess, Mom, so let her clean it up
don’t get any ketchup on that new Sunday dress
how do I get this bicycle grease off my white shirt
Jokers always say cleanliness is next to godliness
wipe your butt and save your soul, I did I confess.
‘Yakety Yak Don’t Talk Back’

“Take out the papers and the trash or you don’t get no spendin cash…”
—1959 song by The Coasters.
This room is a filthy mess who did this to it ?
why didn’t you gut the fish down by the beach
if you see dog poop do you have to step in it
brush your tongue before you start your speech
you don’t think I smell cigarette smoke in the air
do I need to tell you to help grandma clean today
your father is very sick seems like you don’t care
helping with household chores you get no pay
learn these things in the ‘school of hard knocks’
does helping around the house give you fear
you know why John Prine sang, “put my socks
in a cedar box just get “em” out of here?
the car has two flat tires where is our old jack
don’t argue with me, “yakety yak don’t talk back.”

Joey ‘Pepe Batbon’ Connolly (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Joey aka Pepe Batbon is a retired educator who taught in the CNMI, NOLA, and LVNV. He is a sonnet practitioner who enjoys stargazing.

Joey ‘Pepe Batbon’ Connolly (Special to the Saipan Tribune)

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