Live from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

The distinguished Scarriet Best American Poetry March Madness Committee  delivers its Laurel Leaf Prize to the Best American Poetry poets who successfully traveled the road to the Final Four.

Janet Bowdan, Billy Collins, William Kulik, Reb Livingston, this high honor has no other attachments but recognition of your service to poetry, to glory, and to song.  You four began with your obscure births a journey to this moment.

In the presence of our judges, your families, your friends, Garrison Keillor, and these poets who love you, on this day, April 3, 2010, I present to each of you the Scarriet Laurel Leaf Prize.


All four poems feature lucid movement through a dramatic landscape, a sleek impressionism, an original beauty, a fluid design, a combined emotive and cognitive power, and clues to life, as well.

The final Order of the Poems:

4.  The Triumph of Narcissus and Aphrodite –William Kulik

3. The Year –Janet Bowdan

2. That’s Not Butter  –Reb Livingston

1. Composed Over Three Thousand Miles From Tintern Abbey  –Billy Collins

Thanks to all participants in this year’s Scarriet Best American Poetry March Madness.

A final farewell to the No. 1 seeds in the tournament: Galway Kinnell (East), Louis Simpson (North), Sharon Olds (West), and Donald Justice (South).

We hope you all enjoyed the excitement during the road to the Final Four, and learned more about all these poets.

64 excellent poems, chosen from 1,500 Best American Poetry selections 1988—2009, were selected to the tournament itself and Kulik, Bowdan, Livingston and Collins were the top four.



  1. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Tom, Marla here with more from William “Wild Bill” Kulik, a Scarriet exclusive, this is available nowhere else on the internet, I typed it in with mein own eight fingers and two thumbs!


    William Kulik

    In that novel you bought at the chain, a young woman looks back on her life. She’s 30, a teacher married to a Harley-riding oil exec, mother of two sons. They have an apartment uptown, take exciting trips, but she’s bored, frozen, galvanized into life only during rough sex or when she pictures him dying on one of his drunken, lights-off rides across the Throggs Neck Bridge. She thinks, as you do, her dad may have abused her: dreams and flashbacks tell her it’s true. Meanwhile he, driven by his own demon, is made by the author to describe their life as “a simple story of seduction, rape and madness, the usual preoccupations.” Now deep in the book, you wonder if they’re being readied for some sinister ritual the one will create, the other acquiesce to. You wish they’d come to grips but it’s hopeless: he won’t give up his rage against a cold, demanding mother, she the hold on reality perfect order gives her. When their fate is revealed, you applaud silently, a witness to the truth of those struggles with the past that imitate your secret life so well you identify, are consoled. But are you liberated? Any more than if you’d watched the war that prompts those sounds of agony amplified by two huge speakers under the ring on whose sweaty canvas Killa Quadzilla meets Dr. Death in a world of faked falls, stomps and roars, the theatrical shame of the one about to be drop-kicked into the screaming crowd, the other suddenly real to you in the cocky strut and powerful hairy arms, hand on the helpless throat, you and your brother huddled in a corner of the room hugging crying Mommy daddy please stop we love you we’re sorry

  2. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    writing (on the walls)

    Janet Bowdan

    As if I could see that far into the past
    could on an overcast day the sky full
    of omens walk along looking at something else,
    window displays, hear its recognition.
    horizon gaze open-focuses, contracts to close-up
    you could almost touch minor characters
    lilliputian from a distance now brobdingnags
    as they turn major, the key’s minor,
    when the walls close in you get out, go
    for a walk. cracks not in the retaining wall,
    not the one required to hold the house up
    just a sort of curtain wall, a cosmetic, a facade.
    Back then the writing was on the wall and now
    the wall’s blank, a shell, the kind of blank that
    if you shot, you wouldn’t hurt
    me, just a powder burn, a scar, unless we were
    too close. hear the shot echoing in the past,
    someone’s shot a video, the turning again: which
    story’s etched into the wall with light? who
    read it, who looks at the whole story, who turns
    to look at something else, into the sky for omens,
    demanding signs, a boy falling out of the sky, we
    are too close: you can’t stop watching, I can’t look.
    Back to the window displays carefully dressed mannequins,
    faces painted in the reflection of the sky, the story
    of giants in miniature, you watching. the angle of

  3. thomasbrady said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm


    Wild Bill Kulik is blessed to have a Muse like you looking after him.


  4. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    ice 2 (on)

    Janet Bowdan

    the question is what is being kept on reserve, what are my reserves
    you could say if you had any curiosity about me
    and I will just say I am intensely curious about you
    vice versa would only be polite
    but I’m sure you have your own life you have to get on with
    your intimate concerns. And now back to me
    say that there is a part of me not used, utilized, well what part
    is that? clearly it’s not the part that works, all working parts
    in order, working non-stop it feels like, the ever-increasing speed
    of the conveyor belt, the treadmill, the grindstone the nose is to:
    do these images suggest a wearing down or out to you? do you think
    I have, indeed, gotten smaller? of course to answer that
    you have to have paid attention before. it’s all right,
    try this: does water expand or contract when it turns to ice?
    A simple experiment will provide the solution. Put a full glass of
    water into your freezer and leave it overnight or for several years
    before checking on the results. It might help to mark the level
    of water on the glass with a wax pencil, in case you are likely
    to forget where it was.

  5. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Apologies for Ice

    Reb Livingston

    No bread crumbs or constellations
    I see nothing
    except thick trunks, leafy branches
    Now is not the time for snow
    but I pray for it anyway
    it’s crisp and puts me sleep
    Charm brings distrust
    wolves, June fools
    It’s almost July
    Grandma passed away, the wolf
    missed his chance and
    doesn’t know what to do with himself
    I squandered mine
    fill freezer trays with water
    stockpile limes just in case
    you stop by for a vodka tonic
    You’re busy demonstrating your
    quaint breeding for elegant cruelty
    ignore, then apologize beautifully
    seize upon the cold retort
    now I’m the asshole swinging the
    hatchet with no regard for school children
    So I bide my time sipping seltzer with the
    animal meant to gobble Grandma
    People judge, disapprove
    yet he was the only one to
    send condolences, start a dialogue
    I’m lonesome with no one else
    My winter valley upbringing
    taught me all skiers end up
    dead, twisted in the gully
    their locust eyes frozen like feelings
    still able to gaze upon our abundant shortcomings
    as we pile their corpses on the wagon
    which is why my people
    keep their love on a switch
    flip it off and tape it down
    Too bad about electricity
    once I was thankful for it
    I will be again in
    another life, said sadly, fondly

  6. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm


    Billy Collins

    The murkiness of the local garage is not so dense
    that you cannot make out the calendar of pinup
    drawings on the wall above a bench of tools.
    Your ears are ringing with the sound of
    the mechanic hammering on your exhaust pipe,
    and as you look closer you notice that this month’s
    is not the one pushing the lawn mower, wearing
    a straw hat and very short blue shorts,
    her shirt tied in a knot just below her breasts.
    Nor is it the one in the admiral’s cap, bending
    forward, resting her hands on a wharf piling,
    glancing over the tiny anchors on her shoulders.
    No, this is March, the month of great winds,
    so appropriately it is the one walking her dog
    along a city sidewalk on a very blustery day.
    One hand is busy keeping her hat down on her head
    and the other is grasping the little dog’s leash,
    so of course there is no hand left to push down
    her dress which is billowing up around her waist
    exposing her long stockinged legs and yes the secret
    apparatus of her garter belt. Needless to say,
    in the confusion of wind and excited dog
    the leash has wrapped itself around her ankles
    several times giving her a rather bridled
    and helpless appearance which is added to
    by the impossibly high heels she is teetering on.
    You would like to come to her rescue,
    gather up the little dog in your arms,
    untangle the leash, lead her to safety,
    and receive her bottomless gratitude, but
    the mechanic is calling you over to look
    at something under your car. It seems that he has
    run into a problem and the job is going
    to cost more than he had said and take
    much longer than he had thought.
    Well, it can’t be helped, you hear yourself say
    as you return to your place by the workbench,
    knowing that as soon as the hammering resumes
    you will slowly lift the bottom of the calendar
    just enough to reveal a glimpse of what
    the future holds in store: ah,
    the red polka dot umbrella of April and her
    upturned palm extended coyly into the rain.

  7. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Another internet/Scarriet exclusive — from the novel The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter.

    A Brief Political Manifesto

    Jess Walter

    I was driving around the packed Costco parking lot
    looking for a space and listening to some guy
    on NPR talk about America’s growing suburban poor
    when I saw this woman with four kids—
    little stepladders, two-four-six-eight—
    waiting to climb in the car while Mom
    loaded a cask of peanut better and
    pallets of swimsuits into the back
    of this all-wheel drive vehicle
    and the kids were so cute I waved
    and that’s when I saw the most amazing thing
    as the woman bent over
    to pick up a barrel
    of grape juice:
    her low-rise pants rose low and right there
    in the small of her large back
    stretched a single strained string,
    a thin strap of fabric, yes,
    the Devil’s floss, I shit you not
    a thong, I swear to God, a thong,
    now me, I’m okay with the thong
    politically and aesthetically, I’m fine
    with it being up there or out there,
    or wherever it happens to be.

    My only question is:
    when did Moms start wearing them?

    I remember my mom’s underwear
    (Laundry was one of our chores:
    we folded those things awkwardly,
    like fitted sheets. We snapped them
    like tablecloths. Thwap.
    My sister stood on one end,
    me on the other
    and we walked toward each other

    We folded those things
    like big American flags,
    hats off, respectful
    careful not to let them
    brush the ground.)

    Now I know there are people out there
    who constantly fret about
    the Fabric of America;
    gay couples getting married, violent videos, nasty TV,
    that sort of thing.
    But it seems to me
    the Fabric of America
    would be just fine
    if there was a little more of it
    in our mothers’ underpants.

    And that is the issue I will run on
    when I eventually run:
    Getting our moms out of thongs
    and back into hammocks
    with leg holes
    the way God

  8. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    A brief musical interlude from 1970….


    Ray Davies

    I think I’m so-
    ‘Cause I’m living my life
    like a good homosapien

    But all around me
    everybody’s multiplying
    And they’re walking
    ‘round like flies, man

    So I’m no better
    than the animals sitting
    in their cages in the zoo, man

    ‘Cause compared to the flowers
    and the birds and the trees
    I am an apeman

    I think I’m so educated
    and I’m so civilized
    ‘Cause I’m a strict vegetarian

    But with the overpopulation
    and inflation and starvation
    And the crazy politicians,

    I don’t feel safe in this world no more
    I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
    I want to sail away to a distant shore
    and make like an apeman

    I’m an apeman,
    I’m an ape apeman
    I’m an apeman

    I’m a King Kong man
    I’m an ape ape man
    I’m an apeman

    ‘Cause compared to the sun that sits in the sky
    compared to the clouds as they roll by
    Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
    I am an apeman

    “In man’s evolution, he has created the cities
    and the motor traffic rumble,
    but give me half a chance
    and I’d be taking off my clothes
    and living in the jungle”

    ‘Cause the only time that I feel at ease
    Is swinging up and down in a coconut tree
    Oh what a life of luxury
    to be like an apeman

    I’m an apeman,
    I’m an ape apeman,
    I’m an apeman

    I’m a King Kong man,
    I’m a voodoo man
    I’m an apeman

    I look out my window, but I can’t see the sky
    The air pollution is fogging up my eyes
    I want to get out of this city alive
    And make like an apeman

    Come and love me,
    be my apeman girl
    And we will be so happy
    in my apeman world

    I’ll be your Tarzan, you’ll be my Jane
    I’ll keep you warm and you’ll keep me sane
    and we’ll sit in the trees and eat bananas all day
    Just like an apeman

  9. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm


    William Kulik

    On the verandah, fat Scotch in hand, trying not to make sense of another day in Nadaville, I imagine I’m telling my dead friend, Jeff Marks, who knew me best, how as a child I’d lie in bed subtracting the world, piece by piece: father, mother, friends, animals, neighborhood; then Philadelphia, America, the oceans, earth and sky til there was nothing left but blackness—and me, dizzy, spinning, unable, however hard I tried, to subtract the mind trying to subtract itself.

    And how, the night before last, I had a creepy dream where I was stretched out waiting staring when my usual face turned dinosaurshaped and bone-white, as if the flesh had been boiled off, the mouth exploding in a scream, and next day in the garden, squashing Japanese beetles with my fingers, I saw that same face on a bug who, I swear, stared at me, daring me to kill him. Which, as I’m telling Jeff, struck me as a premonition, so I’m not really surprised when Death, in traditional costume, appears at my elbow. “These are positive signs,” he says, “But I need more proof of your commitment.” “Like what?” I ask, annoyed he doubts me. “I read Beckett, load up on despair, try to be stoical: think of myself as a ripe grape whose time to fall is coming, the way Aurelius says to. I’m deep into Nietzsche on fate, Sartre on non-being, Camus on suicide, what more do you want?” “Literary guys,” he sneers, showing a set of yellow teeth. “I know you only use those half-ass ideas to appease me. Think you can hold me off with that bullshit? When it’s your turn it’s your turn, and the hell with Wittgenstein. And incidentally,” he says with a stare as cold as the moon, “It’s your turn.” He spits the words in my face, breath so incredibly foul I wince, my whole life rewinding before me. But pretty quick, cause it’s so ordinary: the kids go from grown-ups to babies, I have my hair back, endure the trials of marriage, the shy college years, adolescent shame, terrors of separation, all the way back to the dark bedroom of the six-year-old who could make the world disappear, only his consciousness left: and would this be at last the subtraction of it? Feeling a full-body tremor as I did the time a mugger held a thirty-eight against my temple, I hear a frightened little voice begging “Please can I have more time? Maybe finish a book, live to see a grandchild?” He snickers, and I get another peep at the yellow fangs. “Deal,” he says, “Just remember this,” and he pulls back his cowl. What he shows me I can’t describe except to say it’s at the same time mind and notmind and the mirror of mind, shattered and reflected from a thousand constantly-changing angles, and out of that whirlwind of light the barking of a thousand hounds. I squeeze my head—hard—to keep my trained animal from leaping its leash, hear him whisper “Au revoir” as, with the sound of a balloon running out of air, he vanishes, leaving just the smell of garbage rotting in the sun

  10. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 6, 2010 at 12:00 am


    William Kulik

    The maple’s twisted branch

    is the stick that hissed at Goodman Brown

    snake-devil in the forest evil

    it’s the knife in the chest

    of the guy with the badge that reads Brand Master

    lying face-up under the stars

    who died leering at the Penthouse Pet

    with the tits full of sand

    who smiled when she thought of her boyfriend’s cock

    bent and gnarled

    like that branch the little man standing

    on his front porch watches change

    from ground to figure

    figure to ground

    blackness burning

    in the forests of day

    like Dracula’s tux

    at the end of his endless life

  11. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 6, 2010 at 9:35 am


    William Kulik

    It’s my last day on earth and a guy in a white coat I hope to Christ is really a doctor and not some paranoid asshole escapee from a nuthouse is asking me intimate weird questions about my medical history, writing the answers down on a clipboard with a crude holographic likeness of a winking Mona Lisa who looks I think like Kirk Douglas in drag taped to the back. Because my tenure here is tenuous, I don’t respond to his steady stream of insults though I am sorely, as they say, tempted to — as he mocks the scars, sags and creases of a body I’ve always hated. “Ugly black mark, right thigh,” he demands, pointing with his pen. Grudging but obedient, I answer: “Pencil stab, kid brother, 1951.” “Why?” “Teased him.” “About what?” I feel a mixed rush of anger and shame. “Being a sissy.” He scowls, and I wish I could shove the pen up his ass, but I need to give in. “Jagged scar, left eyebrow,” he says, fingering the hair, and in spite of myself I get an odd tingle. “High school gang fight,” I answer, remembering the sneer on the face of the kid who started it by calling me a queer. He pauses, staring deep into my eyes, then goes on about the folds of belly-fat, the misshapen navel, the lopsided ears, the crooked chin, and I’m left feeling less like a man than ever and more his minion — the word comes to me out of a blue very like his eyes — so when he smirks at the patch of psoriasis I’ve always been ashamed of, it’s more than I can bear. “Singed by the high-tension wires of life,” I lisp, limp-wristed, and stare into those depthless captivating eyes, which suddenly gleam with lust. Swiftly licking his lips, he yanks off a rubber mask: it’s our twelfth-grade English teacher, Dr. Sonnenfeld, we all thought was having an affair with the custodian Mr. Delp, and here he is at heaven’s gate with my fate in his hand which is now behind my back and me without a single hymn to sing

  12. thomasbrady said,

    April 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks, Mr. Tonucci.

    This Kulik kicks butt.

    An apt Final Four candidate, I’d say.

    Deserves the Scarriet Laurel Leaf Prize.

  13. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm


    William Kulik

    It begins innocently two people driving on a country road. There are trees, a lake, you’re just talking then she grows a moustache blood pours from your nose there’s a black cat on the windshield a demon doctor in the forest promising your dead friend will return then you’re driving again near the ocean seawall like a stadium you enter a tunnel under the waves you smile to calm her thinking all the while of fish there’s a field where you stop to watch two men in ten-gallon hats and tooled leather boots cast with long rods the hooks flash in the sun and you are very angry but a vulture grabs you anyway you hide your face so he won’t peck out your eyes then you turn to find him on your lap a baby now with a blonde moustache you think all roads lead back the bird squats on your heel crooning what a trip just for one more look

  14. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 7, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Litany for Insomnia (from God Damsel)

    Reb Livingston

    O Tempest! Begetter of all tricksy.
    I mortgage your tearflop marquee.

    While bethinking the outfaced sneers amassed,
    I believe that you, Shepherd,

    would in a pageant decree this velvet to vomit.
    Blameful as I am,

    I greenly swallow you cocksure.
    Pleading heartsore and couplet

    may I dissolve beside nuptial snore.

  15. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Litany for Thy Talents (from God Damsel)

    Reb Livingston

    Let us refrain mastery for our clash
    by lauding the anguish of the exalted Woe-dodo.

    Woe-dodo, vessel of pleasure,
    tendril of good-smelling hair,

    beloved of unanswerable savants,
    you are instance to the worth of handy affection.

    O you who wears a scarlet bra
    and ninny sheath

    pray for us that,
    though you are unworthy of a recognized wrap

    we may have our names voiced from Thy Woe-dodo yap.

  16. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    First Ballad Interlude from the libretto of “Paul Bunyan”

    W.H. Auden

    The cold wind blew through the crooked thorn,
    Up in the North a boy was born.

    His hair was black, and his eyes were blue,
    His mouth turned up at the corners too.

    A fairy stood beside his bed;
    ‘You shall never, never grow old’, she said.

    ‘Paul Bunyan is to be your name’;
    Then she departed whence she came.

    You must believe me when I say,
    He grew six inches every day.

    You must believe me when I speak,
    He gained 346 pounds every week.

    He grew so fast, by the time he was eight,
    He was as tall as the Empire State.

    The length of his stride’s a historical fact;
    3.7 miles to be exact.

    When he ordered a jacket, the New England mills
    For months had no unemployment ills.

    When he wanted a snapshot to send to his friends,
    They found they had to use a telephoto lens.

    But let me tell you in advance,
    His dreams were of greater significance.

    His favourite dream was of felling trees,
    A fancy which grew by swift degrees.

    One night he dreamt he was to be
    The greatest logger in history.

    He woke to feel something stroking his brow,
    And found it was the tongue of an enormous cow.

    From horn to horn or from lug to lug,
    Was forty-seven axe-heads and a baccy plug.

    But what would most have bewildered you
    Was the colour of her hide which was bright bright blue.

    But Bunyan wasn’t surprised at all;
    Said, ‘I’ll call you Babe, you call me Paul.’

    He pointed to a meadow, said, ‘Take a bite:
    For you’re leaving with me for the South tonight.’

    Over the mountains, across the streams
    They went to find Paul Bunyan’s dreams.

    The bear and the beaver waved a paw,
    The magpie chattered, the squirrel swore.

    The trappers ran out from their lonely huts
    Scratching their heads with their rifle butts.

    For a year and a day they travelled fast
    ‘This is the place’, Paul said at last.

    The forest stretched for miles around,
    The sound of their breathing was the only sound.

    Paul picked a pine-tree and scratched his shins,
    Said, ‘This is the place where our work begins.’

  17. Desmond Swords said,

    April 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Writing today, New American poetry unfolding to a logic Kenneth-Dinh-Bök-Mlinko-Nowak-Perez- Stallings-Tamblyn

    Amber Craig and Linh,
    Mark and Rigoberto
    Ange and A.E.

    Martin Earl who is one’s favourite

    González, Santos Perez: y’all individual, unique singular atomized poetic Christian curator-cycles in Blunt Degree Expedience College, Good Piracy All Zero

    Academy Poets

    Today Danann logic, according to the long-term prophetic scale of turnover and agility, ever more efficient, our material mean, scientific programme, pragmatic to an end: You knew writing sought ‘no other gradient but the one of least resistance, in a windfucker song, aye tumble into Crow,

    growing, growing, knowing it is Crow again
    here to save -abandon- you and me in a row

    A special date in the season’s fledging, little
    slave in bonded Letters, dear dear you help-

    ing one attain the crown of luvvies. Crow
    nascent and inchoate calanderical competition

    Who’s Worst: Me OR you, ‘continuous predatory-
    stopgap, market “fast cheap and out of control”

    theory-breeder in pure logical movement, language central, spontaneously
    dichetal do chennaib, divination from the tips’ worked for you. The muse of ten thousand American souljahs in a poet army of bardic fluff

    pastime, hobbles my hobby’ – twas all a midnight noon, luna
    zenith, full-faced, remembering dichetal do chennaib, divination from an edge

    the final resolution – tipping into spontaneous critical prose,
    poetry and abandonment, public dumps

    orthographical premise for Am ‘n UK po-biz
    in a windfucker song, aye tumble into Crow,
    in love with Charon, Graves, Maeve and díchealtair – magical disguise –

    ‘Of the rolling level underneath ‘him’ steady air, and striding

    forward into the foam-saddle seat of a sexy Cortina, a lining

    lost to the windhover “underneath” “outride” that is there so many times
    unstressed upon syllables, row in row.

    What? I’d say: is that dactyl rolling steadily and striding into iambic underneathness of air baby, anruth, cli and doss breathing that spoke in seven-stressed lines – heard through em, in what turned out to be, your final hurrah to 20C dreams of tv figures and Celebrity poets shaping how, what who and why in the aye, didn’t you just know the change of tone would be so blarey and in yer face.

    What aint sed. Nuff messin meff. C’mon yer cunt. Fuck off yer whole and stand up straight, take that look from off yer face, coz you aint ever gonna blare my heart out: Appollo, Calliope Euterpe and Ogma – defined goals
    folding like a handkerchief on the hinge of our tradition

    Tuatha De Danann

    specificities of place, time and context to self-regulating cases of capital in writers discovered filling more than just niches, more quickly if the field far off, Adam Fielded, his activity is clearly your own, AmPo souljahs, coracle-oracles and obstacle of bad drag, associate with the precious many academic

    interiority or self-expression

    one-dimensional algorithmic result of iambic numbers, trochees and protocol crunched… or esle

    on the data-cloud of a network
    on a handheld device, Swords now functioning better for less
    people expecting

    the interaction and concatenation of other machines

    do cheann im chrios.

    Thanks very much

    Your head on my belt, in a windfucker song, aye tumble
    Crow, growing, growing into knowing it is Crow again

    here to save -abandon- you and me in a row

    row row us love, to the phonebox of ourselves, Brian
    Conoley Crow dialling Daisy Dawes, Donovan verse

    chorus coracle, come Billboard Koan, Shitty Namaste,
    oracle of Frieda and Gillian Goldsmith and Greenlaw,

    Huerta and Javier Kwame Turner: What is Poets
    Theater? Irish Poetry Now? Provisional Language?

    Foundation Month at Harriet blog, National AmPo
    Thom on looking at thyme under a microscope, the scientist
    reaches for a lemon. The Gated Community

    a normal kind of everyguy Crow knows the shoulder
    of Cuchulain well: Landed upon the dead

    god’s material remains and signalled -L-O

    a lover pool bet

    Cuchulain is Brutus Appollo

    Pretanik Chief Bard and Pencerdd in Lancs
    Manchester, Merseyside, Nottingham

    Oswestry, Preston, Quay Street, Rotterdam
    Ted and Undrid, Val, Wendy and Mister X

    Y the Zoroasterian Golden Dawn Circe
    keying up the chord of lovely Irish surreality

    stepping up, c’mon, Letter alliteratively
    hypo-critical love, sad sack ponies, pink

    gimp-prince and princesses, all alone
    row row your Zoroaster Yeats a hashish

    prince, pill addict reverser sorcering
    sidhe ghost of Tuatha De Danann, daring

    Truth of the Sidhe, Mister Eliot and me sta-
    ring into lampost at the corner of our street

    watching Concrete envelope the soul
    Mister, y’all know he is just

    like us, everyguy Euro-American Ap
    Dafyd de facto English person’s lineage

    root of East Coker from where the guys family
    fled persecution of Religious belief in Tudor England. The same as one’s own family felt the purge and holocuast of what happened when two opposing forces met in ‘private’ war on the continents all one’s own.

    Thanks very much everyone. Very proud not to know who you aren’t, despite one’s enthusiasm in the critical debates happening here on potw 150.

    A special date in the season’s fledging nascent and inchoate calanderical competition of Who’s Worst: Me OR you, little slave in bonded Letters, dear dear you helping me to attain the Crow luvvies.

    Oh dear, sorry, unnoticing are we, Sir X slave from the Styx, authoratative Dame blare concern, audacious gaze at the ambient Gazelle, in love with Charon, Graves, Maeve and díchealtair – magical disguise.

    Disquieting Charon Bablyon Adam and Eve, aye or nea princes
    princesses reading dearest believers, et tu sur l’art non – oui?

    Experimental Thought readers. Have a think about it.

    ‘Styles of deployment and organization of resources for creating literary value’ that have radically changed over the past years, aye, KG in the English of Enormous New ‘technological mechanisms for synergy and cooperation’, allow one’s ‘language to concentrate in both new and unprecedentedly dense and narrow ways. Writing no longer fixes on the single masterpiece, but rather on extended, horizontal, non-locatable production’ unit. You know that, don’t you, cutting your swathes through the digital landscape, with blade and scales that, until recently corresponded for centuries, to the development of time and space in its entirity, approaching Ground Zero, the zero brigade, blunt, chilling, trilling of Darwinian Nazism, rampant facist opportunism in action. Writing it appears, at this scale at least, is dead.

    What’s the Density of Kevin Desmond’s words Kenneth?

    bándhraíocht or genuine dichetal do chennaib?

    A Wonderful Parade

  18. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Marriage Pants

    Matthew Lippman

    I don’t know when the shitstorm of failed marriage

    took off.

    I’m talking about people who I went to high school with,

    to college and Italian villas—

    where we could see Vesuvius and if we could not see it,

    imagine it,

    and if we could not do that either,

    played with the sound of the word

    as it rolled around like horny lovers

    in the backs of our throats.

    There was Jack and Lucinda,

    who spent three years building banjos

    that neither of them ever played

    but the plants flourished in their stinky apartment near Gowanus

    so who cared.

    The question persisted:

    Who the hell am I

    and what the hell have I done?

    Then there was Katie and Todd who loved

    caviar and sparrows.

    They wanted to have a kid and thank fuck they didn’t.

    When Katie left she blew up Todd’s motorcycle

    and the neighborhood kids ran down the block for a second

    to see the debris

    then went back to their basketballs and bong hits.

    I wanted them to make it

    for everyone on the planet. I wanted her cancer and his insatiable desire for obese ladies

    at the Target

    to be beaten into death;

    to prove to the 21st century TV newscasters

    that nobody knew what the hell they were talking about

    when they newscasted on TV

    that marriage was dying like an obese lady

    in the lingerie department

    at the local Target.

    It felt weird,

    like people weren’t getting divorced,

    but more, like they were dying—

    crawling into the earth with the worms and roots

    to hide away in horror

    while their children ran to the school bus and the Batmobile

    and the EZ Bake oven that, of course,

    could never, ever, ever,

    catch fire.

    It made me want to beat up my mailman

    and the woman who sold me my internet cable

    and the telephone guy, Lou,

    like all of this was some reflection on how we had forgotten to talk

    to one another.

    But it wasn’t.

    It was age.

    The age of worn out marriage pants,

    untended. One leg torn at the knee,

    the other, burned out in the crotch.

    It was bad cloth, warped stitching, inseams with no in

    and I knew it.

    And then I got hitched.

    Eight years later,

    my buddy Stu said to me:

    How do you stay connected?

    I said:

    You want to stay close, stay close.

    You want to be in love,

    be in love.

    It’s like watching TV

    Like ping pong after dinner.

    You pick up the clicker, you pick up

    the paddle.

    But who the hell was I?

    Some mornings I get up and can’t tie my shoes.

    I’m forty-four years old and can’t toast the seedless rye.

    My kid cries because her hands are wet;

    my wife undresses in front of open windows.

    What am I supposed to do?

    I wake up.

    I say good morning.

    I put on my pants.

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