MAP #71

Theme: Potpourri

1. From Dean Blehert of Reston, Virginia, one of AIPF's featured guests in April:



A DRUG ON THE MARKET

Does poetry work? In recent FDA tests

whose subjects included editors, readers

and poetry reading audiences, over 90%

were found to be responding to placebos

(whose ingredients included attitudes,

ideas, feelings, buzz words,

vocabulary, intonations, allusions and

other elements to suggest what poetry

is broadly supposed to be, but

included no detectable traces

of actual poetry) at least as enthusiastically

as to the real thing, and 45% of users

actually preferred the placebos

(found them less disturbing, easier to grasp,

more user-friendly). Consequently the FDA

has suspended all sale of poetry,

based on insufficient proof of effectiveness.

Poetry users may still obtain poetry

in the form of song lyrics, stylish

detective and romance fiction and

the things children and old people occasionally

say, but no products labeled "Poetry"

may be marketed at this time. Furthermore,

journalists, advertisers and others who refer to

the "poetry" of a skater's motion or of

a symphony or a bird's flight or panti-hose

will be required to add the following:

"Please note that the word 'poetry' must not

be construed to imply any actual insight,

beauty, tenderness, spiritual expansion or

fun" and must also include a list

of the dangerous side effects likely to be induced

by any ACTUAL poetry that may be present,

especially if poetry is mixed with other

medications.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2. From E. Eirik Ott, in No. Cal.

Crushworthy

by R. Eirik Ott

I want someone

to have a crush on me

for a change

to notice

when I don't come to class

and wonder if I'm okay

to get nervous

when I enter the cafe,

to fumble

with her papers

and books,

to pick at her clothing

and check

her reflection

in salt shakers and napkin holders

to catch her breath

when she sees me from across campus,

tug on her best friend's collar

and point with her eyes

and whisper loudly,

"There he is!"

to run around the block

as quickly

and nonchalantly

as she can

just to walk past me

make eye contact

and smile

to look into my big brown eyes

(such long lashes!)

from across the room

and think, "Yes..."

to look at my full kissing lips

and think, "Oh yes..."

to hear my voice

and imagine

how her name

would sound

if I said it

if I whispered it

if I...

"Oh yes..."

I want someone

to make up nicknames for me

to talk about me in code

"I saw Backpack Boy today

in the library

in the Romantic Lit. secion...

I saw Steel-Toed Boots Boy

talking to some girl

(some girl!)

in the bookstore today..."

I want someone

to go straight home

every night

and check her answering machine

just in case

just in case

and check the phone cord

and check the battery

and check the tape

and make sure the goddamned blinking light

isn't burned out

just in case

I want someone to say,

"You're wrong about him

because you don't know him

the way I know him,"

because she can just tell

that I'm a good person

must be

a good person

gotta be

a good person

because I write poetry about my mom and my cats

and because she likes me so much

for some reason

some unexplainable psychic supernatural reaction

to me

me.

I want someone

to mark her calendar

"He talked to me today"

to wonder

what I would smell like

after a long warm sleep

under a down comforter

to close her eyes

and picture

what our kids would look like

to write silly wretched wonderful

poetry

about me

for a change

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3. From Colleen Wilhite, in Clearwater. Colleen is an Irish lass, for sure. This poem, however, is, as she wrote: "in memorium for my aunt and god-mother-in-law who died of stroke a couple of days ago after years of psychiatric drug treatment. She was a painter, musican and writer but stopped doing it years ago."

The guitar

A forlorn love

mute

The paint box

Dull with disuse

shut

The canvas

Pale and alone

blank

Pen and ink

Lie on a shelf

still

Dancing shoes

Dusty, decayed

limp

The music

No longer heard

gagged

The artists

Straight-jacketed

Drugged

Cured of their creativity

Cured of their selves

Ask Hemingway

Ask Monroe

Ask my aunt Marilyn

4. And on a happier note, the last poem from Joseph Powell, who meant to send it for last week's theme, "Shakespeare in Love." This piece is included in Joseph's chapbook, "With Unveiled Faces."

Othello's Deathbed Curse

Loved too well--

Nay, accuse me not.

For I have loved enough

And then some;

But never too well.

For my heart,

Blinded by love,

Fails at discernment--

'Tis true.

For this crime,

I am most guilty certain;

Punish me most severe.

For the severest penalty

Cannot equal the pains suffered

Or loves unrequited;

Nor match the bitter pill

Or sourest medicine

Of unwarranted rejection

Or unmerited scorn.

Oh yes, curse the day--

Love made its acquaintance

Of me,

Only to make me a fool;

Or worser yet,

A wretched pawn

With wounded ego

And battered heart.

Oh yes, curse the day

I first set eyes on that

Which is called woman

And felt the first spark of desire

To only have it snuffed out

By unrecognized eye

Or unreturned affection.

Oh yes, curse the day

And, again, I say, curse,

With ever-fervent zeal,

The day, not that I was born,

But that I have not died,

From Cupid's arrows flung

Only to have their mission aborted,

Their intent gone astray,

Leaving me naked and ashamed,

Empty of all feeling,

Numb,

Having drained the wells of tears dry.

Loved too well, nay,

I have loved well enough,

Only to be haunted time

And time again.

Nay, I repeat the aforementioned curse.

Curse, I say,

Love and all its vile affectations

Or affections, if you will,

Or not, it matters none.

Curse, my already bleeding heart,

For availing itself to be made vulnerable;

Made susceptible to love's deceits

And woman's charms;

I say, curse the woman,

The weaker sex indeed!

Only in stopping short of inflicting pain

Rather with dagger sharp or poison sweet

Or bullet swift

Than with the pains of scorn or rejection

Which, in contrast, last the longer

And inflict not death.

Yes, all of this and more,

I say, curse,

And I say it again,

With all that is within me,

Curse!

(c) Joseph Powell