I’m so lucky. I have two Presidents; Shimon Peres, who proves that if you’re lucky, you get smarter every year, even unto dotage, and Barack Hussein Obama, off to a shaky but brave start despite the ankle-biters. A bonus is that I can pledge allegiances to all three mono-theistic religions(?).
Be all that as it may, I was thrilled to hear the Oval office come out unambiguously Tuesday morning in support of doggerel’s inclusion under the First Amendment Right of Free Speech. An un-named aide clarified his point hours later, citing but paraphrasing Voltaire “I disagree with infantile rhyme and meter, but I shall die a million deaths defending its right to be published, at least on back-water web-sites like Xanga, and bearing in mind ‘sensitivity’ to the wishes of the vast majority who’ve given their lives defending blank verse.”
Background: The press conference was prompted by mounting pressure on the Obama Administration to rename the ‘Joyce Kilmer Service Area’, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey just 35 miles southeast of Ground Zero, after someone other than the Catholic doggerel-ist and ‘male bearer of a woman’s name’.
His untimely death on the battlefield during World War I not-withstanding, critics on AM radio across the country have questioned the propriety of “‘Iambic Pentameter.?…and at a time when the nation is still in mourning?” to quote one vocal foe. Asked what poetic form would in fact be a fitting memorial to the fallen, this spokesman for the right-wing “Obama; come clean about your shoe size!” action-group could only mention sonnets and haikus as also in bad taste, being ‘a foot in the door for ‘foreign influences’, and adding that ..“Kilmer was mysteriously ‘somewhere in France’ when his nation needed him”.
One hopes that the elected leader of the free world will stand firm in his wise poetic policies like a mighty oak. The challenges are daunting: pecked by wood-peckers, pissed upon by running dogs, and having his acorns held up for microscopic scrutiny, he needs the support of fair souls worldwide.
And here is my small, legal for now, contribution to the heated debate.
So this is how we write a Poem
The final word’s your home-sweet-home
You make a list of words which rhyme
And then the step: (which does take time)
First pin them to the styrofoam
Assess ’em with a fine-toothed comb
A land-bridge spanning Nome and Rome?
A tome lost in the Astrodome?
Dig deeply in the English loam
You’ll find the missing chromosome
Or not… Then even Saint Jerome
can’t help you. ‘May God bless this poem‘
Wu: Maybe you ought to state your point less obscurely?
Me: Where’s the fun in that; either for me or for the wise reader?
Wu: You know, say like, ‘It’s a parody of the unnecessary debate on the (sic) ‘Al Qaida Centre’ in Manhattan, only using doggerel as a substitute, and a fitting one at that’.
Me: Or an excuse to print a poem I just wrote, which explains how I write ’em.
Wu: Or a way to distinguish between readers who needed this spoiler and those who didn’t?
Me: Ah, now you’re getting warm, Wuzie. But how do you ever know the difference.
Wu: You just know… sometimes. It’s subtle. The cost of (trying to be) clever.
Me: Hey, what’s with the ‘trying to be’? That’s like changing the sign to read “Solberg ‘claims to be‘ the King of the Jews”
Wu: Idk. Might as well be modest, especially since you have so much to be modest about…