We've been going to McDonalds in the morning for the past few weeks. At this early hour I look even more like Pruneface than usual. I'm grateful to Rachel for being seen with me, much less hanging out with me. I'm also grateful for her discussing Bible stories with me in a completely unselfconscious way. There are points in the clip where we may seem ironic or sarcastic -- but no. As Hemingway wrote, this is a "clean well-lighted place." Or at least fairly clean, and the oatmeal is a little too sweet.
Bob Schieffer, who covered the Confederate surrender at Appomatox, says that Trump's demand for Obama to release his school transcripts is a racist insult!
What would Dick the Bruiser do?
Trump says, 'That’s a terrible statement for a newscaster to make! I am the last person that such a thing should be said about! Affirmative action is out there! It's a program that’s available! But I have no idea whether it applies in this case! I'm not suggesting anything!
Trump! The true poet's candidate!
Many years ago I attended a demonstration against the Vietnam War. There was a television crew from CBS filming the event, recognizable by the "eye" logo on the side of the cameras. I noticed that the network had hired motorcycle gang members as security guards. A bright idea! The Rolling Stones followed up on it a few years later at Altamont. On that day I felt like my eyes started to open to some realities of how things like government and media really worked. How cynical and brutal they were at the core. My eyes have opened and closed many times since then. But now, as Dr. King preached "I'm not worried about anything. I don't fear any man." And as the song says, "I was blind but now I see."
I see, for example, that professional wrestling -- especially as it existed in the early days of television -- is the best template for seeing what Donald Trump is doing, and also for understanding the spectrum of public responses to Trump. I want to say also that I fully support Trump and my only worry is that he'll "drop out." He has the power and the know how to really drive people crazy, just like 1950s villains such as "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers could do. There really is no other way to comprehend (and enjoy) Trump except as a old time pro wrestling bad guy!
Trump's baiting Obama about the birth certificate is a perfect example. Months ago Trump said that he would release his tax returns if Obama released his birth certificate. So now that Trump has succeeded in forcing Obama to release the certificate, one of Obama's flunkies (Gates) challenges Trump to do what he promised. But do you think Trump is going to go for that? What would Buddy Rogers have done? Yukon Eric? Dick the Bruiser? Needless to say, Trump doesn't even respond to Gates. Instead, he calls Gates "a loser" -- which of course he is compared to Trump. Why? Because Trump has more money! Because Trump has a sexy wife!
Oh, and does this make you angry? Does this make you feel like the furious pro wrestling crowd in Memphis felt when Andy Kaufman told them to "shut up or I'll sue you"? Trump can REALLY make the elites nuts and I say bring it on. This is the closest thing we will get to a real court jester.
And by the way, Obama is the ideal pro wrestling "good guy," the perfect target for Trump. And let's not forget: sometimes the good guy would turn into a bad guy, or be revealed as a bad guy all along. If it's done right -- and so far Trump has been a master -- there's really no telling how it will play out. But usually there would be a big showdown match that promised to resolve things once and for all. We'll see.
And here's a picture of Reggie Lisowski in action -->>
Old ladies carrying yoga mats
Chain their bicycles to the
Parking meters on Larchmont,
Then head to the yoga room or
Whatever it’s called above
The newsstand. I salute them.
I applaud these women,
I admire them, I mentally compare
Them to Bess Turk, who, holed up
In the Shoreham Hotel and sleeping
On a Murphy bed for thirty years,
Developed dowager’s hump.
Yet – and I say this as an old man
Myself -- my gorge also rises and
Acid reflux pains my sense
At the sight of the yoga crones.
With incorporeal ear I hear not
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,
Nor does Jan and Dean’s joyful chorus
‘Go granny go granny go granny go’
Echo in my teeming brain. I hear instead
The ominously salacious closing words
Of Die Verwandlung: ‘Die Tochter sich
‘Erhob und ihren jungen Korper dehnte.’
Yes, it is the daughter who stretches
Her young body, not some grandmother
And still less a dithering old grandpappy.
This is simply the natural order of things.
Although W.B. Yeats had monkey balls
Implanted in his scrotum, he knew this
And wrote, ‘That is no country for old men’
Apropos of which Mosemolleus Tronsork
Notes how country in a literary context
Always means cunt. Thus, Hamlet to
Ophelia (III:ii), with his head in her lap,
‘Did you think I meant country matters?’
Thus also in Dustin Hoffman’s revolutionary
Portrayal of Willy Loman, Biff is horrified
Not that Willy is tired, defeated, limp,
Flaccid, drooping, detumescent, suffering
From erectile dysfunction, and old,
But that he still wants to do it, whereupon
Biff discovers Willy with a whore.
That is Georges Bataille’s definition
Of obscenity: ‘Showing what should
Be hidden.’ Take it to heart, seniors.
Were I to write a poem about getting
A room with a hot twenty year old
UCSB anthropology major with a tattoo
Of the Greek letter omega above her ass
Would you or anyone want to read it?
I don’t think so, and I don’t blame you.
Twenty years old? Smokin’ hot? Feh!
Omega tattoo above her ass? Feh! Feh!
-- Mitch Sisskind
Drilled through the kishkes in ’44
He subsequently worked for
The old Central Electric Company
On Washington Boulevard until
Mr. Achtboim died in 1956.
Then came what Leo and Ruth Manasin
Always called the cow magnet years.
Cow magnets: bits of iron swallowed
By cows to which adhered any
Gum wrappers, bailing wire, nails,
Or what have you that a grazing cow
Might ingest, thereby creating a mass
Of sufficient bulk to travel through
The digestive system of the cow.
It was the brain child of Jim Porter,
A Wisconsin veterinarian who said,
‘I got tired of tramping barnyards
‘On cold mornings to vaccinate hogs
‘At five dollars a shot so I dreamed up
‘The cow magnet. They said I was crazy
‘But with a hundred million cows
‘In America the dairy and beef industries
‘Would pay two bucks per magnet to keep
‘A herd of cows from coming down
‘With the so-called Hardware Disease.’
Not long after Mr. Achtboim passed away,
Steve Drago introduced Jim Porter
To Leo Manasin at Nippersink Manor.
At that time a sort of black cloud seemed
To hover over Leo Manasin’s head.
Although Mr. Achtboim was no saint,
He was the pater familias that Leo Manasin
Needed in the post-war years when lingering
Effects of his wounds imbued every moment
With a vague unconscious sense of dread.
Now this man Jim Porter entered the picture.
Here was a new pater familias, possibly
An improved version of Mr. Achtboim,
Who offered Leo Manasin the position
Of cow magnet sales rep for the Wisconsin,
Illinois, and Indiana territories in which
Resided tens of thousands of cows.
But Leo Manasin hesitated. He ruminated.
He looked skeptically at a future in which
He would call on dairy farmers with
A satchel of cow magnets in his lap while
Over a blue propane flame water boiled
For instant coffee in farmhouse kitchens
Of stained linoleum and peeling wallpaper.
He was a city boy after all, a Jewish fella
Whose occasional exposure to anti-Semitism
Made him leery of many (not all) goyim.
Jim Porter seemed like an honest goy,
And now Jim Porter allayed Leo Manasin’s
Fears about the future with some simple
Truths about the cow magnet business.
As the veterinarian explained, most magnets
Were bought in bulk by feed company
Executives over lunch in the grill room of
The Cliff Dwellers Club where past members
Included Cyrus McCormick, George Armour,
And Rufus C. Dawes, and not bought by farmers
With a load of manure out in the dump truck.
This mollified Leo Manasin and he was soon
Turning heads in the cow magnet industry.
Sales of a hundred or two hundred gross
Were run of the mill for Leo Manasin
In the grill room of the Cliff Dwellers Club
And it was there that he met Chester Schultz,
The heir to a milking machine fortune.
Chester Shultz shrewdly took the measure
Of this family man named Leo Manasin,
This war veteran who sold cow magnets
For a living and -- liking what he saw --
Chester Schultz took Leo Manasin under
His wing and began making discreet
Overtures to Leo Manasin about a job.
These discreet overtures, these coy hints,
The innuendoes, the asides, the ingratiating
Small confidences, the verbal nosegays,
The divertimenti – they also had a deeper
Purpose, a much more sober intention.
The discreet overtures were the foundation
For the hiring of Leo Manasin by Chester Schultz.
It was a very nice employment package that
Chester Schultz offered with substantially
Larger revenues to Leo Manasin in exchange
For less work -- because once milking machines
Were leased out there was nothing to do
Except deposit the checks which would represent
Leo Manasin’s salary plus a generous commission.
And since milking machine leases were always
Rolled over, Leo Manasin could be set for life!
A home in Lincolnwood on a double lot,
A Buick, an Olds, or even a Cadillac convertible
In the garage; a country club membership;
And a summer house in Sauganash, Michigan;
All this was possible with Chester Schultz!
Only one small matter remained: Jim Porter
Must be told of Leo Manasin’s decision to forsake
His pater familias and cleave to this wealthier
Man named Chester Schultz, this man whom
Leo Manasin met at the very Cliff Dwellers Club
Where Jim Porter was footing the bill for
Leo Mansain’s lunches of broiled whitefish.
But then occurred one of the eerie
Turning points that we encounter in life,
One of the head-scratching moments
In which our decisions seem to be made
By some external agency and we can only
Look back on the decisions as they fade
In the rearview mirror of our years
Like a roadside restaurant where we ate
Something but what exactly did we eat?
This eerie turning point in Leo Manasin’s life
Occurred at the bar mitzvah of his son Mickey
At Temple B’nai Zion on Pratt Avenue
Where Leo Manasin had naches – that is, pride
In his child –as he made small talk with Jim Porter.
This was in the hospitality room where,
After the ceremony, cold cuts were being served.
There Leo Manasin felt an unexpected surge
Of emotion, a cresting wave of affection
For the man named Jim Porter, and all at once
It seemed unimaginable to Leo Manasin that
He could ever disassociate himself from Jim Porter.
What caused the unexpected surge of emotion?
First, it was Jim Porter attending the bar mitzvah
And also the sight of Jim Porter wearing a kippah,
A yarmulke. In fact, the sight of Jim Porter wearing
A kippah was a great honor to the Manasin family
As a whole: to Leo, Ruth, Mickey, and Melissa,
Who was also known as Missy or Lissie.
The remarkable thing was how comfortable,
How relaxed Jim Porter looked, as if he’d
Worn a kippah all his life. Whereupon
It occurred to Leo Manasin that perhaps
The veterinarian could convert to Judaism.
There could be bar mitzvah for Jim Porter
And if necessary he could be circumcised..
What a mitzvah it would be for Leo Manasin
To bring about the conversion of Jim Porter
To Judaism! The thought of Jim Porter reciting
The sh’ma almost brought tears to the eyes
Of Leo Manasin -- and Jim Porter also seemed
Sensitive to the moment. He spoke not a word
But put his hand on Leo Manasin’s shoulder
And guided Leo Manasin toward a quiet
Corner of the B’nai Zion hospitality room.
There in a voice charged with feeling,
Jim Porter said to Leo Manasin, ‘Leo,
‘I want you to know that come what may
‘In the cow magnet business, regardless of
‘What happens in the cow magnet business,
‘No matter what may or may not occur
‘In the cow magnet business, good or bad,
‘You and your family will be taken care of
‘Forever because of the hard work and
‘Loyalty you’ve given to the organization
‘Since that day at Nippersink Manor when
‘We were introduced by Steve Drago.’
Late that night, after the gala celebration
In the Hyatt at 4500 West Touhy Avenue,
After all the singing and all the dancing
And the many clever toasts, Leo Manasin
Lay awake as a voluptuous sense of relief
Washed over him, subsuming even his
Naches about Mickey Manasin’s bar mitzvah.
The phrase ‘dodged a bullet’ occurred
To this man who’d been drilled through
The kishkes in ’44. He saw that a personal
And professional catastrophe had nearly
Happened when he came so close
To deserting Jim Porter, that mensch,
By going to work for Chester Schultz.
What a mess that would have made.
What a train wreck it would have been.
It would have been like a twelve car pileup
On the interstate during the rush hour.
It shouldn’t happen to a dog, and fortunately
It didn’t happen. Willy-nilly, Leo Manasin
Had made the right decision in the end.
So the cow magnet years continued and
To his credit Chester Schultz took no
Offense at what for him was the very
Unaccustomed experience of a rejected
Job offer. Leo Manasin and Chester Schultz
Even took steam together occasionally
In the Cliff Dwellers Club steam room.
And Jim Porter’s conversion to Judaism?
Leo Manasin now saw it as a hare-brained
Scheme, heart-felt and well-intentioned,
But brought on by the emotional turmoil
In which Leo Manasin found himself that day
Amid the bar mitzvah’s hugger-mugger and
The hurly-burly of the Chester Schultz affair.
No, Leo Manasin was not leading the most
Exciting life but as long as there were
Cows there would be cow magnets
And for that he had Jim Porter to thank.
‘Leo, come what may,’ Jim Porter had said,
‘You will be taken care of -- you and Ruth
‘And Mickey and little Melissa Manasin.’
But ‘always’ is such a long time
About which to make promises --
And must not ‘always’ always end?
One day Leo Manasin arrived
At the modest downtown office
Maintained by Jim Porter and
Found two men waiting at the door.
Since Leo Manasin had come downtown
To meet a couple of buyers from the
William M. Glass Company, he asked,
‘Are you the guys from William M. Glass?’
They said, ‘No, we are the guys from
‘The Internal Revenue Service but
‘You may call it the IRS if you prefer.’
Thus concluded the cow magnet years
And thus did ‘always’ come to an end.
It was not for lack of effort on
Jim Porter’s part but understanding
The digestive system of a cow is not like
Running a business where the damn
Complexities can make your head spin.
It did not happen all at once. For weeks,
Months, almost a year the cow magnet
Business stayed more or less afloat but
What with judgments and liens and even
The possibility of a criminal case against
Jim Porter brewing, Leo Manasin saw
That the party was over once and for all.
Nights Leo Manasin lay awake kicking
Himself, asking himself why, why, why?
The image of Chester Shultz appeared
Like a ghost in the darkness, mocking him,
Making faces at him and tossing money
Into the air or feeding it to some obnoxious
Animal – a cow? – that he’d brought along.
Mornings Leo Manasin was agitated,
Irritable, he couldn’t sit still to read
The newspaper, yet at the same time
He was exhausted and often fell asleep
In front of the television set. He snapped
At people for no reason but he also wept
Uncontrollably in the laundry room
Where, pathetically, the washing machine
Drowned out his sobs. This was a far blacker
Cloud than the cloud that hovered over
Leo Manasin’s head when Mr. Achtboim died.
This cloud rapidly descended and engulfed
Leo Manasin until he became invisible
To his own family in his own home.
Meanwhile Mickey Manasin became obsessed
With motorcycles, literalizing his desire
To escape the Manasin family’s dismal
Twenty-eight hundred square foot home
In favor of the open horizons celebrated
In the Bob Seger anthem ‘Against the Wind’
Which he kept blaring in the garage all day.
Melissa Manasin was now called Mel.
Missy? Lissie? Are you kidding me?
At seventeen Mel radiated a hard,
Wised-up sexuality that scared away
The high school boys, so she blew off school
And worked downtown at the Furniture Mart
Where at least a few guys knew how to fuck.
As for Ruth Manasin, she mourned her life’s
Reduced circumstances, a life now sustained by
Social security and the savings accounts which,
Thank God, she had insisted on opening during
The cow magnet years. As Ruth mourned,
She saw too how Leo Manasin was suffering,
Was deteriorating, was no longer the same man.
Money alone could not account for his misery,
Ruth Manasin concluded. The black cloud that
Now engulfed Leo Manasin seemed like it had
Always been there and always would be there.
Cow magnets, aging, even disappointment
In the children could not begin to explain what
Ruth Manasin observed each day in Leo Manasin.
He lay on the sofa, defeated and deflated,
In boxer shorts and undershirt. By the way,
He’d lost a leg to diabetes. His snoring briefly
Seemed louder as Ruth Manasin turned off
The television set, but then came a diminuendo
In the snoring until there was only the low
Rumble of the refrigerator motor in the kitchen.
Perhaps we haven’t really gotten to know
Ruth -- but a favorite expression of hers was
‘I have news for you’ and another was
‘Let’s call a spade a spade.’ In that spirit
(Though it broke her heart) she now saw
Leo Manasin as a lovable schmuck,
A putz, a wounded veteran whose wounds
Never really had a chance to heal before he went
To work for the old Central Electric Company
And found a pater familias in Elmer Achtboim
And then another pater familias in Jim Porter.
But essentially he was a tearful little boy
Desperately looking for someone to protect him
Which caused him to make a really terrible
Business decision about Chester Schultz.
Though he had been a good provider in the
Cow magnet years, she felt that Leo Manasin
Had let his heart get in the way of his head
About Jim Porter. Then it went all belly up.
She loved Leo Manasin but she mainly felt sorry
For him like on All My Children or One Life to Live.
As Leo Manasin opened his eyes Ruth loomed
Above him, upside down from his viewpoint
But an angelic vision of a benevolent old woman.
Could this be his grandmother, whom he had
Called the Buba? Then came a cresting wave
Of emotion like that other cresting wave
At the bar mitzvah when Jim Porter had said,
‘Leo, you will always be taken care of.’
How loved he had felt then and also now,
With the TV off, the thankless children gone.
As is our destiny at the moment of death
He was changed into a great tzaddik
Who reveals himself at last, and at last
Is to himself revealed. ‘Sh’ma Yisrael…’
With his final breath he proclaimed the sh’ma!
No mitzvah is greater than this one! Thus did
Rav Shimon bar Yochai depart this life
And thus did Leo Manasin also depart it!
‘Sh'ma Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad!’
His soul swept past the Heavenly Tribunal
And was received at once in the Upper Worlds!
The Hidden Ones
Charles Parker known as Yardbird
For his love of chicken whether
Fried or roasted sometimes performed
On a toy saxophone and occasionally
Dozed off on the bandstand or failed
To show up altogether. He was Jewish.
Of Lizzie Douglas also referred
To as Memphis Minnie it was said
She could naturally play a guitar
But would put the guitar down
To turn a trick for two dollars.
Her bat mitzvah was in 1910.
Tennessee-born Fred McDowell
They called Mississippi Fred McDowell
When in Lafayette County around 1949
He taught open-tuned guitar to R.L. Burnside.
Those men loved kreplach soup.
Gedempte fleisch? They fressed.
Such are the nistarim, the Hidden Ones!
‘Peradventure if ten be found there,
‘For ten’s sake I will spare Sodom.’ Amen!
You and I, my love, so many nights
Driving on Clybourne past the Golden Ox
In the years I was with Harrison Table Mat
And later when I joined Quick Service Textiles
At Walter Gips’ urging we still spoke frequently
Of the Golden Ox and planned to eat there.
(But we never ate at the Golden Ox
And now we never will.)
Remember, darling, when I was repping
Joe Cronin’s line of junk jewelry and we met
A man -- his name? his name? – who
By way of recommending the Golden Ox
Rhapsodized about the zwiebelfleish?
Oh, what was his name? Indindoli?
(But we never ate at the Golden Ox
And now we never will.)
That man, him, our talk with him to the wee hours,
How he read Kane and Abel and how
Albeit facetiously he bequeathed to me
His bowling ball. But I digress. As love
For the Golden Ox was his be all and end all
So you were my ne plus ultra, my inamorata.
(But we never ate at the Golden Ox
And now we never will.)
Fifteen years in the making, and issue number seven of The Stud Duck is now available for your perusal! What's more, some of your favorite authors from The Best American Poetry blog are included. Feast your eyes on the contents of The Stud Duck #7 ---->>>
The Stud Duck # 7, December 2010
Jerry Pudnik, editor and publisher
Man muss immer weiter gehen.
A Tree: Stephanie Brown – 2
Poems: David Lehman – 5
Poems: Nin Andrews – 7
Poems: Jim Dolot – 24
Poems: Daniel Boughton – 33
Poems: Mitch Sisskind – 36
Poems: Laura Orem – 43
The Tracking Board: Mitch Sisskind -- 44
Reading The Stud Duck online couldn't be easier! Just click on the link below or paste it into your browser and the whole thing will open before your eyes like a land of dreams. You can even print it out to keep in your library, or email the link to your friends. But be patient! A document this dense with thought and feeling takes a moment to load on your screen. But it will happen!
I hope you enjoy this edition of The Stud Duck and that you'll look forward to the next issue as well. Number eight will be done on March 1, so if you'd like to submit poems, prose, photos, or drawings, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Onward! Man muss immer weiter gehen!
Poem: He wore an alarm clock…
He wore an alarm clock around his neck,
Pendant-like, hung by a shiny chain;
At the place on Diversey, I forget its name,
He ate a hamburger in a booth, alone.
Now across the distance of the years
What seemed meshugenah is otherwise
Revealed. So hello, friend! You there!
Man with a clock around your neck!
Oh we laughed at you in ’55 but
Now I understand – and see this
Alarm clock around my neck?
This hamburger? That mocking child?
I apologize but at this time of year the Cuban missile crisis is often on my mind.
A sad and strange dream
Of the ’62 missile crisis
And high school football,
At first light evanescing.
Alas the purple uniforms,
Mud, tape, wet grass, and
Along the sidelines the girls
Of the pre-Beatles era.
Barbara Sandy Susan
Michelle oblivious of
The missile crisis flaming
On radios and televisions.
‘As a generation of leaves
‘So is that of men’ (Iliad, vi)
But Sandy was no warrior,
Blonde girl of Winnetka
She spoke to my dream self:
‘The crisis ended Mitch but
‘I’m still dead.’ Then from
A black and white Zenith
The voice of JFK: ‘The price
‘Of freedom is always high
‘And Americans always
‘Will pay it. Goodnight.'
For more than a year now I've resided only a few blocks from the little cemetery where Marilyn Monroe's crypt may be found. This cemetery is in the middle of the busy Westwood area of Los Angeles, near UCLA, but it can't be seen from the street. You have to know where to find it and you have to make some time to go there. So one day last week, on my way home from the library, I set aside some time. It was easy, because I really don't have anything very important to do.
I found Marilyn's crypt without difficulty and placed a dime on top of her brass name plate. There was quite a bit of change there already although none shows in this picture. The truth is I've never been very interested in Marilyn Monroe. But whenever I think of Laurette Luez, the actress pictured below -- and I think of her quite often -- I remember Marilyn as well. You see, it was Laurette Luez who thought of a new name for Norma Jeane Baker.
Laurette was in the same "freshman class" of Hollywood starlets as Marilyn. She had a theory that an effective name should unconsciously call to mind some powerful association. In Laurette's own case it was "Suez," which she hoped would suggest smoldering exoticism. For Marilyn it's a little trickier. One explanation might be the link between President James Monroe and the so-called "Era of Good Feeling."
Very well! Laurette Luez starred in a film called "Prehistoric Women," made in 1950. It had first first produced as a silent in the 1920s and was remade again in the late 60s. It's a great film in its way and I recommend it to anyone who has a chance to see it. One of the best scenes is a catfight between cave girl Laurette and her rival -- I'll have to look up her name -- who was actually even hotter than the lead actress. A cunning bit of casting there!
And now, the dénouement! One day in 1988 I was speaking with Roger Corman, the famous low budget producer and director, for whom I had just written a script called "Quest of the Sword Mistress." The film was going to be shot in Peru and before he signed off on it Corman wanted to make sure there were enough breast reveals -- one every ten pages or so. Corman seemed to me like a deeply bi-polar individual. Sometimes garrulous, sometimes dour, and often a bit sadistic with the poor schmucks who were reduced to working for him. In any case, as he leafed absently through the pages of my script I heard myself asking, "Roger, did you ever see a movie called Prehistoric Women?"
Corman looked up immediately. Suddenly he seemed sharply focused, hyper alert. Then a dreamy, wistful look appeared in his eyes. "Laurette Luez -- "
"She was....very beautiful."
"I would not dispute you, Socrates."
"Did you know that she married the director?"
"I did not know that."
The moment quickly passed. "Mitch, just make sure we see some breasts before page thirty --"
Laurette Luez died in 1999. Her grave is in Milton, Florida. Have a great day!
This is the
Day of the Duck!
That's right! The bullshit stops now! It's been fifteen years since the last issue of The Stud Duck rolled off the presses -- and we think it's quite enough time, thank you very much. So an entirely new issue of this amazing literary magazine is going to hit the newsstands before Christmas. And we don't mean Christmas of 2020 or Christmas of 2015. We mean less than three weeks from today!
Jerry Pudnik is the Publisher of The Stud Duck.
Yes, issue number seven of The Stud Duck is coming your way. Not just in cyberspace either. We're talking about real paper and real ink. And it's going to be FREE too -- but only if (and it's a big if) you can get your hands on one of the very limited number of copies we can afford to print in this sinking economy. So keep your eyes right here on The Best American Poetry to find out how you can get your copy of The Stud Duck 7 come Christmas!
But that's not all! Not by a long shot!
We're inviting readers of The Best American Poetry (that means you) to have your work appear in The Stud Duck. Poems, stories, non-fiction memoirs of prom nights or bar mitzvahs gone awry, photographs, drawings -- please send them to email@example.com. We will judiciously select ten submissions for inclusion in The Stud Duck 7. Judges decisions are final!
Plus, the ten worthy authors will each receive a valuable copy of one of the original Stud Duck issues from the mid-nineties! Squirrel it away, pass it on to your children -- or you can make a mobile! But one thing is certain: unless you've got a time machine, there won't be any more where these came from!
All submissions must be received by noon Pacific time on Monday, December 13! That email address again one more time: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitch Sisskind is the Editor of The Stud Duck
Words of wisdom:
And that's a fact
But everything that dies
Someday comes back!
And how about what the old prizefighter told his son in Sylvester Stallone's film entitled Rocky Balboa:
"It's not how hard you can hit that matters!
It's how hard you can get hit and keep
Right on both counts! The Stud Duck is back and The Stud Duck is moving forward! That's why the new subtitle for The Stud Duck is going to be "Man muss immer weiter gehen" -- which means "One must always go further" in German!
Though much is taken,
We are the champions
We are the champions
Of the world!
Man muss immer weiter gehen!
Immer weiter! Immer weiter!
Issue Number One of The Stud Duck, 1993 -->>
Last week I noticed the post on this site announcing a poetry contest on the occasion of LeBron James' joining the Miami Heat basketball team.
For some reason this put me in mind of the Iliad, which I first read around 1950 as "The Golden Book of the Iliad" -- a masterful rendition by the way, which I later learned was also an early inspiration to Joseph (Joe) Heller.
Nestor, the grandfatherly blabbermouth, has always been my favorite Homeric character and I have even written a poem in which Nestor acquires three Viagra tablets from Athena and thereby manages to change the course of the Trojan War.
But that's another story. Regarding the LeBraon James contest, I tried to imagine how Nestor would respond. Surely for instance he would immediately disqualify himself by exceeding the six line length limit. And in comparing LeBron James to basketball players of the past, he would be in his habitual mode of "there simply are no men like that now," as W.H.D. Rouse expresses it in his very useful and forceful prose translation. I believe Nestor would also include at least one line in a foreign language in order to showcase his mastery of many tongues.
This poem is part of my "autobiography as SAT test" project. Read the poem, then answer the question that follows. The correct answer and explanation are below.
The Jewish Biker
Like a motherfucker he rose
At dawn winter mornings
And snowplowed driveways.
Spring nights when rain poured
He disinfected flooded basements
With Lysol like a motherfucker.
All week like a motherfucker
He worked in the parts department
At the Western Avenue Harley dealer.
He used to say, ‘You won’t
‘See me riding Japanese iron.
‘You won’t see me riding bitch.’
When his old lady had a miscarriage
He fished it out of the toilet. Why?
Maybe the doctor wanted to see it.
Yet he was Jewish! His name was
Zebelman! His mother volunteered
In the Weiss Hospital gift shop!
>> The character in this poem is loosely based on:
a. Mickey Kalison
b. Tony Drago
c. Julius Jaffe
d. Leon Wells
e. Charley Livingston
The correct answer is 'a,' Mickey Kallison.
Tony Drago was the very sweet tempered son of Steve and Millie
Drago. His sister was Roseanne. For a time Tony Drago was employed
as a greeter in a funeral home.
Julius Jaffe was the attorney for the Harrison Wholesale Company.
His most memorable utterance was, 'But then you're dipping into principal.'
Leon Wells was an employee of the old Central Electric Company who argued
that the power of the Roman Empire came from the legionaries' consumption of
Charley Livingston, like my father, was an alumnus of the Jewish Orphans Home
in Cleveland. He lived by himself in the Rienzi Hotel on Diversey Avenue.
Regarding the poem's first stanza, Mickey Kallison invested in a snowplow for his
truck and picked up some extra cash clearing driveways in Skokie and Lincolnwood,
Illinois. Although I don't know that he also disinfected basements, there did come a
time when Bob Kallison (Mickey's father, and my uncle) wanted to disinfect his
own basment after a rain. When Bob was unable to buy disinfectant anywhere,
he declared, "There was no Lysol in Skokie!" with such fervor that the memory of it
has stayed with me forty years.
The incident in stanza four derives not from Mickey Kallison but from a
conversation with Tim Bissinger, 'the tough guy math teacher,' that took
place while we were waiting on a subway platform in 1971.
Finally, it was actually my stepmother Jay who volunteered at the Weiss Hospital
gift shop. Her maiden name was Zebelman ('onion person.')
At left, Roosevelt Leaks when he played fullback in Texas' triple option offense. For a discussion of the faceguard on his helmet see the video below.
I'm not sure who is playing quarterback in this picture. It would be too easy to Google that information so I'll take a guess and say James Street.
BTW: in the video I may not have been clear about where Donald Rumsfeld played lightweight football. It was at Princeton, not Columbia.
Here's another question from my autobiography in the form of an SAT test. After you've had a look at it, you can watch the explanatory video featuring the kind participation of my friend Alexandra.
Which of the following has Mitchell NEVER used as an alias?
a: Blatchford Sarnemington
b: Al Farber
c: Lou Belmont
d: Donald Bruce
e: The Kalashnikover Rebbe
Special Bonus! Do you ever have trouble waking your children up in the morning so they can get to school on time? The following video is a rock version of the Romanian national anthem sung by an aggregation of Romanian television personalities. Just play it at high volume and watch your kids come flying out of bed like pigeons escaping from a coop. And for you, the video can also be great for overcoming a case of the afternoon "blahs."
This is the most exciting, most challenging project I've ever come up with -- a full-length autobiography in the form of an SAT test! As the video clip below explains, I will share all the fascinating details of my so-called life using multiple choice questions of various kinds. And just like they used to tell you before the real SAT test, there's no "passing" grade. You can get every question wrong and still go to Harvard!
It will all be here in question and answer form -- all the triumphs and tragedies, all the pratfalls and pirouettes. Some of them are easy, some of them are hard. Please watch the clip below to learn more --->>>
"My Life As A Test" will be simple, fun, and (I hope) informative. But find out for yourself. Below is a sample question from the test. If you're really sharp, you should be able to answer it even without any other information. If you can't answer it right now, don't be discouraged. The test itself -- and the answer section that comes with it -- will be its own best teacher.
Here's the question, followed by another explanatory video --->>>
Between September 30, 1981, and September 30, 1984, how many times did Mitchell have sexual intercourse?
e: none of the above
I'll be posting more questions soon. Eventually there will be an actual book just like the ones from Kaplan and Princeton Review. (I should live that long!)
Terrible were the brick bungalows
Of the Northwest Side where dwelled
The gentiles – Polish, Irish, Italian --
With their churches, softball teams,
Funeral parlors and most unnervingly
Their grim and oversized high schools.
Yet I was drawn to them: on the bus
The bra straps of girls through
Catholic school uniform blouses,
The knee socks, the graying Keds,
The overflow of emotion again
And again in anguish recollected.
American Bandstand: weekdays at four
With Carole Campione, both of us awed
By the future Philadelphia hairdressers,
And one day she showed me her rosary.
That day (oy!) we watched no more.
But I never saw her in the Kennedy years.
Some glacial high school absorbed her
And when the missile crisis came in ‘62
‘Twas another I would die for, or with –
And a Jewess! She is always in my thoughts.
But her name? No! For sayeth the Kabbalist
Rav Shimon, “Secrecy sustains the world.”
-- Mitch Sisskind
Ha, ha! 'We were rough and ready guys
But oh how we could harmonize!’ Those
Words from the song ‘Heart of my Heart’
Well describe the friends of my youth
When, during the Kennedy administration,
Careless and carefree, we used to race
Our hot rods through the cemetery!
And lo, there came a frigid January day
With snow piled high along the roadways
Of the slab orchard when -- laughing,
Burning rubber and fishtailing with
Blasphemous intent -- we crashed
Our cars into a snowbank! Now what?
There were no cellular phones in 1962!
But no matter -- for what was not mirthful
In those days? ‘And look here,’ said we
To one another. ‘Why, here is a newly dug
‘Grave, unoccupied as yet, but a remarkable
‘Engineering achievement in this hard ground.’
Then each in turn we lay down in the grave
And I recall it quite clearly across the years.
But this is the strange part. That same night
My father died, and on Milwaukee Avenue
By the Como Inn the Lloyd J. Harriss pie factory
Burned down as, lazily, the red circling rays
Of the firefighters’ lights penetrated the snow,
Which was falling again, with the orange flames
Beyond, and that was also unforgettable.
To the South Side, to Bessemer Park --
In the shadow of the electric plant
They set up a card table, played
Pinochle and listened to the ballgame.
Little talking, only the barked-out bids,
‘Three fifty!’ -- while Bertha Zebelman
Et alia essayed the game of Kaluki.
In the distance at the tail end
Of the lake stood the steel mills
In russet mantle clad: US Steel,
Republic Steel, Wisconsin Steel.
Whistles sounding no matter
The holiday, with clanging and banging
Also sometimes heard.
‘Three fifty!’ ‘Four hundred!’ Four fifty!’
‘For God’s sake, Julius!’ Hour upon hour
Until at last as shadows lengthened
Al Farber spoke: ‘Last hand!’ Others
Then took up the cry. ‘Last hand! Last hand!’
The women’s game finished, the ballgame
Ended and that fall JFK succeeded Ike.
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.