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« West Covina or Rancho Cucamonga [by Mitch Sisskind] | Main | Here's to you, Wayne Thiebaud »

May 27, 2022


Dave, I very much doubt you'd remember, but half a century ago I rented your old room on Van Buren in Iowa City. You were the first person I met in IC. Stayed for a week in the old Berkley Hotel till you moved out. Wonderful old place, three bucks a night. Great to hear/"see" you again. Still crazy (both of us) after all these years.

Poetry is that thing where, if you have to ask what it is, you cannot afford to know the answer. Ask not what poetry is, my friend, but seek out the poet in your midst - there you shall discover poetry's source.

In such a dismal, mediocre, media-sphere as we Americans inhabit, while the Poetry foundation hovers over a horde growing toward half a billion dollars, the poet hovers higher than the school, book, and politics businesses can reach.

Poetasters hover, while poets run for cover, seeking a prime mover, until the war is over.

Cute rhyme, sir - your imitation and repurposing of my trope is rather flattering! Perhaps I can enlist you to assist in poetry's job du jour - we need to repurpose the old folk song, Yellow Rose of Texas, with "cops" in place of "rose." You in?

There's a yellow cop in Texas,
they say his name is "Pete"
or "Phil" or "Clay" or maybe
the clay is just his feet.

He's the sweetest little rosebud
that Texas ever knew,
but don't call 911, friend,
he'll just hang up on you.

The yellow cops in Texas
are bounty hunters, too.
If your girl would get preggers,
they know just what to do.

They'll track you down like rabbits
and throw you in the clink.
But when they hear kids screaming,
they all sit down to think.

Now we see why every aristocrat since Aristotle has sought to keep poets out of republics and other governed places! Way to go Jim C.! Of course the sad fact is that there is not a single so-called mainstream media outlet that would print this, much less a venerable poetry magazine - not with $300 million in patronage at stake. Thanks for restoring my faith in verse, Jim C!

The rhyme of "preggers" and "Texas" saves the day!

Thanks, Dave. Maybe the reason republic(ans) don't like poets is that when we have fun, we have too much of it. And btw, thanks for the prompt. It's inspired, and I never would've thought of it.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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


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