Wednesday, March 13, 2013



She took us kids 
aboard that train,
And we escaped the pain.
She left our Dad
and his big car at the station.
We traveled 'cross the nation.

Then way up north, 
snow halfway to his knees,
Our smiling Uncle, 
dangling his keys,
Told us kids, 
"I'll take you home,"
And to her, "C'mon, 
I'll drive you home.
"I'll take you home."

My Mother's smile 
was bright that night.
Her eyes just shined 
in the Christmas lights,
As her gentle Brother 
set things right.
"C'mon, we're goin home. 
We're goin home."

Grandma smiling 
by the Creche of the Nativity,
Grandpa plugging in 
the dazzling Christmas tree,
Then reaching out 
his rugged arms to me:
"Finally, you're home! 
Thank God!" he said to me.

I had a new teacher 
that December
In the village 
red-brick school.
Grandpa'd drop me off there, 
I remember,
With a fifty-cent piece, 
as a rule.

When I'd walk home, 
I'd stop at Mom's office.
At the malt shop, 'cross the street, 
She'd have her coffee,
I'd get a coke, 
and fries to eat.
Then I'd skip home. 
I'd go skipping,
Running home!

I'd help Grandma 
make a cake.
Tomorrow my birthday! 
I'd be eight.
I could hardly wait.
I went running 
all the way home.

Grandma sifting flour 
and creaming butter,
Putting in vanilla, 
eggs, milk, and sugar.
I'd whip it into 
a foaming batter.
Her kitchen smelled so good! 
Yes, this is home!

we were off all week.
We played 
and played in the snow.
When Grandma 
called us in to eat --
We were home! 
More than we'd know.

Then Christmas Day! 
Presents by the tree!
Oh, my God! 
All this for me!
Such Christmas Day 
This would always 
be home to me.
We were really home.

Christmas Dinner, 
turkey, mashed potatoes,
Our folks all gathered 
at the dining table,
Everyone laughing! 
Pie and cocoa later!
My Mother, 
cheerful as she was able,
Finally happily at home, 
Her happy home.

I'll never forget 
that snow-bedecked December.
I'll always think 
of my folks, and I'll remember
What Grandpa said 
the night he welcomed me,
"Finally, you're home! 
Thank God! You're home."

Monday, December 31, 2012

notes on the looming fiscal deadline of dec. 31, 2012


The Cliff! The Cliff! The Fiscal Cliff!
It's now a matter of when, not if,
We go over the rim. Taxes will rise.
Spending will trim. Millionaires' eyes
Will well to the brim. Hypothetically.
Workers' too, more pathetically.

Costs then increase. GDP slows.
Unemployment surely grows.
This is not the time
For this dumb debt-reckoning,
No matter the drama,
The cliff-hanger beckoning.
Boehner's dumb Thelma,
Obama's tetchy Louise,
These are not the roles
They should be in, Puh-leeze!

They should not refuse funds
For governance. Nor grant funds
For debt service all at once.
To both I say, ART YE A DUNCE!?

Their elaborate game of chicken
Truly starts to sicken.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A new series of comic poems

PoMoPo Pastiches

A new series of comic poems. Here are parodies and lampoons of Gertrude Stein, Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara et al, the avant-garde influences in modernist poetry (MoPo). Also in postmodernist poetry (PoMoPo) which favors the pastiche mode.


At the zoo
Refused his Tang

He tore his door
Right off its door-hinge
He thirsted for
A taste of Orange

Whilst young
Would forage for
On the forest floor

Daintily he'd lay
So sweet
Segments of Orange

Upon his porridge
Of mashed nuts
Torn leaves
Busted acorns
Smushed-up berries

Cool rainwater
Expiring insects
Dead canaries
-- When he could get em --

Plus three sprigs or more
Of fresh crushed mint
For just a hint
Of condiment

Zookeeper's cold-sweat dream:

Mr Keeper was saying
His tie is Orange

Thunk Ourang
My, that's so strange

Ourang then strangled
Man so strange

Drank mangled
Tie in long Orange stream

He woke up with a scream!

Mr Keeper arranged for
Daily tangerines
Bananas, plums, papayas
Peaches, nectarines
Refreshing mangoes
In basketed  L'Orangement
Ourang ceased his derangement

Ourang then sent a note

Thank you for quartered
Grapefruit and Orange
For carpeted hall and
Oiled door-hinge

He ended with a learned quote

Accommodations fine
Such coziness is mine
Tis palpable and mute
As globed fruit

Keeper then sent
A candied Orange with card

Happy Halloween
Orange Tangerine

Ourang replied
With a canard

Right back atcha
Arlene Sardine

P. S.
I'm Sorry I was mean

At Thanksgiving Dinner
Our Ourang was given
Beside his stuffing
A Half-Orange
Crammed with berry
He Ate Big
He Drank
O he was merry

At Christmastide
Ourang unwrapt
Hawaiian shirt of
Flourescent Orange

Which matched
His hairy thatch
His eye, his ear
His flaming rear

He drank his nog
In umbrella'd mug

He lounged
In a fuzzy
Orange chair

He scratched his navel
And picked bugs
From his hair

He didn't eat em
No longer an

He was in so rare a mood
Oooo Ourang-y life was good
Stuffed on a variety of foods
He no longer missed the woods

ORANGE is a perverse homage to certain poems by Frank O'Hara in which he becomes preoccupied with the color orange and its emotional meaning. See his Having a Coke With You, Why I Am Not A Painter, and Oranges, for example. In O'Hara's Oranges, a sequence of twelve poems, he never mentions the color orange nor the fruit -- not once -- in the texts of the poems. I felt something was lacking.  The "globed fruit" quote is, of course, from Archibald Mac Leish's lit-manifesto poem Ars Poetica.



Shall I compare her to a long night in Alaska?
What could be more an idyll? Now, I askya!
She's bracing, like that truck-stop in Wasilla
Which has such great hot coffee! Killer!
At that depot, along the commercial strip,
Everything tells you Wasilla's worth the trip:
Come by dogsled, snowmobile, by Piper Cub,
By semi, tractor, or by Russian sub,
And see Wasilla is like her beauty!
We come to praise her, as is our duty.
She's verily a form of humanoid Cialis!
And, as this shimmering burgh 'neath Borealis,
She's awfully like the Wonderland of Alice.

She is like unto black ice upon that highway;
She's slippery, dangerous, and not in a shy way.
She'll shoot-down a moose, and without drama,
This demure spokesmodel/hockey-mama.
She stimulates, ah, like the smell of diesels,
Perfume to Northern painters at their easels.
Her smile is very like that billboard,
Outsized enough to drive you off the road.
So spellbinding are her powers of speech,
Hairs do stand, as at this truck's hydraulic screech.
Yet, 'spite her painted-on veneer of pulchritude,
She is -- as is yon pipeline, conduit of crude --
A link, a rusted one, to all our worst crass attitudes.

I shall leave comparing thus; 
She and comparisons are odious.

THE COMPARISON was written in response to my studying Bernadette Mayer's "writing through" great texts of  history.  My piece here refers to one of  Sarah Palin's famous gaffes, her comparing herself to Shakespeare in 2009. The two lines quoted at the end are from John Donne. I call this piece my so-not-a-sonnet. It is so not a sonnet in so many ways, well, let us not count them. (Bernadette Mayer, one of my current heroes, has a new book coming out in January 2013 from New Directions, The Helens of Troy, New York, a series of poems about real-life Helens in a real-life Troy. One of  Mayer's most notable sonnets begins with the line: "You jerk you didn't call me up.")



When she was just a tender mutton
Gertrude got her knuckles rapped
Reaching for the sugar cookies
Cooling on the kitchen marble

She never forgot the sudden spoon

The spoon of wood
Why yes I would
The spoon of no you would not
Terrible swift spoon of wood not 

In her maturer years
As a tough old dam
She would come upon Alice
Mixing sweet dough in her bowl

After cookies were dolloped-out
Gertrude seized the wouldn't spoon
That rattled in the emptied bowl
Held it in her mouth with both her hands

The forbidden wouldn't spoon

Later when guests would leave from tea
And plates and spoons were laid away
Alice would rest her head against her friend
Were not those cookies good? her Gertrude said

Alice would look into Gertrude's gaze
Could I have some Cuddle Wuddle soon?
They would of a sudden spoon

The spoon the spoon the sugary spoon
Spoon so sweet it'd make you swoon
They would of a sudden spoon

Away they'd float in a sweet tea boat
'Neath a sugary cookie moon
They would of a sudden spoon

SPOON is based on Gertrude Stein's collection of poems, Tender Buttons, in which she uses words in purposefully bizarre ways, such as "sudden spoon" for wooden spoon, to create surreal effects. (I feel certain that Stein had loved the nonsense writers of her Late-Victorian childhood, with their runcible hats and vorpal swords, et al.) Tender buttons were cotton-stuffed, cloth-covered, soft buttons, a nicety in dress-making. (But they were also, in Stein's implied sapphic eroticism, nipples.) Alice Tolkas reportedly nicknamed her friend Cuddle Wuddle; Alice herself was called by the pet-name Pussy.



On Mount Oulipos Harry Matthews
Is depicted in his statues
Wearing laurels on his bald head
A collar and a tie

He's inspecting an expensive vintage
A marble glimmer in his eye

His carven coat and slacks are bulging
Over massive shoulder and thigh

Many a weighty tome is found
On deep and sturdy shelves behind

Italo Calvino, Surrealistes
Old Andre Breton in embossed leathers
Perec, Queneau, men of letters
Stacked-up wide and high

At his feet in marble Ferragamos
Are chiseled tablets, and they're missing
The letters O and A
Luckily he could use an E
He was also allowed a U and I

Thunk ye, Shite's Viecub ~ Hurry Mutthews
Graven text reads cryptically

Harry Matthews, an independently-monied bon vivant with homes in Paris, New York and Key West, is the only American among the Oulipos, a rather sacrosanct avant-garde group of writers in France who "write around" certain constraints. As, for example, when Georges Perec famously wrote his novel La Disparition without using the letter E. (Perec's name on the title page has four E's in it. Doesn't count.) I wrote ON MOUNT OULIPOS as a comment on a NYTIMES.COM weblog, Schott's Vocab, in which Ben Schott had heaped praise upon Matthews for a fairly negligible book of constrained poems that, of course, sank like a rock in the publishing sea. Schott struck my comment from his weblog, but Matthews sent me a friend request on Facebook. 



I remember that day in 1963.
November. Season of cruelty undisguised.
And I was out to lunch. Fulton Fish Market.
Terrific fresh "chowda." Crusty buttered bread.
Hot tea. Then a ramble, almost a galloping,
Along the South Street Piers, my loafers flying,
The gulls squeaking. Clouds scudding skies.

The fresh air so fresh it was, well, impertinent.
The obscene smell of the sea mixed-in.
The cold air blasts no less inspiriting
For being piercing. Spirit so spirited it hurt.
Here one knows. Our city is an isle in the sea.
I stopped, took a deep drag on a smoke,
It hurt to breathe. I was exhilirate!
My tie still flying out behind me like Clark Kent.

A day or so before Thanksgiving.
In my head I made my lists.
Things to bring to George's on the Island.
So many things to think on.

For George's Review, an offer to explain
Why I, a poet, am not a painter.

For de Kooning, I don't know, a tulip bulb?

For Jackson, a drop-cloth stretched and framed.
He'd find that funny. Or not.
I'd bring him booze, but for one problem;
It'd be bringing an ice box to an Eskimo.
I couldn't bring him a woman;
There'd be too many things to consider.
There'd also be ethical things to consider.
There'd be, though, no dearth of volunteers
To meet the great man (read knucklehead.)
Some of us actually know him, remember.

For Larry -- I brought him a woman once,
She my sultry sloe-eyed surrogate --
A carton of Galouises, a note appended.
"Don't touch me. I'm habit-forming. Frank."

For Max, a five-gallon can of Outdoor Enamel White.
For Mark, maybe a nice Barn Red?
Mike gets sardines. Oranges for me.
For Bernadette, some seed pods from Burpee's.
For Diane, black boot-polish for her cycle-jock rendezvous.
For Ashberry, The Drunken Boat.
En Francais?

What should we have at our holiday feast?
 -- Now that Our President Is Dead --
I am passing a news stand hung with Afternoon Extras.
Leaning gassed and aghast on a railing over the river,
I am seeing our cozy holiday transmogrified.

We should serve something charred. A lamb, I think.
Reverse Easter. It should taste of ash and bitterness.
It should taste of the destruction of charm and life.
From out of nowhere. From out of the sky.
Apropos of nothing. Man Out of Mind.

In the season of cruelty undisguised
The gulls are crying, gyring in the blasts
Beneath Hart Crane's Bridge.
I shall certainly take the afternoon off.

More time for errands, shopping.
For hopping the early Hamptons train.
Who could do work today?
Better pack the portable Olivetti.
That'll be less like playing hooky.

Cancel the conceptual gifts.
Everyone gets booze.

Many poems of the New York School Era are being evoked here, but particularly Frank O'Hara's poem, The Day Lady Died, about his discovering, while running errands at lunchtime, the news headline of Billie Holiday's death. O'Hara was immersed in the art scene, a painter himself, a curator at MOMA, a writer for ARTnews, but principally a poet. He often scribbled down his poems during his lunch excursions. (I myself wrote this piece on my MacBook computer at McDonalds over a McChicken Sandwich and a cup of Newman's Own coffee.) Also alluded to here: O'Hara's Why I Am Not A Painter, and his book, Lunch Poems, Bernadette Mayer's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Diane Wakoski's Motorcycle Betrayal Poems, Hart Crane's To Brooklyn Bridge, and Arthur Rimbaud's Le Bateau Ivre. Painters alluded to here include Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Mike Goldberg, and Max Ernst.



Be a complete slob
And write like one
Be really utterly lax
Call it the new syntax

Be a druggie slob
And rant about that
In a haze of vagaries
Make it a full-time job

Be a hypersexual slob
Write about getting fucked
Screaming masochistic joy
Also, write about getting mugged

Be anguished that poor you
Is just not being allowed
While at Columbia U.
To be a druggie and a freak

Be a mental patient
That should advance your cause
Of being a slob, write about that
Rant and rant without pause

Be  a slob and write like one
Be a freak complete
Be a bearded fat mediocrity
Dig that bongo beat

Be a mantra chanter
Be an anarchist
Be a devolved neanderthal
In the miasmal mist

HOWL MANIFESTO is my instinctive reaction to Allen Ginsberg's poetic excesses. When I read Howl I was struck by how anguished Ginsberg wanted to be while living in a prosperous land in peacetime and benefitting from a great university education. (In the previous decade someone like Karl Shapiro, self-taught, produced several stellar books of poetry while serving in the U.S. Army overseas between '41 and '45.) Ginsberg was essentially paranoid about his family's decades-long orientation to radical leftism. And he thus felt he was a misfit in the placid, conventional Eisenhower Years with its reflexively anti-communist culture. I think he was howlingly bored -- until the Vietnam War protests of the Sixties. Then he could join-in and even take the lead in mass demonstrations.



Cold Buffalo. Cold Buffalo. 
Buffalo. Seize its breath.
Eerie. Eerie. Shores of Erie.
Knees weak. Knees weak.
Creek. Creek. Sounds of Creeking.
 Sounds of Creeks. Knees are Weak.
Brady. Tom Brady. Tom. Tom Brady.
Brady seizes. Breath Of Ice.
Brady sees his Breath. Of Ice.
Knees weak. Too much sleeping.
Late. Warm bed. Too much.
Too much sleeping. With Supermodels.
Knees thus weak: Dx.
Creek. Creek. Up the Creek.
Creak with ice. Frozen. Creak.
Creak. Cannot bear weight.
Knees creak. Knees are weak.
Linemen Linemen Linemen
Guard Center Tackle End
Pile on. Pile on. Pile.
Pile on Tom Tom. Dogs!
Underneath Dog Pile. Brady.
Avert Thine Eyes, Mes Jeunnes Filles!
The Sound of Brady's Knees. Screak.
Under Pile. Up the Creek.
Brady! Duzzy? Know the Score?
Fingers. How Many?
How Many Holding Up? One? Two?
Brady! Say. Say How Many.
He says. He says. My Knees!
Grimace. Pain. Pain. Drug Injection.

Thanks, 'Trude.  Hope this isn't a season-ender for Brady. Now a word from Annheuser-Busch.

Couple. Cold Ones.
In the Cooler.

NFL WITH GERTRUDE is based on the poetics of Gertrude Stein's Sacred Emily, that notable poem in which she writes, "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." I wrote this piece while sort of watching a football game on a Sunday. When I finished and  looked-up, I realized Brady's Patriots had trounced my Northern New York squad. So I guess you could say I wrote this with Cold Buffalonian Subjectivity. I think a journal article should be written. No?



William Carlos Williams,
OB/GYN -- and player! --
Baby doctor and lady-slayer,
When is a nose not just a nose?
When loath to smell the obsolete rose?
No! When, strong-ridged and bony,
It tracks down its latest coney.
When, thoughtlessly priapic,
It hunts conquest that is epic.
A nose is a nose, so everyone knows,
Yet this nose is more than we suppose;
As, when he sticks his nose in, Bill
Anticipates a phallic thrill.

In William Carlos Williams' poem Smell the author humorously addresses his nose, describing it as "strong-ridged and bony," implicitly a phallus, a highly intrusive one always sticking itself into everything. Williams was reputedly a player with the ladies, often unfaithful to his marriage. And, as a baby doctor, he was often meeting young women, also young nurses, who were at the age of  sexual activity. A well-to-do professional with a car during the Depression Era, he really got around. He often drove into New York from Rutherford, N.J. to work in a clinic and he went out  on the town with colleagues afterwards.  This piece also alludes to Williams' The Rose Is Obsolete.



I jess have nother, nother gin drink.
Jess one more eensy lil one. Or three.
Mixer? Mix the gin with more gin. Ha!
Whaddya mean yer outta gin? I drank it all!
'Kay, then vodka. Vodka 'n vodka, splasha lime.

Siddown here by me, I'll think ya under the table.
I jess awesome like that.
Lemme throw my arm around yer neck,
Whisper in yer ear, like.
Okay, shhh, quieter, yes...he he he hic...
I am here to report you can have too much of a good thing,
An when you do thass a wunnerful thing! Indeedy!
An you can keep on havin it till you fall dead asleep.
I drink, therefore I am, uh, very cheerful. Smy philosophy.
Next day  you start over havin it. Too much, that is.

Jess have yerself a lil yella prairie oyster -- then have a drink!
An you'll be the morning sunshine shining bright isself.
What is it? Bring me my fur, baby.
Look in here inna pocket, I allays allays carry one raw egg. See.
Inna mornin I take the egg, crack it into any, uh, vessel,
Whatever's handy, a high-ball glass, his shavin mug,
I sprinkle in a lil wooosterschee, woooosterschee, wooster sauce
(Carry that inna other pocket inna lil brown bottle, here)
Drink it straight down -- and I'm off to the races!

Wazzit taste like? Like wooster-flavored snot slidin down
The backa yer throat. Ha! You don't like either flavor?
Iss ssuppose ta taste  bad. Iss smedicine.

You don't know how to throw em back, baby.
How ta drink up. Drink up, darlin, yer comin with me.

"The Baroness" was Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven, an artist's model, a man-chaser, a prodigious drunk, a syphilis victim, and incidentally a poet. She had terrible demented poems published in the Little Review in the 1920s Dada Era.  William Carlos Williams reports in his autobiography several close escapes from her, as she tried to get her claws in him. He ended-up fobbing her off with money. Many works of literature describe the hard-drinking ways of the 1920s and 30s and the use of the prairie oyster as a morning-time continuation of the round-the-clock liquid diet; I based my scene above somewhat on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Diaries, in which Sally Bowles explains the hangover cure to a young male neophyte.



Some cloth-covered.
Buttons. Tendered. Buttons.
Buttons. Soft. Buttons.
Sauteed mushroom buttons.
Oleaginous. Buttered buttons.
Sweet shroom lips in wine.
Eyelids. A delicacy.
Buttered sweet peas. Petite.
Earlobes. Buttonous. Tender.
Belly buttons. Tickle buttons.
Automatic laughs. Push buttons.
Old fella's wasabi door buzzer.
Button no longer works.
Shitakes. Pork medallions. Yums.
Button noses. Toes-es. Tender.
Littlest, pinkest roses.
Berries for a pie. Oh, my!
Nipples. Tenderness of buttons.
Sushi rolls. Avocado. Ginger. Soy.
Infant button fingers. Grasp.
Sweet as ginger slivers.
Buttony bon-bons. Chocolate.
Clitoris. Covered. Secret.
Mon Petit Chou!
Exquisite. Tenderest.
I'll have a Bordeaux.
Extra tendernest.
Amuse bouche.
A little brie? For me?
Extra tender nice.
Buttery crostini. Yes!
Button covered. Tend her.
Warm crust. Mushroom pie.

This piece is also written in the manner of Gertrude Stein's Sacred Emily. Here she is shown meditating free-associatively on her phrase "tender buttons," which she derived from the French slang for nipples. Stein had a gift for seeing every artifact of domestic life through an illumining glow of erotic love.  Something as simple as a sewing machine was seen as a way of giving grace to the female figure; everything in the home was, for her, a ceremony of eros. Mon Petit Chou is a term of endearment which means My Little Brussels Sprout. I know! Parisian life is so gastronomical. The best way to introduce yourself to Stein is to read her non-fiction novel The Autobiography of Alice B. Tolkas, done in perfect pellucid Hemingway prose. It is constantly entertaining.



Yer Knees R Like

Your knees
are like a summer breeze

Your thighs
are sweet cream pies

Your supple ankles,
so bendy-flexy
when you point your
toes, they're sexy

Your toes-es
in the surf
pink roses

Your hands
lost lilies
in the sands

In the sun
your perfect ass
is soft and warm
as leaves of grass

I could go on
-- I've got the smarts --
but below the waist
you're running out of parts


Yer Eyes R Like

Your eyes are like
the sparkle on the water

Your eyes are like
the sun-illumined sky

Unlike the sky
your eyes are never cloudy

Unlike the water
your eyes are always dry

And they're very like
blue berries for a pie

William Carlos Williams, in his poem Portrait of a Lady, argues that figurative language and rhyme are inherently maladroit, and they need to go the way of the horse and carriage, superseded by the imagism of his era. He uses the phrase, "Your knees are a southern breeze" to mock the older style of poetics searching for grand and eloquent comparisons and forcing rhymes. Here in my Portrait, I took-up the challenge to re-employ rhyme, figure, and lyric, which are timeless; meanwhile imagism itself has run its course.



Cunning linguist that Gertrude was,
And, as well, a master debater,
Rose was, I think, the name of a girl
Gertrude loved with her cunning tongue --
And rose the color and shape
Of her pussy when Gertrude ate her.

Rose, I'd say, was a girl who was sweet
And plump and roseate;
A pink rose slowly opening
Was her pussy that Gertrude ate --
Get your nose right in there, Trude.
Inhale the musk that beauty and youth exude!

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
This Rose was perhaps more than we suppose.

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" is a quote from Gertrude Stein's poem Sacred Emily. In schools Stein's famous poem is taught as if she were merely subverting the text of Shakespeare's "A rose by any other name." In fact, she is presenting a highly erotic evocation of cunnilingus in coded language. And this piece of mine, Gertrude's Rose, is simply an accurate explication of Sacred Emily.



-- Like to the Flood of Noah's Era --
Our Extremest Weathers -- haul Freight of Terror --
Hurricanes whelm New Orleans --
Tornadoes, Palm Beach's pier.
Nor'easters -- bury Boston's Beans,
Killer Tomatoes -- pelt me here.
I'm so Freaked -- my Austie's mean --
To Sue -- To Sue will be my Duty! --
Yet my Joy! -- Divorce him! -- Tutti Fruity!
Aww Rudy! Om bop a lou bop a Wham
Bam Boom, Shebopshebopshebop --


Yes, It's true. Miss Nasturtia Norcross Pillpot, Emily Dickinson's young second cousin, published this piece, "I Mull on Our Extremest Climes," in the Springfield Republican in 1901. Nasturtia's elder brother  Austie -- whom she oft referred to in code as "Mr. Tayshus" and of course as "Mr. Austin Tayshus" -- had a girlfriend Susannah, whom he often stood up because he was "too busy" (I'll bet) with his law practice in Amherst. When he did go to see her he is said to have had a banjo on his knee.

Here, in this text, Nasturtia played upon the name Sue, promising to Sue (capitalized) her Austie for "divorce with no alimony" if he didn't get his act together, per her journals. 

Which she then followed-up by exclaiming the name of an ice cream -- "my favorite, made with chopped cherries, pistachioes, and other treats of  orchard and field" -- as an exultant expression of sweet release. Her journals also show she was delighted with her decision to "punish" Austie by flailing him with broken day-lilies, emblems of her injured sensibilities.

There is some evidence she was gardening when she wrote "Tomatoes" instead of "Tornadoes," but in any event she was in a messy emotional vortex. Her younger sister Vinny said, "Nasty was always 'triangulating without charts' whilst attempting to steal Brother's sweetheart."

Historical note: The Palm Beach of Nasturtia's day consisted of little more than a few dinghys and single-mast vessels at the pier, so the insurance losses in the storms of that year were "no biggy," per the Palm Beach city historian of today.

Miss Pillpot's capitalization of Beans, if it was not accidental, tells us she may have been alluding to L.L. Bean and Sons, outfitters noted throughout the New England region for their mail-order service and their (I must say) engrossing catalogues.

There are variant readings in fair copies and drafts which show Nasturtia wrote "abysm" where the Springfield Republican printed "whelm." (The work of a nosy linotype operator?) 

A fairly derivative writer, and mostly -- well, entirely -- forgotten by today's readers of poetry, Nasturtia Pillpot will always be a curiosity to historians for anticipating the back-beats of early rock and roll by fifty years. 

The Springfield Republican excised the "Om bop a lou bop" lines at the end. (Again, the linotypist had to decide. Was this anything, really?)

Op cit., "Tornadoes in My Garden" from fascicle 17, wherein she uses "Rock" very quaintly as a verb in the gnomic phrase, "Rock my fertile garden bed." Experts point-out she was having her maidservant construct  a garden border of piled flagstones when she was writing "Tornadoes." In a gossipy letter by Sue, the servant was quoted as saying, "I got rocked right offa my feet."

To this day there is controversy in whether an Amherst College library aide of the 1950s may have forged the last lines of "Extremest Climes" with an uncanny imitation of Miss Pillpot's hurried spidery hand, even using her same costly brand of India ink, one must conclude.

A competing faction holds there should be four shebops, not three, and spins-out an elaborate "lost shebop poetics" hypothesis -- "Just look at that dash after the third shebop!" they plead -- which more mainstream critics say is "not useful."

-- Mackey D. Maroney, Close-Reading Society of the Vision-Impaired

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