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I Was a Teenaged Poet

by Steven P. Danes


Dear Mrs. Knipp,

Before you start reading this poetry, I would like to let you to know how I feel about the issue. Poetry sucks. I canít believe that you actually expect me to come up with THREE poems. I'm no William Worthsword, John Keaton, Theodor "Dr. Soos" Gizzard, or Sylvester Stallone. I don't have poetry running through my blood. Heck, the only thing I do have running through my blood right now is blood... and 45% alcohol.

I cannot possibly see how I can accomplish writing three entire poems in one night. I know you gave us a whole month, but what kind of dope would start early? Not I! I don't touch the stuff.

I also think the fact that we have to anal-eyes our own poems is a really dumb idea. Youíre the only one I know of who is truly capable of properly anal-eyes-ing anything -- being an English teacher and all.

Anyway, this was probably the worst assignment you've ever given me and probably the worst in my entire life even though at the moment I can't remember that far back.

--Steven P. Danes

So here come my three absolutely brilliant poems and anal-assists:

POEM # 1

Pain

I hate poetry so much
I just want to kick it
Make me do another and
Iíll tell you to stick it

Poetry makes me puke
And whine and makes me cry
and talk like Regis Philbin
Oh damn I want to die

Peacefully
In. The. Rain.

This is an excellent poem. I really like the imagery I use here. When it says "I just want to kick it" that reveals everything about my inner child. I kick all sorts of things -- squirrels and such. However, in another sense, this line gives the reader the image of me kicking the concept of poetry itself. This is a prime example of figurative language. So, what I'm trying to get across here is that I'm kicking a really hot babe.

The line "I'll tell you to stick it" refers to me sticking something up somebody's something. What exactly I'm sticking and where is not apparent to the average reader. However, the answer to that is actually revealed in the next line: "Poetry makes me puke." This refers to me sticking poetry up somebody's throat because I hate it so much. However, in turn, it makes the other person puke poetic lines. This is precisely what happened to Walt Whitman, John Hamster, and Robert Brownie. I, on the other hand, don't need this poetic remedy. All I need is my little brown paper bag with a bottle of Jeff Daniels inside.

The line "And whine and makes me cry" refers to me drinking whine until I cry. Even though I never actually drank normal whine. What this refers to, however, is, when I was an alcohol-fascinated youngster, I used to make grape Kool-Aid and set it in the garage for about two weeks. When the two weeks were finally up, I would drink the fermented result. This whine was so sophisticatedly exquisite that it made me cry proud, aristocratically-sneery tears.

What this whine did also is make me "...talk like Regis Philbin." Even though Regis hadn't emerged as a game show host yet when I was a child, the Kool-Aid whine actually gave me a psychic connection with his future self. Therefore, I became the very first Reeg impersonator.

I used to say this to the garage-rodents:

Me As Regis: Oh-kay! Way to go! For the ONE million dollars: what is the capital of Madagascar... Is it A) Paris B) Bologna, Italy C) The Sun or D) Steven Segal?

Mouse: Squeak!

Me: "Is that your...final answer?"

Mouse: Well, Reeg. It most certainly cannot be Paris because I am reasonably certain that it is located somewhere in Quebec. Hmmm... the Sun? It seems I have heard that place from somewhere before... That city is somewhere out in space, is it not? Well, Madagascar does sound rather like it comes from space...but for some reason "Sun" and "Madagascar" simply do not sound like they would go well together. So the Sun probably is not the capital of Madagascar. You see, "Washington D.C." and the "U.S.A." go together because they both involve acronyms. "Norway" and "Sweden" go together because they rhyme. So, I'd imagine that this is an "Iceland" and "Reykjavik" situation, because they obviously do not go together. So, the Sun is ruled out. Bologna, Italy...hmmm... Steven Segal...I believe they are Broadway plays if I'm not mistaken. Well Reeg, I definitely have to go with Squeak. Final answer.

Me: No! Wrong!

And then I'd smash the mouse with a stick

Which brings us to: "Oh damn I want to die." Later on in life, I really felt sorry for all the rodents I killed in the garage as a child. I've nearly committed suicide over one day it by eating my mother's oven-burnt asparagus. I was truly traumatized:

Mom: Here's some asparagus, Stevie Sweetie.
Me: Mom! Don't call me that! It's going in my paper for Pete's sake!
Dad: Shut up, son, and eat your asparagus.
Me: But they're on fire.
Mom: [smiling] Mmmmm... You know what that means. Extra protein!
Me: Okay.

That wasn't a proud day for me.

That brings us to "Peacefully. In. The. Rain." which is really there for no particular reason, except it gives the poem a more poetic edge. It's like Earnest Heminghay, except better.

Overall, this is, simply, an amazing poem. Perfect in every aspect. It's undoubtedly one of the greats of modern litter-archer.

POEM #2

TWICKY

'twas betwixt thine tang tethered knot
when he twist one dime-speckled snot
ere thine eye and ere thine head
thou shan't bend scabs if thine bled
ev'r if there nev'r an ap'st'phe
th'se flock'n' poe's m'ke a fool of m'e

'twas thine orange
grand grit florange?
if one burple
thus be purple?

of thine smonth
'twas tight month?
tinged knot monkey billy billy bing bong

This poem is in "poetís style" so it's mostly composed of archaic words (which means that it's a strange version of English that 55 percent of poets actually speak in).

Here's a typical conversation with the world-famous poet William Worthsword:

Man: Hello
Worthsword: How doth thy do?
Man or Woman (I'm trying to be politically correct now): What?
Worthsword: 'twas I who spoke, how doth thy do.
Man or Wo (I'm surprised feminists didn't have the 'man' removed from their gender by now): What?
Worthsword: Ah, bless'd the infant Babe!
Man or Wo: Whatta whatta whatta?
Worthsword: Of subtler origin; how I have felt
Man or Wo: What? What origin?
Worthsword: Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Gill
Man or Wo: Gill? Who's Gill?
Worthwords: She was a woman of a stirring life
Man or Wo: [now ignoring famous poet] So, I've heard.

Anyway, that poem is a bit tricky to anal-eyes as it is written (hence the title), so I'll translate it into normal English for you:

TWICKY

there was a farmer
had a dog
and bingo was his name-o
b
i
n

g
o
yes
bingo

was his
name-o
tinged knot monkey billy billy bing bong

There is no normal English equivalent to that final line, but --don't worry-- I'll explain it to you later.

Here's the TWICKY anal-assist:

The first line "there was a farmer" signifies the presence of a farmer.

The second line "had a dog" signifies the fact his wife gave birth to a child who was pretty much normal except for one unusual feature -- it had a pug nose.

The third line is "and bingo was his name-o." "Bingo" is what the farmer said when he figured out who his wife was having an affair with (James "Pug Nose" Jordan, their next door neighbor). Unknowingly, however, right before the farmer said "bingo," the nurse asked him what he wanted to name the child.

The fourth - eighth lines signify the farmerís ability to spell.

The ninth line "yes" is what the farmerís wife said when she admitted to having an affair with their next door neighbor. However, she wanted her husband to know specifically that it occurred due to emotional responses triggered by afternoon soap operas.

The tenth line "bingo" is a repeated word for rhythmic porpoises.

The eleventh line "was his" is implying that the "rhythmic porpoises" are products of the past.

The twelfth line "name-o" is the most common porpoise word in the world.

Confused? I bet you are. So hereís a real conversation I had with a porpoise:

Me: Hello, Mister Dolphin.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Name-o!
Me: What's you're name?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Name-o!
Me: Do you want to know my name, little dolphin? Why it's Steve!
Rhythmic Porpoise: Name-...hey, look kid, Iím not a dolphin. Iím a rhythmic porpoise.
Me: Oh...sorry.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Name-o!
Me: Wait, whereís your bottle nose?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Jeez, man! I ainít a dolphin! So I don't HAVE a bottle nose!
Me: Oh. Okay.
Rhythmic Porpoise: And if call me a dolphin again, punk, I'll thwack off your arms.
Me: [rubbing my left bicep defensively] That wouldn't be very nice.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Damn straight.
Me: So, Mr. Rhythmic Porpoise, have you ever met Flipper?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Heck no, all dolphins are bums.
Me: How can you call dolphins bums?
Rhythmic Porpoise: I open my mouth and say it, dumb nut.
Me: No, no. I mean, what's your reason for calling all dolphins bums?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Because all dolphins are stupid.
Me: Dolphins aren't stupid! They're smart creatures!
Rhythmic Porpoise: Smart?! Haah! I bet Hollywood made you say that!
Me: Look, they have about a billion folds in their brains...
Rhythmic Porpoise: Yeah, that only makes them mentally bent.
Me: What do you have against dolphins, anyway, Mr. Rhythmic Porpoise?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Because WE'RE discriminated against because of them!
Me: What? How?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Okay, tell me something. Whatís printed on every single can of tuna?
Me: Tuna.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Yes. What else?
Me: Could cause stomach cramps.
Rhythmic Porpoise: What else?
Me: Not for children under 18.
Rhythmic Porpoise: What else?
Me: Shake well.
Rhythmic Porpoise: What else?
Me: Beware of strobe lights.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Dude! They all say "dolphin safe." So, why isn't tuna porpoise safe?
Me: [confused] Umm... well, aren't they also porpoise safe?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Yes.
Me: So whatís the problem?
Rhythmic Porpoise: Well, they created dolphin safe tuna SPECIFICALLY FOR DOLPHINS! Why doesn't anyone care about us porpoises? We're cute, fuzzy, and cuddly too ya know!
Me: [confused and trying to change subject] So, can you do that laugh?
Rhythmic Porpoise: What, you mean 'hah haah?'
Me: No, no. The Flipper laugh.
Rhythmic Porpoise: [begins to have nervous breakdown] I'M NOT A DOLPHIN! JEEZ! SO I DON'T LAUGH LIKE ONE, YOU TINGED KNOT MONKEY BILLY BILLY BING BONG!
Me: Hey, cool down.
Rhythmic Porpoise: Wait a second. What's a *rhythmic* porpoise?

Oh, and that explains the final line of TWICKY -- "tinged knot monkey billy billy bing bong." Nobody really knows what it means except the fact that, for all practical porpoises, it's the highest degree of insult.

I don't know if you've picked up on it yet, but this poem also exhibits quite brilliantly-constructed irony. Notice that the title of the poem is in all capital letters yet the poem itself is lowercase. How ironic!

Here's a letter I got back from the famous poet, Emily Stickybun, after I sent her this poem to critique (I took the liberty of putting some of her reply into context):

Dearest Steve Hanibuuk,

Your poetry the most [lovely] piece of sh[ow] that I have ever had the [fortunate pleasure] of reading in my entire life. By reading this absolute insult to [stupidity] it makes me want to commit [happiness, because I now know that the greatest poet that has ever lived has finally written his masterpiece]. I hope you [well]. Furthermore, I hope you burn in [heaven].

[Love]k you,

Emily Stickybun

Thanks Emily!

I must fully agree with Ms. Stickybun when I say that "TWICKY" is certainly one of the greatest poems that ever lived. It should not only receive an A, but a Pullover Prize as well.

POEM #3

Empty lines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

This is undoubtedly the most brilliant poem in the stack. The greatest thing about this poem is the fact it's open to mounds of intellectual interpretation. Here are some things the reader might say in response:

1) (Non-intellectual) This poem is about a snow storm.
2) (Intellectual) No. It may look like that on the SURFACE, but if you go deeper, you'll realize that it's a social commentary on political issues.
3) (Intellectual) Ooo! I seriously doubt that, Number 2. You didn't read far enough into the poem. The author is obviously blind and deaf and brilliantly tries to describe his world to us.
4) (Intellectual) No, no, no! Do you guys have goop for brains? This poem is a brilliant satire on the censorship of American television! Notice the title: Empty Lines.
5) (Engineer) Ahhh, phooey. You guys are thinking too hard. There was a glitch at the printing press.
6) (Hereís my response) Dudes! If you stare at that blank space long enough, I swear you can see Marilyn Monroe dancing with Abraham Lincoln!

While this poem is really intended to be about Marilyn Monroe dancing with Abraham Lincoln, it's truly brilliant just the same because everybody can interpret it differently and it still makes complete sense. (Despite the fact that I've already told the whole world what it's about.)

It's kind of like that Beatles hit: "Lucy in the Sky with Almonds." Here's an actual poll taken in 1967 asking what the public thought the song means:

47% said "Lucy in the Sky with Almonds" is about Satan trying to corrupt children and turn them into Slaves of Sin.
24% said it's about a totally flipped out-hippie named Lucy who tries to get high by smoking almonds.
15% said it's about Paul McCartneyís death aboard an alien spacecraft.
10% said it's about a woman named Lucy who had two kaleidoscopes surgically installed in front of her eyeballs by a doctor named Almonds.
2% said "Peace out, man."
And 1% were too busy licking toads.

Of course the person who actually WROTE the song, Vladimir Lenin, said the song can actually be taken at face value. He said it's really a message to George Orwell telling him to go to his animal farm and stick it.

See how easily the meaning of poems (and lyrics) can be interpreted differently?

Believe it or not, they've actually made a movie out of 'Empty Lines.' It starts next Friday. Hey, and I bet you've already seen the trailer! Just in case you haven't, hereís what it says:

"Critics are raving about the upcoming new smash hit, Empty Lines!

"'Empty Lines is brilliant!' hails film critic Roger Ebert. 'Even though it's the worst movie I've ever seen, it didn't have to waste my time in the process!'

"'It's so heart-wrenching, I almost had a heart attack!' raves USA Today. 'Because it wasn't until I sat down when I noticed the concession workers didnít put extra butter in my popcorn like I had asked. But then I found out that it was okay because I wouldnít have had time to eat it anyway!'

"And Rolling Stone raves 'I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she was gonna meet her connection, at her feet was her footloose man!'

"Rated G for possible language, possible violence, and possible sexual content from audience members."

I can't wait for it to come out! I get to go to the world premier, too! I invited a couple of famous actresses including I-known-a-writer! (Boy, I hope I'm able to woo her into shoplifting my heart.)

***

The three poems I wrote, "Pain," "TWICKY," and "Empty Lines" are simply brilliant pieces of work. You would be going against the opinion of Emily Stickybuns, Roger Ebert, and John Elton if you don't give me an A+.

Oh my! I've forgotten to mention the part about John Elton!

John Elton: Steve Hanibuuk deserves an A+ for his poems.
Me: Why thank you, Mr. Elton!
John Elton: Why, you're very welcome, Mr. Steve. Your poems [sniffle] have changed my life forever.
Me: Wow, I'm flattered!
John Elton: No--I'M flattered. And thanks for the money!
Me: [whispers] Dude! I thought we were going to talk in code.
John Elton: [confused]
Me: Remember? Seven Bribes for Seven Brothers?
John Elton: Oh yeah. I'm sorry, little man. [clears throat] Thanks a million!
Me: [awkward laugh] Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but it's four o'clock in the morning and I have to go to school in three hours. And I still have yet to get in my recommended nine hours of sleep.
John Elton: Oh dear.
Me: [confused] I don't see what deer have to do with it.
John Elton: Well Mr. Steve, I don't want to keep you so goodbye yellow brick road.
Me: Goodbye, Norma Jean.

This is copyright by Michael Lawrence. He wrote this for Steve at 4 o'clock in the morning.