Poetry Dispatch No.168 | May 26, 2007
Encore for Ginger Andrews, the cleaning lady poet, who provoked a laundry basket full of positive response from the 5 poems that appeared in the previous Poetry Dispatch ( No.167 ) — except for one correspondent (an absolutist in her convictions) who didn’t buy into ‘having-sex-with an-old-man-in-a-hospital-bed-thing’ (“5:01”) — not one damn bit, assigning it to the dustbin of “derivative crap.” Norbert Blei
Blessed be the Pop Tart eaters,
the Mountain Dew drinkers,
the smokers, jokers, and self-centered
whiners married to slovenly mates
and old hippies
who haven’t been stoned since
Black Sabbath concerts in the 70’s,
who hope their children’s faith
is in the new Youth Minister
instead of good old Mom and Dad
who pray for strength and forgiveness
every evening, in their closets, on their knees,
or during pet food commercials with their eyes open,
and their hearts on fire.
How to Write a Poem
It helps if you drink
espresso, take B vitamins,
and believe in God.
Live in a small mill town.
Marry a man with a big heart,
a big truck, a strong back,
and a chainsaw.
Have four children,
and wood heat.
Call your sisters every day.
Listen, at least once,
to an all-black congregation
singing I’ll Fly Away.
Live by the sea,
Love those who curse you.
Read Ecclesiastes and Billy Collins.
Attend writers’ workshops
if they’re catered.
Vacation only in Arkansas.
After fifteen years of marriage,
you’d think you would know
what thrills me, I say,
as we pass a Barnes & Noble.
If you want me to pretend
that I’m half as jazzed to look
at the new Dodge Dakota
as I am to finger the spines
of new poetry, fine. Lets talk V-6.
versus V-8, let’s talk extended cab,
dual carbs, lift kits, the slotted
versus the honeycombed grill.
Lets talk 4X4, off road,
cruise control, traction,
chrome and color options—
black, white, the new deep blue.
You ask me if I want you
to turn around. I say, No.
Bless our obsessive-compulsives,
our controlling extremist with ADD,
our manic, our low-grade depressed
who refuse Ritalin, Paxel, Prozac,
and even Saint John’s Wort.
Bless our smokers, drinkers, our hooked-
on-Internet-porn addict. Bless our lazy
gossips, our hyperactive busybody,
our dyslexics, our slow one, our gay
one, and our autistic one. Bless our weary
souls, dysfunctional ways, our great big hearts.
Bless us Lord and keep us on the back pew
where we belong.
from HURRICANE SISTERS, Story Line Press, $14, Ashland Oregon, 2004