Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: poetry (page 1 of 2)

The Poet at the Genius Bar

Dear Evanline,

Let me drink from your sacred glass
My mouth filled with your wine
The taste of ambrosia on my tongue, so sweet
I am your servant of love
Your messenger of desire

And that’s when it happened. My iPhone ran out of juice.

“Crap,” I said.

It was 2AM. I was drunk, in bed, writing my love poem to Evanline on my iPhone. You see, like many of you, i do everything on my phone. And I mean everything, from making movie reservations, to Instagram, to trying to get Siri to talk dirty to me. I even sleep with my iPhone on my pillow.

I plugged my iPhone into the charger, but it wouldn’t charge. This was serious. My IPhone was dead.

And for the life of me, I could not remember one word of my poem.

The next day, I woke up early, took the subway to the Apple Store and waited on line at the Genius Bar, my iPhone in hand. I was assigned Ed, a friendly hipster dude in his early thirties with curly hair, thick tortoise shell glasses, and a goatee.

“How can I help you?” asked Ed.

I told him that my iPhone had died at the most inopportune time, and I was desperate.

“I’ll see what I can do.” he said, but added a warning — “I might have to reboot everything and you’ll lose your data. Is that OK?”

My heart stopped.

I pleaded with him, “You need to recover my poem!”

I told him about Evanline, and how this was my only chance to woo her.

I told him how I met her, oh so accidentally, in the bookstore at Grand Central Station. She had just stepped off the Amtrak train. It was her first time in New York. I was on my lunch break. We talked about books, about our common admiration for Charles Dickens, John Irving, and Curious George, or George Et le Camion, as she said in her cute French-Canadian accent.

Man, I love Canadians.

I lied to my office and said that my grandmother had died, an excuse I’ve been using since grade school, and spent the rest of the day with Evanline. It was a day I’ll never forget.

We did uptown, downtown, and then, right on 6th Avenue and 52nd Street, not far from the halal meat cart in front of the Hilton, we kissed.

But, alas, as in many lover’s stories, there’s the moment when the star-crossed lovers must separate. She had to return to Montreal, where she had a promising career as a neurosurgeon.

I waved to her as her train left the station, knowing that this might be the end. But maybe… maybe with a poem, I could change the course of history.

“Dude, ” said Ed. “That is the most romantic story I ever heard. I’m going to recover that poem, and after you win her over, I want to be invited to the wedding.”

“Deal, Dude!” I said.

As Ed went to work on my phone, I fantasized about the future. Evanline and I were in bed together, and I was reading her my poem.

“Read me your poem again!” she would say.

“Again?” i would ask.

“Yes, I never tire of it. It’s why I moved to New York to be with you. Read it to me over and over again.”

Ten minutes later, Ed returned, my iPhone in his hand. His expression was difficult to read.

“I have some good news and some bad news,” he said. “First the good news. I fixed your iPhone and was able to recover your poem.”

“That’s great!” I shouted. “So, what’s the bad news?”

“Well, I read the poem.”

Ed said he was a graduate student in the Columbia University Writing Program.

“This poem is awful!” he said, shaking his head in dismay.

“The taste of ambrosia on my tongue”

“Do you even know what IS the taste of ambrosia?” he asked.

“Uh. Is it like licorice?”

“Rule number one of writing — write from experience. Better you describe her taste as a Raspberry Pop-Tart. At least then you have some authenticity. You’re lucky your phone closed down when it did.”

“I see,” I said, wondering if Siri had become so powerful that she could not only find me a restaurant with tomato soup, but close down the phone to prevent me from sending a woman a bad piece of poetry.

“Listen,” said Ed. “Just be YOURSELF. Do what comes naturally.”

“I already tried that with another woman. I did what came naturally. I emailed her a photo of my penis, and she didn’t appreciate it. And it was a very good quality photo!”

“Jesus! Why do men think women want to see a photo of their dicks? To women, our penises look like overgrown one-eyed rats! They’d rather hear language that melts them into putty. Men are visual. But only a woman can have an orgasm from the rhythm of an iambic pentameter.”

“Wow, women are complicated,” I said. “I’m never going to understand them.”

I felt hopeless of every winning the heart of Evanline. And Ed saw the pain in my eyes.

“Listen, I have a solution. There is another way to win the affection of a woman, specifically created for men who can’t write poetry. It’s not as creative, but it is a truly time-honored solution that has been proven to work.”

He slid a $100 iTunes card under my nose and a bejeweled iPhone case.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s called “buying her stuff!”

Holy Holy Elevator

It’s a little difficult publishing real-life posts lately, but I do enjoy fooling around with writing, mostly because it is relaxing, and I feel like a schoolkid doodling in a notebook.   So consider this a doodle.

Holy, Holy Elevator

Oh Lord, if these my final days
Of gray and cloudy weather
Take me to your Heaven’s Door
Aboard your Elevator.

I climb aboard; there is no fear
My hair has long been graying
I think I hear the Beatles
Ah yes, Muzak is a-playing.

I feel the gears are shifting
I tense to feel more steady
I hear the carriage lifting!
Oh, King, I am so ready!

Rising, Rising, Rising
We ride upwards so so high
I cannot tell you how or what
Or who or when or why.

Holy Holy Elevator
One button, one address.
I yearn to see my final home
And feel my wife’s caress.

Pressing the Keys

Do you feel the energy as I peck with my finger.
I know you are there. But does my voice linger?

How do my words sound? What am I saying?
Why do I do this? Is anyone paying? $$$

This summer, remember to refresh with a Coke.
Ha Ha, a dumb monetization joke.

Let’s get to the point of why I am here.
I’m turning to you because no one is near.

And with a little sadness in my heart tonight.
I decided to just get up and and write.

And writing bad poems gives me a full-fledged chuckle.
Even if true poets think I’m a major schmuck-le.

(Listen to the sound of the pressing of the keys. Not the words.)

Run! He’s Writing a Poem

Two bloggers friends have been screwing around with my head lately — Jane Devin and Dana Guthrie Martin.  Both of them are what they used to call “writers.”  They do not write screenplays where some guy’s penis gets caught in the trunk of a Toyota Prius.  They write pieces they truly care about.  They love language and ideas and that type of shit.  They are passionate and honest in what they say. 

I hate everything they stand for. 

From now on, whenever I write an “emotional” post which bores you to death, I want you to blame these two bloggers for their negative influences.  Remember when I used to be funny.  How many of you are excited to see Woody Allen’s latest unfunny movie? 

At one time, I wanted to be the next Dooce.  Now, I’m deleting half of my followers from Twitter and Flickr.  It’s not you.  It’s me.  I’m a Pisces.  Astrology books say that I am a sensitive soul who can only deal with two or three close friends.  It’s not that I don’t care.  I actually DO care what type of sandwich you had for lunch.

How do you people read so many blog posts in one day?  I read some tech blogger bragging about being able to read 100 posts daily in his Google Reader.   Is he a robot?  I read two or three decent posts, and I’m drained.

I understand that there is a social dynamic to blogging.  Everyone wants to be loved and admired, but let’s be honest — most of us would be plain miserable being an A-list blogger.  Yes, I think for the first time in my blogging career, I actually feel sympathy for Dooce.  It must be hard to deal with 1000 commenters, and strangers thinking they “love” you.   I never want to hear any ONE of you ever saying that you “love” me, unless, of course, we first have sex, then it is a given.  You might like me.  You might find my jokes mildly amusing.  But EVEN I’m not sure I love myself!  Love Dooce instead.

I sometimes find it difficult to deal with getting thirty comments a day.  I mean I like the comments, but I also know that YOU are writers, too, and you deserve love and attention, so I feel like a jerk if I don’t immediately go to your blog and write a comment back.   I know I sound like an asshole complaining when you’re a blogger who only getting two comments, but who’s to say that it is better to have thirty comments than two comments?  Is it better to sleep around with strangers in bars every night or have one loving wife at home waiting for you?   If I ran the blogosphere, I would limit comments to thirty maximum per post. That is enough to stroke any ego.  OK, I’m going to be RADICAL here.  If you see that I already have thirty comments, do everyone a favor and go put a comment on a blog with less comments.  You can always send me an email or a message on Twitter later telling me that you liked the post.  Or just send me a photo of your bra.

Do any really BIG bloggers read Citizen of the Month?  I mean YOU Dooce, Pioneer Woman, Stephanie Klein, etc. (no, not you Bloggess… not yet)?  Does anyone know them personally?  I would love to talk to you — even interview you for this blog.  I wouldn’t ask you about writing or your blog.  I would be curious on how you deal emotionally with other bloggers?  How difficult is it?  Does it drain your energy?  Why do you even continue when you could be writing in other venues?  And most importantly… do any of us really want to follow in your footsteps?  Or is that what success is all about — having to deal with a lot of strangers?

These are all selfish questions.  Maybe I’m not emotionally fit to be an A-lister, even if my writing got to that level.  I sort of like being the bohemian, spouting socialist slogans like “everyone is interesting” and not caring about anyone’s reaction when I inappropriately flirt with some hot mommyblogger.

“Oh, that’s just Neilochka!  He’s harmless.  He’s not an A-lister or anything like that.”

Of course, I would be bullshitting you if I said I didn’t care about success.   It would be cool to make a great living through wriitng.  It would be fun to give a keynote address at some blogging conference, the audience oohing and aahing to my every word.  Of course, I would quickly run out afterwards so I wouldn’t have to talk to any of you. 

And talk about opportunities for getting laid!

But then, sometimes, I think about going small with this blog… or starting all over again, like the first “real writer” I got to know online.   I could then focus more on my writing than worrying about all this nonsense.  But why in the world would I do that?   If I wanted fewer readers, I could just do it the old-fashioned way — by publishing poetry!

Ha Ha.  I can just see the faces of some of you.  Oh no!  He’s going to publish some poetry!

Luckily, I didn’t write it myself.  Dana started something called the Poetry Collaborative.  Under this system, two people write a poem together via email or IM.  It’s more of an experiment than anything else, because we took turns writing lines.  My victim/collaborator was the talented Christine Swint of Maria Cristina Poesia.

Here is our poem… wait, let me give some of you the chance to click over to a better blog… OK, for those left behind —

when clouds cover the moon

by Neil and Christine

My hands are orchids,
but in anger they provoke

violet bruises. Livid
birds screech in a dovecote,

wings beating against bamboo.
Their black judgment must abide,

suspended in time, like an ant in amber
or Papa when he’s high–

his gnarled hands turn a crank
that voice! that voice! it’s mine–

not a magpie’s, nor a mountebank’s,
piercing the nighttime.

I wish for whispers, willows,
a sunrise tomorrow.

Confessions of a Poemphobe

One of the most surprising blogging relationships is my unlikely friendship with Dana and Liz Elayne of Poetry Thursday.  I say “unlikely” because they are both creative women very much in touch with their emotions and inner selves, and I live my life to avoid those things.   I really enjoyed their Poetry Thursday blog.   Sadly, they recently stopped publishing the site in order to focus their energies elsewhere. 

From day one, I appreciated the way these two women weren’t snotty about poetry.  They told me that reading poetry was good for the soul and the brain.  They used every trick in the book to seduce me into the world of poetry.  They introduced me to Billy Collins, to funny poets, and to poets who wrote love sonnets to women’s breasts.  They appealed to my interests and soon I was even reading poems about things foreign to me, like trees and animals.

Today, I was feeling sad about the destruction caused by the California wild fires.  The sadness made me think of poetry, and poetry made me think of Dana and Liz. 

A few months ago, Dana and Liz asked me to write a column for Poetry Thursday titled “Confessions of a Poemphobe.” I only had the chance to write three columns.  I don’t know how long Poetry Thursday will be archived online, so I’m republishing them here on Citizen of the Month.  Re-reading the posts reminds me how lucky I’ve been to meet such wonderful people like Dana and Liz.

* * *
confessions of a poemphobe — poetry for men

My Russian-born wife loves to watch professional figure skating. Together, we’ve watched countless competitions on TV and I’ve even been dragged to few World Championships. Whenever we’re sitting in the arena, watching all the lifts, axels and flamboyant costumes, we end up having the same discussion — why do Russian male figure skaters look so “masculine” and athletic, while the American men look so … hmm, how can I say this while remaining politically correct … like interior designers from West Hollywood? Why does each country attract such different types of men?

I think the answer lies in cultural differences. In the Russian culture, it is considered manly to figure skate, to dance ballet and to write poetry. I’ve attended Russian dinners where it is almost an obligation for the men to recite poetry to the hostess, while drinking vodka, of course.

I know I’m skating on thin ice here (ha!), but most American men are leery of artistic expression that is considered “too feminine.” While any ballet dancer is probably more athletic and stronger than a typical soccer player, how many fathers would want to hear that their son is interested in taking ballet lessons?

I think the TV networks and the U.S. Figure Skating Federation are fully aware of how figure skating is perceived by the average American man. When Michael Weiss, one of the few “manly”-looking American figure-skating competitors had a child, the ESPN cameras were all too eager to show him holding his baby in the air and kissing his blond model-type wife, as if to announce to America, “Hey men, he’s a figure skater AND a hot-blooded American man. It’s OK for YOU to watch the coverage with your wife!”

This ridiculous type of masculine/feminine stereotyping has affected my own enjoyment of poetry. I write fiction, screenplays, nonfiction. But poetry … what would my friends think?

What makes this especially sad is that I’m not some macho guy who watches football on Sunday or even fixes his own car. I’m an English major from an Ivy League university. I’m knowledgeable about the Western canon, from Blake to T.S. Eliot. I even enjoy reading poetry. But the truth is, poetry makes me feel awkward. Fiction feels more “masculine” to me. With fiction, there’s a plot — a thrust from point A to point B. Narrative deals with ideas and action. Can it be that this fear of poetry boils down to another cliché about men — the fear of expressing emotion and revealing vulnerability?

Of course, fiction requires emotion, but it is easier for the writer to hide behind a plot, a character or a concept. Writing poetry makes me feel naked, and no man wants to be seen naked, unless he works out at the gym first.

Like many men, I’m also more “practical” than my wife. It took me years to understand why a woman would want to get flowers. After all, they just die in a few days. Wouldn’t a blender be a better Valentine’s Day gift? Like flowers, poetry isn’t always meant to be practical, and this is sometimes hard for me to “get.” Sometimes there isn’t even a “point” to a poem other than it being an expression of emotion. I’m always looking for “meaning,” rather than taking the emotion in. The words, the image provoked or the music of the poem should be just enough to make a piece of writing special.

I’m learning to appreciate poetry more by reading poems, including many of the poems I see here on Poetry Thursday. It is good to be reminded that not all poems are about flowers or “girly” things, or topics that make you go out and buy a black beret. You can write poems about baseball games and pissing in the forest, and it can still be considered a poem.

Did anyone see the Rich Snyder poem “How Are You Doing?” reprinted in last week’s “American Life in Poetry?”

Rich Snyder is my new Michael Weiss. His poem reads like the poem of a regular hot-blooded American man.

How Are You Doing?

As much as you deserve it,
I wouldn’t wish this
Sunday night on you—
not the Osco at closing,
not its two tired women
and shaky security guard,
not its bin of flip-flops
and Tasmanian Devil
baseball caps,
not its freshly mopped floors
and fluorescent lights,
not its endless James Taylor
song on the intercom,
and not its last pint of
chocolate mint ice cream,
which I carried
down Milwaukee Ave.
past a man in an unbuttoned
baseball shirt, who stepped
out of a shadow to whisper,
How are you doing?

Reprinted from “Barrow Street,” Winter, 2005, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Rick Snyder. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

* * *
confessions of a poemphobe — ‘wow! you are good!’

Lately, on my personal blog, I’ve been complaining about the whole system of “commenting” on blogs. After a while, these short little back-and-forth statements seem superficial, even frustrating. I wish I could be there with you, sharing a cup of coffee, rather than writing three sentences of encouragement. At other times, if you are having a bad day, I just want to hug you. Writing a comment saying, Don’t worry. Things will be OK! just seems phony and is NOT what I really want to say to you.

I find it especially difficult to comment on a poem. What is the appropriate response? I love the poetry of the Poetry Thursday participants, but how many times can I write Wow! You are good!

I come from a family of gabbers and kvetchers — so I love to talk. I can talk for hours about any subject, even those I know nothing about. Surprisingly, words frequently fail me when I experience something artistic. If I see a really great film, I want to keep the experience floating in my brain, not analyze the director’s vision or the acting of a new starlet. You can imagine the trouble I had dating when I was in film school. Brainy female film student always wanted to talk about the movie! Not now! I would say. It’s still fresh in my mind!

Language cannot always capture my true feelings about art. What is there to say the first time you see a famous painting, like Mona Lisa? It’s nice, but it looks smaller than I imagined just doesn’t cut it.

For me, poetry is the most difficult subject to discuss. In a novel or a film, I can talk about the narrative or characters. In a painting, I can talk about the color and movement. But how do you find the right words to talk about words that are more beautiful than yours?

If I like a Poetry Thursday poem, I usually write a variation of That’s wonderful! I know it’s lame, but I feel it is important to connect with the writer. (And frankly, everyone likes comments, even the dumb ones!)

I would like to write better comments. Maybe as I learn more about poetry, I can feel more confident in my ideas about poetic expression. I feel intimidated about saying what’s on my mind, particularly if I don’t understand a poem. For instance, I love the images in the first stanza of Carolyn Kizer’s “On a Line from Valery.”

The whole green sky is dying. The last tree flares
With a great burst of supernatural rose
Under a canopy of poisonous airs.

Do I really understand what she is describing? Not really. Under a canopy of poisonous airs? Huh? Is she talking about a forest fire? Now, honestly, if you were the poet, would you want me to ask you in the comments to explain this to me? I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to do it. Am I an idiot? I might ask myself, or is everyone just too afraid to ask the same question?

I understand that it is not a requirement to “understand” a poem completely. The poem can still work and be a little mysterious. But what can I say that sounds intelligent? How can I match the beauty of a poem with the appropriate response? Some of you are trained poets and can talk about the line breaks. I’m sometimes interested in mundane things — Is this autobiographical? How long did it take you to write this? Did you really write this in the bathtub?

Are these legitimate questions?

I think there are a lot of people like me — they enjoy poetry but are unsure how to participate in the discussion of it. I have no dreams of becoming a professional poet, but you want readers like me to keep poetry vibrant. I think poetry is too insular lately, with poets mostly writing for other poets. Any suggestions for how a layman like me can better participate in the conversation? Do poets actually want to know if someone doesn’t understand their poem? I hate saying Wow, nice! all the time.

* * *
confessions of a poemphobe — anger management, poetry style

Last night, I think I wrote my first real poem. By saying that, I mean that I expressed some emotion on paper that was consuming me, rather than just trying to be clever or witty with words. Unfortunately, this emotion was a negative one, and I’m not sure I enjoyed the experience of dealing with it. I’m certainly not ready to show YOU the result.

There’s been a lot of tension in my household over the upcoming surgery of my wife, and if life was high school, I would get a failing grade in “Handling Stress.” I had trouble sleeping last night. I tossed and turned, and had an unpleasant dream about being in a bloody fistfight in an alley. This was an unusual dream, because I’ve never been in a fistfight and I rarely go into alleys. I even punched the bedroom wall while sleeping, jarring myself awake and scaring the hell out of my wife.

It was four in the morning and I was wide awake, so I went to my office to write “something” on my computer. What that “something” was, I wasn’t sure. At first I was going to write a post for my personal blog about punching the wall, but I found myself getting lost in unknowns of the narrative.

Why was I angry? “I’m not sure.” Who was I angry at? “?????.” Time to look into therapy.

I decided to write a poem. Actually, I didn’t really “decide,” I just did it. It was a primitive poem, but since there was no narrative, the writing came easy. No characters. No story. Just an expression of the emotion named anger. It was a poem about a bloody fistfight in some unnamed alley. It was a bad poem, but it was cathartic.

But afterwards, I felt a little dirty. It was uncomfortable expressing anger ― even to myself. It’s not something you do in my family.

But back to poetry.

Poetry is an ancient literary form. It is a form that many use to express themselves with more intensity than other types of writing. Is that why I ran to “poetry” to deal with some unpleasant emotion? Has this happened to you? Does writing about your unpleasant emotions make you uncomfortable? Do you try to push them onto the page for your art or for your own therapy? Do you get worried about what others might think if they saw this part of you?

And most importantly, if you read an angry poem about a bloody fistfight in an alley, would you cross to the other side of the street if you encountered this “poet” walking in your city?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthWhat Did You Have for Lunch?

Quiz

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For which website am I LEAST likely to have written a post today?

A) ebony-ivory.oregon.gov — African-Americans Who Love Portland

B) do-svidanya.ru — The Self-Help Site for Separated Men with Foreign-Born Wives

C) members-only.biz — A Forum for Co-Dependent Men and Their Co-Dependent Penises

D) poetrythursday.org — An online project that builds community by encouraging bloggers to read and enjoy poetry, as well as sharing it with others.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Teacher of the Year

Georgia (and Bloggers) on My Mind

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I was very upset yesterday when I got an email from Lynn at Sprigs that she was closing her blog.  

I met Lynn (Dana) online last December when I was writing some posts for Blogebrity.  Before meeting her, I interacted mostly with bloggers who were like me in writing style.   Lynn introduced me to a new group of bloggers  — those who wrote poetry and “Sunday Scribblings” and made jewelry and talked about creativity and did yoga and were into stuff that I would have made fun of a year ago.  Bloggers like Blue Poppy, Be Present, Be Here, Ink on My Fingers, and so many others I now read all the time.  

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t roll my eyes at times when some poem gets all “new agey” or emotional, but I’m not intimidated anymore by these creative writers.  These are EXACTLY the type of women that I would be afraid of talking to in my college English classes, thinking I was too lowbrow.  But I was an idiot.  There is no single TYPE of person.   And just because you’re artsy doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor — even if you do spend a lot of time meditating in the nude under the night moon.  Sometimes, an artsy woman can even surprise you (like finding out one participates in roller derby). 

Lynn helped me “class up” my blog up.  I wrote a few bad poems.  Without her, I would be writing about my penis in every post.  Instead, I’m now writing weepy, unfunny posts like this which are only going to get me a lower rating with Bloglaughs. 

Thanks a lot, Lynn!   Keep in touch.

Over lunch today, I told a friend of mine about being upset over Lynn and her blog. 

“Over some blogger?” he asked.  “What’s the big deal?  You don’t even KNOW this person!”

That’s true.  I don’t really know most of you

But that didn’t stop someone as cool as Jody from Lindbergh’s Crossing from sending me some Fall leaves. 

No, I don’t mean photos of Fall leaves.  I mean real live GEORGIA FALL LEAVES in the mail!

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(a little Georgia Fall in Los Angeles)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthSecond Base With Sophia

The Ballad of Seth Blackwell

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The Ballad of Seth Blackwell

When I was younger,
So much younger than today,
I had long hair and oval specs,
“Like John Lennon,” they would say.

When I got much older,
And started having dates,
“Hey, look at you, said women,
“You look just like Bill Gates.”

Now I’m old and grizzled,
I’m only known as Seth,
When people choose to see me,
They see a man near death.

(written in IHOP after this)

Poetry Thursday

Everybody Loves a Baby

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This week’s Poetry Thursday assignment was to read your poem out loud. I read my poem to a few women in my neighborhood, and they all hated it. For some reason, it made me like it even more.

Everybody Loves a Baby

Everybody loves a baby
That’s the title of this piece
I heard this conversation (maybe)
While visiting my niece:

“Look at my little Beatrice
Isn’t she a gem?
She’s really quite angelic
She’ll surely voting Dem.

Her hair’s just like the hubby’s,
So fiery and red.
And don’t you love the Yankees cap
That’s sitting on her head?”

Now, as I watched this drama
I bit my lower lip.
I prayed for the overpriced stroller
To hit a rock and flip.

You see: I hate all babies,
And I mean every single tot!
All they’re really good for
Is dripping yucky snot.

That Beatrice, she looked stupid
I’m sorry, but that’s the truth.
And in that NY Yankees cap
She was ugly as Babe Ruth.

Babies are like homeless
They beg and beg for more
They don’t pay any taxes
They puke all over the floor.

I know I sound grouchy
With this tantrum, with my snit.
But my mother gave me formula
And this little brat gets tit.

The Poetry Reading

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I had just taken a shower tonight and was toweling off when I heard his voice.

Neil’s Penis: “Where are you going tonight?”

Neil: “I’m going to a poetry reading.”

Neil’s Penis: “Aha! So that’s why you bought that beret at Macy’s yesterday! Hot babe?”

Neil: “No. Just going for the poetry.”

Neil’s Penis: “You’re really into this poetry crap.”

Neil: “It’s interesting. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything literary.”

Neil’s Penis: “Hey, I’m a poet too —

A girl might like a guy with wit,
But she likes it better
When he can find her clit.”

Neil: “Penis, that’s very immature.”

Neil’s Penis: “Ooh, big poet with the beret thinks I’m immature.”

Neil: “Penis, we need to talk. I think this might be the last time we talk on this blog.”

Neil’s Penis: “What?!”

Neil: “I think it might be time to start making this blog a little more sophisticated. We have some poet-bloggers coming over here now, and they’re way classier than the perverts and crazy people who used to come to this blog.”

Neil’s Penis: “Those are your readers!”

Neil: “Eh.”

Neil’s Penis: “What about me? You need me. I’m your bread and butter!”

Neil: “I can handle this blog on my own.”

Neil’s Penis: “Yeah, you’ll be as good as Garfunkel after Paul Simon left.”

Neil: “Well, I’d like to try. I’m serious. This joke is getting old and a lot of people think this whole “talking penis” thing is very childish.”

Neil’s Penis: “They do not!”

Neil: “Listen, on Tuesday, I had coffee with Communicatrix at the Farmers’ Market.”

Neil’s Penis: “She’s really cool.”

Neil: “Yeah, but even she said she skips over all the dumb sex stuff here.”

Neil’s Penis: “Maybe she doesn’t want to fall under our sensual spell.”

Neil: “Penis, not every woman in the world is going to want us. You have to accept that.”

Neil’s Penis: “Yeah, right.”

Neil: “Just focus on the blog. Think of my religious readers. I’m making them sin just by reading this stuff.”

Neil’s Penis: “Ha, where have you been? Those religious babes are the kinkiest ones around! Remember that rabbi’s daughter.”

Neil: “Let me try this another way. Maybe it’s just time to be practical. Maybe it’s time for this blog to go mainstream…”

Neil’s Penis: “I see. So, you’re selling out. To the Man. The emasculating Man. Soon, there’s going to be ads all over the page. And no more “dirty” words. And you’re going to be using fancy words all the time instead, like onomatopoeia. And the only people on your blogroll will be NPR, the New York Times, and Dooce. Well, cock cock cock cock cock cock cock cock cock cock…”

Neil: “Stop it! Stop it!

Neil’s Penis: “OK, OK, I stopped.”

Neil: “If you thought about it for a second, you’d see that I’m right. What’s so wrong with wanting to better yourself? To climb the ladder of success. To wear a nice cotton turtleneck and brown tailored jacket. My hair trimmed and neat. A copy of David Sedaris under my arm. My beret on my head, tilted just so. Laughing heartily when my poet friend makes some inside joke about Baudelaire. Ah, yes, I read that in Harper’s last week! American Idol? What is that? — a euphemism for the Bush Administration’s idolization of Halliburton’s profits? Sophisticated humor.”

Neil’s Penis: “Neilochka, do what you want. If you want me out of the blog, I’ll do it.”

Neil: “That’s it? You’re giving in just like that? No more arguments?”

Neil’s Penis: “You’re the boss. The brains of the organization. The CEO of Neilochka. If you think you can “make it” out there alone, more power to you. ”

Neil: “That’s very gentlemanly of you, Penis.”

Neil’s Penis: “I care about you, Neilochka. I can see your point. You don’t want to go around the rest of your life known as “The Guy with the Talking Penis Blog.”

Neil: “Exactly. I went to college. Even grad school, for god’s sake.”

Neil’s Penis: “OK, fine. So, from now on, I guess the world will know this guy as “The Guy with the Talking Penis Blog.”

Neil: “Holy crap! Is it possible? This guy has a talking Penis, too?!”

Neil’s Penis: “What’s the big deal. If you don’t care…”

Neil: “How dare he! The son of a…”

My Penis chuckles.

Neil’s Penis: “Still going to that poetry reading?”

Neil: “Hell no!”

I tossed my beret onto the floor.

Neil: “We’re going back to the gym and lifting some weights. Both of us. We need to get into shape!”

Neil’s Penis: “I hear you, Neilochka! Cock fight! Cock fight!”

My Penis turns to the audience.

Neil’s Penis:

“Said Keats to Shelly on a warm summer’s eve
A truly great poet must always believe
As sure as a leaf will change in September
A man shalt always be a slave to his member.”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: What I Had for Breakfast Today

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