The Dr. Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

If you are like most people you think of poetry as an ancient art, one which only touches modern life glancingly. You learn a few poems in "high" school, you learn to "appreciate" that certain Paul McCartney lyrics are poetic, that Poetic Metaphors "Exist". That, e.g., Yellow Submarines are Poetic Metaphors for something or other, probably having to do with erotic uses of certain products of bladders or other organs of the human body.

How WRONG you are, BUNKY! Poetry is everywhere around you - and if you have not yet recognized it, then when it impinges upon you it WILL take over. That's right: YOU are a poetry slave. YOU, sir or madam, adult or munchkin, YOU eat words, whether you know it or not.

So... knowing how beloved I am, there is no doubt in my mind that you, my beloved Reader and Much Appreciated Fan, can recall, without even being reminded, that sometime in oh somewhere around late 1995 I was elected to be the StreetLife Gallery Artist of the Month. And you were all there, weren't you? You were there and you saw that to the above right of my display was an emergency light labeled "Enlightenment", signed and copyrighted by me and priced at a hundred dollars "As Is".

The theory was, if anyone paid the hundred bucks for the light, I would take the cash and then tell them that they'd got it "as is", i.e. attached to the wall there, forever.

Well, nobody ever bought those emergency lights. But now I have a far more attractive offer in the same vein. And I also hope it will be poetically instructive to you, by resonating Socratically with your Native Verbalescent Soul.

For just ONE dollar, YOU can name a body part of mine. Almost any body part you choose. You can't name my liver, because Timothy "Neo-Greek Editor God" Harris has already paid one dollar to name it "Intrepid". You can't name my left shoulder, because Ruth (A. Fox) has already claimed it as Moe, acquaintance to Larry and Curly.

A certain significant other, who shall be nameless, a Ms. Anitra "She who also eats raw eggs" Freeman, has placed dibs on the externally situated organ formerly known as "Raoul". (I'm sure you know of which I speak.) And as I write this I am engaged in hot negotiations concerning my nose and Church-of-Mary-Magdalene Cathy.

It occurs to me here that some of you may have missed the part about this being poetry. PAY ATTENTION now! That is exactly what this is! I am (1) selling my body, and (2) - simultaneously! - doing poetry - ALL AT ONCE!

How is this possible, you ask? The answer is: LOW OVERHEAD!! My organs and appendages were formed at birth, thanks to genes and hormones provided AT VERY LITTLE COST to me, or to my immediate ancestors or progeny. But because I possess speech, I am able to sell you the very callus upon which I tread (on my right foot, still unclaimed).

Important: This offer is made for a limited time only, and is strictly limited to available stock. No rainchecks will be provided. Prices are subject to change without notice. Offer void where prohibited by law.

Speaking of the ubiquity of poetry, I recently provoked a friend to such an extent that she whipped her bra off and flung it at me. Witnessing this event was the aforementioned fellow editor Ruth (A. Fox), who immediately told my friend not to expect me to give her bra back, as I (quoting Ruth) "have no boundaries" (!)

This called to mind one of my favorite modern poems of all time, the one by Gloria Steinem which goes "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Sort of an analogy-ku. The variation that sprang to mind was something on the order of "expecting me to have boundaries is like expecting a ferret to have a shell." This in turn recalled the opening lines in my "Campsite on Fern Hill" which went, "Now as I am old and stiff... and happy as the grass is red."

It occurs to me that those of you readers looking for ways to get your modern poetic juices flowing might want to try cranking out a few analogy-kus of your own. But I would never suggest such a technique without first trying it out on a willing subject. Fortunately a willing subject is nearby, namely Ms. Freeman. Here are a couple of the results of her application of my new exercise.

"You (speaking to her computer) can be usefully recycled into a lot of coffee cups!"

"Expecting me to come up with analogy-kus after I have been up all night yelling at my computer is... like... totally ridiculous."

Well, I think that shows what an astoundingly good exercise I have come up with here. It evidently stimulates one's writing creativity as well as being hit in the face with a bra, and I can now recommend it as heartily as I recommend chewing steel wool.

Which reminds me to remind all of you that next month's issue of the Real Change is to be our 1998 Food Issue, and yours truly has been tapped to be the judge in the Street Recipe Contest. Got a killer back alley recipe for pigeon? A very special way to fix Dinty Moore Stew without a stove? A better idea for using those common dumpster finds? Send it to us by the third week of May and you might be a winner!

© Dr. Wes Browning:

2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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