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Page 27

Poetry workchops.
Woe? Try porkchops.
(In the best of all possible worlds,
Work and pork would rhyme.)
(I do think it good advice to Poe:
Try workchops. Cut that long-winded Raven
to the bone. Quoth Poe, creepily –
for Edgar Allen is ever edging along --

Poetry -- the other chicken. Not
a frivolous thought. Every edible meat,
however esoteric (sauteed rattlesnake slices,
fried grasshoppers) is said to "taste like
chicken," and everything that's poetry,
however esoteric (Oedipal meat), sounds
like poetry, damn it, I get really tired

of poetry sounding like poetry. Sometimes
even before I begin to write, already
the blank page sounds like poetry,
and anything I can think of to write,
to make the blankness stop sounding like poetry,
already sounds like poetry.

If it were chicken, I could refuse to eat.
Maybe if I stop writing long enough,
the blank pages will again be merely
(and mirrorly) blank. (Does that sound
like poetry to you?)

Note: Line two ("Woe? Try porkchops") is line one ("poetry workshops") with the letters "p" and "w" exchanged. And later in that stanza "Poe: Try workchops" is, again, a play on "Poetry workchops." Though Poe's "Raven" is more a ham than a porkchop. (We can loin from him.) Stanza two compares edible meat to Oedipal meat, since one of the ways poetry was long expected to sound was Freudian – or at least many critics used to find value in a poem only after locating its Freudian implications. Though poets are urged to trim the fat, pork belongs in a wok shop.

In stanza one: Poe is creepy, and creepy suggests edging along, and edging suggests Edgar – almost Edger. At least these things were suggested to suggestible me. And the author of as long-winded a work as"The Raven" is not likely to be eager to cut his work to the bone. He wants lots of bits of reeking flesh attached.

In the last stanza, I say the blank pages will be merely "and mirrorly" blank because, hey, you can always make something out of "mirror" and because I like the pun (on "merely" because mirrors are so mere, so trivially profound, so glib in their depth, and also because like meres ["mere" being an archaic word for "pond"], they reflect, and finally because if I stop writing long enough, I, too, will be blank, so that the pages mirror me with their blankness as they mirror my clutter with their clutter. If that doesn't suffice you, I can invent a dozen more justifications for "mirrorly".)

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