Happy 78th birthday to Barry Manilow
COUNSELOR: Easy Listening Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
BARRY MANILOW (caller): You know, I can’t smile without you.
COUNSELOR: I did not know that.
MANILOW: I can’t smile without you.
COUNSELOR: Thank you for telling me.
MANILOW: I can’t laugh, and I can’t sing.
COUNSELOR: Can you breathe OK?
MANILOW: I’m finding it hard to do anything.
COUNSELOR: Hold on, sir. I’m dispatching an ambulance to your location.
VERGIL: Here, Cerberus, with triple-throated roar, / Made all the region ring, and there he lay—
CERBERUS (1): Excuse me
CERBERUS (2): And me
CERBERUS (3): And me
CERBERUS: Our pronouns are
CERBERUS (1): They/
CERBERUS (2): Them/
CERBERUS (3): Their.
VERGIL: Here, Cerberus, with triple throated roar, / Made all the region ring, and there they lay.
CERBERUS: Good boy.
Happy Pride Month!
WALT WHITMAN (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, and what I assume you shall assume. What is your emergency?
ALLEN GINSBERG (calling from a supermarket in California): What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman.
WALT WHITMAN: My favorite topic!
Happy birthday to Gwendolyn Brooks, who would have been 104 today.
See part 1 here.
THE CHICAGO PICASSO (caller): And it is easier to stay at home.
PATIENCE (counselor): Because of the pandemic? Or are you afraid to put yourself out there?
THE CHICAGO PICASSO: Because I’m bolted to the freakin’ concrete.
Read Part 1 here.
The hipsters, like tygers, burn bright
for a link to the gears of the night.
They contemplate jazz,
and their poverty has
raised them over the rooftops in flight.
They’ve opened their skulls to the sky
beneath where the El trundles by,
while angels on junk
or just staggering drunk
cross campus with radiant cool eyes.
Happy birthday to Allen Ginsberg, who would have been 95 today.
Read the rest of “Howl” here. (These limericks cover roughly lines 3-6.)
To everyone who has lost a loved one to war, the Poetry Crisis Line grieves with you this Memorial Day, and wishes you solace.
NED (counselor): Heidily doodely, this is the Poetry Crisis Line. What is your problemirino?
JOHN MCCRAE (caller): In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
NED: Isn’t it dandelions you blow on?
MCCRAE: Between the crosses
NED: Well, I’ll bite. What do you get when you cross a poppy with a dandelion?
MCCRAE: Row on row.
NED: Who, nelly. Roe is from fish. Flowers have seeds. Let’s not go mixing up the natural order of things.
We live in a troubling time,
But everything’s going to be fine:
We’ll see a new dawn
And keep marching on.
I know–I saw God stomping wine.*
Happy 202nd birthday to Julia Ward Howe, author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
*Some theologians suggest that “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored” may be the real reason there was only one set of footprints in the sand.
Happy 80th birthday to Bob Dylan!
How many roads must a chicken cross
Before you can call her a hen?
And what is the reason she crossed that road?
And what did she do then?
The eggs are, my friend, they’re rollin’ in the wind.
The eggs are, they’re rollin in the wind.
Poets Answer Another Age-Old Question:
How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright,
Wouldst thou be a hallway light?
Wert thou in a chandelier,
I would scramble out of there!
Happy (?) tax day, 2021
COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
T.S. ELIOT (caller): April is the cruelest month.
COUNSELOR: It’s May, this year.*
*Please forgive the reused cartoon and shoddy edit; I just finished filing my taxes and it’s all the energy I have left.