Jenny Joseph calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLLER: When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
COUNSELOR: I don’t mean to downplay your experience, but an emergency is usually more immediate and more problematic.
CALLLER:With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
COUNSELOR: Oh, I see. Ma’am, you have the wrong number. This is the Poetry Crisis Line. You want the Fashion Police.

Clement Clarke Moore calls the Poetry Crisis Line

Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: ‘Twas the night before Christmas,

COUNSELOR: Yes, the holidays can be a stressful time.

CALLER: when

COUNSELOR: You know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. They can be a lot of fun, but the preparations can be difficult for some people.

CALLER: all through the house

COUNSELOR: For everyone? You might consider a low-key celebration instead of running your family ragged beforehand.

CALLER: Not a creature was stirring,

COUNSELOR: That’s not unusual. If everyone’s as frazzled as you say, then it’s healthy to take a rest.

CALLER: not even a mouse;

COUNSELOR: Now, that’s cause for concern. If the animals are also lethargic, you might want to look for an external cause.

CALLER: The stockings were hung

COUNSELOR: I don’t think that’s it. No matter how bad your socks smell, they aren’t likely to–

CALLER: by the chimney

COUNSELOR: That could be a problem. Have you lit a fire in the fireplace?

CALLER: with care,

COUNSELOR: I’m glad you’re practicing fire safety, sir, but have you had your chimney cleaned recently? A blocked flue could lead to carbon monoxide in your house. Especially if you haven’t used the fireplace in a long time, like if you lit the fire as a special holiday treat, or–

CALLER: In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

COUNSELOR: Now that’s just twisted

If All Poems Were Limericks: A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas. The hoof

Of a reindeer alit on the roof,

Which needed repair,

So now there’s a deer

In the kitchen, dear. Sorry. My goof.




[Want more Moore? The Poetry Crisis Line call for this poem will up on Christmas Eve.]

Lady Liberty calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Not like the brazen giant

COUNSELOR: I do not like him either. Though I don’t think he’s as big a deal as he claims. And he seems to have lost a lot of stature since the election.

CALLER: of Greek fame,

COUNSELOR: They had frats at his fake university?

CALLER: With conquering limbs

COUNSELOR: (snicker) –and tiny hands–

CALLER: astride from land to land;

COUNSELOR: Yep. I think Mueller’s about to prove that.

CALLER: Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates

COUNSELOR: Is that it then? Do you think it’s nightfall? Or do you think America–

CALLER: shall stand

COUNSELOR: I’m so glad to hear it. So who do you pick for 2020?

CALLER: A mighty woman

COUNSELOR: Gillibrand? Harris? Duckworth?

CALLER: with a torch,

COUNSELOR: Agent Scully? In the US we call them flashlights. But I think she’s Canadian.

CALLER: whose flame / Is the imprisoned lightning,

COUNSELOR: The new Thor from the comics?

CALLER: and her name

COUNSELOR: I don’t remember it either, but yeah, Thor is a woman now.

CALLER: Mother of Exiles.

COUNSELOR: I’m not up on that comic, but I think Rogue is the mother of Mimic, and Scarlet Witch is the mother of Nocturne.

CALLER: From her beacon-hand

COUNSELOR: [sings] Call me Beacon Hand. Any relation to Judge Learned Hand? Of course, the Crimson Tide went blue on Tuesday.

CALLER: Glows world-wide welcome;

COUNSELOR: That was welcome news. Did you see what Maxine Waters said?

CALLER: her mild eyes

COUNSELOR: I’ll take that as a no.

CALLER: command / The air-bridged harbor

COUNSELOR: Wait…are we talking about Wonder Woman now?

CALLER: that twin cities

COUNSELOR: Al Franken? I was kind of upset when I heard that he was–

CALLER: frame.

COUNSELOR: You think he was framed? I mean, it’s clear that there was a smear campaign, but that doesn’t mean–


COUNSELOR: I know, my opinions out of it, or I’ll have to go to retraining again. I’m just so jazzed after Tuesday. So what issues are important to you?

CALLER: ancient lands,

COUNSELOR: So, protecting native heritage and national parks…

CALLER: your storied pomp!”

COUNSELOR: …free speech…

CALLER: cries she

COUNSELOR: …women’s issues…

CALLER: With silent lips.

COUNSELOR: …a voice for survivors…

CALLER: “Give me your tired,

COUNSELOR: …a shorter work day…

CALLER: your poor,

COUNSELOR: … and a living wage …

CALLER: Your huddled masses

COUNSELOR: … health care for cancer patients…

CALLER: yearning to breathe free,

COUNSELOR: …air quality…

CALLER: The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

COUNSELOR: And superfund cleanup. Got it. But what shall we do with all the garbage garbage garbage garbage.

CALLER: Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

COUNSELOR: You’re very generous to offer, but–

CALLER: I lift my lamp

COUNSELOR: Shine on, you crazy diamond. But is it really your job to enlighten the world?

CALLER: beside the golden door!”

COUNSELOR: Oh, I get it–it’s a civil disobedience thing. We should send our trash to Dump Tower, like sending used tampons to Creepy Veep. I love it!


[click here to read the original by Emma Lazarus]

J. Alfred Prufrock re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Do I dare / Disturb the universe?

COUNSELOR: That’s a big question. And a bit vague. Can you be more specific?

CALLER: In a minute

COUNSELOR: Take your time.

CALLER: there is time

COUNSELOR: Yes, there is. Or, um, are we talking higher physics? What time is and whether it exists? Because I just meant you don’t have to rush.

CALLER: For decisions

COUNSELOR: Exactly. Take all the time you need to decide.

CALLER: and revisions

COUNSELOR: And yes, you can change your mind.

CALLER: which a minute will reverse.

COUNSELOR: Yes, you can change it back, too. But be careful of changing your mind too often, or you might confuse yourself.

CALLER: For I have known them all already,

COUNSELOR: You mean all the choices?

CALLER: known them all:

COUNSELOR: Or all the people who might be affected?

CALLER: Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

COUNSELOR: Just to make one decision?

CALLER: I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

COUNSELOR: I’m familiar with that method. Many people find it helpful.

CALLER: I know

COUNSELOR: So how many spoons do you feel like you have left?

CALLER: the voices dying with a dying fall

COUNSELOR: So, not many. Do you think–

CALLER: Beneath the music from a farther room.

COUNSELOR: Yes, it can help to step out of the room, and remove yourself from the situation.

CALLER: So how

COUNSELOR: Well, you might consider–

CALLER: should I presume?

COUNSELOR: I’m not trying to be presumptuous, sir. But I do think you might have more spoons left if you could streamline your decision-making process.

Richard Brautigan calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: He wants to build you a house

COUNSELOR: He does? Who does? What kind of house? Wood? Brick? 3D printed?

CALLER: out of your own bones


CALLER: but / that’s where you’re living / any way!

COUNSELOR: Exactly. I mean–

CALLER: The next time he calls

COUNSELOR: Wait–you mean he’s called here before?

CALLER: you answer the telephone

COUNSELOR: Of course. That’s the job.

CALLER: with the / sound of your grandmother being / born.

COUNSELOR: Uh, I don’t think I was there for that. I mean, how–

CALLER: It was a twenty-three hour / labor

COUNSELOR: I think I’d remember a call that long.

CALLER: in 1894.

COUNSELOR: He must have me confused with somebody else. I only started here in August.

CALLER: He hangs / up.

COUNSELOR: Well, that’s his right, if that’s what he wants to do. Goodbye.

Percy Bysshe Shelley calls the Poetry Crisis Line

STAFFER: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: I met a traveller

STAFFER: Are you calling on his or her behalf? Did the traveler cause the problem?

CALLER: from an

COUNSELOR: Is this an unrequited love sort of call?

CALLER: antique land,

STAFFER: Is that the used furniture store on Route 10?

CALLER: Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Stand in the desert. . . .

STAFFER: I don’t know. Was it Led Zeppelin? It sounds like something they might say.

CALLER: Near them,

STAFFER: Pink Floyd?

CALLER: on the sand,

STAFFER: The Beach Boys?

CALLER: Half sunk

STAFFER: Was it from Yellow Submarine?

CALLER: a shattered visage

STAFFER: Lyle Lovett?

CALLER: lies,

STAFFER: No, I’m doing my best here.

CALLER: whose frown,

STAFFER: I don’t know whose frown. Could you give me a hint?

CALLER: And wrinkled lip,

STAFFER: Billy Idol?

CALLER: and sneer of cold command,

STAFFER: David Bowie!

CALLER: Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

STAFFER: [sings] “And in the cracks along the sidewalk…” Was it that song Elton John wrote after John Lennon died?

CALLER: Which yet survive,

STAFFER: Paul McCartney? Ringo?

CALLER: stamped on these lifeless things,

STAFFER: Dead Can Dance?

CALLER: The hand that mocked them,

STAFFER: Weird Al?

CALLER: and the heart that fed;

STAFFER: Wait–is that ACDC?

CALLER: And on the pedestal,

STAFFER: Anne Murray?

CALLER: these words appear:

STAFFER: Another quote? But I haven’t figured out the first one!

CALLER: My name is Ozymandias,

STAFFER: Oh, that’s easy–Alan Moore. “Who watches the watchmen?”

CALLER: King of Kings;

STAFFER: Isn’t that who the watchmen would watch when they’re watching the Watchmaker? Um, I mean Handel’s Messiah.

CALLER: Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

STAFFER: I think that’s Galadriel the Elf Queen from Lord of the Rings. Did you just call me to ask about quotes?

CALLER: Nothing beside remains.

STAFFER: Glad to be of help, then. Where are you calling from?

CALLER: Round the decay / Of that colossal Wreck,

STAFFER: What? You should’ve said something! Do you want me to send a fire truck? Are you OK?

CALLER: boundless and bare

STAFFER: Do you need me to send clothes?

CALLER: The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

STAFFER: Uh…do you need me to send a camel?



Read the original here:

Any poems or poets you want to see on the Poetry Crisis Line? Leave a suggestion in the comments

The Queen of Cheese Presents: The Tygger

Tygger! Tygger! Bouncing high,

Bumping Hundred Acre Sky,

What intrepid toymaker

Did Stytch thy Joyntes & Stuff thy Furr?


And what Rubber, & what Sprynggs

Formed thy soft Internal Things?

When thy legs began to Pogo,

Whence thy Get-Up? Whence thy Go-Go?


Does thy Boundless energy

Bounce out? Or is it Bound to thee?

When thou Bounced the Baby Roo

Into the pond, didst thou splash, too?


Who did place thy fluff-stuffed head

In a sleeping child’s bed?

While he sleepest, might thou Pounce?

Who can sleep while Tyggers Bounce?


And in all thy wondrous fun,

Art thou indeed the only one?

Frame thy playful symmetry:

Did he who made the Pooh make thee?


Tygger! Tygger! Bouncing high,

Bumping Hundred Acre Sky–

Softly doth the Bear reply,

Cottleston, Cotlleston, Cottleston pie.

William E. Stafford calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Traveling through the dark I found a deer

COUNSELOR: Do you need to contact Animal Control?

CALLER: dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.

COUNSELOR: I’m sorry to hear that. How are you handling that?

CALLER: It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:

COUNSELOR: Why is that?

CALLER: that road is narrow;


CALLER: to swerve might make more dead.

COUNSELOR: Wait, you are parked, right?

CALLER: By glow of the tail-light

COUNSELOR: Good to know.

CALLER: I stumbled back of the car

COUNSELOR: You are sober, right?

CALLER: and stood by the heap,

COUNSELOR: The deer?

CALLER: a doe,

COUNSELOR: A female deer?

CALLER: a re-

COUNSELOR: A drop of golden sun?

CALLER: cent killing;


CALLER: she had stiffened already, almost cold.

COUNSELOR: I’m sorry.

CALLER: I dragged her


CALLER: off;

COUNSELOR: A long, long way?

CALLER: she was large


CALLER: in the belly.

COUNSELOR: Where is this thread going, exactly?

CALLER: My fingers

COUNSELOR: Not that I’m trying to needle you.

CALLER: touching her side brought me the reason—

COUNSELOR: You mean why she was so la–

CALLER: her side was warm;

COUNSELOR: Like tea?

CALLER: her fawn lay there waiting,

COUNSELOR: That could really jam your breath.

CALLER: alive, still, never to be born.

COUNSELOR: I know–that follows. So–

CALLER: Beside that mountain road

COUNSELOR: And that would bring us back to the doe.

CALLER: I hesitated.

COUNSELOR: Oh, dear.



Suggested by Eric Hammerstron. If you want have a favorite poem or poet you’d like to see at the Poetry Crisis Line, please leave a suggestion in the comments.

read the original here: