John Dryden calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Why should a foolish marriage vow, / Which long ago was made, / Oblige us to each other now / When passion is decay’d?

COUNSELOR: Good question. Are there children?

CALLER: We lov’d, and we lov’d, as long as we could, / Till our love was lov’d out in us both:

COUNSELOR: Sounds like you tried but couldn’t conceive. Is there joint property?

CALLER: But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:

COUNSELOR: I see. Have you discussed this with your spouse?

CALLER: ‘Twas pleasure first made it an oath.

COUNSELOR: So maybe just try something new.

CALLER: If I have pleasures for a friend,

COUNSELOR: Uh, I said something new, not someone new. Unless your spouse is also into that.

CALLER: And farther love in store,

COUNSELOR: It certainly sounds like you’re into that.

CALLER: What wrong has he whose joys did end,

COUNSELOR: That is a matter for you and your spouse to discuss openly, before it builds deeper resentment and…

CALLER: And who could give no more?

COUNSELOR: …and you’re already talking about alimony.



Read the original here

James Baldwin calls the Poetry Crisis Line


COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: This flag has been planted on the moon:

COUNSELOR: It has? And how did you end up with it?

CALLER: it will be interesting to see

COUNSELOR: You don’t know?

CALLER: what steps the moon will take to be revenged

COUNSELOR: On the Commander of Cheese?

CALLER: for this quite breathtaking presumption.

COUNSELOR: Ironic—to be breathtaking on the moon.


James Baldwin, born August 2, 1924, would have been 94 today. Read the rest of the poem Staggerlee Wonders here. (Note: poem contains offensive language and some controversial ideas.)

The Second Calling by William Butler Yeats

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER:  Turning and turning

COUNSELOR: Have you tried switching off the dryer?

CALLER: In the widening gyre

COUNSELOR: No, I said the dryer. Can you hear me OK?

CALLER: The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

COUNSELOR: I get a code name? How exciting!

CALLER: Things fall apart.

COUNSELOR: What things?  Or is this more code? You can’t hear me because I’m breaking up?

CALLER:  The centre cannot hold.

COUNSELOR: I see. What sort of center did you escape from, exactly?

CALLER: Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

COUNSELOR: It certainly sounds like it. Would you consider going back to that center and checking yourself in again?

Queen of Cheese Classics: “Humpty Dumpty: A la Poe” by Thomas Holley Chivers (1809-1858)

As an egg, when broken, never
Can be mended but must ever
Be the same crushed egg forever—
So shall this dark heart of mine
Which, though broken, is still breaking,
And shall nevermore cease aching
For the sleep which has no waking—
For the sleep which is now thine.

Alberto Rios calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: The border is a line that birds cannot see.

COUNSELOR: You mean like a window?

CALLER: The border is a beautiful piece of paper folded carelessly in half.

COUNSELOR: Oh—so these birds you mentioned—are they origami cranes?

CALLER: The border is where flint first met steel,

COUNSELOR: Oh no. How far along are you on the paper cranes? Were you going for the traditional thousand?

CALLER: starting a century of fires.




Read the rest of “The Border” by Alberto Rios here.

The Queen of Cheese Presents: Excerpt from “The Soiree of the Pig and the ‘Phibian” (in Old Possum’s Practical Puppets)

A pig and a frog do not usually mate,

But once in a while they go on a date–

After all, they’re accustomed to staying up late

From working together on network TV

That anyone raised in the ‘80s might see

(And green’s not the easiest color to be),

So they go to the clubs ‘til a quarter to three,

And they

hop hop hop hop

hop hop HOP HOP

And neither one wishes the evening would stop.

D. H. Rumsfeld calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: As we know,  / There are known knowns.


CALLER: There are things we know we know.

COUNSELOR: But can we truly know anything in this world?

CALLER: We also know / There are known unknowns.

COUNSELOR: You’re tripping me out, man.

CALLER: That is to say / We know there are some things / We do not know.


CALLER: But there are also unknown unknowns,

COUNSELOR: Wow, that’s deep.

CALLER: The ones we don’t know

COUNSELOR: Like the sound of one hand clapping.

CALLER: We don’t know.

COUNSELOR: Namaste, my brother, namaste.


COUNSELOR: I don’t know. [pause] Some hippie.