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Five Blunt Teeth
Ode to The Best American Poetry, 2007

2011/2/17 by Chris Wayan

Dedicated to John Hollander, for his shape-poems

Beware! I'm a jagged ode saw. But then The Best of Poetry's flaw
is it's so Kansas-flat! Poets ape Vincent; lop their mind's ear.
Who'd read these deafish lumpenpoems aloud yet dare
write evermore? Congeries of incongrompetent
consonants trangle my litheliest tongues,
leaf by dead leaf! Hackberryrunners
matted under tread, avec one
thorn, square in my instep
instead. Obstreperous
soundkitsch! Latch
strings strap my
cheek & lips,
catgut my

Prosody? Nah, their unaccented syllable-trains mumble along diminishingly (see,
I can imitate it, but how to cure their Logorrhea Long und Drear?) Ungain-
ly as a seventeen-axle Outback roadtrain. Like unto that so-drained
mom trailing a snottoddler horde in your express(ive) line,
juggling breksugared mushboxes. How'd you tin your
ear? Who prisoned concision? What pedant slew
That Ol' Debbil Rhythm Method? Well, no,
that sleazy drummer's just banished to
rap-shore. For The Best excludes
the Beast: our maortal Beat
is just too crude. I'd Bet-
ter not claim editors
Be rhythmprudes.
And may I skip
critique B,

Yet the preface dangled hope: Matthew Arnold's sober, clear
Dover Beach as our tsunami's harbinger... as if ideas were
OK again! And I've been thirsty so long (I wrote Thur-
sday but a Graymare checked my errant text before
puns poetastic'ly could soar). Do you even recall
how to read reason? When we Shook Speare,
logic skeletoned firmly between both ear;
O we unlettered did more nimbly hear!
Today we vultures all prowl by eye,
peck flabnuggets. Although our
lyrics carri on, they putrefy.
Concretentious poets glue
oh-so-precious mots
in matrices of pro-
sy lowtide mud.
No sing, but
reams of

This art, once hawksleek, deadcowbloats today
into such Bly blabber I could cry. These, my
own rustsawteeth, Emily & Walt degrade.
But I'm not merely Howling--my tirade
is redfaced diagnosis. We're so tame!
Wild things new sing. Lonely Em-
ilies and birds incubated fresher
words. And worlds? Offer we
more than Jesus now or dry
ebb tide's existench? (My
homeland's dreams, & I
Dover's drought defy.
My moonlured tide
hath love & joy!
Forget Matt's

But you all seem dispirited, and I mean spirit banned!
You sure all's a lie? Aye, old to Babelion contained
tribal barbarity to burn, amid admitted poetries...
but must we drain the baby with the bath? Why
jam the wet shrieker down the pipe? O thou
hast plumbed iniquity. Or are you plumb
ignorant of shamandreams, or Zen un-
trance, or goldred seedbed nebulae,
wombs for three-eyed friends, if
we'd outgrow our ape-ocentric
pout... Denihilism so stunts
your art! Don't drone the
hardnose blues all day.
Mature past irony's
mindwalls gray.
No time like
NOW to


Poes of the American Best, I tried your thing:
Span contorted worms across the page.
Mute the singer in my head; forbid
the zing. But O, I cannot grow
up & act my age; I can't
unsing, unsing,

--Chris Wayan

FOOTNOTE ON TOOTH FIVE: 'The Bible' comes from the Greek to Biblion, 'the Book'. Here it's become to Babelion.

LISTS AND LINKS: shape-poems - dream poems in general - religion - negativity, pessimism & skepticism - puns & other attempts at humor - literary dreams - two John Hollander dream-poems: The Train & The Dream - same dreamer, same night: Crescent Cat - Odes: to Psyche, to Spam & to Not Writing Odes

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