Poem wins Third Place in Green River Writing Contest 2015 (Kentucky) then refuses to speak anymore to poems that didn’t place

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Poem wins Third Place in Green River Writing Contest 2015 (Kentucky) then refuses to speak anymore to poems that didn’t place

“I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life,” said Poet Lariat de Empanada du Banero la Santa Fe des USA.

The poem, entitled “Tactile Alchemy,” was not available for comment. However this reporter was able to get an interview with her creator.

Interview with Laughing Coyote

Reporter: You’d think a poem about language would be more willing to talk, at least to the newspaper.

“You’d think,” said the poet, Laughing Coyote. “I didn’t raise her to be that way.”

The 21-line, free verse poem, that placed third in the “Show Me Your Metaphors” contest (which was not a porn contest) evidently refused to shake hands with those works that did not place in the 2015 online contest. In fact, Tactile was last seen in a group of Runner-Up Poems, sucking up to the First Place Poems, by donating her award money towards a group (or Chapbook) plane ticket in business class, and planning to fly to the offices of The New Yorker for a very important meeting.

“She didn’t even say good-bye. I didn’t even know she knew about planes,” said Laughing Coyote.

Apparently Tactile Alchemy’s behavior was a shock to everyone, not just the losing poems.

“No, no,” said Laughing Coyote, “there was no indication at all that Ms. Tactile Alchemy–we think it’s a she, but with all this trans-formational poetry going on, who can tell–would be mean to the poems that didn’t place.”

Determining the sex of a free verse poem can be especially difficult.

 

Poet LC explains, “It’s very complicated. It’s usually not worth the trouble. You just say ‘it’ a lot so you can get through the poetry reading, the analysis afterward, and then hopefully there’s a lot of vodka at the celebration party afterward and no one will remember who said what about whom. I mean this obsession with knowing the gender of everything. Next, you academics and reporters will want to know who my poem prefers to have sex with. How would I know? I’m just the writer. And what happens when a lyric poem and free-verse one have children? Should poems of different types really be allowed to mingle? I mean, bless your hearts, but there’s a lot of stupid questions you reporters ask.

After a long drink of water, Laughing Coyote adds,

“And then there is always the inter-species concern, the domino effect, the slippery slope. I mean can you believe, after the last poetry reading we did, someone came up and asked what would happen if a wanton free-verse, heavily metaphorical poem like mine had relations with a goat? When I said I didn’t think goats could read and probably would just eat the poem without noticing, the man looked appalled and threw the bound and signed Malpais Review in my face.”

Reporter: Is it typical of such a small poem, with a relatively narrow focus, to adopt such behavior after a bit of success?

 

“No, there was no indication of that kind of ego early on,” said LC.  “She was the first poem of mine to ever get published, way back in the 90’s in a journal in Georgia. At that time, she just appeared to be really happy that she’d gotten between pages of a book that someone else had printed and then she performed really well at the Publication Party. She took it all in stride. Like a pro. Still talked to her 400 brother and sisters, even the poems that pretty much died as soon as they hit the air, or should have–crippled unsightly creepy things that never should have inhabited the curve of a vowel or the pillar of a consonant. But she touched them all, visiting them in the dark dungeon of my various notebooks.  Tactile Alchemy. And she got along with all the other poems in The Eclectic too.

“Are there warning signs that a poem may be going bad? I mean not, bad per se, but kinda going all Lindsay Lohan. . . ?”

“My poem is not an addict, nor a child actor.”

“I just meant, you know, like Garth Brooks, or J-Lo? I mean all that ego, going all Kanye, you know? Wanting to go to The New Yorker in her own jet.”

Laughing Coyote responded, “Um, it turned out to be a Groupon for all 30 placing poems and prose on Greyhound to a bar in Louisville named The New Yorker.

Not to be deterred this reporter asks a follow up question, “But is there a way the public can be protected through some kind of, I don’t know, algorithm or statistics? Some way to predict that a poem may be going a bit postal?”

“For poems gone bad? Well, I don’t know.  It seems hard to predict. I mean a poem that starts out:

With you 

My words don’t

Fall down

Between us

Unused

“You don’t really expect a lot of problems. Especially not the snobbery. I mean s/he had plenty of poems that were friends! Real friends. I mean listen to this stanza:

 

Resting on fingertips

You smooth them into my skin

Alphabet lotion

Human silk

Tactile alchemy

Laughing Coyote adds, “Does that sound like a poem that’s about to let Third Place go to its head? I mean, she’s all soft lotion-like metaphors, not a more rigid, “Give me some press and an award of ten bucks and I’m going all Elitist on your sorry ass! GET ME A PRIVATE JET! I’M GOING TO THE NEW YORKER!” I mean, seriously, when I was writing her, I never would have imagined this behavior. Where is she getting this classist stuff? I certainly didn’t put it there. I mean. . .I’m about 1.5 minutes from being a complete redneck. Born in Oklahoma, my great-grandpa had a still during the Great Depression. (Of course, who didn’t have their own still in the Great Depression?)

There’s no indication of ego here here:

You rub my syllables

My insights

Back into me

A massage of spent words

Revived

As you add your whispers

To my unfinished breath

Wrapping me

In your composition

I am corporeal language

Tingling like a sweet, sandy sunburn.

Laughing Coyote says, “I mean listen to that hiss of metaphor, the semantic steam, and the human element. Touch. Relationship. Peace. Leaves it just at the right moment too. So very satisfying. It’s a poem that knows when it’s over.”

“Do you feel betrayed by your poem?”

“Oh, yes, but doesn’t every poet? They want what they want. They could care less what you think is good for them. Even in the beginning you start out in one place and then end up some place entirely different. It’s like being blackout drunk without the blackout or the drinking. And then you wake up with a symbolic hangover and say ‘Shit, did I write that?’”

“Wouldn’t some poems say that they write themselves, just using the body of the poet?”

“That sounds like something they might say. But they usually just sort of seethe it in your general direction, and don’t say ‘fuck off’ the minute they win a prize.”

 

“Aren’t you really a comedy writer?”

“Uh, that’s just a rumor,” says Laughing Coyote. “What do you mean by that?” What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well maybe you aren’t a real poet.”

“A real poet. What the fuck is a real poet?”

“I didn’t mean-”

“I write poems. They sit in notebooks and flash drives. They get published. They win things sometimes. It’s not like I’m some carpenter who uses words occasionally.”

“But most comics don’t write poetry.”

“Well, I’m not that funny, so I have to have a day job.”

“And so your day job is poetry?”

“Well you can’t be funny all the time. What do you do with the other 23 hours and forty-five minutes of the day?  Well I think that’s pretty obvious. You write a lot of poetry. What else can you do that requires so much effort with so little payoff except maybe have a child, teach for public schools, or maybe run for office with Sarah Palin at your side?”

“I see.”

“So are you blaming me and my blogging background for Tactile Alchemy’s bad behavior? If I was a Real Poet, this wouldn’t have happened? No one else’s poems turn into Egoistic Maniacs who refuses to rub stanzas with poems and prose that didn’t place.”

“It’s just that most comics don’t seem to write poetry.”

“Are you arguing that only Poets should write Poetry? Christ, have you ever seen some of that highbrow inbred stuff? Makes you think twice about ever using a vowel again. Do you think that has something to do with it? I should have sent Tactile Alchemy to finishing school before I farmed her out to a contest in Kentucky?”

This reporter shrugs.

Laughing Coyote asks, “Do you think I embarrass her? That I, her mother, the poet, am too low brow for something as silky and symbolic as her?”

“Do you ever think your poems get angry at you for using them to be funny?”

“My poetry isn’t funny! Or, well, sometimes, maybe. When the Refrigerator Fell on my Foot, now that was an excursion into hilarity. Yoni Talk (yoni is some half Sanskrit word for vagina because in English we can’t have sex without sounding clinical) is a poem with some amusing bits where a woman has a conversation with her vajayjay. Oh and I started a poem called The Vagina Whisperer, but had to turn it into stand-up since she was shouting.”

“Do you think maybe your poems don’t feel like a priority? Maybe they are misbehaving to get more attention?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t go there. If the twentieth century ever proved anything it was that psychoanalyzing poems and poets is a bunch of nonsense. We’ll probably never know. But now my Tactile Alchemy has hit the road. Maybe she’ll become a star.

Laughing Coyote looks off into the distance.  “I’m going to miss her.  Maybe she’ll come back one day to visit when she’s done hobnobbing with all the right words.

Third Place ain’t bad. I mean hey, how many poems pay for themselves? I mean fuckin’ A, she’s an earner isn’t she? But really just want her to be happy. That’s what any decent poet wants, right? For her poems to be happy. Even if their mother is also occasionally funny on purpose.”

Photo0289chasing-your-tail (1)

Thus, concludes our interview with Laughing Coyote, Poet Lariat de Empanada du Banero la Santa Fe des USA

Written by Sam An Tic, Poetry R’ Us Correspondent

______________________________

Tactile Alchemy

With you

My words don’t

Fall down

Between us

Unused

 

Resting on fingertips

You smooth them into my skin

Alphabet lotion

Human silk

Tactile alchemy

 

You rub my syllables

My insights

Back into me

 

A massage of spent words

Revived

As you add your whispers

To my unfinished breath

Wrapping me

In your composition

I am corporeal language

Tingling like a sweet, sandy sunburn.

________________________________________________

And yes, the poem is real and did win third place in the Green River Writer’s Contest. We couldn’t make this shit up.

imagesCAQ9YDJW

 

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