'The Best American Poetry Poem 2012 With Footnotes'

‘The Best American Poetry Poem 2012
With Footnotes’
by Quazwally Rolondo Ph.D

Guest Editor: Tonto Goldberg Ph.D
Series Editor: James Moriarty Ph.D

Q U A Z W A L L Y   R O L O N D O   P H. D
[poetic license# 1288romod1969]


F O R K  I N  P A T H O G E N (1)

* * *

ii. (2)
Man becomes his tool.
He works a mosaic of finch song.
She is doohickie namaste’. (3)
They signed leases for It to dwell.
We are the outer mashed up inner.
You stand at a crossroads.
I have you in my crosshairs.

5. (4)
Dyslexics are dog worshippers.
Instead of damning the torpedoes,
they torpedoed the dam.
Now every nerd-o-chondria (5)
in the antfarm
swims upon the watershed.
no floaties.

Lovers warm themselves by the chimenea (6)
Pinonwood sprouts midair in a screened porch

Chickpeas and boza hush certainty and doubt (7)
It is the questions we do not ask which keep us here

Aphrodite shoulder-tosses her spiel
Cupid is a registered member of the N.R.A. (8)

Absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat !!! (10)
plastered from Calliope’s Bock Beer
@ you popped my G-string
–Prometheus Unbound… (11)
^^life is performable
%Cadigans mutations hybride and groomable (12)
+++debate construction
=corkscrew to timeless vintages
~~~~get thru, by, and for it
^¾^the dressing booth, the bed
& ‰ & doing and undoing banquet
pass e/d [o{u|t
After Ovid (13)
Love is short and sweet…it all goes to shit cause it gets old fast. Battery operated boyfriend is out and the dude’s gone. So she found a sacker boy. The heating blanket was on but got turned off quickly. Men are crazy to leave their girlfriends alone with just Netflix. 3 toed sloths and harpy eagles don’t mix. But Rottweilers will sure as hell fuck Chihuahuas. Can’t blame emo-girl for wanting a little dick, can ya? She rode him like a spicy chicken. Look at it this way–he’s your back-up linebacker. Send an invitation next time: “Come over and fuck my wife, please.” Lightning and cockroaches stir up lonliness, know what i’m sayin’? You should have taken a job where you’re not out of town 24/7. Though the frequent flyer miles are nice and playing Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds on the blackberry is oh so addictive. Yeah, her guilt free pass is stamped. But you don’t get one. Try screwing around on her and all the wild hogs, mountain cougars, and rattlesnakes in Texas will eat your lunch, boy! Look closely thru the mascara and you can tell what’s on her mind:
To hell with this shit–I’m getting nekkid!”
Neopolitan Triptych (14)
Vanilla planifolia   Fragaria ananassa  Theobroma cacao
milkshake white skin some say the what chub trade
flows like Debussy the forbidden fruit was of triage has
and Chagall (15) not an apple but a been sold,
down her naked strawberry. And that given, taken?
flowery desert
it was not woman who I have Whitman’s
glacier. The scent tempted man–but man leaves preserved
of her pureness
who duct-taped woman in formaldehyde
is captured in to his needy embrace made from Master's river. (16)
a can of Febreze
and covered her  There’s no
purchased at the forever more candy bar that can't be
dollar store
or less with his seed  eaten with a spork.

From Haggard & Halloo

1. It is an important rule in the Poetry World to keep one’s title to three words or less. Here I pair a mundane item, ‘fork’, with eruditic scientific terminology to spark a delightful compare and contrast.
2. Number your stanzas frequently to give the audience a false sense of order before you lower the trap door on them. In this stanza I use short simple declarative sentences to ease the reader into the poem. All the personal pronouns are represented.
3. Always present your first exotic power word in line 3. Here I use namaste’, a salutation of universal well-being in India, and italicize it for emphasis which sets off a cerebral firecracker.
4. Skip numbers when numbering your stanzas to free the reader from conventionally sequential linear thinking…not to mention it’s fun to screw with their minds.
5. I ripped off the idea of this word, in effect, from a rival poet who came up with ‘geek-ozoa’. Smart bastard!
6. Couplets are used at this key juncture to ellicit an erotic mood as if the lines themselves where lodged in the throws of a passionate coitus.
7. Introduce a foreign cuisine with story behind it to subliminally tie-in appetite for food with hunger for poetry. It also promotes multiculturalism which helps getting your work translated in other countries quicker.
8. See what I did here? I used ‘Aphrodite’, from Greek mythos, in a couplet with ‘Cupid’ which is a popular Roman moniker. It is with such daring ventures into the sea of literature that I procurred tenure and became the ‘bad-boy’ of the English Department.
9. Just seperate your entire poem with a long dash for no reason whatsoever. It is profound. It looks good.  And that’s the only reason one needs to be sure of their own caesura.
10. Include a sub-title of Latin phraseology midway through your endeavor. It will trick readers into believing you’re smarter than you really are. And if they are doubting other parts of the poem, they will now accept it on faith. And yes, italicize it.
11. This is a shameless allusion to Percy Bysche Shelley’s ‘Prometheus Unbound’ made vile, base, and downright funny!
12. I think I was drinking my Cognac and Brandy when I wrote this section. I’m still trying to figure it out myself.
13. What follows is a paraphrase of Ovid’s ‘The Art of Love Book 2’ artfully rendered in the low-brow to give yin-yang effect to my unintentional highbrow.
14. I have included in the title to this mini-poem an art-term, ‘Triptych’, as a sly way of reaching out to painters, sculptors, and graphic artists and including them in my fan-base. We are all the same, basically, for the most part, give or take a few minor differences, are we not?
15. Debussy and Chagall–musician and painter. It takes a village of creative minds, correct?
16. This is a reference to Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and Edgar Lee Master’s “Spoon River Anthology”. If I have seen so far it is only because I have piggy-backed on the shoulders of giants and plugged their names to add credibility to my own work.
Thank you, you’ve all been wonderful!
About Quazwally Rolondo Ph.D:
Quazwally Rolondo was born in King-of-Prussia, Pennsylvania in 1959. He is Professor of Modern Contemporary Literature at the FeauBratten Academy in the Fields Institute of the Poetic Arts. His poems have appeared in many prestigious publications including Eiffel Other Glance, Sparkle Trolley, Felopian Tuba, The Spritz Felafel, The Berjerker, and Flotsam Poetica. His books include Coffin in a Storage Shed, Taco Hut Sparrow Bush, and The Goodwill Mirror. He is Master of Ceremonies at the annual On Our Meds Meditation By The Mediterranean poetry retreat held on the Island of Crete.

0 thoughts on “'The Best American Poetry Poem 2012 With Footnotes'

  1. More allusions than I can shake a stick at. More alluvions than I can stick a shack on. More illusions than I can stack a schtick on. Stick it to the man, man. Punk the punk, out drink the drunk, dunk the doughnut in sugar funk and call your mama late for lunch. This is good eating, the best seating this side of Eden, literally closest to mind freeing than living in the closet with the light on. Out of the cave, out of the slave~ depraved from the mouth of babes. I may not be lost in the woods but maybe if I try really hard I could. It’s worth a shot. Since I got Cupid on speed dial and in my friends network~ I’m out of range, off the hook, bullet proof running down my leg as fast as it can. I’ve been hit. Arrow to the knee. Thanks….you’ve changed the walk I walk forever convinced your way is better.

  2. Lmao. Thanks man. This poem/body of work has the real potential of coming across in the wrong way so i thought i’d just describe some of the motivation behind it. If one reads the title, they’re likely to think ‘hmph, that smug bastard. who does he think he is?’ But it was merely an idea that emanated from the popular ‘Best American Poetry’ series and in particular version 2004 of which i read and appreciated much therein. With so much poetry, it would seem, publication and sharing appears to be who you are, what you’ve done, etc. etc. with many academics being very prominent. So there is this risk of getting caught up in the whole submission process and making too much of it and forgetting why you write in the first place. There are great poems in the ‘Best American Poetry’ series and i marvelled at a great many of them, and i don’t begrudge academics their pursuit of being published even though in the above work i invent a willy professor who is a master of the game, widely popular, acclaimed critically, so-forth and so-on…yes the point is an overt stereotype but it is in actuality a voice for that part of me that is the young, fame-seeking, uber-poet. Satire is a tool here. The point of the piece is this: 1. You don’t have to have a Ph.D to write poetry or to be considered good; 2. yes there are a plethora of publishing entities that prefer a name with ph.d or whatever and long lists of prior publishings to even consider you but it’s not worth getting upset over cause there are just as many ‘working class’ zines, blogs, etc. that don’t give a shit. 3. Most of the poems in a ‘first class’ publication or chosen from ‘America’s Best Poetry’ are good but i’ve read just as good or better or more down-to-earth and less ‘trying to impress’ in Haggard and Halloo, Madswirl, and others. 4. When you get ‘caught up in the game’ of submitting here or there there is a real risk of putting the cart before the horse and forgetting the most important reason one writes anyway–for yourself, to express, and secondly to share. Always put yourself first.
    So anyways…that’s a little bit of my motivation. But it’s not a total ‘de-bunk piece’–it’s in great part the brain-child of this alter-ego[maniac] inside me {Dr. Quazwally Rolondo}, which despite his faults, really does tap into something very vital to ‘life equipment’ even though his motivations are questionable.
    The first stanza begins in an elaboration of the title–fork is a tool and pathogen is an infectious agent that gets inside of us somehow and to do what? The first stanza expounds upon the idea of namaste even though it is merely presented in line 3 as a fleeting ‘power word’. Other key elements here are ‘inner/outer’ and ‘me/you’. So 2 kinds of struggle are taking place right off the bat–a personal inner struggle to perhaps reconcile oneself with the world and find meaning/purpose and secondly the enigma of human relationships/love with all its risks and illogic.
    The second stanza takes a divergent roller coaster turn in introducing ‘backwardsness’ and a sort of ill-fate via dyslexics when the dam [literally but also read figuratively] is torpedoed–why do we inadvertently destroy? Is it an impulse of intuition? What do we sense? Or is it all just blind luck, or fate? With ‘nerd-o-chondria’ we get a word that is a splice and hearkens back to ‘pathogen’ in a sense by connoting smallness–“We are all smaller than we think”–this idea reinforced by ‘antfarm’–“and for what?–What is our purpose again?” The word ‘watershed’ has dual meaning and also can be taken and should be taken both literally and figuratively. It can mean a divide [in hydrology] thus enhancing the ‘water theme’ started with the ‘dam’. Watershed also means “an important point of division or transition between two phases, conditions, etc”–again with the dichotomy–dichotomy of self–dichotomy of the perfect yin yang circle–opposites–man and woman.
    This leads us to the couplets–a visual illustration of dichotomy to be sure. The couplets begin with warm love in a healthy atmosphere, a no-man’s land of transcendence between the prospect of life’s dichotomies is temporarilly gained–an attainment of ‘just being’. But then Aphrodite shoulder tosses her spiel and Cupid becomes a registered member of the NRA. Aphrodite’s surprising carelessness or laicodaisical behavior might seem natural or even comforting at first but is it ‘the guard that gets let down’? Does love last? Can it last? Will it inevitably become a tool of the world…? Love and the world’s demands–can they co-exist? The metamorphing of Cupid into a rifle-bearing NRA (worldly) may be a dark forshadowing.
    I’ll end here for a while. My fingers are tired. Ah, what the hell, there’s snow on the ground outside, it’s beautiful. Let me get a glass of milk and i’ll be right back to write some more.
    The next section/stanza begins with some Latin wisdom: To argue with a drunk man to is argue with a man not there [loose translation]. Each line starts with nonsensical symbology–life’s meanings have become undecipherable and our main character has become drunk. Drunk with power? with overconfidence? with failure? with incapability at handling what life hurls at him–has he become overwhelmed and reduced to a blithering mass of jello curled up in the fetal position? Hmm. In any case, whatever rise and fall, we might assume that life’s ‘drunkenness’ may be due to getting too caught up in the details and losing the point of it…here in this stanza we have the significant other ‘you’ making a return in erotic fashion with both focusing on fun and games and not the real meat of love’s essence…the inner strength (the grip on life) has been lost–outward things begin to crumble…the character desperately tries to remesh and make sense of the dichotomies which spin his earth under him yet he is unable to get a grip…he has lapsed from an aesthetic/moral man to aesthetic hedonism. “To get by thru and for it” is not good enough. He changes himself constantly in the dressing booth hence losing himself. “The bed”–sleep and wakefullness are blurred–“The doing and undoing banquet”. He has become undone.
    The next section is a paraphrase of Ovid’s poem and basically it is the straightforward story of ‘guy loses girl’. So love does not last.
    The tryptych section is a wrap up extrapolating on our human nature and goes crossgrain to the duality/dichotomy theme thruout the piece–we must go beyond our conceptions and include other elements of complexity–men in particular are examined here in regards to love seen within the greater context of our tendency to want to control and possess. In Vanilla, Debussy and Chagall–music for the ear and painting for the eyes–another dichotomy and perhaps art itself personified into a tragic tag-team which witness the far-fetched and impossible ‘capturing of a woman’s pureness’, if there is such a thing, in a can of Febreze purchased at the dollar store…so here we have, virtually, the dispelling of the naive and unnatural romanticism which has been our character’s tragic flaw thruout, by a simple can of odor refreshment. The Strawberry, we bear witness to revisionist confession regarding the concept of original sin–that it does indeed lie in our nature along the opposite dichotomy which we cannot intuitively follow–we must conform to physics, in effect, to realism, to practicality for love to have any chance even though it is not the romanticist version we would prefer. In chocolate, we conclude with the advent of compromise, of trade, and of using art as a tool instead of as an end unto itself. We preserve the wisdom of poetry as referenced via ‘whitman’ and ‘masters’ as a ‘good experience for the living’ rather than seeking to control. And lastly, we design a new tool, the spork, and taste of the sweetness of life epitomized here in chocolate. Chocolate is dark, earthen colored–down to earth–balanced. It is rich, not to be taken in excess but in moderation. Be sure to brush your teeth. the end. This is about as good an interpretation of the poem i can give. But whatever insight the reader my gain might be entirely different–and i would urge that as an option as well. Unless you go out and start to kill people or something–not that. thanks!

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