Wanted: Someone To Write An Ode to a Urinal

Is there no one in Minnesota who can handle the job?


What are your three favorite words?

Jangle. Allonge. Budgie. Alternatively: Cha. Cha. Cha.

Raoul Benavides


Your three least favorite words?

Horny. Menstruation. And stupid usages of normal words, as in "He offices near me." And "outsource"--oh, that really chaps my butt.


If you were invited to celebrity roasts for Robert Bly and Garrison Keillor and could only attend one, which would you attend? What might be your toast?

First, knowing me, I would likely RSVP to both and show at neither, fully intending to stop at both, but then getting home at the end of a long day and deciding it would be a capital idea to lie on the couch. Instead of being there and making a toast, I'd send them gifts later: a nice autoharp and a sweater vest for Robert. For Garrison, a disguise so he can remain shy in public--maybe a drag queen disguise would be nice, though an awful lot of trouble. It's not easy being a girl, you know.


Which local news personality has the most poetic name: Robyne Robinson, Rusty Gatenby, or Rick Kupchella? Please write a couplet using that name.

Look, Robyne Robinson, that's just overkill. Kupchella is good, but Rick? Que vanilla. I'd have to choose Rusty Gatenby:


When I in my car stupid drivers revile
When the Metro bus strike cramps my style
When I can't see traffic for the clouds
Rusty, Channel 5, clear and loud.


Is Minnesota a good place for poets?

Hell yes.


"Not at the Grave of Herbert Khoury"


Not that he wasn't eccentric enough: big guy with a ukulele, falsetto stylings, compulsive rituals
towards young skin. I go to the grave

of Tiny Tim, or say I will, or really intend to but I won't go
to the swank lawn of death
as groomed and calm as a racehorse
sleeping, despite my fondness

for his Revlon locks, astounding nose, face only
an Extreme Makeover scout
could love. No, this spring

is too much death: the week of watching
my grandmother stop, the long hands, low
tones, the sudden wide stare: she was

in there. Enough of standing on the cold sod
with an open book. I cannot fib. May the birds cruise low
on the bruise of lawn you're under.
She was 94. You were too much younger. Tulips
I brung you--yo, play along, sorrows.


"Dodo, 1974"

Let us go in toto to Lake Dodo
Where my sister crashed her pink Suzuki
and the raspberry vines grew dense and handsome.
My brother and I played Brain Transplant:
heads beneath the blinking lampshades of the goddess-armed
gooseneck, stuttered by light, until we said
like robots in turn, "I want
a dirtbike." "I want a poodle."
The lake's bottom was shift and silt.
My parents' marriage was almost over.
Raspberry pie, raspberry jam, the red
juice in our hair and fingers--

We weren't there long. Long enough
to drink contraband beer bought from the French Club,
long enough to mix sloe gin with Galliano
and learn the long kiss of my second cousin
on the long lawn down in the dark
to the dock. Watching Nixon's face
clenched on the screen of our far TV when he
resigned, the shock on the faces of
adulthood. The world was starting
to crack, an old mirror ghosted
in slivers. My father's red boat was pulled up
out of the lake and the dock dismantled. It was fall, the return
of acne, and I wore my hair in a shag.


Dobby Gibson


What living poet's work would you most like to pass off as your own?

Hey, those kinds of smoky, backroom shenanigans are precisely what can bring down the regime of an otherwise respectable, hard-working poet laureate.


Most overrated dead poet?

Most, if not all, of the Beats.


Would you mind being called "Bard?"

...as long as it comes with a reserved parking place.


What other title would you choose for yourself, e.g., High Commissioner of Poetry?



Please include here the worst couplet or short stanza you've ever written:

What would you rather do, stick your face into a campfire or drink a gallon of kerosene? Sorry, what was your question again?


Would you be willing to pose in a Poet Laureate Swimsuit Calendar?

Only if I can be Mr. December.


What rhymes with orange?



Please pen a very short limerick in favor of municipal trash pickup.

You're assuming I'm in favor of municipal trash pickup. We need to start by commissioning an extremely expensive study.


Who is more likely to appear in your poems, Prince or Goldie Gopher? Why?

Goldie. There's a sea of mortal woe beneath all that cute fur--though the same might be said of Prince.


What are your three favorite words?

Anemone. Kerfuffle. Ossify.


Three least favorite words?

Zesty. Antidisestablishmentarianism. Phlegm.


What would be your first proclamation as poet laureate?

Snow day!


If appointed poet laureate, what three poets might you nominate, excluding your fellow nominees, to succeed you?

I'd want to subject them to this questionnaire first. Nobody gets off that easy.


What percentage of your poems turn out well? What are the determining factors?

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