Wanted: Someone To Write An Ode to a Urinal

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


The First Avenue crowd swaying in the electricity,

Westerberg announcing it's over, it's done,

Raoul Benavides

his guitar is ready and the street is near.

Westerberg grinning on the exploding stage,

someone throwing a t-shirt he catches in mid-air.


The First Avenue crowd following the beams,

Westerberg strumming as hard as he can, replacing

the love of God with the need to scream.

Westerberg lowering his voice because the crowd is near,

the back door thrown open without hesitation or fear.


"Crossing the Minnesota River over the Cedar 77 Highway Bridge"

We want to keep going, but the sun is there.

We want to fly, but the valleys are deep.

The river under the highway slick as the sky,

traffic disappearing beyond the bridge

to keep us in line without looking back.


We want to insert the right CD.

We want to cross lanes before the river dries.

The trails are gone and the highway bends,

Forests and fields announcing the truth--

at the river you must make a turn.


We want to keep moving, but the city is there.

We want to count birds, but the bridge ends.

The river under our wheels flows in return,

sending us home to measure the currents, car

engines clicking quietly in driveways full of dreams.


Bao Phi


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

Ed Bok Lee.


Most overrated dead poet?



Most underrated?

Nguyen Du.


Would you mind being called "Bard?"

Only if I could have a Bag of Holding and a Vorpal Sword.


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

The Joy Luck Thug.


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

No, no, no, not for free. You'll have to buy my chapbook. Then, just flip the book open and put your finger down anywhere. That'll be your answer. The noise you will hear is me running away with your $5.


How many poems (by other writers) do you know by memory?

Maybe five. Which is four more than poems by myself that I have committed to memory.


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

Hell yeah, though I doubt anyone would want to see it if I was in that shit.


Which of these colors sounds the best: ochre, magenta, red?

Ochre is an earth tone yellow, right? And they say Asian people are "yellow." So, I'ma have to go with ochre.


Which president would you most like to write a poem about: Abraham Lincoln, Gerald Ford, Millard Fillmore, Teddy Roosevelt or George W. Bush? What would be the theme of that poem?

George W. Bush, where my votes at?!


What rhymes with orange?

Loring. Uh, yeah.


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


Nam once threw away his I-Ching

Its ideas were not to his liking

When they picked up his trash

He dashed outside fast

Said "Goddamn, they forgot my recycling."


What are your three favorite words?

I'm with you.


Three least favorite words?

I don't care.

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


When I accidentally bumped into Rick Kupchella,

He said, "you got your chocolate in my Nutella."

Why do so many poets live with their mothers?

Since I'm not making too much money and may have to move back into Mama's house, I'll ask her and get back to you....


What is our most poetic neighboring state?

You're killing me, man! Hmmm...North Dakota. It kinda rhymes with "endorse Winona." Kinda.

What is the state muffin?

Me, when I am wearing tight jeans.


Is Minnesota a good place for poets?

Uh, yes. Please vote for me.


What is the most poetic bridge, building, or street in the Twin Cities?

26th Street. It's a one-way street that goes through almost every socioeconomic "situation" in Minneapolis. Tied for second are Lake Street and University Avenue in St. Paul.


What's the one civic issue that you would flatly refuse to write about?

Airport noise.


Is all poetry good poetry?

Nope. But all true effort to write poetry is good effort. Even if it's so bad that you aren't going to show it to anyone, at least you tried. Writing poetry is tough.


"Miss Saigon: Always a Visitor"

You come into town often enough. Why not stay?

There are plenty who will ask where are you REALLY from

In a Broad/way.

There are plenty of white dudes here to kill yourself over,

Plenty of white women waiting with Kleenex open like safety nets

Waiting to catch you as you fall, yellow star in a white sky,

As the yolk of the sun breaks across the horizon.

You, figment of a masturbation, orgasm of a martyr,

Forever girl-next-door foreigner, drown yourself at Chino Latino

Where men will try to pick you up by asking:

Do you speak take-me-to-America?

Bombshell of a war baby, foxhole of a sister,

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