The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2016

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JUNE 2016 Issue

Dodge-Verse-ity, New Jersey:
The Festival at the Heart of the Foundations
A Yelp Poem

 “Yes, 2015 was an historical year for poetry. It marked the dramatic flowering of the most significant development in contemporary poetry in a century: the emergence of women and poets of color as the central drivers of innovation in the art…. [Poetry] collections emerged at a time when daring, original, experimental work that bravely addressed contemporary culture was also written by [women and poets of color]. The current state of contemporary poetry in America…is as vital, diverse and exciting as our population [of women and poets of color]”

(from the Dodge Poetry Festival Blog)


each move I make you know the counterweight
if I dodge left I find you on my right
when I smile bright your teeth are dark as night

(Kamau Brathwaite, from “Basilisk”)


For Martin NiemÖller

(“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


First, for a lark, they came for the Short Amiris
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Lark or a Short Amiri

de-laureled out of Jersey
after he blew up America’s sacred cow
then dodged by the very Dodgers who invited him
to their Rockefeller’s dog and pony show
Then they Dodged  
the Elderly Jackie
Hirschman and José Kozer

and we could not stand and speak out

as we were not one of those elderly dozers
and loved only the Giants
who the Jersey Dodgers

to play ball


like the Pink O Teethy
Tzimtzumian Hirschman  
or the wine-dark Yiddishy-
Cuban Kozer...
Who, refusing exposure
Inside the prison of identity
“Me, Japanese!”


No room in the burrows of Dodge-Verse-ity
To refuse identity
for aged poets from the Bronx and Queens
for their gods of contractions
and tabula rasas
here today         gone tomorrow
for their Tzimtzumian or animistic
dirty dancing
or Madonna’s Q’abala
with orgasmic consequences
of course—like
they shoot not so well hung horses don’t

in Dodge
yes they did
their due diligence

but still

somebody there screwed up
America’s understanding of poetry
by turning America’s
elder poets’ heads

far away from Dodge-Verse-ity
either not to be seen or
made to look bloated and obscene
like blow-up dolls from Ely Lilly
who fattened them on Zyprexa
 to treat their dementia
and then offered the money 
to the Foundations for  Poetry
who then came ho ho ho

for me and Julio

bringin’ it down
by the schoolyard

pickin’ us up  
to play

the Dodge-Verse-ity
but there was no one left to speak for us

So we said “Of course, of course
a horse is a horse
drive us to Jersey
we’ll be
your ad-verse-ity
narco-corrido bards”
although it was true enough we did not
speak out                                                                                                               

from within
the experience


a lark, a card
in the hands of
those who claimed to be experimentally AND diversely AND Bravely Original
Martins of Dodge-Verse-ity

who said
they had it covered

but still
were averse to facing poems of the elderly the sickly the unprettily
and so cowered

to save face
and so came
with a Seltzer
a peace-offering,  a place-holder
for one Jew-bracing
David Meltzer

“come to Dodge please be bop de beep for us”

but it was too late
he refused
as the dust

had already  kicked up

in the east
like Passover yeast
yes be bop
de beep
they were all asleep
and dreaming secretly whispered to each other
“Radical Jew poets in the West look as anachronistic to East coast Dodge Poetry Forums
Or Secular Poetix Stock Firms
(Say Mueller, Moritz and Bernstein)
as Yiddish speaking Indian chiefs who fall off their horses backwards and go missing”
 “Watch out for Christ’s sake,” said Judas
“Just Stay out of Dodge, Jackie and Benny

Just be the emirs
of the sickly and unprettily and
don’t bother us with your Service Cows

FAREWELL, fare thee well”

What, we asked, when they claimed to be experimentally
and diversely and bravely original in  Dodge-Verse-ity
in Poetry what
could they possibly have
against these poets
and why
did they ne’er invite the elderly and the sickly-
skewed-eyed (lineage of)
Duncans and Creeleys and over-bulked Olsons
the eco-friendly shut-in Lorine Niedeckers
the stroked out commie-muraled Muriel Rukeysers
breathing a voice-less miner’s dust on poetry’s pleasers
who really only feared its “total response” coming near them
or the equally stroked out smokin’ Jimmie Durham
who said “I may have a shot on the West Bank, in Palesteen./

I’ll dance in Beirut. Then West!”

but never among the boys and girls of America’s Dodge-Verse-ity

who lost his wolf clan Cherokees in

“the Greek section of Queens”

Why did those eastern Dodge-Verse-ity boys and girls
doubt and deny these names and their poetry
the can-do cancerous jazz jaw breaking Panamanian Thomases
the horse-faced Lorenzos
and Pancrea--TiTic Bennies and Kearneys
with their rebuilt hearts and coldly rigored hands
laid out on gurneys
or the prostate C.

did the whitest ethnic bean
always wait for someone else to be-
come authentic

and come prized

before inviting
anyone but the cow-faced and the pancrea-titic
whose poems they couldn’t

hear or bear to look at
like the cooked out Limas and di Primas
once lover of the Short Amiri’s

what could this team of Jersey Dodgers possibly have against these
great poets well it could only be
of course, they shoot not so well hung horses don’t they
in Dodge

why, yes, Rex said
it, “by g=d I think I’ve goT-iT’s,”

their sickly ness es
no mistaking it
it’s the trans sickly ness es

of those poets America’s Dodge-Vers-ity could not bear to look at

who would be catcalled on  stage
because their faces and their poems looked like bloated sad cattle
or not so well hung horses
and thus could never have access to the houses
where they crown poets

were averse to the
diversity of the Dornian gunslingers
the sickly the elderly the just plain dung ugly
(Pray, Lord, they are nearing)
the Publishers Clearing House

Scroll to April:

Dodge Ball in Dodge-Verse-Ity and how the Poetry Foundation's Blog of Harriet played along, by Margie Plymouth Rock



Margie Plymouth and Homar Hudson

Margie Plymouth is the 18th generation heir to the founding poets of Plymouth Rock, while Homar Hudson proudly descends from what can only be called Persia’s Homer, claiming as his forebear the immigrant Perseus who came as a stranger into the strange land of Pelopennus, and who, as William Gladstone has reported, was in “close relation with that outer circle of traditions designated as Phoenician.” Together, Ms. Plymouth and Mr. Hudson are tuning up a screenplay titled Eichmann in Ramallah, about a Lutheran American woman perpetually on route to Jerusalem, who spends her days stopped at Israeli checkpoints, while her Muslim husband and children are permitted right through.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2016

All Issues