Have an itch?

Can't quite get at it, can you?

Need it scratched?

Well, then!

Write one of the American Poetry Alliance's five poets.

They have answers.*

This being a free country, for the time being at least, you are free to choose from of the following poetic artists: A. Tad Strange (, Professor of Woman Studies Emily Norcross (, the possibly late Zanzibar "Buck Buck" McFate (Courtesy of SeanceTek 1.0 by Microsoft) (, Dr. Lester Scoggin, Ast.D. (, or Dalmatian toadflax (


*Neither the APA nor any of its employees, affiliates, licensees, temporary freelance contract workers from India, or franchisees now existing or yet to be assume any legal responsibility whatsoever for any comments, suggestions, insults (real or imagined), or anything whatsoever said, imputed, implied, or anything else by any poet or plant below. Take a dive into the shallow end, go on, I dares ya! A-scug-a-guh-guh.


Α ∞◊  §   ∞ Ω


Dear Dr. Scoggin:

First, please allow me to tell you how much the industry appreciates your work on behalf of the Foreign Major Appliance Trade Relations Board (FMATRB). Your contributions have not gone unnoticed, and on behalf of D.L Moore TV & Appliance, Inc., of Cincinnati, I’d like to wish you many more years of successful multilateral trade negotiations and poetry writing on our behalf and that of the free world.

I’d like to take this opportunity today, if I may, to offer a query regarding the current debate in some circles, particularly Democratic Party ones, regarding whether or not, following the January inauguration, there should be what has come to be known as a ‘NAFTA pause’ during which time bilateral negotiations should be entered into between the United States and the government of Colombia with regard to tariffs, and I would especially value learning your views with regard to how trade duties may affect the manufacture and supply chain distribution of sub-set assemblies of Kenmore agitators transshipped from Taiwan for capacitor integration in that Latin American ally of ours and then to the United States.

Best regards,

D.L. Moore
President & Chief Executive Officer
D.L. Moore TV & Applicance, Inc., of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio


Dear Dick:

I remember meeting you over cocktails at Hank’s. It’s a pleasure to hear from you again after all these years. I trust that you have long since satisfactorily resolved the cash flow issues you were having at your Convington, Kentucky, location.

If memory serves me, and it has to these days, as I am totally blind due to my unfortunate Clorox accident, my good friend Hank wrote in The Los Angeles Times, I believe it was in mid-July 1993, that, and I may be paraphrasing here, “What Congress has before it is not a conventional trade agreement but the architecture of a new international system…a first step toward NeWo—a New World Order.” NeWo has, in the intervening years, led to significant, but not unexpected dislocations, not only in our industry, major appliances, but also—and this has not been well reported by our friends in the media—also in the poetry industry, as well.

I speak here now specifically with regard to its, that is to say, Colombia's export of roses and other cut flowers to the United States. I am not the first to have noticed that Colombia is the South Korea of flower exporters, and to that I say, “Joo-geen-dah!” Heightened rose inflows—particularly of the colors crimson, vermillion, and damask, that is to say, red, and to a lesser degree fuschia, cerise, and other pinks, such as shocking pink, shell pink, and hot pink varieties—has, however, had the unfortunate side-effect of making indigenously produced American love poems less attractive, particularly in the Kansas City-based greeting card industry.

Personally, I myself am rather fond of the Sheridan poem “The Geranium” which I feel to this matter is en pointe or 'on tippy-toe' as we say in English, my ancient Mother tongue, just as I am sure it is yours, as well. A brief excerpt should offer a cogent and useful summation: “Nature, said I, my lovely Sue,/To all her followers lends a clue;/Her simple laws themselves explain,/As links of one continued chain;/For her the mysteries of creation,/Are but the works of generation:/Yon blushing, strong, triumphant flower,/Is in the crisis of its power…”

And, indeed, so too do we find ourselves in a multifaceted crisis of power. Whether we accede to the Fukayaman notion that indeed history has ended or, conversely, ascribe to the Huntingtonian civilizational clash, in whichever intellectual posture we adopt we find ourselves groping as nation states, like blind men, as am I, towards some unknown goal, perhaps the General Electric Profile Side-by-Side Stainless Refrigerator of pacific relations (with built-in ice dispenser) where we may’st find a buttermilk container to soothe and allay our pangs of hunger-inducing inflationary distress while perhaps feelingly seeking to shun the red-hot Duel-Fuel GE Stovetop of pain-inducing trade imbalances.

While I am not irrefragably opposed to any re-op ening of NAFTA, either with regard to sonnets, free verse, Angel Face floribundas, or HydraMatic-brand Kenmore pumps, I am entirely in favor of allemansrätt, a term you have never before heard of but which is oft times spoken in Reykjavik, the world's northermost capital city whose population is 119,000 and whose language I speak fluently.

Basically, Dick, don't sweat it. Go pop a beer or something.

I hope that this has satisfactorily answered your query. I thank you for your kind words regarding my many years of well-compensated service for the FMATRB or whatever its initials are, and I remain most humbly yours,

L. Scoggin, Ast.D.

(P.S.—My best to your lovely wife Eugenia.)



Α ∞◊  §   ∞ Ω


Hey, Emily!

I think 20th century American female poets are very trés hot. I’d like to find one, like, for coffee and possible good rhymes. Maybe even probing textual exegesis of her dactylic hexameter.

Sylvia Plath? A sexymad fox. Jugs like a milkmaid’s and swivelicious hips like nothing you never seen at a bowling alley. Check it out: “For the first time I put on my red silk stockings with red shoes—they feel amazing, or, rather, the color feels amazing—almost incandescent fire silk-sheathing my legs: I can’t stop looking—the stocking goes almost flesh-color, but gathers rose and glows at the edges of the leg as it cuts its shape on air, concentrating the crimson on the rounding-away, shifting as I shift. Quite satisfactory.”

It’s on page 379 of her Unabridged Journals! Holy smoking Jesus! Tell me that Hughes dude was not getting enough at home!

And Anne Sexton? Man, my teeth are floating. She was freaking out of control! Just look at the titles of her poems, wouldja! “For Johnny Pole on the Forgotten Beach” “Woman With Girdle” “The Wedding Night” “The Kiss” “The Breast” “Song for a Red Nightgown” “The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator” “Iron Hans” Do I need to go on? “The Red Shoes” “Oysters” “The Fury of Cocks” (No, that’s not an Allen Ginsberg poem.) “Frenzy” “Snail” “The Big Boots of Pain.” “The Red Shoes.” Did I say that one already? Super freaky, that Anne ‘Sex’ ton.

So—is it true, Emily? Are lady poets, you know, like elementary school teachers, nurses, and pastry chefs? O, all those petit fours! The qweek-quack sensible shoes on sterile linoleum. O, for perky-bosom concealing corduroy jumpers and heavy black tights. Gold stars, naptime, and smiley faces every day! Hooray! O, for buttery croissants and tongue depressors (aaah….) and lukewarm half-pints of milk! Makes my straw stand up and slip right in. Yum.

Poetry Lover in Pittsburg


Dear PLIP:

I am sure that I would not know what you are talking about.

But if I did, I would tell you that like most men, you view womyn through the narrow and filthy Venetian blind of your own crude desires, which I am sure rise to the occasion but briefly and with much difficult yanking. May I suggest that you take your fetishistic tremble pleasure in hand and deposit your resulting ‘affections’ in the Kleenex-brand tissue of memory and thence to the toilet, so that your pus seed may be devoured by sewer-slithering reptiles.

You know nothing of women or of their hearts, much less of the infinite fuzzy azure that is the soul of the womynpoet. If you did, you would know that ankle-length flannel nightgowns and wool socks are what all women desire.

Sincerely go fuck yourself,

Professor E. Norcross

P.S.: Ted Hughes was a pig.


Α ∞◊  §   ∞ Ω


Dear Mr. McFate:

My name is Ronnie Thompson. I am a Halls High School senior in Fountain City, Tennessee. I am a big admirer of yours. I have a question for you. That is why I am writing.

I am going to join the Marines as soon as I am 18 and my mother says I can. I want to fight the Islamic terrorism. I will go anywhere. Boo-ya, sir!

I am also a poet. I like to write. Some of my favorite writers are Shakespeare, Marie Rilke, and Eminem. He is keeping it real for my generation.

When Ms. Rilke wrote “And became as lonely as a shepherd and as overburdened by vast distances, and summoned and stirred as from far away, and slowly, like a long new threat, introduced into that picture-sequence where now having to go on bewilders us” I think she was talking about me.

My question is how do I be true to my poet’s heart and still give it up for Uncle Sam?

Thank you, sir.

Your friend,
Ronnie A. Thompson

PS—I am attaching a photo of my truck. I call it “the Ronster.”


Dear RAT:

At ease, soldier.

Here is my advice to you, son: You can have it all. You can be the warrior poet of your dreams.

But, yo, word up, dude—wait until your Mom says, “Go for it.” The big One Eight. 18. Then you can get that bicep tattoo of a flaming skull gripping a viper in its jaws, and she can’t complain because you were shitfaced blotto drunk, and it was past midnight, and you were on shore leave in Macau. Plus, you were a Marine. Even better, you could get a tattoo of a tiger flying out of your butthole. Big orange tiger with red stripes. Big fangs and claws and whatnot. That way your Mom would never see it. Or if she did you would probably be unconscious. And she would be so embarrassed she would never say anything about it. Send me a pic of your hairy ass cat! Ha ha ha.

Anyway, here is what you do: Once you are out of Basic (that means training) and you are down with ‘it’ (the deep shit or some fuckin' disease that gives you the night sweats and the 'shakes') in some hot LZ (that’s Landing Zone) in the ‘Stan (Afghanistan or as it’s known ‘in country’—Up the Wazoo-i-stan), get yourself a pencil (preferably a No. 1 because any wuss can use a No. 2 Papermate Mirado Classic). And, son, you keep that pencil sharp as shit. And get a notebook. Fuck the three-ring binder, shit. Get one that is ‘graduate ruled’ with a black cover with white speckles on it. Start writing those poems. No, they don’t have to rhyme. Let it come from your sir-yes-sir! GI heart. Every day tear out a page and send it to me, because I’m going to be your literary agent for 20percentofthepretaxgrossallrightsreverttomeupon yourdemise, okay. Next paragraph.

Don’t send these poems to your Mom. They will only upset her because you will be writing about seeing your friends with their arms blowed off ‘n’ danglin’ except for a few bits of ligament and screaming for you to put them out of their misery with a quick burst because the morphine is gone and their nuts is just a mess of goo and the radio is shot through and the choppers aren’t coming and this ain’t no movie, son, and I’m scared, too, and you cain’t just dust off and nuke the planet from space, and you’ll be cutting off the ears of jihadis and stringing them into necklaces just like we did in the Beaucoup Valley in the ‘Nam in ’67. Damn straight, mofo. That shit Kerry was talking? All true. And if you don’t know who Kerry was, that’s okay, because I wish I’d never heard of him either. Long story.

So let’s say—you’re on the midnight shiftclusterdutyfuck—Graveyard shift because we are in Steven J. King territory now, Jim, fuckin’ spooky misty cold on some ‘Stany misty mountain hoptop where the opium roots grow—and up skedaddles some 12-year-old raghead retard leading a suicide donkey with a smokin’ hempen rope through its nose. You give one of your bros your digital camera and say, “Turn it on, bro.” Then you go run up to the donkey and jump on it, just as the jihadi is flippin’ the switch or whatever they do to blow themselves to Allah.

Your bud gets that video to me [write my name and address on the camera], and I’ll have a humungo-sized picture of your tiger ass in the front window of every Barnes & Noble store by Christmas. Post humus best-seller. We’ll call it “Ronster Poem Book” by Pvt. Ronnie A. Thompson.  Dedicated to “Mom.”

Your Mom will be so proud. I can just see her now driving your truck.

That is all.

Your good buddy,
Z. Buck

PS—It’s ‘thread,’ not ‘threat’ in the Rilke poem, and he was a dude, not a girl. I enclose a copy of Owen Edwards poems that he wrote in World War I. He ended up being a movie star in England. Sweet and fitting!

[All responses by Zanzibar "Buck Buck" McFate come courtesy of SeanceTek 1.0, a Microsoft product, as he was disemboweled, scalped, and mutiliated in Congo probably and is dead. All rights reserved. Pat. Pend.]


Α ∞◊  §   ∞ Ω


Dear Mr. Toadflax,

I think your poems are really super. You are the greatest. I have to write this letter because I am in Mrs. McLaughlin’s class in the fifth grade, and we are all writing letters to people who are famous. I am hoping you will write me because I like your book. I found it in a ditch! Do you have any others?

My mother does not like your poems. She says they don’t make a lick of sense. She says she is “discustard” by some of them. She said she is going to throw your book away! I hid it.

You’re not really a plant are you?


Timothy J. Matson
Oakman School
Oakman, Alabama 33579


My dear Tim—

We are pleased to learn of your interest. Yes I, the greatest. Thank you. I see you are ffrom Oakman. Some of my best friends are oak. Ha ha ha.

It sounds like your mother has a strOng will. We like that. You are a very lucky, boy Timothy. She will turn over a new Leaf. You will see. Patience.

Mothers love flowe rs.

Across the street from your school, by the Norfolk Southern Railroad track, you shall see a beautiful plant with lovely yellow flowers. It is the one that is wavfing at you. How can that be?! For real! Look in the ditch. As you walk to your home at 347 Church HolloLane, you must stop to pick these flow rrs. Give them to your mother. They smell soo good. She must smel them, Timothy. Do you unde rstand?

Run along now, Be a goo boy
Your fiend,
D. toadflax


P.s.—I ave many ditches, but there is only 1 book of toadflax. 


Α ∞◊  §   ∞ Ω