Monday, December 14, 2009

Kilmer '08 Featured in Poetry Foundation Podcast

Who'd've thought? Bad poetry, it turns out, is also a concern to the proponents of serious poetry. The Poetry Foundation's most recent podcast has a segment on our very own Kilmer, with a reading by Fred Sasaki, an editor of Poetry Magazine. It starts six minutes in.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kilmer 2009: First Runner-Up

Ballad of the Frozen Heart
by Laura Baur-Jaronowski, CC'06

Listening to the Sound of Silence,
I am an Island,
But not a Rock.
No, nothing so Immutable and Hard and Enduring.
I am Paper,
which your Scissors have Rent in Twain!!!

Or no, I think a Sponge works better...
Yeah, cuz it like absorbs all that touches it-
I imbibith the filthy water, the filthy Water of Pain, like a Sponge.
(See, it’s a better metaphor, especially for what I’m gonna do later.)

And I am Cold in this endless Winter-
I have watched the Sun rise and set
From my window
In Your window
The orange scintillating Sheen
The sheen
The orange sheeming sheets


You warmed me through the cloudy Winter
And I imbibed your rays of sunshine
Like a sponge.
And now that you are gone, the waters are cloudy
Like Winter
But not my mind.
My mind is clear
Like Crystal,
But not Crystals of Ice
Fore it is something far more dear to me
That is now frozen in the Ice.

I followed you that day
Through that dark deserted place
where only lost and tortured souls
dare to show their face.
And How was I to know,
That you would die- DIE
from naught but, naught but
A piercing gone Awry.
And not even a piercing of the Heart
By my Heart
Or, my ART,
but only your Navel with a mundane ring.
(It got infected – with AIDS - ok, maybe not AIDS, but still)

I would have cried an ocean
If I could drink that much
Water, that is. (I don’t drink alcohol)
Filthy Water of PAIN!
For I am a Sponge
And all fluids flow to me.
And out of me (if I’m squeezed hard enough).
And as that fluid pain squeezed out-
I cried out,
‘It doesn’t have to End!’
It never has to End!
For all waters return
To where they beganned
I made use of another liquid
Lighter than water
Stronger than rain
In my backyard
To see you again
I bathed your body
In Liquid Nitrogen.

And So my lovely,
Winter can be nice
My Heart is still with you
Locked in the Ice.


Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Second Runner-Up

Hamilton and Madison
by Alec Webley, Penn C’11

When Just Scalia did declaim
- all logic here contrary -
“The Framers never once proclaimed
A right for gays to marry

For only in the first intent
And character of founders
Can we a civil right invent
And absent that, this flounders”

I was bemused, and quite distraught
For by this understanding
He had no choice but there to wrought
The rights we were demanding.

For I can show, for all to see
Well, really, all to hear
That the framers of this land of thee
Were mostly flaming queer

Of authors of our founding charter
Two were most influential
Both Madison, do all agree
With Hamilton, were essential.

But hark – tonight – I shall reveal
A piece of correspondence
That will our wound with Ant’nin heal,
And grant gays indepondence:

Attend my friends, and hear in verse
Hear well, my selfsame sex,
This letter written in his hand,
From J Mad to Alex.

Hamilton – New York – well-dressed
And James genteel Virginian,
Both had that love which cannot rest
Despite public opinion.

“Dear Alex” – James declaimed,
“It has been too long since we parted
Too long since Philly, where we framed,
And our romance was started.

Ah, I remember well that day
When first our states united
My mood back then was not so gay
With melancholia I was plighted

Quorum was so hard, back then
The men were far between
So imagine when I saw in Penn,
Your quill as from a dream.

Remember our first night? When my
Virgin…ia Plan you’d taken
And with your principles apply
My thoughts when we had wakened

Oh, to see your large, be-tarrifed ports!
To meet your firm militia!
To sate myself before your Courts!
Like genies do the wisher!

Apportion me! (since I am free
Don’t compromise my members
Three fifths is not enough of thee
To light my love’s hot embers)

Like Congress, let us not adjourn
Until our Houses both agree
To overturn Time’s vetoes stern
And validate our heart’s decree

To recess in Philly’s quiet parts,
Where once we lay for hours,
And whispered softly there our hearts’
enumerated powers.

O, let your General Welfare Clause
Be Necess’ry and Proper
To wrap me in your Union laws
And promissory estoppel.

Oh, kiss me – but judicially
Reviewing all objections
And judging Constitution-ly
To measure our affections

And if we two must separate,
I’ll let our Charter be my guide,
To let us commerce interstate,
And come unfettered to your side.”

James Madison goes on – but here
This Federalist I’ll stop reading
And simply say to willing ear
The end of the preceding.

For their romance was like this land
(In debating their ideals)
Was big or small state what they’d planned?
The answer this reveals:

When deciding what the founders meant
Like Madison the fop
We say they like small government
But Hamilton’s on top.


First Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Dishonorable Mention

Stalker, A Love Poem
by Marley Weiner, BC ‘10

My beautiful love, my heart’s delight
I think of you all day and all night
I know that my rambling may not seem right
But it’s on your form that my eyes alight
I’m using big words to tell you my heart
Because you’re so pretty and oh so smart
I know that I’m not nearly good enough for you
But I love you so truly, with love so true.

My dearest, my darling, my ocean, my skies
I’m watching you with my love struck eyes

How I long for you, the girl that I love!
If only an angel from up above
Would give me the PIN to my parents’ account
So that I could buy you a huge amount
Of diamonds, and roses, and other such things
If I could, I would buy you everything
I long for the day when I make you smile
I think I’ll go stalk you on Facebook awhile.

My dearest, my darling, my ocean, my skies
I’m watching you with my love struck eyes.

In math class today, I could hardly think
Looking at you, I was over the brink
Differential equations just turned into mush
When faced with your beauty, my brain just goes...sprlush.
And all I can write is your beautiful name
With hearts all around it, and oh it’s a shame
I wish I could tell you just how I feel
If only I could just make our love real!

My dearest, my darling, my ocean, my skies
I’m watching you with my love struck eyes.

I followed you home from school today
Just so I could watch your hips swing and sway
Your beautiful laughter, your smile, your charms
Oh how I wish that you were in my arms!
Your friends are so lucky, but they’ll never know
How my love for you can grow and grow
I wish you could see just how much I love you
And how many hours a day I spend thinking of you.

My dearest, my darling, my ocean, my skies
I’m watching you with my love struck eyes.

I wonder how I could get a girl like you
And show you how much I want to be true
That all our problems, we will weather.
And that I want us to be together forever
As I sit in the bushes outside of your house
Quiet and watchful, like a little mouse
I wish I could curl up on the couch with you
With your little brother, and your teddy bear Moo-Shoo.

My dearest, my darling, my ocean, my skies,
I’m watching you with my love struck eyes

And here you come, my darling, my true
With a cheerful light in your eyes so blue.
You look so happy, you look oh so pleased
My heart feels like it’s been cured of an awful disease
My love, you approach, could it be that you
Want to tell me that we’ll be together, a love so true?
You hold out your hand, wait there’s something in it…


First Runner-Up
Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Dishonorable Mention

by Samantha Kuperberg, BC'10

Adorable horrible tube dress of mine
Oh wicked, fiendish foe
I do confess
I loved you once—yes,
But alas I love you no mo’

Your fabric it does cling to me
Like a really clingy guy
Who calls every day
With nothing to say,
Like “Sometimes I wish I could fly!”

Another distress of you dress I confess:
You require a strapless bra
Which rubs my skin
Till’ it’s dry as gin
So I go braless—p’sha!!

That you’ve gone down like an alto or a plane
Should come as no surprise
You’ve moved from my nips
Way down to my hips
Cause I’m quite well endowed—boob-wise.

Yes, my bountiful bosom defies gravity
As up and down it does heave
Wish to blow my nose
(I’m allergic to clothes)
But alas. I can’t. No sleeve.

A cincher belt goes round my waist
I pull it tight and hard
To accentuate
My milkshake
Which brings all the boys to the yard

Feel a blustery wind that blusters and blows
For your purchase it will make me pay
As it will expose
More than simply my toes
Like my panties with a heading: Tuesday.

I could have worn some comfy jeans
But I like how you make me look
Big chest, small waist
Long legs, bland face
Like she whose job is it to hook.

But alas, alack the pain I feel
And the lengths that I must go
Oh bitchin’ dress
Are you worth this distress?
No no no no no no no!

So, dress I will laugh if you do dare to ask
If I’d wear you again-- not a chance!
Get out of my face
You’re being replaced
With hot pants, hot pants, hot pants.


First Runner-Up
Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Dishonorable Mention

Chinese Teashop Rap
(With the exception of Darjeeling, which is an Indian tea)
by Dexter Thompson-Pomeroy, CC'12

She got some Darjeeling
And some aged Pu-erh
Old lady in the teashop was lookin’ at her
She said the price aint low!
Do you got the dough?
That’s from Huzhou zhou zhou zhou zhou zhou zhou

She got some Dong ding Wu long
And some Lapsang Souchong
She looked at that old lady hard and long
She said I’ll buy some mo’
I got the dough
Do ya have any tea from the mountains of Song Luo?

Hey, I aint never seen a girl who’d really go
This crazy with the tea spendin’ all her dough
Had expert knowledge bout all the teas
Whether to boil or leave at ninety degrees
So aromatic
She’s a tea fanatic
So enigmatic
I’m gonna be schematic
Hold up wait a minute I said no please don’t go
Please girl don’t just walk out that door
All about tea you seem to know
D’you wanna go get some Tie Guan Yin
Girl please don’t leave it’d be a sin
You’re as smokin’ as Lapsang Souchong
Lightly oxidized like Pouchong
She said “why not? Let’s go have a cuppa”
I said “yes let’s, after we have supper”

Crime and Punishment Rap

Yo I was sittin' in my room readin' Dostoevky,
Jus' sittin' in my chair sittin' on my buttsky
And I thought to myself this Raskolnikov guy
He be goin' down just like Tsar Nikolai
He killed Alyona just for the dough
He killed Lizaveta too, yea he sank low
But he hid that money right under a rock
He aint even kept a kopeck jus' blood on his sock

Prestupleniye i Nakazaniye
Why'd he kill her if he didn't want the money eh?

And I thought as I walked to my class in Pupin
Dunechka really should just dump Mr. Luzhin
But she thinks that she’s helpin’ out her big bro
By marryin’ that lyin’ schemin’ dodo
Then along comes Mr. Svidrigailov
He tries to give her money sayin’ come here my love
But she don’t want him, no! she say I ain’t a ho!
Her heart belongs to Razumikhin.

Prestupleniye i Nakazaniye
Why’d she get engaged to that dummy eh?
Cri-cri-cri-crime and Punishment
Mr. Svidrigailov ain’t much of a gent.

So I sat down again and continued to read
About Rodya and Sonya and their discussion
Rodya told her how he did a bad deed
How he might have had an itty bitty axe malfunction
At first she was scared and she wanted to shout
But then she prayed cause lord she’s really devout


First Runner-Up
Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Dishonorable Mention

If God,
Then: Newark, New Jersey
Or: Up, Up, Down, Down, Right, Left, Dog Poop
Or: God/Jay Michaelson: The Antichrist?
by Michal Richardson, BC'06

Have you heard? God’s everywhere!
Your nose, your gall bladder, your hair
Alpaca farms! Axe body spray!
Strap in, ‘cause you can’t get away.

God is every blade of grass,
God is when you wipe your ass
God is the Sears catalog;
God and I just shot your dog.

God is those wafers that you eat
And in the floorboards ‘neath your feet
‘Cause God can transubstantiate
And God can watch you masturbate.

God is Cheney, God’s Santorum
God’s your World of Warcraft forum
God made Taye Diggs’s’s chin sexy,
Sparking my God-given apoplexy.

National Enquirer headlines!
Writer’s block at thesis deadlines!
Bloody strife in Vietnam
And yes, God’s even in your mom.

How is God the tallest tree
But also Vogon poetry?
Cancer! Famine! Halitosis!
You’d think we’d have been warned by Moses.

But no, it’s all this “Love thy God,”
And “I’m a gullible nimrod,”
Moses, you might have got a gun,
But God is out to get you, son.

Just whose side do you think God’s on?
It’s probably not teenage moms.
How ‘bout blustering Bible-bangers?
And God, it seems, loves wire hangers.

If the omniscient creator
Is even in my refrigerator
If I started eating now,
I could take God down, cow by cow!

How to destroy the divine provider?
The folks at the Large Hadron Collider
Just won’t work swiftly enough.
So I’ve turned to hardier stuff.

Columbians! You’re young; you’re spry
Help the apocalypse draw nigh.
Join forces and this won’t take long:
I sense the God within you’s strong.


First Runner-Up
Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Kilmer 2009: Dishonorable Mention

Math Sonnets
by Adam Levine, GSAS

1. (From freshman year multivariable calculus) If psi = (2x+y cos(xy))dx+x cos(xy)dy, show that psi is exact by finding a function f such that df = psi, and compute the integral of psi around the boundary of T.

f is x to the power of 2
Plus the sine of its product with y.
We can see the equality’s true
’Twixt df and our given form psi.

We can then say that psi is exact
So it’s closed – cause for joy, not despair
For this gives us the wonderful fact
That d psi equals nil everywhere.

Now to integrate psi on the bound
Of T, use the theorem of Stokes:
Integrating d psi all around
Gives the answer. I mean it! No jokes!

So I say in this couplet of heros
That the integral comes out to zero.

2. (From senior year algebraic topology) Let X be a finite, connected CW complex of dimension n, and let Y be a space such that pi_i(Y) is finite for i<=n. Show that [X, Y] is finite.

Let X be a CW complex
That’s finite. Take another space, called Y .
In each dimension less than that of X
Assume Y has a finite pi sub i.

Now take the set of classes of functions
Equivalent up to homotopy.
Inducting on our X’s dimension
We show that finite this has got to be.

The largest cells in number are but few
We may restrict our function to each one.
And then we also may restrict it to
A map into the largest skeleton.

The classes to a finite set inject
Which proves that our theorem is correct.

First Runner-Up
Second Runner-Up
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention
Dishonorable Mention

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From the Book of Voices: an interview with Hunter S. Thompson

[Currently the wife of the late Hunter S. Thompson, Anita T in Latin. She has given me some of her husband's books. Story of Balaam comes from the Midrash. I think]

And in order to be fair the Lord G-d sent one prophet also unto the gentiles. And Balaam was his name. And the prophet Balaam was a wicked man and his prophecies always came to him at night and only after he did unspeakable things with his white donkey.
- I do wonder sometimes... Am I perceived as sme kind of crazy drug addict?
- Chances are you are not perceived as much of anything at all.
- You are a Quiet Type.
- But still. Suppose they do.
- Perceive.
- Notice.
- Suppose Hunter had noticed. If... If I was 34 ten years ago, not in ten years.
- If. But let's suppose.
- What do you want to show me. What do I have to notice/see?
- That reading is not a wholesome alternative to smack.
- Heroin you mean. Don't foul your pages with strong-seeming words.
- But I am sick of decent, tended meanings.
- The strong words won't be any more attractive than strong breath? Fool enough to court an empty vestige of a brutal manhood such as that?
- There is no way out of the labyrinth of reading. There is no way out of the multiverse of words.
- All depends on how you view it, I suppose.
- Your trip to Vegas turned to loathing of itself. You switch to harder drugs in REACTION. To more thorough madness in the external, materially sober world.
- The stone-cold sober world of matter run by an allegedly sober god.
- Is that the moral? Men drink and fill themselves with rancid toxins because the world itself is drunk unto white fever and hallucination and only with a mind unhinged a man can... understand. Begin to understand. The trip?
- And the much-used white ass of Balaam is the same undying snow-white talking donkey which the Messiah the last son of the House of David will ride into Jerusalem one day.
- Suppose the moral is easier than that. Suppose the moral is that there is no Search. No uppercase ideas. We rode into town packing more drogs per square inch of our flesh than the richest and the most desperate (NOT the same individuals, believe you me) junkies anywhere in out and within shooting range of sight. Suppose my moral is that those who seek the Right with a capital letter have already lost their way and those who seek the Dream also with a capital letter for their pains have only until the end of their drug high to keep dreaming. High's over and bam! back in the world of pushers and graspers - not in the intellectual sense of grasping stuff either, oh no. That old sick world of grasping for the needle in another body's arm and oh so what if you do cripple that worthless body and give your own worthless one some horrible blood-poisoning disease. Baby, you'll do it.
- No matter what the drug. Including women.
- Including a ertain way of thinking about women which brings a nice deep hit of a certain speedball brew of pheromones, adrenaline and boyish optimisim into your smart-boy clean-as-kleenex brain.
- Kleenex is not very clean. Ecologically speaking.
- Neither is your brain. Sociologically.
- Well I know my truth when I feel it. And besides. If you were already full of chemicals when entering Las Vegas.
- It is a try at narrating an acid trip.
- The other drugs, who's counting?
- Who can soberly count drugs anyway?
- Considering everybody either hates them or wants them.
- Often both. Retaining either.
- The strangest thing. I could kick a huge cocaine habit but I can't kick the habit of always being late. What do you make of that?

June 20.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From the Book of Voices

This is a kind of journal I am writing. Opinions mine, voices products of conscious artistry. (i.e. I am not insane.) Figured I'd share.

Not the smooth speeches which you could say but the slippery sentences which you do. Not the influential tomes you could have written but the few spare booklets remembered by your friends friends you actually have.
- Haven't you been meaning to say that for you sex is inseparable from friendship?
- Not the life which you may have led but the life which you are leading. Not the measured thoughts you may have if but the accidental and half-noticed ones you actually do.
- Because you know, it's not like there is some dividing line. Often there isn't even any change of feeling. When clothes start to come off you never do discover any special knowledge. No mysteries revealed. No... revelations.
- Not the right ones whom you could have been with but the wrong ones with whom you are. Not the years of comfortable peace and loyalty to one another that could have been as you imagine but the unexpected hours when disloyalty was not a tempting choice that actually were.
- And even if your world does end after the first time with a wanted woman, too bad for you. The both of you. You are too busy with belts and elbows, pantlegs and hands to seriously notice anything.
- All that is wanted happens once; all that is needed turns into a habit. A friendship is a way two bodies have of reacting to the closing of distance. Take three steps into infinity and mind the gaping void. All limits fluctuate.

May 19

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Further Adventures in Found Poetry

This week I played a game similar to Oracle with my students - or at least, I tried. The youngest ones didn't fully grasp the concept, and the oldest wrote belligerent nonsense about each other.

Here's a transcript of a game I played with a third-grade girl. She's rather flighty, and about 75% likely to be thinking about food at any given time. So it's not too surprising that she not only misunderstood the game (we were supposed to continue each others' sentences), but was obviously hungry at the time. My sections are in blue; hers are red. I've preserved her errors for archival purposes.

Once upon a time there was a horse with two

haVe BaTs in iT.

have a funny aftertaste, but they're worth it if you're


We are abouT To go inTo The Ping Pong rooM

likes to run and jump and skip and launder her pet

CaMel has A faT humP

helped me overcome my fear of


Mrs mical is giganTic

time! Everybody get out your copy of "Jerry and the Manic


We need Kleenex or will geT sik

M Cheese

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Is Just To Say

On Sunday night, my over-educated and underslept roommate Ms. Zeffren pulled an all-nighter. On Monday morning, I found the following gloriously erudite note:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten [some]
of the potato dish
that was in
the refrigerator

and which
you were probably
for the week ahead

Forgive me
it was delicious
so flavorful
and so flaky