A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Monday, April 5, 2010

#5 - Vacation in Key West

Back in June with the heat of the Florida sun,
Ol' Jerome turned to us to explain what occurred
On the Friday last week when he caught schizophrenia
From the germs on the pole of a Baltimore train.

And we all had a laugh as we drank our cold beer,
But Jerome, he just sat with a worried red look
As we all cast our rods at the blue of the sea
And then settled back down in the chairs with our books.

And when Tim has pulled in a gray tuna of size,
Ol' Jerome moved real close and gazed right in its eyes.
With a shriek and a twitch, he babbled some sound,
As he scampered to starboard and looked back to town.

So we all stopped to stare as Jerome said some prayer—
He fell over the edge as if stunned unaware.
We heard nothing at first as Jerome drifted down,
But then soon from behind, we all heard a sound:
The gray tuna was singing in baritone words,
And we all stood in trance as Jerome was interred.


  1. An old idea (which was already a half-poem...is that cheating?) that I've tried to fit into anapestic meter. Jerome's picture still stands by my bedside. We ate the tuna.

  2. blog comments = important internet paratext. Also! authenticity claims are the best. "(This actually happened.)"

    No, it is not cheating, and hooray for your Seussian anapests! I'm trying to decide whether I wish you had rhymed "schizophrenia" with something.

  3. I certainly wished it! But came up with nothing.

  4. Actually it occurred to me that "schizophrenia" and "train" are kind of a rhyme. I forget what that kind of slant rhyme is called but it's when you rhyme "suffer" with "ruff." So you did it after all!

  5. You're not in our Whitman/Dickinson/20cAmerPo class but I still feel like this poem is very "Hart Crane suicide" and very "Wallace Stevens 'Idea of Order at Key West'"!

    Also maybe a little "Cremation of Sam McGee," ha!

  6. OMG Becca "Cremation of Sam McGee" is totally there. I didn't know normal people were familiar with that poem! In my life it is just something that my mom and Paul's mom will start reciting any time it's cold out.

  7. heheh, amazing that you knew what I was talking about! "Cremation of Sam McGee" is one of those things that has been stuck in my head since third grade, like all the songs we had to learn in "Liturgical Music" class (Catholic school).

  8. Sign me right up for liturgical music class. I wish I went to Catholic school!

  9. (unlike the nun in Diderot's _The Nun_, who really doesn't like going to Catholic school, aka the convent.)

  10. I love how she just swallows parchment without thinking twice.

  11. Yeah, there's no commentary, like, "oh it was kind of weird that I swallowed that letter." I guess she's used to uncomfortable physical experiences.