Category: LGBT

Interlitq’s Californian Poets Interview Series: Kim Dower, Poet, Former West Hollywood Poet Laureate (2016-2018), intervie...


Kim Dower

November 7th, 2023

Interlitq’s Californian Poets Interview Series:

Kim Dower, Poet, Former West Hollywood Poet Laureate
(2016-2018)

interviewed by David Garyan

 

Kim Dower’s poems appear in Interlitq’s California Poets Feature



DG: From 2016-2018, you were the Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, a dynamic, culturally rich city. Can you talk about this period, some of the work you wrote, and also your experiences in general related to serving this city?

KD: I loved everything about being West Hollywood’s City Poet Laureate and the opportunities it afforded me, one of which was to teach a Saturday morning poetry workshop at the West Hollywood Library, a gorgeous facility facing the hills. Five years after my “service” was complete, I still teach there and I’m still grateful to know the interesting people who sign up. During my time as Poet Laureate I became aware of how many people really don’t care or know much about poetry, but if you introduce it to them in a fun and entertaining way they are immediately drawn to its magic and able to appreciate the joy poetry brings. In 2017 I took on an ambitious project. I went around the city visiting shops, parks, bars—to our wonderful bookstore, Book Soup on Sunset Blvd, to the yogurt shop, library, and collected lines from over 100 WeHo residents and visitors. (Basically, I asked strangers to answer one of three prompts). I then wove their lines together into a collaborative poem entitled, I Sing the Body West Hollywood, an homage to Walt Whitman.  he City of West Hollywood created posters of the poem which they sent to libraries and schools, and displayed them on bus shelters. They also commissioned a visual artist to create public art banners based on the poem, and it was even turned into an animated video for which I narrated!

DG: What’s one venue in West Hollywood you love to read your work in, and why? 

KD: The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division hosts a series called WeHo Reads and many events are held at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room downstairs from the West Hollywood Library. I’ve read there a few times, once “in conversation” with Richard Blanco and once with Eloise Klein Healy. It’s a beautiful venue—large auditorium, great acoustics, and always a receptive, engaged, enthusiastic audience.

DG: It’s been your honor to be featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac ten times, most recently on July 28th, 2021, with a wonderful poem called “It’s Wednesday, Not Thursday.” What’s your personal favorite out of the ten that appeared, and why?

KD: Yes, my honor, indeed. It’s always a thrill to hear Mr. Keillor read one of my poems. I love how he interprets them. I can’t say which of the ten is my favorite because each one he chooses instantly becomes my favorite! I will say that the poems he’s selected over the years are poems I still like—and ones that show my best work. He enjoys my sense of humor! I will always be grateful to him for the attention he’s brought to my work and for introducing me to so many other incredible poems and poets. I’ve often received emails of gratitude and solicitations from editors the day he runs one of my poems. I’m most proud of this—one of the emails I received after he ran “Bottled Water:”

From an 8th grade English teacher in Michigan:

Our 8th grade Advanced English class read your poem, “Bottled Water” today, as part of our study of narrative poetry. We had a lively discussion about the poem—and whether it was intended to be comical and sarcastic or if the bottled water selection actually was intended to be stressful for the narrator. One of our students shared her own experience with anxiety and said she can relate to the feeling of too many choices. There were also questions raised about whether the poem was metaphorical. Would you be willing to respond to us and let us know what mood or tone you intended when you wrote the poem? Also, the 8th graders wonder what bottled water you prefer. 🙂

Thank you, 8th Grade poets from Hudsonville, Michigan

I cried reading that. Just the fact that my poem, written at lunch during a busy work day (though revised 100 times) was being discussed in this way by 8th graders because an inspired teacher in Michigan read The Writer’s Almanac that morning was a miracle to me. I ended up talking with her class over the phone. It’s one of the most important and special poetry experiences I’ve ever had.

DG: Let’s talk more generally. You were born in New York, studied at Emerson College, then moved to LA. To say you’ve come a long way is an understatement. What have been the biggest challenges but also the accomplishments you cherish most?

KD: Speaking only about professional/work challenges and accomplishments, rather than personal ones, I would say my ability to finally, successfully merge my business self with my poet self has been my biggest challenge and accomplishment. I’m convinced that growing up in New York City infused me with energy, clarity and ambition that carried me for decades. Leaving Boston—my college years, early poetry writing and teaching Creative Writing years—to move to Los Angeles in my twenties with no guarantees except for good weather was certainly a challenge, but didn’t feel like one. It was much easier back then. Cheap rents. Lots of jobs. No internet to make you feel “less than.” The challenge and accomplishment I cherish most is in mid-life having the stamina, desire and ability to continue earning a living as a literary publicist, (which I still do) but at the same time dive back into my life as a poet—resume the focus and commitment to write each day, go to a poetry workshop every Saturday morning (for ten years), travel to literary festivals, send my poems out, open up to the community of poets, relearn, get back to the craft, immerse myself. That was the challenge. The accomplishment was publishing five collections with one on the way and having the great pleasure of teaching again.

DG: You have an upcoming collection, What She Wants, set to be released by Red Hen Press in 2025. Red Hen has been a big supporter of your work throughout the years, having published five of your collections. Can you speak about how the press has impacted the literary scene of not only LA, but California and the nation in general? In addition, without giving anything away, what can we expect from this new collection?

KD: In this terrifying, narrowing, sad world of publishing where only the bottom line counts and the most important criteria for publishing a book is how many copies (units!) the author’s previous book has sold, what their “platform” is, how many fans do they have on Instagram, Red Hen Press remains committed to discovering “voices,” to publishing authors and poets who have something original and impactful to say, committed to unique work that readers will enjoy. Their impact on the literary scene is that Red Hen is more than just a publishing company—one that still cares about literature—but they are also a community, bringing writers and poets together to do events, readings, having conversations with one another. I’ll always be grateful to Kate Gale and Mark Cull for publishing my work and for welcoming me into a community of other writers.  Regarding the “subject” of my new collection – it’s quite different from my previous one that explored mothers and motherhood. The subtitle of What She Wants is Poems on Obsession, Desire, Despair, Euphoria. That’s what you can expect from this new collection! Obsessive love has never been so much fun!

DG: You’ve taught two fascinating workshops, Poetry and Memory, and Poetry and Dreaming. Memory and dreaming are sometimes at odds, as memory fades gradually, and dreams are often impossible to remember. Can you speak briefly about the workshops and some of the interesting pieces that participants produced?

KD: Memory may gradually fade, but you’d be amazed at which memories remain crystal clear. A family vacation, for example. Ah, those memories stuffed in the back seat of the car eating bags of Cheetos remain ripe for eternity! I always say (to myself and to my students) that one’s poems are not necessarily autobiographical though readers always want to presume they are. Take one specific memory and run with it. Embellish. Lie. But the memory (that awful car ride) is where the emotion is and it can really propel that poem. The details of a poem can be made up, but the emotion must be authentic. For Poetry & Memory, for example, I’ll ask my students to take 5 minutes of automatic writing (not lifting their pen or editing as they write) and describe a cake from childhood. The results are fascinating. A cake from childhood. We all remember one and the drama surrounding it.

For Poetry & Dreaming I ask participants to keep a sleep journal for two weeks before the class and jot down whatever images they can remember. It might just be a line or two. “I was leaning against the wall inside a dark building, trying to hide from the lion as he ran down the hall.” The students bring in their journals and read some of their lines aloud. I ask that everyone listen carefully and jot down lines that intrigue them and write a poem using the lines they’ve written down. The results are amazing! A collaborative poem using lines from other people’s dreams.

DG: One of the project dearest to you has been I Wore This Dress Today For You, Mom, an anthology of poems that The San Diego Union-Tribune has called “a brilliant, meditative examination of maternity and motherhood.” Two questions: When and how did you start thinking about the project and how has motherhood, throughout the years, affected your own writing?

KD: After publishing four collections over a period of about 13 years, I realized that some of my most memorable and meaningful poems, the ones people enjoy and relate to the most, were my poems about my own mother—growing up with her and her decline from dementia, as well as my poems about being a mother. I thought it would be interesting to pull all my “motherhood” related poems out of the various books, put them in a sequence along with the newer unpublished ones, and create one collection with a beginning, middle and end telling a story of Motherhood. I wondered if this sort of collection would bring more readers in—not just poetry lovers, but people who didn’t really read poetry regularly. It did. It resonated. Of course motherhood has affected my own writing, but the poems in this collection were written after my son left for college on the other side of the country. His leaving and my missing him was a great part of what brought me back to writing. Longing for him, filling the void of being an “everyday mother” and suddenly looking back on the years and recording them as if they were new. His leaving stirred many emotions and also freed me to write poems that had been stacking up for years. My writing was, more accurately, affected by the loss of motherhood. Though, as we all know, the time of packing lunchboxes will end, but being a mother will not.

DG: From 1996 to 2011 you worked for Larry Flynt as his personal and book publicist. Your article in The LA Times, “Appreciation: Why working with Larry Flynt was an endless adrenaline rush — and an education,” paints quite a different picture than what someone who knows nothing about him might expect. Everything worth knowing for those who read the news is in the article, except for the one burning question every poet wants to know: Did he admire poetry?

KD: Interesting association: Motherhood to Larry Flynt! Do you really think that’s the one burning question every poet wants to know? Because if so, here’s the answer: NO! Second to his passion for protecting First Amendment Rights, Larry Flynt admired money. If something didn’t make any money he pretty much didn’t admire it. No interest. I was still working with him when my first book, Air Kissing On Mars was published. I remember bringing an inscribed copy for him when I went to meet him for lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel. In pink felt tip pen I had written: Dear Mr. Flynt—read these poems and learn something! Love, Kim. He didn’t open the book. Probably never saw the inscription. I handed it to him. He held it in his shaky hand, looked at it for a long time. The cover is fabulous, by the way, very sexy and evocative. He stared at it. Put it down. This make any money? he asked me with his signature drawl. It’s poetry, Larry. No money, I told him. He put his hand on top of the book and slid it to the other side of the table.

That was it. That was all. I hope the server grabbed it and took it home. Or some famous guest staying at the hotel.

DG: What are you reading at the moment?

Re-reading Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems (for the 100th time), Matthew Zapruder’s wonderful Story of a Poem, and a fascinating book called The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Live of an American Commune about a cult of people in the 60’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan—exactly the time and place where I grew up. Trying to figure out if I went to school with any of those kids!



Author Bio:

Kim Dower, Former City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, has published five highly acclaimed collections of poetry, including the Gold Ippy Award winning collection Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave. Her newest collection, the bestselling I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom was an Eric Hoffer Book Award finalist. Red Hen Press will be publishing her upcoming book, What She Wants, in February, 2025. Widely anthologized, Kim teaches writing workshops for Antioch University, the West Hollywood Library, and the UCLA Writer’s Extension.

American Pandemic, a poem by David Garyan, published in Interlitq

«American Pandemic» was first published in Volume 12 of The American Journal of Poetry (January 1st, 2022). Volume 12 was the final issue of The AJP before it ceased publication. The archive remained available for some months, until early 2023, after which the website disappeared completely.

Please click here read the story behind the initiative to republish all my work.


 

American Pandemic (The President’s Prayer)

For although you may have absolutely no choice in some matters, this does not mean the things you must do in these moments are absolutely right.
—Wilde 3:16

Dear Lord, today we give
thanks for no longer
having to fear the rapists
living next door to us—
at least those who,
out of their own volition,
did trust in the miracles
of science and go down
to the nearest vaccination center,
where shots
of AstraZeneca are done—
approved, of course, by the CDC and EU,
for its benefits
lie precisely in the fact
that it has killed
a trivial amount
of people,
and was made
by a British-Swedish company,
unlike Sputnik,
which, regrettably,
also, did ice
a similarly trivial amount,
but was, of course,
made by the Russians—
a dilemma, indeed,
for if the rapist
had simply chosen
Slavic vaccination,
it would’ve prevented
him from entering indoor
venues like movie theaters and schools,
much less having access to Europe,
where this vaccine,
along with the Chinese Sinovac,
are still under rolling review,
all for your own safety, of course.
Dear Lord, though we must keep walking
through the valley of the shadow of death,
we will fear no evil;
for Thy Protestant and Catholic
vaccines will protect us,
while the heathens of the East—
Orthodox Slavs and Chinese communists, that is,
will be barred from entering
the Schengen Area
for having disobeyed Thy command,
and taken jabs
from the forbidden list of vaccines.
For we know that your only
begotten Son, Jesus,
cares not whatsoever about all Christians,
nor even those recognized
by the United Nations,
but only those G-7 (formerly G-8) Christians,
who by their burden of upholding
democracy, human rights,
and women’s rights,
(two different things altogether,
as women aren’t humans),
did follow the true path of Thy Son
when they expelled Russia
from this hallowed community
after its illegal annexation of Crimea.
Lord, we ask that you give us
patience and strength
in this time of uncertainty—
for our other neighbor, Bill,
living with his lovely family
just four houses down,
are followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses;
despite having frequently made generous
donations to charities fighting poverty
in Sub-Saharan Africa,
they remain unvaccinated due to their beliefs—
thus posing bigger threats
than the very rapist living next door,
who, in fact, holds a bachelor’s degree
in pharmacology,
and this he received from Tufts,
meaning he has rightly
been ordained as a monk of science,
with fervent faith in all the hottest biology.
Indeed, our dear Lord,
it helps neither Bill,
who once rescued two children
from a burning building,
nor his pleasant family
that often volunteers
to pick up trash in their neighborhood,
to be good, yet unvaccinated Christians.
For the Lord so commanded:
Thou must let all vaccinated
fornicators into heaven,
for if they present
the Green Pass,
and it is valid,
every sin and transgression henceforth
shall be forgiven by the glory of God.
Let us rejoice, sweet Jesus,
and let the miscreants inside!
For it is at once righteous to do so,
but, alas, also legally necessary,
for Lord Fauci,
in all his infinite
scientific glory
and wisdom,
hath ordained that full
vaccination bestows
full immunity
against any sexual misdemeanor,
and perhaps even felony,
but only so long as blood
tests can show
the presence of antibodies;
heathen Bill, however,
can neither be allowed
to keep his job,
nor attend any community functions,
and his satanic family
shall have to wear medieval
masks of shame wherever they go.
Let us pray, dear Lord,
that blasphemous Bill
and his infernal ménage
continue being good Christians,
for their donations
and community service are important,
but let us, nevertheless,
wholly distance ourselves socially,
for they cannot be spoken
to until they receive the sacrament of vaccine.
But let us all the while, dear Lord,
invite the rapist—
provided he agrees to wear a mask
and continues, like before, observing
social distancing rules,
because, indeed, the sacrament of vaccine
works not miracles every time,
something the pharmacologist offender,
or more aptly, offender pharmacologist,
knows very well;
and so, in the name of Jesus, our Savior,
let us pray for that gentle predator,
for he has become
the epitome
of responsibility,
and a shining example
of good fellowship
towards Woman (and also Man,
but only in rare homosexual cases—
for let us not, dear God, tolerate
those who discriminate
against a misfit
that prefers chasing men),
for he knows not only
all the hip sciences,
but also totally trusts
every hip doctor and science,
even when they say
opposite things.
Let us hence rejoice
and place our faith
in that rapist,
for he truly cares
about the safety of others,
even when he’s raping them,
for he will not lay hands
on any unvaccinated souls—
no matter how strong
his urge to do so may be,
and in this way, our heavenly Father,
we didst finally see
a prominent drop
in not only COVID infections,
but also cases of sexual assault;
these latter numbers, howbeit,
are neither relevant nor crucial,
for we’re not so concerned
with them these days,
mostly because developing
vaccines against battery,
even the sexual type,
is scientifically impossible.
And so Lord, we ask that you bless
and watch over
the sexual deviants,
(but only the inoculated)
for before Johnson and Johnson
they were blind,
but now they can see,
and protect also those who took
Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca,
and especially young women
who took AstraZeneca,
since they are most at risk
of dying from it,
but let us, oh Lord, have faith
and renounce our fright—
for these fair maidens
are now vaccinated
and no longer need Thou;
truly, they hath nothing
left to fear,
for we know
that all the world’s problems
disappear after full vaccination,
two weeks after the second dose, that is.
Have no mercy, howbeit, on those who took Sputnik,
for pride, tyranny, and wickedness cannot last,
but the righteous shall live by Western-approved
jabs and that holy democracy worthy of us all—
the one which accidentally bombs
civilian targets in Afghanistan,
but only under a Democratic administration;
a Republican democracy where civilian
targets are accidentally hit,
can, absolutely, not be tolerated.
Our Father who art in heaven,
we need good, honest democratic
leaders who blow up churches and schools
in the name of Saint Schumer,
of whom the public does approve
no matter what he commands,
and if there be doubt,
it shall excuse his failures
as honest blunders;
the same mistakes
just across the aisle, however,
must properly and justly incur the wrath
of all left-leaning news networks out there,
because that is what it means to be fair,
balanced, and objective, in the name of Christ Almighty.
We ask, also, in this time of uncertainty, dear Lord,
that you promptly hear the grievances aired
by the LGBTQIA+E=mc2@admissions.caltech.edu community—
for on numerous occasions
they’ve demanded that bombs
dropped on civilian targets
proudly display Pride flags on them,
otherwise protests will erupt
across the whole country.
We pray, as well, that all who deny
the scientific thrust behind
these rockets be labeled
provocateurs and Republicans—
meaning anyone from Afghanistan
must display proof of bombing,
preferably with QR codes,
before we can consider them refugees,
much less admit them to this country,
which, supposedly, isn’t a Christian one,
but whose presidents have all been Christian.
And so, in the name of all that’s holy, dear Lord,
please forgive us for putting
sanitizer dispensers
inside your churches,
and wearing masks,
for it’s nothing personal
against you or the miracles
you’ve worked on this earth;
it’s just that washing your hands
frequently absolves us of all sins—
for if Pontius Pilate only had some Purrell
that day he was to condemn
your only begotten Son,
there would be nothing
he would need to answer for today.
Dear Jesus, please know
that if and when you decide
to have your Second Coming,
all the vaccinated rapists,
murderers, and pillagers
will be free to attend the event,
which is scheduled to be held
at the LA Convention Center,
or perhaps Madison Square Garden,
depending on parking—
strictly observing, of course,
all the social distancing
protocols recommended by the CDC.
And if the people
ever decide to crucify
you once more,
something they are bound
to do sooner or later,
proof of vaccination
will no longer suffice;
given the more exciting nature
of this particular spectacle,
negative PCR tests (valid for 48 hours)
and cavity searches will be required
to access the crucifixion site,
for when it comes to safety,
no right or freedom
is sacred enough to uphold.
Oh, hallelujah, dear Lord,
we pray that the planet
and every hallowed
thing you created,
in the name of the Father,
the Son, and Holy Spirit,
simply go to shit
while our chosen leaders
sit there and figure out
how to save us from COVID;
for there are maps, statistics,
and analysis, sweet Jesus—
so much scientific scripture
capable of showing us all,
and very precisely at that,
how fucked up things have become.
Do you not see, my brethren,
that the US registered
148,202 new cases today,
which, on a fourteen day spectrum,
represents a twenty-nine percent increase?
Have the numbers and colorful graphs
not made an impression, my dear brothers?
For if we can’t quantify something,
the problem isn’t worth solving.
And is it not such a tragedy
that we have more vaccines
than anyone knows what to do with?
For in Pelosi 2:3-4 it is so written:
When Moderna ran out,
Fauci’s mother turned and said to him—
“They have no more Western vaccines.”
But that Son of Science so replied:
“Woman, why do you involve me?
My hour has not come yet.”
And after having ordered the syringes
to be filled with Sputnik,
the patients were given those injections
and all were then amazed
they had turned into Pfizer.
The Son of Science did this—
the first of his many signs,
in Cana of America,
and it revealed his glory,
and his disciples believed in him.
So now we must jab them all,
starting with dead people
and unborn fetuses
that can no longer be aborted,
for if daily quotas are not met,
the UN will come raining down
on our asses like a goddamn fucking
firestorm with their resolutions
that have never been legally binding
anyways, hence why be afraid?
And so, feel free to keep committing
your war crimes, my fellow African dictators,
for though they might say
and even shout a lot at the UN,
fear not, I command, fear not—
for everyone sitting
in those plush chairs
will be much content
to have heard the pretty sounds
of their own voices,
only to have done nothing at all
about the problems
they so enjoyed discussing;
at most, they shall show
“deep concern about the rising
tensions in the Middle East and Africa,”
but this too shall pass,
and with some persistence,
you’ll be free to plunder again,
without those pesky
colonizers (Europeans, that is)
scolding you for being colonizers.
And so, my brothers,
forget the rising levels of racism,
greed, and unhappiness,
for there’s no science
behind them anyways—
no graphs, maps, or tables
to show us the daily increase
in anti-Semitism, apartheid,
or even xenophobia,
for all the lab rats
working in democratic countries
have yet to develop vaccines
against these pandemics,
but if there’s no jab
to solve the problem,
then there’s no problem
to begin with—
nothing worth inspecting
any longer.
Just to be safe, howbeit,
keep distancing yourself
from Blacks, Asians,
Latinos, and anyone who isn’t White,
including Arabs and Persians
with American passports,
some of whom may look
and act “Caucasian,”
but don’t be deceived, my brothers,
and remember the famous Bible passage,
Shakespeare 3:16, Act I, Scene III:
Libyans and Iranians
can cite US passports
for their own purpose.
Also never forget
the Civil Rights Movement,
and which color of skin
was then barred
from entering buildings
and using facilities,
even before the Green Pass;
but let us, dear Lord,
remain vigilant as ever,
for unvaccinated Whites,
especially the poor ones,
now pose the same threat
as vaccinated Iraqis
and Afghans with US passports;
alas, should the unjabbed
Whitey, however,
happen to be quite wealthy,
then we must consider
this proof of vaccination,
because gaining COVID
from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
then dying from it
bestows both status
and upward mobility
upon the dead one,
while catching COVID
from a homeless drunk
then dying from that
is simply a tragedy—
upward mobility
without any fame.
Oh, dear Lord, we pray to heaven
that you get with the program at last
and allow just fully vaccinated
souls into your kingdom;
it would also be nice, sweet Jesus,
if you could demand
that the certificates be shown
in digital form,
with QR codes and cavity checks
and the whole nine yards, really,
for so many have already
been tempted by Satan,
and bought fake certificates
on Telegram and WhatsApp—
a clever business model
with great revenue streams,
something deeply upsetting
for the bureaucrats of Big Pharma.
On the other hand, dear Lord,
Big Tobacco may have cause
for celebration, as some studies
have shown that smoking
may help prevent COVID—
indeed, it doth appear as if nicotine
interferes with ACE2 receptors,
thereby preventing the virus
from entering cells.
Hallelujah, our Father in heaven!
We pray in the name
of your only begotten Son
that all the smokers in Kentucky
will now rise up and initiate
protests demanding mandatory puffing
measures at work, schools,
and hospitals,
but especially hospitals,
for no freedom,
and this we swear,
is sacred enough
to give up in the name of safety,
even the freedom to breathe.
Starting next week,
mandatory proof
of smoking shall
be presented
at the entrance
of every gym, restaurant,
and nursing home.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, fellow brethren!
And as with vaccines,
connoisseurs of Russian cigarettes
will absolutely
be prohibited from entering
any indoor venues,
until the proper clinical trials
can be carried out;
the CDC has already
scheduled rolling reviews
to see if cancer sticks
made by former communist heathens
pose the same health risks
as those made in the free world,
because only the cancerous kinds—
the ones with arsenic,
liberty, and lead inside them
have been known to interfere
with the aforementioned ACE2 receptors.
So far, the CDC has only approved
the democratic cigarettes of Marlboro,
Newport, and Camel against the coronavirus—
in clinical trials, they’ve shown
a smashing 99 percent effectiveness
in killing people before they contract COVID,
much lower than the despotic
brands of Russia,
which have far less additives
and kill only 89 percent of subjects,
but these are just the results
of one medical study funded by Republicans;
the very same study funded by Democrats
showed that Russian cigarettes
kill people on contact,
with vaccinated Americans
from ages 0 to 100 being most at risk;
the State Department hence recommends
that anyone holding a US passport
avoid traveling to places
where this tobacco is sold—
if you absolutely must travel,
buy forty packs of Marlboro
and smoke two a day while wearing
a mask fully covering nose and mouth.
Our dear Lord, we ask in the name of Jesus
that you please forgive
all the fornicators,
thieves, and lawyers,
but especially lawyers,
for any wrongs
they may have committed,
be they sleeping with monkeys,
stealing relics from your churches,
and, naturally, defending
those who slept with monkeys
and stole relics from churches,
but solely if said miscreants
who’ve lived total lives of sin
agree to accept Science
as their only true Savior,
and receive the holy
communion of antibiotics,
and when, with glory, those sins
have been thoroughly cleansed,
shall they proceed, at last,
with the deathbed vaccination,
for the Church of Democratic Science
teaches that only sincere deathbed inoculations
can prevent the spread of COVID at funerals,
while the Church of Republican Science
asserts that COVID was manufactured in a Chinese lab
and hence can threaten only Chinese funerals—
ever since the Great Schism of Science in 2020,
questions surrounding the afterlife
remain a disputed issue in both disciplines,
all because the Church of Democratic Science
and the Church of Republican Science
couldn’t agree on the issue
of whether it was acceptable
to use unleavened jabs
for the sacrament of full vaccination;
other disputes revolved around the fact
of whether scientists could marry
or had to remain celibate,
devoting their whole lives
to the study of reproduction,
rather than reproducing themselves.
And so, it looks as though the teachings
of Democratic Science
and Republican Science
will remain at odds forever.
Dear Lord, we ask that you punish
those scholars who sell indulgences—
fake vaccination certificates, that is,
for it will take a Reformation of Science,
initiated by the one and only
Martin Luther, MD, PhD, PsyD,
with no relation to the former
Augustinian monk,
to create yet another split,
and this time in the Church of Republican Science—
it shall come to pass that doctors
will have no right
to exercise power over people
in jab purgatory,
that is those who may qualify
for vaccination exemptions,
but must show extra proof
of valid medical contraindications
to receive that holy Green Pass.
The Church of Democratic Science
sees all this as heresy,
arguing that patients
must prostrate themselves
before doctors and ask
for vaccination penance—
only this way can they be
admitted to the Stanley Cup Finals,
and also Super Bowl LVI.
The World Series, however,
is a totally different ballgame—
being America’s Pastime,
it does, unfortunately,
require not only prescribed
vaccination penance,
but also a full baptism
with either Olay or L’Oréal—
also known as a “shower”
in scientific literature;
any rituals conducted
with Russian water
and their heathen
communist products
will not be recognized as democratic,
and may result in excommunication,
but also being burnt at the stake.
For we know, dear Lord,
that Psalm 51:7
tells us to purify our sins
strictly with Purell, but perhaps also Lysol—
only, however, if there’s a shortage of Purrell,
for that is surely the superior product,
and then we will be clean;
wash us, our heavenly Father,
but just with brands
approved by American
board-certified dermatologists,
and we shall be whiter
than Russian snow.
Let us pray, dear brothers,
that neither the ACLU,
nor the Woke Apparatus
of Twitter bring
charges of racism
against the Old Testament,
and perhaps even the whole Bible,
for, certainly, African-Americans,
along with darker skinned Latinos
and Asians, have no way of cleansing
themselves to the level
of Scripture-approved
shades of White—
at most, they shall be known
as “Two or More Races,”
or “Some Other Race,”
with the US Census Bureau
very much highlighting “Other,”
for that is how powerful
and prestigious
American body washes
remain on the world stage,
so help us God.
And let us remember,
today and for all times,
Fauci 3:5, where it is so written:
Trust in the Science
with all thy heart,
and do not depend
on your own understanding—
something, dear Lord,
which is good and true,
but certainly contradicted
by Biden and Harris 14:15,
which doth proclaim:
“The simple believe anything,
but the prudent give thought
to their steps.”
For it is the spiritually unvaccinated
who remain separated from Science,
and thus tempted by Satan himself—
for, today, that devil
is not really the Devil,
but rather the embodiment
of the Christian religion,
for in Buttigieg 16:23
it is so written:
Fauci turned and said to Jesus,
“Get behind me, Satan!”
You are a stumbling block
to my Science;
you do not have in mind
the concerns of vaccination,
but merely human concerns.
And so, from this day on,
Christianity became the Devil,
for it was not concerned
with just biology and the body,
but merely human concerns.
For yes, we all know, dear brothers,
that only the communion of vaccination
can absolve us from our sins.
And as the disciples
gathered for the Last Supper
at the White House,
Fauci said: “Take these masks
and wear them, for they are my body—
made in China, of course,
and though America
is on the brink of total collapse,
we can be sure these masks
will protect us from every economic,
social, and natural danger.
He then gave thanks to China
and offered his disciples
the syringes, saying:
“Each of you inject,
for this is my blood,
which seals the covenant
between the President
and his people,”
thus it was written
in Biden and Harris 26:27-8.
And so Washington
did truly rise again
from death,
and took its vaccinated
body—with PCR tests and everything—
that which appertained
to the perfection
of Man’s American nature,
wherewith it ascended into Heaven,
and there will sitteth, until the government
returns to judge all unvaccinated Men
(and also Women, of course,
for we must certainly discriminate
against unvaccinated Women as well)
on the last day.
In the name of the Father,
Uncle Sam, and American Spirit.

 

About David Garyan

David Garyan has published three chapbooks with Main Street Rag, along with (DISS)INFORMATION, a full collection with the same publisher. He holds an MA and MFA from Cal State Long Beach, where he associated himself with the Stand Up Poets. He received a master’s degree in International Cooperation on Human Rights and Intercultural Heritage from the University of Bologna. He lives in Trento.

Multiply and Divide Using Scientific Notation, a poem by David Garyan

February 6th, 2022
Trento, Italy

 

Multiply and Divide Using Scientific Notation

Only scientists should seriously discuss science,
meaning Judith Butler should stop talking gender.

Only psychologists should seriously discuss psychology,
meaning Harold Bloom should’ve stopped talking behavior.

Only historians should seriously discuss history,
meaning Stephen Greenblatt should forget the history of ideas.

Be an expert only in yourself.

Specialize. Divide. Categorize.

If you’re white, feel only your pain.
If you’re black, do the same.

 

About David Garyan

David Garyan has published three chapbooks with Main Street Rag, along with (DISS)INFORMATION, a full collection with the same publisher. He holds an MA and MFA from Cal State Long Beach, where he associated himself with the Stand Up Poets. He received a master’s degree in International Cooperation on Human Rights and Intercultural Heritage from the University of Bologna. He lives in Trento.