Submerged in Suck

Did you ever feel, as someone interested in Poetry (a dozen readers  just headed for the door, careful on your way out, guys—) you were alone, or at least in a beleaguered minority, upon surveying the landscape of contemporary poetics and wondering why it SUCKS so much? Have you ever thought that poetry is utterly useless— and yet you persist in your love of lyrics and old-school versification? Do you sigh, and stifle suppressed rage upon reading those effete little poem-scrawlings in the margins of well-known Old-Media magazines and reviews? Do you struggle to comprehend how on earth Billy Collins and Rupi Kaur have become so well-known?

Are you haunted by ghosts of English teachers and textbooks that have hammered into your skull trite ideas like:

  • say it in a new and startling way
  • use descriptive language
  • paint a picture with words of something that is special to you
  • break rules of punctuation and scrawl freely
  • let stream-of-consciousness free-association be your only guide

Ideas such as these are great for elementary school; but extended onward and upward to adulthood, filtered through the silliness of advanced degree programs and abstruse chapbooks (read by 17 people who are all department heads), the result is massive SUCK.

By Suck, I mean, more specifically:

  • incoherent modernist free verse
  • intentionally cryptic obscurantism
  • Marxist drivel
  • lame attempts at Dadaism
  • wry and irrelevant observations
  • self-centered confessionals
  • strident (and/or boring) appeals to identity-politics

If you ever languished in such dismal swamps as these,


What a relief, dragging oneself through the stinking sludge, to stumble upon a mud-crusted crate, kick it open—and be blinded by the blazing rays of Dan Schneider’s brilliance. Over the next few days, I shall be posting some pearls I found in the Cosmoetica treasure chest.


Clarion Calls


It’s OK to be WOKE.

It’s not Right  to be WRONG.

Appropriate intersectionality!

Occupy cis-gender privilege!

Believe unbelievers!

Wake the wokeness in women!

Hands OFF of my body politic!

Celebrate maximized Matriarchy
by radicalizing pronoun polarization.

Revoke Whiteness by darking the brightness.

Empower the margins for doodling
instead of scribbling.

It’s about disembarking
from Patriarchy’s leaking ark
It’s about politicizing polyandry
It’s about re-peeling the orange
to freeze the debt ceiling

NO MORE free Cheetos: Truck Fump !

NO MORE empty sloganeering

NO MORE mindless cheering

Create your own unreality NOW !

Islam is right about women.


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Menstrual Muse: Chirlane

Link to online poem HERE (

McCray cites […] early experience with racism and bullying as part of the reason she began to write, using her poetry as an outlet for her anger. She also wrote a column for her school newspaper, in which she denounced classmates for their racism.

McCray enrolled at Wellesley College in 1972. While studying at Wellesley, McCray became a member of the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist lesbian organization, which inspired her to write prose and poetry.

(source: AAE Speakers)


McCray has inspired me to responsively adjust one of her best-known poems:


I used to write

I used to write
I can’t be a poet
because a poem is about race-grievances
and identity-mongering,
speaking with a country drawl
unveiling a cracker-ass flag
or letting the words pound like metal
into the brains of brothers
who will never understand
and vote for Trump.
But, I’ve spent my life as a white boy
a part oriental, straight-haired,
small-boned White boy
and the poem will surely come out right
like me.

And, I don’t want everyone misinterpreting.

If I could be a gun-owning patriot
with concealed carry,
someone’s Ken doll and Clint Eastwood,
I’d be poetry in motion
without shooting a round
and wouldn’t have to make sense if I did.
If I were militant, I could be peaceful and mad
instead of an evil, pouting confederate general
a cracker, passed over
crumbled and passed over,
a cracker
crumbled in the bushes.

My father tells me
I used to run home crying
that I wanted to be black like my sisters.
She shook her head and told me
there was nothing wrong with my skin-lightener.
She didn’t tell me I was racist
(so my face wouldn’t swell up).

White boys cannot afford to
have delusions of Afrocentrism,
not drumming, singing off-key,
dry and rigid White boys.

And even though in Amerikkka
I was mistaken for someone’s professor or landlord
or policeman down south,
even though I swore
never again to walk with my hair straight,
ever to care
that those people who denigrate
the popular brand of diversity
don’t feel me,
it still shatters.

Looking through a window, it shatters.
Standing next to my lover
when someone dark gets that
“he ain’t no NBA star” expression
it shatters.

But it’s not so sad now.
I can cry about it,
Shoot hoops and write poems
about all those lay-ups,
my age and shading.
I’m through waiting for hope and change,
the 80’s didn’t throw me a bone
and as many years as I’ve been
White like Ivory
White like the clouds
I have seen in the water
and the sights of my brothers
that ugly is the man in light
who withers with hating.