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Friday, December 1, 2006

Poetry is Pretty

posted by on December 1 at 11:17 AM

Who the fuck is Nancy Pagh? And who the fuck at Poetry on Buses, 4 Culture, and King County Metro thought it would be a good idea to slap up Pagh’s ode to her cat’s asshole on the bus?

On the way to work yesterday I readI was forced to readthis:

Asterisk

little Greek star

daisylike

indicating

omission

of fur

as the cat

walks away

*

Can I get a “what the fuck?”

Who wants to think about cats’ assholes first thing in the morning on their way to work? What sort of a sick fuck writes poems like this? It’s about an asshole and it doesn’t even fucking rhyme? And don’t tell me I didn’t have to read this asshole poemit was right over the back door, where you wait to get off the bus. I glanced up and by the time I realized what the poem was about it was too fucking late. And don’t tell me the only reason I didn’t like this poem is because I don’t like cats. I don’t like catsno sane person doesbut do even cat lovers want to read poems about cats’ assholes first in the morning?

And, cat lovers, don’t tell me you think this cats’ asshole poem is cute because “cats are like part of the family!” Your mom is part of the family too but do you want to read poems about your mom’s asshole first in the morning?

I’m out of town today but when I get back on Monday, trust me, I intend to start making some phone calls. I’m going to get to the bottom of thisor the cat’s asshole of itand find out whose bright idea it was to inflict this asshole poem on the poor, long-suffering bus passengers in this city. Riding the bus is unpleasant enough without being forced to read poems about animals’ assholes. Heads are going to roll.

And poets wonder why they’re despised.

RSS icon Comments

1

By curious coincidence, "pagh" is exactly the noise I made upon reading her poem.

Posted by Mattymatt | December 1, 2006 11:41 AM
2

Troll.

Posted by gfish | December 1, 2006 11:51 AM
3

While I sympathize with your point about the poem, I think your, "no sane person" likes cats remark disappointing. I guess all my heros have some flaw or another.

Posted by Mike in MO | December 1, 2006 11:53 AM
4

I'm sure once people realize their tax dollars paid for a dirty poem to be displayed on public transportation, your cause will be joined by many good upstanding Christian citizens who are fed up with these day-in/day-out assaults on decency and propriety. Maybe working together you can get the program's funding cut.

Posted by flamingbanjo | December 1, 2006 11:54 AM
5

sorry, that should read: I FIND your, "no sane person" likes cats remark disappointing...

Posted by Mike in MO | December 1, 2006 11:54 AM
6

one more thing: I do love the word "asterisk" as a euphemism for the anus. I think it should definitely catch on. I also like, "balloon knot".

**************** :)

Posted by Mike in MO | December 1, 2006 11:58 AM
7

Well, I think it's hilarious, and not because I'm apparently insane for liking cats.

Posted by keshmeshi | December 1, 2006 11:58 AM
8

I'm afraid it gets worse--a quick google search reveals her to be a lit professor at WWU (???!!!)

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~pagh/instructor.htm

Posted by Jenny-H | December 1, 2006 12:06 PM
9

There was a discussion of this very poem in this very context in the Slog Comments this past summer, led by someone named "Jerfu" and followed on by "TM".
http://www.thestranger.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=9149

Posted by Fnarf | December 1, 2006 12:09 PM
10

able-bodied

but late 4 work

express bus

cripples

my commute

Posted by DOUG. | December 1, 2006 12:10 PM
11

I thought this whole thing had been discussed before--thanks for the reminder, Fnarf.

I guess Dan missed the bus again. Har har har...

Posted by Bustier | December 1, 2006 12:21 PM
12

That is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. It's a way better poem than most of the crap you read on the buses! I don't think cats' asses are that cute, but this poem rocks. It double rocks for being on public transportation.

Posted by genevieve | December 1, 2006 12:22 PM
13

One of my least favorite things about cats is when they climb in your lap (invited or not), they immediately lift up their tails, swing their asses around and stick that "asterisk" right in your face before settling in. What's the deal with that?

Then you get the drool and the kneading with the sharp claws...gah! Who needs it?

For people who hate, or are ambivalent about, cats, that poem is truly disgusting, reminding us of all the horrible cat asses with which we have been unwillingly acquainted.

Posted by Matthew | December 1, 2006 12:25 PM
14

Dammit Savage! I was laughing at the poem, the scene, and your predicament until you mentioned... Dammit, I dont remember ever ever thinking about my mother's asshole before. Why did you do this?

Posted by anonymous about moms * | December 1, 2006 12:30 PM
15

I find it humorously subversive that this poem appeared on a city bus. God, Dan - when did you become such a stick-in-the-mud?

And need I remind everyone of Kurt Vonnegut's depiction of an asshole from Breakfast of Champions?

Posted by Ivan Cockrum | December 1, 2006 12:33 PM
16

Argh! Furthermore, this Pagh person is really out there. I just realized what that "little Greek star" bit is all about. I not only have no memory of ever thinking about my mother's asshole, I also have never looked at a cat's butt and thought about anal sex!

P.S. I like cats very much.

Posted by anonymous about moms * | December 1, 2006 12:36 PM
17

Matthew,

I think this is pretty common in mammalian species, as an acknowledgement of status (i.e. I recognize your superiority by adopting an inferior/vulnerable physical stance).

Posted by COMTE | December 1, 2006 12:39 PM
18

Someone call KOMO-4 TV Tips.

Posted by D Huygens | December 1, 2006 12:45 PM
19

Cats have anal scent glands. Thus, they get to know to each other by sniffing each other's asses. When a cat sticks its ass in your face, it's just saying hello.

Posted by keshmeshi | December 1, 2006 12:59 PM
20

re: keshmeshi's remark...we should all be more like kitties
************** :) hello!

Posted by Mike in MO | December 1, 2006 1:03 PM
21

I've been known to stick my ass in people's faces from across the room, but then I had Indian buffet for lunch.

Posted by Fnarf | December 1, 2006 1:09 PM
22

The 2002-03 stock of poems was so much better than the current crap. Here's the link:

http://transit.metrokc.gov/prog/poetry/2002/poetry02.html

I especially loved "Jonas's Car," "Human," and "to icarus."

Posted by giantladysquirrels | December 1, 2006 1:34 PM
23

Twinkle, Twinkle's little * ('riks)
A constellation born for licks
Oh pink and puckered winking hole
The hairless door to Kitty's Soul

Exit Only

Posted by katy | December 1, 2006 1:36 PM
24

Comte & Keshmeshi:

Thank you for the explanations, but I must say I've known plenty of lap dogs as well and I don't recall one ever shoving an asterisk in my face. But honestly, my list of issues with felines goes well beyond the cat butt thing so it's possible my memory is a bit selective.

I've always taken an ass to the face as a rather rude gesture (except in the context of consensual oral sex, of course). Funny how one species' "acknowledgement of status" is another's insult. What a crazy fuckin' world we live in!

Posted by Matthew | December 1, 2006 3:27 PM
25

It's only fitting. Most American poetry has sucked ass for decades.

Posted by abracapocus | December 1, 2006 3:35 PM
26

Reading Dan Savage in the morning can be pretty unpleasant. I'm glad to hear what comes around goes around.

Posted by Jim H | December 1, 2006 3:56 PM
27

"I don’t like cats—no sane person does"

Mwhahahaha. I don't know if I'd go that far, but people who like cats, and don't just like all animals in general ... yeah, they're insane. Avoid the dog-hating owner of multiple cats like the plague, for instance.

Posted by soultaco | December 1, 2006 4:03 PM
28

Egad. And I thought the "observations of other metro passengers" poems were insufferable. The only thing worse than poetry in general is Poetry on Buses.

Posted by Baxter | December 1, 2006 4:18 PM
29

I adore my cats - but I'm crazy. So what? Since when does Dan Savage pass judgement on sanity (or taste). The guys licks doorknobs, for christ's sake!

Posted by CrazyCatGuy | December 1, 2006 4:19 PM
30

Ha ha ha, Katy, your poem made me think of this image (safe for work):

http://img61.imageshack.us/img61/7082/catbt3.jpg

Posted by hope this link works | December 1, 2006 4:20 PM
31

Hm. For every piece of art that offends you so much you want it removed, maybe you have to extend the same "removal license" to someone else who has different tastes. Sounds like a recipe for no publicly accessible art at all, once each of us has used our own "I'm offended" hook.

Have to say, found the poem rather clever, myself.

Posted by A in NC | December 1, 2006 4:25 PM
32

Personally, I'm not offended by the existence of cat anuses (or being reminded of the existence of same), but what comes out of them is another matter entirely.

Posted by Litterbox Servant | December 1, 2006 4:28 PM
33

"one more thing: I do love the word "asterisk" as a euphemism for the anus. I think it should definitely catch on."

ummmm catch on?

anyone read Vonnegut? it's been done dude

Posted by Ken | December 1, 2006 4:37 PM
34

What're you talking about, Savage? That poem is the cat's ass! (see how I did that? wocka wocka wocka)

The fact that it's on the fucking bus means that the idiot who is in charge of selecting those poems is either being subversive or is just dumb.

Posted by Wow, What's Next? | December 1, 2006 5:06 PM
35

since dan does not show his - the cat's will have to do

is it pink or brownie?

wonder how dan reacts when he watches, with obvious fascination, a cow take a shit

Posted by Jacka | December 1, 2006 6:44 PM
36

It's all in Mudede's new movie.

Posted by Jackee | December 1, 2006 7:12 PM
37

I loved that poem and I love cats. :-)

Posted by Sachi | December 1, 2006 8:20 PM
38

Hey, Jim, you don't have to read me in the AM or PM. I'm here on the blog, and in the paper. I'm easy to avoid. Don't pick up the Stranger, or go on our website. That poem on the bus? Who can avoid it?

Posted by Dan Savage | December 1, 2006 9:22 PM
39

Cat ass is unavoidable. The poem merely shows us life, in all its pink, winking, shit-encrusted splendor.

I think a lot more about santorum these days than I once did. That is to say, I used to think of it not at all. I think someone brought it up and publicized it, though. You can't put that frothy genie back in the bottle.

Posted by Evan | December 2, 2006 12:15 AM
40

I see dog's anuses all over the place walking around on leashes. Many breeds are apparantly designed to permanently moon the world.

Posted by Jude Fawley | December 2, 2006 7:41 AM
41

Well, honestly, I must be horrendously naive. I thought the asterisk was either a furball or a pile of shed fur.

But now that I've read all these replies, it is unabashedly clear.

I totally preferred my initial naive illusion.

Posted by lilly | December 3, 2006 3:35 PM
42

Dear Dan and bus-poetry hecklers/lovers,
Why end the butt-load of fun ***here?***
Why not get your luffly arsies down to the Seattle Pub Library this Sunday for more bus poetry--the event is a reading of poems from the new anthology "Poetry On Wheels" (Floating Bridge Press), a collections of poems that have turned up on buses, not all of them about little Greek stars.
Dan, if the writer of "*" doesn't show, why don't you get up and read the poem to the audience? We'll make it our aim to show you that our city buses wore some really kick-ass poems over the years.

The skinny:
POETRY ON WHEELS Floating Bridge Press with support from 4Culture and Washington Center for the Book will host a reading to celebrate "Poetry on Wheels: an Anthology of King County's Poetry on Buses Program" 2pm Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Microsoft Auditorium, Level 1.

XO*
Tatyana Mishel, Editor, Floating Bridge Press

Posted by Tatyana, Floating Bridge Press | December 3, 2006 9:44 PM
43

Dear Dan and bus-poetry hecklers/lovers,
Why end the butt-load of fun ***here?***
Why not get your luffly arsies down to the Seattle Pub Library this Sunday for more bus poetry--the event is a reading of poems from the new anthology "Poetry On Wheels" (Floating Bridge Press), a collections of poems that have turned up on buses, not all of them about little Greek stars.
Dan, if the writer of "*" doesn't show, why don't you get up and read the poem to the audience? We'll make it our aim to show you that our city buses wore some really kick-ass poems over the years.

The skinny:
POETRY ON WHEELS Floating Bridge Press with support from 4Culture and Washington Center for the Book will host a reading to celebrate "Poetry on Wheels: an Anthology of King County's Poetry on Buses Program" 2pm Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Microsoft Auditorium, Level 1.

XO*
Tatyana Mishel, Editor, Floating Bridge Press

Posted by Tatyana, Floating Bridge Press | December 3, 2006 9:45 PM
44

Thanks

Posted by Porn | December 7, 2006 10:40 AM
45

Thanks

Posted by Porn | December 8, 2006 10:11 AM
46

Thanks

Posted by Sex | December 9, 2006 10:31 PM
47

jewish gifts, hamsa, book of psalms what do you do with this. i was looking for some gifts and found those
jewwish gifts.

Posted by varshko | December 11, 2006 2:11 PM
48

Nancy Pagh's poetry is stark and dark and sweet and fun -- luscious and honest as a chocolate bar and just as good for brain chemistry. Her newest book, NO SWEETER FAT, just won the very prestigious Autumn House Poetry Prize for 2006. Walt Whitman is a big influence on her work. The title comes from his "Song of Myself." Check it out and see for yourself why her words count, and ring sweet and clear as an alto above the chorus in one of Parry's "Songs of Farewell." She, like he, knows that "nothing is secure."

Posted by George Daneri | December 11, 2006 4:42 PM

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