November 22nd, 2011 / 12:52 pm
Power Quote

Obituary: Deer

Deer (1350 AD – November 22, 2011 AD) — Deer dropped dead of exhaustion this morning after a celebrated career as a poetic muse, chapbook cover model, ambassador for the bands Deerhoof, Deerhunter, Antler, Deer Tick and Deer People, and beloved 2-term mayor of Etsy–from which he launched a tote bag endorsement deal. Deer is reported to have had identity struggles lately, exhibiting bizarre behavior, including attempted arson of a microbrewery and allegedly asking a group of poetry MFA students “How many of you bastards actually encounter deer on a regular basis?” — in response to which one of them handed him a limited-edition letterpressed broadside. Deer is survived by wolf, bear, tree, squirrel, fox, sparrow and owl. Memorial services will be held in Amherst, Portland, Oakland, and of course, Brooklyn.

Seen here with friends in happier times.


  1. Bobby Dixon

      Can we still stick antlers onto birds? 

  2. Leapsloth14

      I sat up high, in the dark. A crow sneezed, or maybe a dove. The day cracked open like a Pop-Tart. I sipped some coffee.

      CONSUMER WARNING: Before I went out to hunt this morning I lined my
      coffee filter with banana slices and then added the coffee grounds. I
      then started the machine. Intellectually curious at heart, I wanted to
      see if I could make banana-flavored coffee. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. It
      didn’t work. I made a mess. And slobber-dashed a perfectly good banana.

      A blurry blop of a thing—check that, it has legs; it’s a deer–floated
      along a cutaway toward my stand. Quartered at 20 yards. I drew. Shot an
      arrow over its back. Deer disappeared like disco dancing or pet rocks. It’s going to be one of those years again, huh? My head went a whooshing and a-clanging.

      What was that?

      A chipmunk? No, but close. Little runt doe feeding along. Drew. Shot
      over runt doe’s back. My friends, I am an idiot. We know that. But there
      are bigger idiots. Example? Congress? No, not congress. The runt doe.
      Runt doe doesn’t vacate the area. Runt doe feeds along back to my
      Assassin Trap of Archery Doom (Also known as a hickory tree). I drew.
      The nock of my arrow split apart. The arrow tumbled to the ground.

      CONSUMER WARNING: The nocks on Maxima Carbon Express Hunter 350s are
      about as reliable as a drunk dachshund. I have now had two of them split
      apart while in the field! Freaking Korean archery goods…But I do

      Still, OK, one miss and one dropped arrow, and the little deer did not
      exit stage left. Aint’ that the berries? OK. Well. I nocked my FINAL
      arrow. Drew.



      Doe dropped like a stack of Pringles! And what a monster…I picked it
      up with two fingers like a little packet of Skittles and slipped it in
      my chest pocket. Lollygagged on home with a big ol’ grin on my face,
      bout happy as a freaking box of clams.

      Old Korean proverb: 51 pound runt doe walk three times: Once in
      forest, once in olive oil, once in beer. Or something like that.
      Whatever. I need to go buy some nocks.

  3. Rob

      Wait, I thought that’s what a deer was.

  4. Ryan Call

      o deer me.

  5. Anonymous

      With Deer by Aase Berg is really fucking cool.

  6. Melissa Broder

      wolf parade wolf eyes wolf face wolf parts wolfmother aids wolf grizzly bear panda bear in heaven

  7. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      What is this, some sort of animal collective?

  8. JSA Lowe

      OH SNAP.

  9. John Sakkis

      not to mention:

      1. Killdeer: essay-poems-Phil Hall
      2. With Deer- Aase Berg
      3. Rattle Up A Deer- Bernadette Mayer
      4. Through The Eye Of The Deer- Cayolyn Dunn
      5. Deer Head Nation- K. Silem Mohammad

      or, alternately (all very small press poetry/ prose titles)

      1. Ghost On 3rd- Jim Reese
      2. Ghosts!- Martine Bellen
      3. The Ghost Farm- Pamela Stewart
      4. Ghost Alphabet- Al Marginnes
      5. Arc: Cleavage Of Ghosts- Noam Mor
      6. Come On All You Ghosts- Matthew Zapruder
      7. Inside The Ghost Factory- Norman Finkelstein
      8. Road Ghosts- John Roche
      9. Ghost Fargo- Paula Cisewski
      10. The Blossoms Are Ghosts At The Weddding- Tom Jay

  10. John Sakkis

      “all very RECENT small press poetry” etc etc…

  11. Tim Jones-Yelvington
  12. Leapsloth14

      How the hell did you leave out Ghost Machine, an awesome book?


      The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon. The moon.

  13. alex crowley

      Careful, bees are next. Bees! Bees! Bees in the car! Bees everywhere! God, they’re huge and they’re sting crazy! They’re ripping my flesh off! Run away, your
      firearms are useless against them!

  14. Melissa Broder

      i’m smiling

  15. amy lawless

      This post was really funny. However, I violently disagree.  A poet has many jobs and one of them is putting things into prose that that don’t fit into a prose block — and that’s why we use line breaks. And that’s why poets talk about stuff in different ways by using at-times fantastic and weird images.  If you take away the trope of the animal or the ghost or the metaphor of ____, you strip a poet of his tools for doing what he/she does.  When i read a poem with a wolf in it, a “wolf sighting” isn’t the point – it stands in the place of something else – a death, a fear, a whatever.  If we can’t do that, then let’s just all write shitty non-fiction about our grey scary world…

  16. Melissa Broder

      Thanks for your thoughts. I think my question is, why so often the same “fantastic and weird” images.

  17. amy lawless

      There is no answer, nor should there be.

      Animals remind us of humans/ourselves. Some (the ones writing these poems you speak of) compare themselves/others to animals in two ways. One of which is to write AS the animal (inhabiting its experience see: Coetzee) and also to WRITE the animal (like painting a still life). The animal soothes us cuz it reminds us of ourselves (see:  Deer, wolves, other popular tropes (e.g., the whale) arrive again and again.  And like a still life the poets of Brooklyn might paint it again and again. If they’re good poems, who cares?
      Secondly, there are only a limited number of images in the depth of human experience/human misery.  One can compare one’s self or a problem or another person to a dirty dishrag or a myriad of things, but a living breathing one might have more depth. Like a living breathing problem has depth. 

      And in the history of nature poetry, many animals have captured the imagination – not just deer.  Perhaps deers are trending and for that who knows. They’re fucking gorgeous and Bambi’s dad was a total fox!

  18. Melissa Broder


  19. deadgod

      See, see where predator Bambi streams in the firmament.

  20. Tim Jones-Yelvington
  21. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I would like to see more poems about horny, foxy, dirty deer. I think this reanimates the trope.

  22. Leapsloth14

      I object to the idea these writers don’t see deer. Even public land hunters see deer, if they go deep and early. The key thing is to find a deep, thicketed area and wait for the other hunters to push the deer towards you. I suggest a GPS. Also hunting at midday is a great idea. And, of course, avoid weekends. There’s really no reason for these writers to see NO deer.

  23. Guestagain

      the horny long brown fox deer sprightly o’er the fence

  24. Anonymous

      I see deer when I’m driving far enough out in the suburbs at night.  They used to hang out in our backyard when I was growing up before we fenced it in.  I don’t really know why it would be hard to see deer?

  25. Leapsloth14

      I would also like to take this is a new direction: who likes that Rudolph film? The “Silver and Gold” one? The dentist elf? Man, families rarely work, but my family and I worked when that was on. We watched it and made snide comments or genuinely laughed and/or both and damn if we didn’t come together for an hour or so. So fuck all the cynics, that deer made me glow. Others? Who loves that little movie?

  26. Anonymous
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