The Penis List
by Jim Behrle
Jim Behrle has a half inch penis
The Kill List Kid has a three inch penis
Vanessa Place has a six inch penis
Billy Collins has a four inch penis
The Poetry Foundation has a $100 million penis
But Poetry Magazine has a two inch penis
Your iphone is a mile long penis that’s
Always secretly fucking you
When you look at your iphone think “penis”
Google is a huge penis sticking out of
And where ever you go you bump into them all
Poetry is a huge warm wonderful vagina
But everyone treats it like a narrow
Tight, unbreakable asshole that only
One penis at a time can fit in so
You’ve got to out-penis everyone else
Manhattan and Brooklyn take an inch off
America’s penis is old and gross
But we’re working on it now
The internet takes a half
Inch off your penis, snip, snip
Let’s just cut off all penises
Or yank them all out by the root
What will survive is love
And penises usually fuck that up, too
Kafka once wrote “We are incapable of loving, only fear excites us.” Behrle quotes this all the time, it is the only thing he’s ever read from Kafka. And he wants to sound smart. This poem began as a long list of poets and their perceived penis lengths but once he got to the line about Billy Collins penis he lost his stomach and turned it into something else. Vanessa Place’s penis on the other hand kills poetry every night, aw yeah. Behrle. . .
note: I’ve started this feature up as a kind of homage and alternative (a companion series, if you will) to the incredible work Alex Dimitrov and the rest of the team at the The Academy of American Poets are doing. I mean it’s astonishing how they are able to get masterpieces of such stature out to the masses on an almost daily basis. But, some poems, though formidable in their own right, aren’t quite right for that pantheon. And, so I’m planning on bridging the gap. A kind of complementary series. Enjoy!
November 8th, 2013 / 9:24 am
(1) To ease the bitter bitter cynicism: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEMGe9JkRqU
(2) This power quote from Jack Spicer seems especially resonant now:
“But the point is that most people will exploit poets. They’ll exploit the older ones for the knowledge they have, and they’ll exploit the younger ones for the promise they have, which somehow or other gives the people some kind of thing that maybe they have promise too, which they don’t.
“Essentially, what I mean is, stay loose. Stay absolutely loose, and don’t accept any offers whatsoever.
“But you’re not just a poet. You’re also a human being who wants to be recognized and everything else. One of the best things that I heard on that was last night on KCBS where some guy–his name was Anderson–was talking about peach farmers, and he said the peach farmers didn’t know a good goddamn thing about the number of peaches that were needed in the market. In other words, they would send in peaches, and peaches would go down to one cent a peach, or whatever it was, and that this had a great deal to do with farm labor.
“What I’m saying is that you’re going to sell out eventually. You have to, just for economic reasons. But when you sell out, know exactly what your peaches cost. Know exactly how many peaches there are on the market. Know exactly what is the price you can sell out for.”
– from Lecture 4, “Poetry and Politics,” July 14th, 1965 (page 154)