Saturday, March 14, 2009

"All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor."

(Warning: this will be an exeedingly long post. If you are familiar with Whitman's poetry, feel free to skip the samples of his work and go directly to the parody. If not, please read them! I can't help but love his astounding egotism; at least he encourages us all to be equally self-centric. That said, the parody best brings out all that is laughable in this man of many faults.)

If the above disclaimer didn't send you running to blogs you'd rather waste your time on, I guess you're along for the ride. Thank you for joining me and be not afraid! I think you'll find it worth it. Directly below, in blue, is a sampling of Whitman's work which best represents the references in the parody. If you read only one bit of it, make it the last bit about the 28 men swimming. My all-time favorite.

From Leaves of Grass:

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,

this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same,
and their parents the same,I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
****
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the
origin of all poems,

You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
****
The little one sleeps in its cradle,

I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.
The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,

I peeringly view them from the top.
The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,

I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen.
The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,

The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous'd mobs,
The flap of the curtain'd litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv'd who fall sunstruck or in fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain'd by decorum,

Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them — I come and I depart.
*******
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,

Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,

She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.
Which of the young men does she like the best?

Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,

You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.
Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,

The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.
The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long hair,

Little streams pass'd all over their bodies.
An unseen hand also pass'd over their bodies,

It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,

They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch,
They do not think whom they souse with spray.

And now, for the parody. Please, somebody, tell me you find this as I do, hysterical.
FIRST EDITION, 2008
1.
O, I also enjoy singing about America
When I am in the shower O song-O awesome song,
O the mouth-song that comes out of my mouth,
Like food when I don't feel good.
O-hi-O, Cleveland is your capitol.
O, how this pen fits in my hand,
Like a magic microphone or something.
When I write, the words just plop out of it,
Out of me,
Me the poet.
I am a poet.
2.
I contain multitudes.
My poem is so incredible that if you don't love it,
You are probably mentally retarded.
Whatever you like in life, that's me,
Except I am better.
I am like a flying ice-cream cone
Surrounded by cute puppies and Webkinz.
I am a sunriseUnless you are blind,
Then I must be a beautiful noise.
I am that scene in the Goonies when that large kid hath to do
The Truffle Shuffle.
Remember when stamps only cost 29 cents?
That was me.
3.
I am a singing butcher and a tire maker and a quality inspector
And a street vendor and an RA,but not the lame kind that yells at you and takes all of your beer.
I am a convenience store clerk, singing about Things,
I am a financial analyst.
I am a philosopher-I explain platitudes.
I am a singing robot maker and that guy on the infomercials with a moustache
Who sells Oxy-Glow-I display multi-tools.
I am a farmer and a banker and a knight.
"But that's not possible," you say.
"How can you be all of those jobs?
You must be totally awesome.
But tax-time must suck."
4.
Washing and shaving is for faggots.
Don't worry though.
If you don't like that line,
I'll take it out for the definitive 2021 edition of this poem.
Just let me know.
5.
One time I saw a bunch of naked guys bathing under a waterfall like Niagra
My pants began expanding, like I'd taken a Viagra
I stood behind a window and couldn't look away.
I must've been thinking of Kathy Ireland or something, because I sure ain't gay.
Watching bathe multi-dudes.
6.
Hey Cap'n, get up, this is awesome.
No seriously, you're going to want to see this.
7.
I am the words in every book ever.
Even in ones from other languages like French or Irish,
And Klingon.
I am in every song on the radio, even the really bad ones,
Except for "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
But I am in every other song.
One refrain, many tunes.
I am on the walls of cavemen, and I am all over the internet like that Numa Numa guy.
And I will be in whatever technology comes up next,
Like a datachip that you eat like a potato chip.
But for now, if you want to read this on the subway
You can always download it and put it on your
Blackberry
Blackberry
Blackberry.
Sent as a joke to PoetryAmerica <http://www.poetryamerica.com/> , this poem is the 2008 winner of the Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Benjamin Taylor Lally received a cash prize of $1,359.

About Benjamin Taylor LallyMr. Lally teaches high school English in Massachusetts, and wishes to dissuade his creative writing students and poetic ramblers from imitating the style found here. His less ridiculous poetry has been accepted by The Formalist, the Illinois State Poets' Society and Troubadour, and has been rejected by many, many other places. He is exceedingly proud to be the 2008 Wergle Flomp Contest winner. It just goes to show, it pays to make fun of Walt Whitman. And handsomely. He would like to thank the editors at Winning Writers for encouraging such wonderful lunacy, and his wife for the exact same reason.

6 comments:

Brandon G. said...

That was hilarious! Reminds me a bit of Book-a-Minute:

http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/classics.shtml

Check out his version of ee cummings:

http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/b/cummings.shtml

Ana said...

Brandon -- Thank you SO much for introducing me to this site! I can't believe I haven't heard of this!!! Hysterical. Damn. Makes me think I've been wasting my time.

Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

O' To be, to sing, to skip, down the dusty streets of Ipswich; new with spring!
O' the trumpet of my heart does pronounce the very moment in which this poem did move this organ to throb it's rhythm joyfully once more!
O' Life anew. O' orb of earth, O' where's my sandwich?
O', O' it is here.

Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

Brandon I loved that site!
Ana check out Hamlet!

Deborah said...

Hilarious!

Eva said...

Fantastic! I loved it!