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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vile Poetry Hardly Worst Unwanted Detritus Stuffed in SF Weekly Box

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:30 AM

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Those of you who read our print edition may have stumbled across the above poetry stuffed into SF Weekly's boxes of late. It turns out this was the "News Poem" of the day via a Web site called

On this site, one Khakjaan Wessington forbids any and all from reproducing the poems therein -- which is awfully strange behavior for folks who stick their poetry in other people's newspaper boxes uninvited. So, no -- you don't get off so easy. About the nicest thing we can say about "Prosthetic Gods Wage Their Battle" is that it's not the worst crap interlopers have ever stuffed into an SF Weekly box. Circulation Manager Wes Chung tells me that honor, fittingly, goes to human feces ("the box is just about the right height") and dead birds. The inappropriate item most commonly hurled into Weekly boxes is "burritos."

The poem crammed in SF Weekly boxes is unambiguously laudatory of Joseph Stack, the anti-government wingnut who allegedly piloted his small plane into an IRS center in Texas, killing a man named Vernon Hunter and injuring more than a dozen others. That's the premise -- and then it gets worse, because even Joe Biden chooses his words better than this poem's author.

The more one seeks to check the mob, the more
The mob puts counter-checks. Antagonize
A man too much and he'll transform and bore
A hole through office walls and agonize
The architects of audits, as a plane.
Where to start? Antagonize rhyming with agonize? And how about the counter-checking? By the way, did you see the U.S. hockey team dump Canada the other night? The counter-checking was first-rate.

Soon others -- sprouting wheels, adopting lanes --
With superhuman engines spouting gas,
Will crash and crush the source of lights, their mass
Will Wreck the Evil Empire's Star of Death:
The idea that Joseph Stack was a righteous man who will spur a popular uprising is nowhere near as objectionable as following such a notion with a Star Wars reference -- and using Yoda-type grammar to make the rhymes work.

Alarms, red lights and green. To stop the breath
Of cogs. To end our reign as deities:
And go once more to simpler pieties.
I'm not sure "deities" and "pieties" have ever rhymed in any English-speaking nation. But after "Star of Death," who cares? You've already written something far worse than even the most acid criticism we could offer.

Kind of makes you wish for some shit and dead birds, come to think of it.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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