Check Out My Bowl, Bitches

Dear Pamela,

Ah, yes. I missed you, too.

I’m sorry you will be unable to join us at the 2002 International Society of Poets’ Fall Convention and Symposium in Hollywood, California–the largest and most prestigious poetry event ever held. As you know, you were selected to be honored at this event, and we were looking forward to your presenting your poetic artistry in front of the more than 1900 poets from over 50 countries who will be attending.

Do you really think they got 1900 people to go to this thing? It makes me so sad. Maybe I could crash it — go down to Hollywood and Highland this weekend and look for the large group of weepy beret-wearers, all holding bowls and wearing medallions.

However, because we don’t want you to miss out on this unique opportunity altogether —

Oh, thank Christ.

— we have arranged a way for you and your poetic accomplishments to be a part of this event in a major way, without your actually being present.

But my money, my money will need to be present.

Although you will be unable to participate in the Convention contest (you must be present to win) —

Is that a threat?

— you can receive all of the awards and benefits of ISP membership we have scheduled for you — including your custom engraved International Poet of Merit Silver Award Bowl (see it here), —

And that is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t know if it does it on your browser, but on mine the words aren’t even on the plaque part of the bowl… just hovering around some white space near the bowl.

— your bronze Commemorative Award Medallion, —

No picture? Gyp.

–and your Full One Year Membership into the International Society of Poets for 2002-2003 — if you will allow us to present one of your poems at the convention in your place.

Wait, when does 2002 end? That’s what I thought. This is a one-month membership.

We have arranged for professional poetry reader Alan Rose to read your poem at this largest gathering of poets in history. Mr. Rose’s dramatic baritone voice and imaginative style will give your poetry a dynamic flair, as well as the worldwide exposure and recognition that it deserves.

“Imaginative style?” Does that mean he’ll make up a poem and call it mine? Reinterpret my words? My genius?

And what worldwide exposure? Is he going to put my words to a song?

Your poem will also be featured in printed form, proudly displayed in a special room at the convention that will be accessible to more than 2500 attending poets and guests.

And let me tell you a little about the actual awards and membership benefits that you will receive by mail immediately after you confirm your participation in this prestigious event by submitting your poem:

— Your International Poet of Merit Silver Award Bowl (a $175.00 value) is a magnificent work of art in itself that measures over 10 inches across and over 10 inches high. It is handcrafted in silver and has your name custom-engraved on a beautiful cherry wood base. It is certain to enjoy a special place of pride in your home and will serve as a fitting symbol of your unique poetic artistry.

Hey, listen. If all of you save up and buy that bowl for me, I will NOT be putting that in my house, so don’t even think about it.

Oh, who’m I kidding? Of course I’d put that thing right in the living room, on the piano, by my stunning lack of other awards.

— Your bronze Commemorative Award Medallion (a $40.00 value) is a deeply etched bronze medal brilliantly displayed on a 25 inch red, white and blue satin ribbon.

Honestly? I really want this medallion. I’d almost do it for the medallion. I could wear it to the store, the bank. Getting my smog check. Just holding the medallion up and then pushing my way through any crowd. “Excuse me! Poet coming through! Commemmorated Poet coming through!”

I like that they’re trying to impress me with ribbon length. Like I’m that easily swayed.

— And your Full One Year Membership into the International Society of Poets for 2002-2003 (a $60.00 value) entitles you to a personalized membership card, an ISP patch and decal, entry into special contests during the year, and a subscription to The Poet’s Corner quarterly magazine.

A decal!? I’d get a decal? I wanna decal! And a patch! Ooh! A poetry patch on the ass of my jeans. Damn I want one of those.

Pamela, all that’s required for us to immediately send you all of these Awards is for you to submit a poem to be formally presented at the convention.

Oh, just another poem? Yeah, well, I can draw that up for you guys without too much trouble. I mean, I worked a full ten minutes on Nature Vs. Nurture but I can see if maybe I could just–

Additionally, we must also ask you for the necessary funds ($169.00) to cover the costs of the time and effort required to present your poem before the convention attendees both aloud and in writing, as well as the costs incurred in insuring and shipping to you these extremely bulky and heavy awards.

Oh. Yikes. That’s some serious cash.

The effort to read the poem? The time? Could I just write you a haiku and get a discount?

“Extremely bulky and heavy awards”? I love it! You already gave me the dimensions and showed me what they look like. I know that a two-foot ribbon is neither heavy nor bulky. GIVE ME MY PRIZES!

Pamela, we are, of course, ultimately most interested in meeting you —

Oh, of course.

–and having you personally present your artistry in front of the thousands of other poets who attend these live events.

Yes, me too.

Unfortunately, this is not to be the case at this time, so we’re trying to do the next best thing.

You mean pay me to come present my poem and receive my award? Wait, does this mean I’m out of the running for Poet of the Year? Because I just had my t-shirt made up.

But we sincerely hope to personally present you with your most deserved awards in the future.

Wait. Hello? Answer the question!

Sincerely,

Hello?

Steve Michaels
Convention Awards Chairperson

P.S. Your International Poet of Merit Award and bronze Commemorative Award Medallion will be shipped to you by Federal Express, and will be accompanied by an iron-clad promise that you will be thrilled with your awards. If for any reason you’re not completely delighted, simply return them any time within 60 days of receipt for a full refund, no questions asked.

Can I get a tape of someone reading my poem or looking at my printed poem in the special Poetry Room? How do I know Alan’s done his imaginative best with my work? How will I hear his baritone goodness?

P.P.S. You’ll also receive a $100.00 gift certificate off the registration of a future ISP convention so that we can formally recognize your poetic accomplishments in person at a date that’s convenient to you.

So it’ll only be six hundred dollars, then?

Hello? Hello?

I think I’ve just been ostracized by the poetry community. How humiliating.

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