Best Of Chicago

Poem The News: Stealing Bad Pizza & Drunk Moonwalking

February 1, 2013 2:00 PM

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That's right kids, chicks dig pizza guys. The only thing that could make Papa John cooler is Spider-Man. But come on! Spider-Man would never hang out with a pizza guy... (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

That’s right kids, chicks dig pizza guys. The only thing that could make Papa John cooler is Spider-Man. But come on! Spider-Man would never hang out with a pizza guy… (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

By Mason Johnson

Fridays are boring. Here are some poems. You’re welcome.

Want to submit a poem? Find out how at the bottom of this article! Read more “Poem the News” poems here.

That's right kids, chicks dig pizza guys. The only thing that could make Papa John cooler is Spider-Man. But come on! Spider-Man would never hang out with a pizza guy... (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

That’s right, kids, chicks dig pizza guys. The only thing that could make Papa John cooler is Spider-Man. But come on! Spider-Man would never hang out with a pizza guy… (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Unless otherwise noted, poems this week were written about this bleek–yet hopeful–article: “Reluctant Thief With Hungry Family Gets Pizza.” In some ways, the man in this story reminds me of my father. The crying in a pizza place, for example — classic Mason’s dad.

Anyway, great poems are below. You can see my comments beneath the poems, italicized. If you want to submit a poem for next week (and why wouldn’t you?), you can find the Submission Guidelines at the bottom.

Enjoy…

Let There Be Poems: Top 3

Russ Woods

My body is made of pizza. Pizza and knives. I ride the train to work. I leave a mess everywhere. My sauce covers the seat. No one wants to sit next to me. My knives scrape their skin. I am sorry, I say. I can’t help it. The people move away from me on the train. I work at a pizza restaurant. I work in the back. They only let me work in the back. Yesterday I slipped on my own sauce. Yesterday I slipped on my own sauce and went down hard. One of my knives, one of the knives deep, deep inside me pushed up, pushed through my chest on impact. I have to be so careful so things like this don’t happen. It punctured my pizza-lungs. There was a deep opening across the front of my chest. The manager came rushing back. I am so sorry, I whispered before I passed out. He called an ambulance. The paramedics did not know how to move me. How did these knives get inside him, they wanted to know. They were always there, my manager told them. As long as he’s been here. In the hospital they tried to sew me up, but the thread pulled through my soggy crust. My heart tore open. Inside there was a tiny wife and tiny, tiny children. We are so hungry, they told the surgeon. We are so very, very hungry.

A+ — This was great! Until the end. I hate children. Especially tiny, hungry children.

A QUESTION OF ETHICS,
A QUESTION OF MORALITY
by Cassandra Gillig

Would you
let a Grinch
steal X-Mas
if he needed
it to feed his
starving fam-
ily????????

A+ — Nothing has made me think thoughts this deep since Blues Traveler’s performance at Woodstock ’94. (Does anyone else ever think thoughts?)

OMG PAPA JOHN KNOWS SPIDER-MAN THIS IS INSANE DO YOU THINK HE COULD INTRODUCE ME??? (Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

OMG PAPA JOHN KNOWS SPIDER-MAN THIS IS INSANE DO YOU THINK HE COULD INTRODUCE ME??? (Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Washing Your Hands of This by Dillon Welch

In the bathroom, you notice three feet
of PVC pipe culling sink water
like a snake, drinking. You consider
loosening it, concealing it
in your sweatshirt with the rest
of your best intentions: go to work, grab
groceries, support your family
you sack of s***. You want to rip
the pipe from the wall like a cord
from a throat. You want to feel
the smallest bits of plaster
fall onto your skin & then
onto the floor. In the next room,
a man is counting a tip jar & thinking
about his wife, a song
he remembers, the ashtray in his Kia.
You think: His name
might be Steven. You think: Maybe
Garcia. You think: What if
he’s blind? Anemic? Tone
deaf? The PVC pipe is a master
of reluctance, how it
clogs when you wash your hands
for the fifth time in a row.
You punch a soft spot into your thigh
& wash your hands one more time.

A+ — We were having so much fun with the first two poems. Wacky fun. Then Dillon came along and things got real. THANKS, DILLON. (FYI, that was meant to be both sincere and sarcastic at the same time.)

Hey, Vince... not to be a jerk, but where'd you get that pizza? Do you have a receipt? (Credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Hey, Vince… not to be a jerk, but where’d you get that pizza? Do you have a receipt? (Credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Runner Uppers (In No Particular Order)

Reluctant Thief With Hungry Family Gets Pizza by J. Bradley

It would be better to spread
hunger across thin cardboard,
pretend to watch a Tuscan sunset
from your window as the crust
dissolves like an unsanctified
communion wafer.

If you are to steal to feed your family,
do not give them swords forged
from oil to swallow. This is how
they kill the poor. This is how
we keep the cogs greased.

A- — I like the parts with the swords! Why aren’t there more parts with swords?

FOOTNOTES TO A HOLDUP IN WHICH A MAN
DEMANDS PIZZA BUT SETTLES FOR PAPA JOHN’S
by David Tomaloff

1.  the faculties of thinking and feeling;
a.  a question of agency,
b.  still popular in many parts of the world.

2.  to barter between potential enemies.
a.  the practice of evasion; a deep regard for.

3.  inability to recall; sometimes misinterpreted
as susceptibility to suggestion or placation to taste.

4.  (idiomatic) plausible; perp for short.

5.  thieves’ slang (on the lam; to beat it; make scarce).

6.  experiments on spiders have shown increased
activity and predation in starved spiders.

7.  visibility, to question the existence of.
a.  often conflated with a sense of value or worth.

Don't really know what's going on here, I just liked this photo. (Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Don’t really know what’s going on here, I just liked this photo. (Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

And here’s one for the Moonwalker! By Benjamin King
This poem was written for “Police: Woman Impersonates Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk During Sobriety Test.” You may want to listen to this as you read… Or, better yet, listen to this

[1st Verse]
They Told Her Don’t You Ever Drink and Drive
Don’t Wanna See You Crash, You Better Stay Alive
But The Fire’s In Her Blood And Now It’s Time to Breathalyze
So Blow It, Just Blow It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Walk, You Better Walk a Straight Line
You’ll Never Touch Your Nose, After Drinking that Wine
Uhh…
You Wanna Be Drunk, And Drive That Mini-van
So Blow It, Cos Your Obviously Drunk

[Chorus]
Just Blow It, Blow It Blow It Blow It
We Don’t Think You’re Drunk, We Know It
You Still Stinkin From Drinkin all Night and
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Uhh…

[3rd Verse]
We’re Out To Get You, Better Blow in this Tube
Don’t Wanna Be Sober, Stop Flashing Your Boobs
Uhh…
Don’t You Realize, We’re Here to Breathalyze
So Blow It, Just Blow It

[4th Verse]
You Have To Show Them That You’re Really Not Drunk
You’re Playin’ With Your Life, Stop Being a Punk
Uhh…
We’ll Pull You Over, And Check Your Blood,
Then Society Will Start Flinging the Mud
So Blow It, Cos Your Obviously Drunk

[Chorus]
Just Blow It, Blow It Blow It Blow It
We Don’t Think You’re Drunk, We Know It
You Still Stinkin From Drinkin all Night and
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Just Blow It, Blow It
Uhh…

A- — Weird Al did it first, but you get an A(minus!) for effort.

Suddenly realize how Barack OBUMMER won the presidency... (pizza bribery) (Credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Suddenly realize how Barack OBUMMER won the presidency… (pizza bribery) (Credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Decline to Comment by Benjamin King

There’s a guy, he’s poor.
A baby girl.
A woman, his wife, she’s nice, there are stains on her sweatshirt. She’s tired.
“I don’t know,” she says.
“I don’t know,” he says.
The baby is crying.
The guy carries the baby into the kitchen. He lays her on the counter-top and grabs a clean diaper from the shelf.
“Jesus,” he says.
The smell isn’t good. He turns his head.
There’s a knife. It’s big.
Thoughts that he will never admit to float through his mind. Scenarios.
He hands the baby to his wife.
“I’m going to toss this in the trash,” he says. “Maybe I’ll go for a walk.”
His wife nods her head, then quietly asks “what’s that?”
“It’s nothing,” he says. “It’s a knife.”
She doesn’t know how to respond. She should be worried. The baby is fussing.
“Okay,” she says.
Later, the guy is back home. There’s pizza and chicken wings. Soda.
The baby is asleep.
“It’s for you,” he says.
His wife wipes her hands on her jeans and grabs a slice.
“Thank you,” she says.

A- — It’s like you’ve got a secret spycam in my kitchen!

A Large Knife Fell On The Floor In Montana by Shane Jesse Christmass

The pizza clerk, they say, is especially good at talking to these types of people
Robbers, fast food shottas,
Gimme the $crilla, Gimme the Cheese sticks,
Here, don’t rob, just ask for FREE Chicken Wings,
FREE SODA TO BOOT … put that in your backpack,
A 100 Honey Bees slicing Pepperoni,
A litre of milk while you wait?
Farm labourers growing products on a molecular level,
No main surprises except a tree log of garlic bread,
Some crab cakes, prawn cocktails from the land of Ireland,
Yeoman farmers lacking in Vitamin A,
While Cyclone Nargis struck in May in the Meat District,
FEED YOUR FAMILY SOME FRUIT,
There are many varieties of milking, churning butter and collecting eggs that you might wanna do, instead of getting a handgun and getting up in the clerk’s face,
PIZZA digestion requires far more energy than when you’re drinking ale, or apple cider,
The clerk also gave him sauce sachets for his meat and fish, pitted olives cooked with fruit,
Listen Mister! Any oranges or any fruit imported are flavoured with saffron and ginger. Potatoes minerals and fatty acids. Omega-3 – will slices of ham hock and bacon.
Yet they still say the pizza clerk is especially good at talking to these types of people,
The pizza clerk doesn’t consider meat dangerous, despite serious biological research,
Tomatoes come from Mexico,
Brandy doesn’t, however it’s expensive to drink,
The future of food starts back from the West Indies in 1563,
I was there in the West Indies, I stood by the thief, and I was there in the Papa John’s restaurant,
Out of my own pocket, I gave him vegetables milk, butter and eggs,
I led him to LOVE,
A Papa John’s manager declined to comment,
Declined to comment on LOVE…

A- — I had to look up what “sachets” were. And “shottas.” Thanks for making me do extra work, Shane!

Submission Guidelines

Thanks guys, never have I been this apathetic toward pizza (or poverty) in my life.

For next week, readers are welcome to write a poem about any CBS article in existence. Personally, I suggest (and favor poems about) the following articles:

Cops: Woman Choked Man For Taking Covers In Bed

Police: Man Arrested After 911 ‘Butt-Dial’ Documents Drug Deal

Ha. Butt.

Email your poem(s) based on any CBS news article to mason.johnson@CBSRadio.com with a subject line that reads “Poem the News.” I’ll pick 3 out of the batch to post. Email them no later than Friday, February 8th by 9am CST. Realize that the only payment is the fame that comes with being published by the prestigious poetry organization that is CBS.

Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago

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