“What the Grad Students Said” by Martha Silano

Martha Silano


This is a terrific title, all your titles
should be this good—like a playground

with twirly and tunnel slides,
and a bathroom nearby to boot!

And all your poems should be as good
as this first one, which not only stood out

like a tilt-a-whirl on a flat bed broken down
along I-5, but reminded us of the words

we hate, like any compound adjective
and scrunch. We liked very much the one

with the Brain Gelatin Mold. Also the one
where Bly loses his luggage along with his smiling-

Buddha shtick at the Dodge. However, we didn’t
get interested till gingivitis and, overall, we stopped

reading when we realized—by the third line—
you weren’t even trying to reach us at all but instead

were yammering on to a nephew, son, sister, blah, blah, blah.
In other words, you weren’t a finalist, runner-up, semi-finalist,

22nd or even 55th in line, but you were definitely
one of the 67 entrants! That, a little ketchup,

marmalade, vinegar, a few shakes of salt,
and a pinch of dried mustard will sure make a good

marinade for baby backs, but you thoroughly, definitely,
unredeemingly, did not in any way, shape,

or razzle dazzle popsicle, come within
dozens of Mr. Natural paces from winning

our coveted prize.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor


Martha Silano: “Since writing this poem, Martha was relocated to Lahore, Pakistan, where she is in the process of conquering her soul’s inner enemies and climbing a ladder toward enlightenment. When she has reached a state of divine consciousness, she will drop you a line.” (web)

Rattle Logo