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First Impression:July

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I have been writing poems since I was 10 (in 1964). Originally, my poems were the usual size of American verse: about 18 lines. Then in 1996, they began to shrink. My poems became as short as haiku—then shorter. For example:

Mature Eggs

One may refer

to birds

as “mature eggs.”

One day I realized I was writing bumper stickers. I began keeping a list:

WARNING: ANARCHIST ON BOARD

DON’T BLAME ME—I VOTED FOR BRITNEY SPEARS

IF THOUGHT IS OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE THOUGHTS

On February 13, 2005, I published a series of these in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times. Here is my progress report since then. One of those slogans is now a true sticker. (In fact, it’s on my own bumper.) A sticker-making company saw the article and now prints this message:

DON’T SHOOT TROUT—FISH FOR DEER!

I just received my third royalty check. I have experienced the American dream—from obscure poet to successful bumper-sticker creator.

Further, I have noticed two of my other slogans on bumper stickers:

I’D RATHER BE HERE NOW

and

HONK IF YOU LOVE HONKING

Meanwhile, I have continued writing new phrases. Some are familiar slogans reversed:

EXPECT THE EXPECTED

THE EARLY WORM GETS EATEN

WHAT PART OF “MAYBE” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

Some are self-piteous:

I’M AN ARMY OF ONE—BUT I’M LOSING!

Sometimes I invent variants on traditional slogans, such as “My other car is a Mercedes.”

I SOLD MY OTHER CAR TO BUY THIS BUMPER STICKER

MY OTHER CAR IS BEHIND YOU

Some are postmodern bumper stickers that self-consciously discuss the genre:

MY BUMPER STICKER IS FUNNIER THAN YOUR BUMPER STICKER

I LOVE CAPITAL LETTERS

Some of my slogans reflect recent news:

THE DRUG WAR IS OVER—THE DRUGS WON

PRAY FOR GENERAL MOTORS

This one addresses global warming:

THE EARTH IS UNCOOL

So does this one, subtly:

BRING BACK PARASOLS

This slogan refers to the prices at gas pumps:

WITH THE PRICE OF GAS TODAY I CO

ONLY AFFORD 2/3 OF A BUMPER ST

Under the cover of anonymity, my messages grow more political, from:

REVOKE CHENEY’S HUNTING LICENSE

to

I’M A DECIDER: IMPEACH BUSH!

to

DEPORT CHENEY

One of my hobbies is palindromes (words, phrases or Sunday school hymns that are the same backward and forward). I have invented two such slogans, both political:

REVOLT

LOVER

and

WED NOT SIS, BUSH!

SUBSIST ON DEW

(I wonder if anyone will see this article and steal some of these gems?)


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