friday feast: not exactly amy vanderbilt

“Love me like a wrong turn on a bad road late at night.” ~ Kim Addonizio

Kim playing blues harmonica at last year's LA Times Book Festival.

Sit up straight, fasten your seat belts and brace yourselves.

Today’s poem is some kind of wild ride. It may amuse, even shock you. One thing for certain, you won’t be quite the same after reading it.

Kim Addonizio’s poems have a way of doing that to people. Unflinching, street-smart, and gritty, she addresses the reader directly and tells us just what we need to know. In this case, a lesson in manners. How else to navigate your way through a world gone mad?

by Kim Addonizio

Address older people as Sir or Ma’am

unless they drift slowly into your lane

as you aim for the exit ramp.

Don’t call anyone dickhead, fuckface, or ass-hat;

these terms are reserved for ex-boyfriends

or anyone you once let get past second base

and later wished would be sucked into a sinkhole.

Yelling obscenities at the TV is okay,

as long as sports are clearly visible on the screen,

but it’s rude to mutter at the cleaning products in Safeway.

Also rude: mentioning bodily functions.

Therefore, sentiments such as “I went balls to the walls for her”

or “I have to piss like a chick with a pelvic disorder at a kegger contest”

are best left unexpressed.

(Rest is here)

~ from Vol. 40 No. 5,  2011 September-October Issue of The American Poetry Review


Love her sardonic wit. It feels good to be roused from a pablum-induced coma once in awhile.

♥ The beets-and-popcorn-loving Sara Lewis Holmes at Read*Write*Believe is this week’s Roundup host. Be on your best behavior when you visit her blog, and remember not to interrupt if she is, by chance, eating roast chicken.

♥ Other Kim Addonizio poems featured on this blog:

“Eating Together”

“What Do Women Want?”

♥ All 2011 Poetry Friday posts on alphabet soup.

You know what to do.

photo credit: James D Kirk/flickr


**photo of Kim by Solnabanya/flickr

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

17 thoughts on “friday feast: not exactly amy vanderbilt

  1. Oh, my, Jama – yes, your offering today is rather spicy! I did chuckle out loud at the lines, “When the pulley of your childhood

    unwinds the laundry line of your dysfunction”
    and the sad bits of dirty laundry following…. The cell phone/restaurant line reminded me of Diane M’s post today.


    1. I love the cell phone line! It should extend to all restaurants, actually, all stores, all libraries, buses, museums, etc., etc. You can see I’m not a fan of listening to other people’s conversations in public. 🙂


  2. *snort*
    Good thing I read that when home alone; I might have frightened someone laughing.
    Definitely a bit of snark in our poetry today – I had a laughing discussion on manners with Tech Boy last night, so got to read him this today. He says he will comply.



    1. He will comply? Oh? Of which offense is he guilty? 😀

      What? All of them?

      I just now learned about the Botero sculpture (I lead a sheltered life). It *is* bizarre how people are compelled to stroke that penis. Apparently, they keep reburnishing it, but the gold underneath keeps showing through.

      I could hear you laughing all the way from Scotland . . .


  3. Off another topic, but of possible interest to you, Jama:

    This article yesterday about Bob Dylan’s paintings. The heading was “Don’t Look Twice, It’s All Right”–new-york-gallery-faces-criticism-for-bob-dylan-exhibition

    I think it’s much ado about nothing, but I thought you’d enjoy reading about Dylan’s latest kerfuffle. When you’re as famous as he, you can’t do anything without being criticized.


    1. Thanks for passing on the link, Barb. Definitely interesting. I agree that the photos should have been posted alongside the paintings; would add interest and context. Can’t see how he could be cited for copyright violations, though, if his work is a personal interpretation of the photos. He’s been “reworking” material all his life, that’s what the folk music tradition is all about, so it should come as no surprise if this extends to his paintings. Every work of art is to some degree derivative. 🙂


  4. Well, now that I know the rules…

    Hahaha! Fooled you. I won’t change a thing—since she didn’t say a *word* about how to eat beets (obviously don’t squirt the juice from between your teeth) or when to toss popcorn into your mouth at the movies (only when they say the word “release” on the screen, as in “release the Kracken”) or the proper way to comment on a dearly loved friend’s always amazing blog.

    You have made my &*&% day, dear Jama.


    1. Oh, a comment with questionable content (%*&$)! You can squirt beet juice between your teeth? I’m impressed! 😀

      I sense a rule breaker here . . .


  5. Now, you’re talkin’! My kind of poem! Hahaha. There was a time when I had a phase of reading nothing but female poets (Margaret Atwood, Adrienne Rich among others) and listening to nothing but female acoustic indie singer-songwriters (Dar Williams, Cat Power, Ani DiFranco – heavenly!). Thank you for introducing me to Kim. She seems like a talented musician as well.


  6. This poem has been much on my mind this last couple days since you pointed it out. Thanks for that, Jama. I love poems that make my mind work.


    1. Glad you found it thought provoking, Adrienne. It would be so cool to be able to hear Kim read her work aloud and play that harmonica!


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