Friday, June 14, 2013

I Got a Call from the White House, from the President Himself, Asking Me if I Would Do Him a Personal Favor. I Like the President, so I Said, “Sure, Mr. President, Anything You Like.” He said, “Just Act Like Nothing’s Going On. Act Normal. That Would Mean the World to Me. Can You Do That, Leon?" "Why Sure, Mr. President, You've Got It. Normal, That's How I'm Going to Act. I Won't Let On, Even if I'm Tortured," I Said, Immediately Regretting That "Tortured" Bit.

What, you didn't listen to the Pere Ubu songs in the previous post celebrating today's High Egoslavian Holy Day, David Thomas's 60th birthday or read the James Tate in the post? Have three more songs you won't listen to and another James Tate poem you won't read! Don't listen to them LOUD! Don't read the poem OUT LOUD!


James Tate

I got a call from the White House, from the
president himself, asking me if I would do him a personal
favor. I like the president, so I said, “Sure, Mr.
President, anything you like.” He said, “Just act
like nothing’s going on. Act normal. That would
mean the world to me. Can you do that, Leon?" "Why
sure, Mr. President, you've got it. Normal, that's
how I'm going to act. I won't let on, even if I'm
tortured," I said, immediately regretting that "tortured"
bit. He thanked me several times and hung up. I was
dying to tell someone that the president himself called
me, but I knew I couldn't. The sudden pressure to
act normal was killing me. And what was going on
anyway. I didn't know anything was going on. I
saw the president on TV yesterday. He was shaking
hands with a farmer. What if it wasn't really a
farmer? I needed to buy some milk, but suddenly
I was afraid to go out. I checked what I had on.
I looked "normal" to me, but maybe I looked more
like I was trying to be normal. That's pretty
suspicious. I opened the door and looked around.
What was going on? There was a car parked in front
of my car that I had never seen before, a car that
was trying to look normal, but I wasn't fooled.
If you need milk, you have to get milk, otherwise
people will think something's going on. I got into
my car and sped down the road. I could feel
those little radar guns popping behind every tree and bush,
but, apparently, they were under orders not to stop
me. I ran into Kirsten at the store. "Hey, what's
going on, Leon?" she said. She had a very nice smile.
I hated to lie to her. "Nothing's going on. Just
getting milk for my cat," I said. "I didn't know
you had a cat," she said. "I meant to say coffee.
You're right. I don't have a cat. Sometimes I
refer to my coffee as my cat. It's just a private
joke. Sorry," I said. "Are you all right?" she
asked. "Nothing's going on, Kirsten. I promise
you. Everything is normal. The president shook
hands with a farmer, a real farmer. Is that such
a big deal?" I said. "I saw that," she said, "and
that man was definitely not a farmer." "Yeah, I
know," I said, feeling better.


  1. Now that my Firefocks has an deblockinator thingamatool, I, too, can partake in all of your sundry YooToobery. Thanx!

    (the Night Music clip has been a fave since you presented it way back wheneverthatwuz.)

  2. I thought you were going to play Blood Sweat & Tears. Oh wait, that's David Clayton Thomas. Spinning wheel, gotta go round...

  3. then there's dave thomas of wendy's hamburgers, and dave thomas the canadian comic actor

    i liked the "Bounden Duty" poem and wondered how recent it was

    coincidentally, before reading the poem i went out to get milk today - actually i was looking for almond milk, as we have gone plant-based at our house - see campbell's "the china study", e.g.

    at the giant supermarket they charge pretty close to four dollars for half a gallon, at trader joe's it's three dollars, and i wondered what it went for at food lion - i haven't been to their store since they abandoned the "bloom" guise, and i only went once or twice during that phase

    apparently they still remember me from years ago - they gave me the sale prices when i put in my phone number at the self-checkout stand - or else they are content with tracking my purchases without a formal enrollment

    i didn't buy the almond milk, though - they wanted $3.19 sale price, regular price of $3.39 - instead i went on to aldi's, where i got it for $2.50

    i did get some peaches and bananas at food lion

    the first poem that came up in the google search on "president" "milk" "food" "lion" was Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish

    certainly it's a famous poem, maybe it's a great poem - but frankly, i didn't like it and stopped reading it partway through

  4. I love James Tate. There's a reason Thursday Night Pint posts sound the way they do, I said.

    I can make some appear in a mailer between your screen door and front door if you want.

    1. Um, not Thursday Night Pints posts printed out and mailed to you, actual books of Tate's poems.

    2. Sorry, poem is from 2004, first published in APR.

  5. Funny how many are willing to believe what DiFi and a pack of neocons say, rather than their own common sense.

  6. Thanks for the link a few days ago. I've been combing through my strawberry patches for the past 2 weeks, and have fallen behind on my internet stuff as a result.