Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scott Wannberg: A Captain Spaulding for Our Times

Poet and satirical roustabout Scott Wannberg died today. The world got a little sadder.

Spaulding Auditions

For Scott Wannberg

The endangered list was initiated
when Acme cornered the market
on dynamite, bad cigars,
and boxing gloves on extendo arms.
Monopolists of the damned
insured a continuous run of triumphant roadrunner
leaving each trickster flattened.

The joyful curriculum vitae is toughest,
“looking for people who like to laugh”
a pitiful understatement
in the search for Groucho eyebrows,
Kathy Griffin cornhusk,
Peter Bergman squeak of Porgie Tirebiter,
and the ceaseless Captain Spaulding push to another frontier.
Living lightly on the earth is always the heaviest option.

That Foster Wallace applicant captured the rhythm,
but proved a great disappointment.
How could he sleep through Jonny 5’s fist-slam demand
that defeat is not an option?
How could he keep talking in the back of the class
as zen-master said,
“I love my cigar, but at least I take it out once in a while.”

Your laugh seems subversive enough.
You can start on Monday.
Here is your squirting flower,
your itching powder,
your peanut brittle can of jumping snakes.
Hooray for Captain Spaulding.
Hooray hooray hooray.

Loring Wirbel
August 20, 2011

Copyright Loring Wirbel 2011


Ruth said...

Living lightly on the earth is always heaviest . . . . . . what a line!

I still haven't heard how he died. Any news on that? Awfully sad.

Yes, we need to laugh at "America's complicated biography" — hooray, hooray, hooray! Thanks for this memorial poem.

Loring Wirbel said...

It was some sort of pulmonary or respiratory long-term problem. He would use oxygen from time to time, but he kept details rather close...