Prep Notes for Teachers: Sample Test for Your ‘Poetry Appreciation’ Students

Back when you read this poem (or didn’t, it does not matter),
did its title take your thoughts that bit to Walden?
For extra credit, make a pun combining ‘scalding’
with solutions to any resemblance to a hatter
whom the poem’s protagonist cheated, and was it his balding
that sent him out for a duck? Was he a batter?
To do well on this test, write long and dense-
ly, taking care to let no phrase make sense.

Pack Rat

Drunk in a roadhouse and happy,
I dance to the beat of the band.
It heats Cuervo Gold margaritas
that fuse, in my brain pan, the sand
left over from mining for Maundy
in my tent on the outskirt of dreams
where she, still in love, still accompanies
my travels. I order Jim Beams.

Published in The Armchair Aesthete, June 1996