Five Limericks

Just a few words about the rhymes and pictures below. The limericks date from 2013. I wrote more than three hundred that year, and might have continued indefinitely except I was made to stop. At first, they were a form of self-medication. In the aftermath of turning in my Ph.D. thesis and finally graduating (June 2012), I was completely numb. Only Edward Lear’s limericks did me any good, so I wound up studying them. And then I just wanted there to be more of him … Naturally, all good things have to be taken too far and made monstrous. Some days I made four or five limericks, or four or five versions of the same limerick, texting every one of ’em to the people in my life who, in my judgment, did not then and do not now deserve God’s mercy. Everyone was fed up. So I promised to knock it off come Christmas 2013. Which promise was faithfully observed.

The pictures, meanwhile, are newborns, less than six weeks old. These five specimens together, and buckets more just like them, are slated to appear in book form in 2018. Prelude Books has graciously agreed to, et cetera. Of these items, “Minsk” is the most authentic (where authentic is defined as “closely approximating the verbal manner of Edward Lear”). Elsewhere, the rhyme {Bensonhurst | mention first} will be judged satisfactory by persons who think all rhymes should be like that. “Bozeman,” Montana is where my life partner, Nadya, is from. The image depicts the two of us very accurately.

In closing, it’s vital that everyone understand that the pictures were not done by me, but by my friend Mark Fletcher, who also designed the covers of both my books. I said for years that I had never heard this man’s voice. It’s still true to this day. All we ever do is email. We were put in touch, seven or eight years ago, by our mutual friend Michael Robbins, who, incidentally, headed the movement to annihilate the limericks juggernaut.

Anyhow, I want to underscore that Mark Fletcher alone is responsible for the gorillas, the blankets, the verisimilitude of the Louvre exterior, and for ninety-six percent of any actual value attaching to this whole enterprise. 

Anthony Madrid lives in Victoria, Texas. His second book of poems is Try Never (Canarium Books, 2017). He is a correspondent for the Daily.

Illustrations by Mark Fletcher.

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