So many wonderful characters are found in American folklore. You have Rip Van Winkle, Harriet Tubman, Calamity Jane, John Henry . . . Cocaine Bear. Their fame is deserved, and our culture rightfully honors them. But, sadly, fame is fickle and not all of our heroes are still treasured. Some have been forgotten. One icon’s fate has been particularly cruel and unjust.
I speak, of course, about Tug the Wicked Pirate. He wasn’t wicked at all. He was a happy-go-lucky stiff who loved to dance – usually by himself. And he was only called a pirate because he had one eye (having shot the other one out when he was 13). Tug was famous for sailing his sloop, The Charmed Snake, all over Pungent Sound where he seeded the clam beds around Block Island. Scholars say he spread more seed than Johnny Appleseed, and his left hand was more calloused than Paul Bunyan’s. He single-handedly saved Block Island’s clam industry. It is long past time for him to take his place in the pantheon of American folk heroes.
So the next time you eat a clam, think Tug the Wicked Pirate. And, if this post has inspired you, join us on Block Island on August 16th (his birthday) for Tug the Wicked Pirate Day. There’ll be fireworks.
Saffron Crow, American Folklore Scholar
When Uncle Wood died, we were bereft. No one knew what to do with his wrinkled corpse. He hadn’t made any plans for his burial. We were stuck.
So we turned to the internet for solutions. Surprisingly, there are lots of laws restricting what people can do with corpses. Fortunately, we found Raven Breathless’ Kind Like Loam (patent pending). It’s the almost natural way to speedily decompose unwanted corpses.
So we shipped Uncle Wood up to Block Island and about six weeks later a bag of Kinda Like Loam arrived at our home – just in time for Christmas. The bag was really heavy, but once we removed Uncle’s titanium knees, iron lung, plastic heart, and the sharp blade he used as a tongue it was much lighter. But where to dump him?
Having ruined so many Thanksgivings, no one wanted to sprinkle him near the house. So we settled on Dr. Pepper Park, where we found a thriving cherry tree and poured out Uncle Wood at its base. We chose a cherry tree because Uncle’s nickname was Soft Wood. It just seemed perfect.
And it was. Within 5 days that tree died, and after a burst of heavy rain some of Uncle Wood ran into the Roanoke River. All the catfish turned belly up. And when you poked them, they exploded. The air smelled like Uncle Wood and rotting fish. It was exactly what he would have wanted.
Thanks so much, Raven Breathless. Now we can’t wait for Auntie Blister to die.
Saffron Crow, Special Correspondent for Corpse Disposal
You’d think I’d be rich – these days being what they are. You’d think I’d be living like a bankruptcy attorney during the Great Recession. But I’m not and that’s your fault. Oh, I’m busier than ever – what with the many spectacular ways you’ve learned to efficiently kill each other – I’m just not getting paid.
In the old days, the family made sure I was paid. Depending on the society, they would put coins on the departed’s eyes. Most cultures had similar traditions. Humans knew how to show appreciation. But as you evolved, you got stingy. I am officially exasperated.
So I’ve opened my own business. It’s on the internet and Block Island – in the same strip mall as Drinkie McFalldown’s Wee Irish Pub and Ted’s Definitely Used Cars. Bring in a corpse. Any corpse. I don’t care. But the person must be dead before entering the building. And for the low price of $200.00 I will give you fertilizer – a few weeks later.
Using the most advanced social sciences and certain secret spices I have perfected, that corpse will decompose before you could ride a horse to Canada – turning into a fluffy, almost environmentally-safe, Kinda Like Loam (patent pending). It can be used for any horticultural purpose – or unclogging toilets. Did your hippie uncle love pot? Turn him into Kinda Like Loam, spread him across your weed patch, and then smoke him. All you need to do is bring me a corpse and $200.00 (cash only – I no longer accept crypto). Testimonials to follow.
Raven Breathless (formerly known as Death)
Delusions of grandeur. Pretend poets think they’re special. Which is ridiculous. Poetry never saved a life. It hasn’t cured cancer. I’m certain it never will considering how much liquor it drinks.
Have you read Lewis Carroll? Pure nonsense.
So this is a message to everyone who pretends to be a poet (and that is every poet living and/or dead): get a real job. You will be happier and so will your family. Poetry has never solved any problem. You know what has? Money and hotels.
If my lazy-ass son had a real job, instead of masturbating all day and calling it a poetry blog, he wouldn’t keep asking me for money. I wouldn’t keep telling him no, and I would love him.
Poetry is easy. I will show you. I literally wrote this off the top of my head three minutes ago.
The Ballad of Knowgood Carp
I know damn well
when I cast my spell
I will be okay
on the Judgment Day
because I have more money
so I can buy God's honey
and if I want to bone ya'
what I'll do is phone ya'.
Do better than that, B.S. Eliot. I defy you.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the Hotels on Block Island and Some in Connecticut
Don’t read this book. It’s a fraud.
I don’t normally give book reviews, because I don’t normally read books. They’re a waste of time, and this one sure was.
First, it bills itself as a memoir. Now, when I think of memoir, I think of great men, like myself, doing great things, like own hotels. To my surprise, this memoir was written by a woman. I was immediately suspicious. What has she ever done? The answer is nothing. She rides trains all day and makes observations. I could do that, but I have better things to do. And for this kind of crap someone decided this Annie Ernaux woman should be awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature. It just confirms why I never had any respect for that award.
Second, Annie Ernaux has no friends. Nor should she. She’s a voyeur who is obsessed with eavesdropping on strangers – as if strangers can tell us anything about ourselves or our world. Yet, she seems to think so. Here’s something stupid she said. “It is other people – anonymous figures glimpsed in the subway or in waiting rooms – who revive our memory and reveal our true selves through the interest, the anger or the shame that they send rippling through us.”
The only time a stranger ripples me is when she’s sexy. Then the hunt is on, and she won’t be a stranger for long.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the Hotels on Block Island and some in Connecticut
We are thrilled to announce our first ever open mic poetry reading gala. 9:00 p.m., this Wednesday at Drinkie McFalldown’s Wee Irish Pub (where your drinks and your dignity come cheap) – Block Island’s favorite place to get blindingly drunk.
Do you approach poetry with humility? Are you concerned you don’t comprehend (even partially) life’s deepest mysteries? Well, fuck off.
We’re looking for self-confident poets who are prepared to give simple answers to complex problems. Do you have a loud voice and a tireless tongue? Are you unafraid of hecklers? Willing to throw a sucker punch? Then this is the stage for you.
And don’t forget our sponsor: Ted’s Definitely Used Cars – Home of the Definitely Used Smell.
Treacherous Gulp, Esquire – Master of Ceremonies
If you have been reading my posts (and why wouldn’t you – you seem intelligent), you know I regularly give money to homeless people in downtown Roanoke. This year alone I have handed out a total of $7.00. However, I do much more than give pathetic misfits a dollar. I counsel them, so they can improve their lives. After all, money can’t buy happiness. It can only buy shelter, warmth, food, and medicine.
Today on Church Street, I encountered a filthy homeless man and decided to help. His steel-colored beard was long and wild. His pants and shirt were unfashionable and mismatched. He seemed unable to focus on what I was saying. Regardless, I forged ahead. I told him businesses all over town were hiring. He didn’t need to live like a greasy feral cat. Just as I was getting to the part about picking yourself up by your bootstraps, he turned and got on a rusty bicycle with flat, no-tread tires and rode away as fast as that decrepit thing could carry him.
I smiled at myself in relief. My tender heart is blind and prone to foolishness. I almost gave that charlatan a dollar. As you know, I only give money to homeless people. It’s my motto. Now call me old-fashioned, but I also prefer the homeless to be bikeless. There is just something intrinsically wrong about giving money to someone who has the ways and means of owning a bicycle.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island (and Some in Connecticut)
I would like to commend the long list of celebrities who have decided to renounce their U.S. citizenship and move to another country because they disagree with recent political developments. They are right to be concerned, but that is not why I want to commend them. They should be commended because none of them actually do it. They get all the benefits of appearing virtuous without any of the burdens. It’s brilliant.
I, too, am rich and famous. It’s awesome. I recommend it to everyone. The United States, quite simply, is the best country in the world – if you are rich and famous.
Being rich and famous allows me the time and luxury of being outraged on behalf of other people – particularly those poor things who have no time or luxury. It allows me to exercise the greatest privilege of all: virtue signaling without any accountability.
So I, too, hereby join the long list of celebrities who say they are renouncing their U.S. citizenship and moving to a more virtuous country. And just like them, I will stay put (in my Greenwich mansion overlooking Long Island Sound where I can do anything I want because I am rich and famous). After all, I’m not stupid. Just try finding a virtuous country that isn’t deadly boring.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the Hotels on Block Island (and Some in Connecticut).
Having recently given $5.00 to a homeless man near my office, I was shocked to see him today sitting in the same spot. How much money does a homeless person need? He’s homeless.
As I got closer I realized this was a different man. He just wore the same filthy clothes as the other guy. No one was around so I ignored him.
I got my iced coffee and headed back to the office. The homeless man was still there, but this time an attractive woman was walking towards me. I was prepared. I stopped in front of the homeless man and held out $2.00 (I had change this time). When he looked up, I saw a nasty gash on the bridge of his nose. It was still bleeding. Why was he getting into fights? He looked frail as a sparrow. He shouldn’t be starting fights.
He blinked in surprise but said, “thank you, brother.” I laughed because I don’t have a brother. “I’m Michael,” he rasped. “What’s your name?” I told him, “Joe.”
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe he had a name. I was so distracted the young woman walked by before I could waylay her and let her know how much I enjoy helping the wretched. The whole thing was a disaster.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island and Some in Connecticut.
Every afternoon I get my iced coffee from Little Green Hive in Roanoke http://littlegreenhive.com. They have the best iced coffee in town. Usually I pass the same homeless man on my route, and sometimes he asks for money. He implies he may be hungry. I always say no, so he’ll learn to be self-sufficient.
Today, however, something was gnawing at my brain. An indecent proposal. What if I did give him money? What would happen? I had no idea.
On my way back, I passed him again. This time I handed him a $5.00 bill, because I didn’t have anything smaller. He looked up at me and said “Hey, bud, thanks a lot.” His voice was raspy as if the winter had been rough on him, but he sounded sincere. He also seemed to smile. I couldn’t see his mouth under his unkempt beard, but that powderpuff of gray hair did seem to shift upwards. His wrinkled blue eyes were twinkling as he took the money from my hand. His fingers were surprisingly warm.
I got back to my office, and I couldn’t get his smiling eyes out of my head. Still can’t. They were almost human. Of course, I washed my hands thoroughly.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the hotels on Block Island (and some in Connecticut).