Is it Poetry or Is it SPAM?

Although I have a Master’s degree in creative writing and have been published in various poetry journals, you wouldn’t know it from some of my poetry.

The other night I lay in bed wide awake at 2 a.m., thinking about a poem. I got up and went to the computer. Here’s the poem I wrote:


You contribute
to your 401K
and again.

You watch
as your money
earns interest.

*   *   *

*   *   *

Often, my silliest poems are about food.

The year was 2002, and a more youthful me was always happy to find some humorous distraction from my job as copywriter at an advertising agency. That’s when a coworker discovered the SPAM Haiku website.

For the better part of the next couple days, my friend and I composed SPAM haiku and submitted them to the site. Thinking about it the other day and curious, I googled it and found the original SPAM Haiku archives, which ceased adding new content a decade ago. Here are some of my finest contributions, penned under the pseudonym of “Captain Spamtastic”:

I’ve seen the pink meat;
Witnessing its glow, I will
never sleep again.


Your dinner just moved.
Slow, pink, and deliberate.
Alive, it watches.


I can hear their cries
each time I open the can…
Pigs without number.


Pink meat–an odd treat!
Your mouth was not made for that.
Still, you may enjoy…


Taste is not a word
you associate with this
surprising foodstuff.


A fistful of SPAM;
squeezed into five long pink worms.
Why do you hate it?


Cold gelatin truth
quivers at first bold fork stab.
Digest? How could I??


You there, acting so
holier than thou: come on–
We’ve all eaten it.


A SPAM universe.
Pink, cold, square, indifferent.
My nightmare vision.


Shots from the SPAM Cam:
Inside can, all is dark, but
something there–it’s meat?


SPAM stares me down now.
Time has come to open can.
Please don’t leave–I’m scared.


How about a bite
of entrail, snout, sphincter, hoof?
Trust me–you will die.


I realize SPAM is no laughing matter for my Hawaiian brethren, so I hope I have offended no one.

My recent volley of comments with a self-righteous vegan on my friend’s blog reminded me of a poem I had written many years before about my reflections on pesce- and vege-tarianism. A poem called “Fish Death.” Here, I submit it for your approval:


Fish Death

I cannot accept death
of any kind, not even
fish death.
I will not eat that
flaky flesh.

No lemon sole
nor deep-fried cod.
No sautéed skate,
salt-crusted sea bass,
halibut in beurre blanc,
wild Alaskan salmon
on the grill, grouper fillet
and monkfish medallions,
Sicilian swordfish, dinner
of John Dory,
braised branzino, ahi tuna
smoked sturgeon, albacore
carpaccio, bouillabaisse, brandade,
Baja snapper tacos.

Well, perhaps I could tolerate
fish death.

*   *   *

Like cooking, poetry, too, should have a sense of humor.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 01:38:14

    I didn’t count, but were those short ones haikus? 😉


  2. Lisa
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 01:40:00

    oops…didn’t read through…apparently they were…


  3. kimarabela
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 01:59:16

    Reblogged this on society.


  4. rachelocal
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 03:13:28

    Cold gelatin truth. Nice.

    I LOVE haiku. I posted one about wine after a trip to a local winery, all inspired by this guy:


    • scolgin
      Sep 11, 2012 @ 16:26:41

      That’s a lot of wine haiku. Wine haiku are not as funny as SPAM haiku. Wine people generally take themselves too seriously. Here’s my wine haiku for the day:

      The wine snob sipped, swished,
      detecting notes of cassis
      as his nose fell off.


      • rachelocal
        Sep 11, 2012 @ 17:39:37

        Haha, I agree. Here’s one for you:
        Red wine, organic
        But tastes like chlorine
        Add Fresca and smile

      • scolgin
        Sep 11, 2012 @ 17:53:27

        LOL, I love it. I think we’re onto something here. Here’s another one for ya:

        Cheap wine at a friends’…
        No excuse for serving it.
        A friend no longer.

      • rachelocal
        Sep 12, 2012 @ 14:36:39

        Mulled wine in the fall
        Cinnamon spicy and warm
        No Fresca in sight

        I could go on and on with these…

      • scolgin
        Sep 12, 2012 @ 16:31:07

        And you should go on!!! You’re good!!

        That’s the thing about haiku. They’re addictive. I spent two full days writing SPAM haiku.

        Vino veritas,
        people will disappoint you,
        but wine, loyal friend…

      • rachelocal
        Sep 12, 2012 @ 22:19:11

        Oh, that is poignant.

        Giggles, happiness
        Love is in the air today
        No, that’s just the wine

      • scolgin
        Sep 12, 2012 @ 22:42:22

        We may need to start a whole new blog for this… 😉
        I like that. Raises expectations, then zings you with an unexpected ending.

        You pinot, me zin.
        What wine divides, alas dear,
        Love can never fix.

        (That’s my Keats take for the day.)

  5. Mom
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 03:18:04

    You need a vacation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: