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David Clewell

I Could Care Less, Said the Bartender

Why Plans 1 Through 8 From Outer Space Came Undone--
and Plan 9, Too, For That Matter


I Could Care Less, Said the Bartender

He didn’t want to hear about the goddamn New York Mets.
What he meant, of course, was that he couldn’t. Care less,
I mean. Technically speaking, I suppose he could have cared less
when it came to his hometown St. Louis Cardinals,
whose hat was perched on top of his 350-easy pounds,
and about whom he cared perhaps a bit more than he should,
if his voice getting louder through his shortness of breath
was any indication.

                                 I thought for a moment I could tell him
precisely the error of two of his ways, at least. But my healthy concern
for his size and his general disposition suggested I probably
shouldn’t. I mean, of course, that I couldn’t. Tell him what he’d meant
to say, that is. Or I wouldn’t, just then, if I were you
and you’d been there instead of me, that close to undoing Mr. 350-easy,
his face flushed as red as his beloved Cardinals. That close
to the baseball bat he kept behind the bar,
signed on the fattest part of the barrel by Stan the Man Musial himself.


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Why Plans 1 Through 8 From Outer Space Came Undone
and Plan 9, Too For That Matter

                   --for TJ—pro wrestling’s “Swedish Angel” and Planet Earth’s
                      ace-in-the-hole, thanks to his friend Ed Wood’s own, keener
                      sense of planning and direction


No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson. 
No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson.
No Tor Johnson.

Way too much Tor Johnson.



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David Clewell is the author of eight collections of poetry—most recently, The Low End of Higher Things (University of Wisconsin Press)—and two booklength poems, The Conspiracy Quartet and Jack Ruby’s America. His work regularly appears in a wide variety of national magazines and journals—including Poetry, Harper’s, The Georgia Review, New Letters, The Kenyon Review, and Boulevard--and has been represented in over sixty anthologies.

Among his honors are several book awards: the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize (for Now We’re Getting Somewhere), National Poetry Series selection (for Blessings in Disguise), and the inaugural Four Lakes Poetry Prize for Taken Somehow By Surprise, his new collection forthcoming in Spring 2011. He is currently the Poet Laureate of Missouri.

Clewell teaches writing and literature at Webster University in St. Louis, where he also directs the English Department’s creative writing program. His collection of Charlie the Tuna iconography is now the largest in private curatorship. And don’t even get him started on the subject of flying saucers.

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