Poem for April 12th

To bee or not to bee

understanding that purgatory

is not a piece

of my theological framework

let it be understood

that I was theologically framed

in a recent cold sweat nightmare


In it I am the host

and judge

of Purgatory Elementary’s

spelling bee


seated at a stark table

handcrafted from the 20 volumes

of the Oxford English Dictionary

the shiny bell of impending despair

at my fingertips

my curse-

to meet the eyes of each doomed contestant

and eternally let them down


each time

losing a little patience

with a contest that somehow

equates intelligence

with the memorization

of lexicographic phone numbers



as we near the seven hundredth speller

this nightmare of Purgatory Elementary

takes a sudden shift

to the south-

I now have a cohost/ judge-

Nicki Minaj.

momentarily stunned

I look to the list to read the word

for the next victim


“may I have a definition?”

the young girl asks

Ms. Minaj

springs to our wordy table

“You want a definition?,

it’s slightly demonic

but for you my little speller

you know I am on it

this word starts with a letter

that is silent but deadly

if you miss it that’ll

be the end of your spelling bee medley

simply defined-It works like an acronym

which is a device that is quite ironic

because you can’t use an acronym

for mnemonic!”


my Minajical co-judge

then takes her seat

finger gently poised on the bell

and that’s when I know it for sure

this dream has reached the depths of- wait!


I glance again at the word list

it now reads my salvation

I utter it aloud

‘Deus ex machina!”

the young contestant smiles

and nails it

letter for letter

a sweeping crane arm gathers us two

and as we fly to sanity and safety

I place a crown on her head

celebrating that we were successfully able

to bee

and finally

not to bee