The Price is Right: A Torture Wheel of Fortune

By Edward Dorn 1929–1999 Edward Dorn

November 13, 1984

The show did not start off
auspiciously, the contestants
were nervous and kept fiddling
with the wires attached
to their privates, the men
being especially anxious
over the question of balls.
The women were more querulous.

The first question, a medical subject,
was why had the anti-abortionists
not mentioned, let alone commented on,
the Baboon Heart transplant?
One terrified contestant guessed
it was because the moral majority’s
nervous concern with evolution
precluded their bringing it up.
That hopeful contestant’s face
reflected the malicious light
in the eyes of the host who
immediately threw the switch

A powerful surge shot through
the wires and both sexes screamed
and writhed, to the delight of
the vast viewership, estimated
at 100 million, all of whom,
presumably, were delighted
not to be on the show,
because not one in a million
knew the answer.

Edward Dorn, "The Price is Right: A Torture Wheel of Fortune" from Abhorrences, published by Black Sparrow Books. Copyright © 1990 by Edward Dorn.  Reprinted by permission of the Edward Dorn Estate.

Source: Abhorrences (Bloodaxe Books, 1990)

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Poet Edward Dorn 1929–1999

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

 Edward  Dorn


Edward Dorn spent several years at Black Mountain College, a North Carolina school founded in 1933 as a liberal alternative for teachers and students seeking a creative educational environment. Breaking away from tradition, those affiliated with the school created art and literature that had a profound effect on American culture even after the college closed in 1956. Over the years numerous noteworthy artists and writers, . . .

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SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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