The Gargantuan Muffin Beauty Contest

By Julian Stannard Julian Stannard
We were at the Edison Hotel on West 47th Street
for the annual muffin beauty contest —
I can’t tell you how pumped up we were.
Times Square was having another psychotic judder.
The bellhop was all thumbs up: Sir, have a nice day
and get one gratis. All those avenues of doors
and the Hispanic chambermaid who couldn’t speak English.
Spider-Man was doing all that Spider-Man shit
just to get a bird’s eye view. Donna Summer
was almost dead and we were barely into spring.
I want to dance to “Love to Love You Baby,” I want to groan.
I’ve never seen so many high-quality muffins.
If  I wasn’t a religious man, and maybe I wasn’t
I would have said the muffins were walking on water:
I’ve never felt so half-and-half. Have you read the Bible?
The bellhop said: You ain’t seen muffin yet.
They were drifting in from Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem,
The Bronx, Manhattan muffins too and that weird
cute coke-faced muffin who’d taken the subway
from Coney Island. If only I were a betting man,
but hey I am a betting man, it’s Coney Island every time.
Lou Reed isn’t getting any younger. Zappa said,
Girl you thought he was a man but he was a muffin,
he hung around till you found he didn’t know nuthin’.
In the lobby Nina Simone was singing, I Loves You Muffin
and in the restroom they piped in “Mack the Knife”:
Hey Suky Tawdry, Jenny Diver, Polly Peachum
and old Miss Lulu Brown. Muffin The Romance
was the biggest show in town. We were hurtling back
to the 1970s and sometimes the 1970s are almost
as good as the 1930s. I want my muffins to be ahistorical:
shit just to say ahistorical makes me joyful.
I saw Leonard Cohen crooning with a couple
of octogenarian muffins and I’m telling you now
the lobby was pleasantly disturbing. You may find
yourself   behind the wheel of a large automobile.
You may find yourself  in another part of  the world.
You may find yourself  at the gargantuan muffin beauty contest
and you may ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?
Times Square was having another psychotic judder.
Love is in the air, it’s in the whisper of the trees.
This is not America, this is the cover version:
sun, sex, sin, divine intervention, death and destruction,
welcome to The Sodom and Gomorrah Show.
All those white muffins trying to be black muffins!
Give us our daily muffin, save us from temptation.
Jimmy Buffett was singing, Why don’t we get drunk
and screw? In Times Square the most beautiful muffins
in the world were hanging on a thousand screens.
Where are my singing Tibetan balls? Am I dead?

Source: Poetry (January 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2013
 Julian  Stannard


Julian Stannard's most recent collections are The Street of Perfect Love (Worple Press, 2014) and The Parrots of Villa Gruber Discover Lapis Lazuli (Salmon Poetry, 2011). He has written a study of Basil Bunting which was published by Northcote House in 2014.

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Poems by Julian Stannard

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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