Next Line, Please

A Snifter and a Hoodie

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By David Lehman

July 26, 2016


 

 

Woody Allen makes a movie each year, coming in under budget each time, employing many actors, including talented older women who don’t get a lot of roles. There have been great ones: Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives, Deconstructing Harry. But even the slightest of them has its pleasures for a grown-up viewer. The movies are usually released in the summer.

We did not necessarily know it when we started this poem, but we seem to be writing an ode to Woody entitled “Lucky You”—a title he might like, come to think of it.

This week we needed a line to complete a couplet initiated by Angela Ball’s “You nosh on a slab of good-for-you chocolate, a victory for Woody.” There are other fine nominees, but I found myself most attracted to Christine Rhein’s “And pour a snifter full of cognac, wearing your ex’s old hoodie,” because of the splendid contrast—in economic class and in linguistic diction—between a snifter and a hoodie:

You nosh on a slab of good-for-you chocolate, a victory for Woody,
And pour a snifter full of cognac, wearing your ex’s old hoodie

Second place goes to Paul Michelsen for “Then turn off the tube, play ‘Nights in White Satin’ by the Moody.” Not the least of the line’s attractions is that it forces our hand for the colorful start of the following line.

Third place: Charise Hoge’s “a post run pick-me-up, wearing a tutu and a hoodie,” where the combination of tutu and hoodie is hard to resist.

So here’s where we are:

Lucky You

Watching [The] Purple Rose of Cairo on the Independent Film Channel
You’re freed from all that’s tawdry, dull and real by using your control panel.

You nosh on a slab of good-for-you chocolate, a victory for Woody,
And pour a snifter full of cognac, wearing your ex’s old hoodie


For next week, how about writing not just one line but two—a couplet extending our poem? Here are possible rhymes to play with: “money” or “honey” to rhyme with “irony” or “catastrophe / laugh at me.”

As always, my thanks to you all for your enthusiasm, energy, and invention.

Deadline: Sunday, July 31, midnight any time zone.


David Lehman is a poet and the general editor of The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School in New York City.

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