So who is on the short list?

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Bob Hershon
Boerum Hill
ADVANTAGE: A great supporter and publisher of local poetry.
DISADVANTAGE: He’s too busy to be the poet laureate.

“The Driver Said”
Boerum Hill?
It used to be
This ain’t no neighborhood.
If ya butcher
Comes to ya funeral
That’s a neighborhood.

Matthew Rohrer
Park Slope
ADVANTAGE: Has published six books of poetry and sometimes evokes the Mets in his verse.
DISADVANTAGE: Sometimes evokes the Mets in his verse.

“Morning Glory on the Roof”
You have already noted the girlish beauty
Of the Morning Glory,
The delicate lavendar panties.
Looking around you,
As far as you can see,
Plants are imprisoned.
Each morning Morning
Glories open upstairs,
Out of sight.
Each night the concrete lies
Like a hot compress on the dirt.
Thank you for your brief attention.

Sharon Mesmer
Park Slope
ADVANTAGE: A funny, vivacious poet who studied under Allen Ginsberg.
DISADVANTAGE: Is liable to mention her sexual history. And she has a poem titled, “Holy Mother of Monkey Poo.”

“Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing In Brooklyn”
She’s a white girl dancing braless in his teenage basement bedroom.
He’s a doughy-faced guy with his tonsils in a bottle.
She’s planning to seduce him on the Staten Island Ferry.
He’s marrow-close and loaded with his first true kiss.
She thinks, “You’re nobody ’til you remind somebody of their mother.”
He just wants to go to Bombay and be alone.
She just wants a few near-death experiences.
He’s hungry for a passion bitter and damp as a last cigarette.
She first saw him masturbating off the Brooklyn Bridge on Easter.
He first saw her face down on Christmas Day, repeating, “Don’t I know you from the Poconos?”
She imagined him blonde and bovine between the stale sheets of a Times Square Hotel.
He imagined his next confession.
He invited her over for some chicken pot pie.
He lived in his parents’ wood-panelled basement.
A plastic St. Anthony stood on the lawn.
His mother was on the phone with her sister Rosetta.
He had a low IQ, but figured he could hide it.
His parents being cousins was what caused it.
Someone once told him his dull look was sexy.
He thought he’d be smart to talk about religion.
Her cheap cologne was intoxicating.
His slow tongue was shaking in reverse: words frequent and forgettable as waves.
She was imagining a cocktail party diamond-high above Manhattan
He was imagining excitement like a biblical epic.
Her heart was breaking like an Arctic ice floe.
He put on his blond armor.
She felt numb as needles.
He felt like Longinus on the subway.
They went down to his basement and closed the door.
She spotted “Victoria’s Secret” catalogues under back issues of Intellectual American.
He said, “I only buy them for the articles.”
They watched “Star Trek” videos with the sound turned off.
They played old James Taylor records.
He said, “I’d like to explore the erotic aspect of this relationship.”
She said, “Can it wait ’til the commercial?”
He said, “Have you ever read ‘The Waste Land’”?
She said, “My last boyfriend took me to Hoboken for the weekend.”
They drove around on the Belt Parkway.
They parked in the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge.
They felt like tourists in a phantom America.
He put his hand inside her blouse.
He smiled and said, “You like that, don’t you?”
She felt hot and monotonous, like a country of no seasons.
She fantasized a bath and baby powder.
He had the sensation of running hard on a dark suburban street, feeling skinless and full of eyes.
He said, “Be my Ariadne.”
Ten minutes passed big and slow like clouds.
She said, “What’s an Ariadne?”
He recalled a book by Aldous Huxley: “The Genius and the Goddess.”
He began eagerly to anticipate the terror in the morning, the terror in the evening, the terror at suppertime,
An abuse so true he would touch the stars.
Now she’s a white girl dancing braless
In his teenage basement bedroom.
Now he’s a doughy-faced guy flying crosstown towards Canarsie.

Frank Hoier
ADVANTAGE: Singer-songwriter who can reach young people.
DISADVANTAGE: Has only lived in Brooklyn for four years.

“What Do We Do To Love, When We Talk About Love?”
Do we ruin and rip apart what we love best
When we spout little words about it out of our breasts?
As if a sentence could do a moment justice
As if a book could convey a minute of silence
As if a song could even touch on the sound of leaves
Blowing in breezes on high up in trees
As if a joke could remind ya of your natural smile
As if “I Do” will bring out all of the love in you
What do we do to love when we talk about love?
Are we similar to heart surgeons drunk on gin
Cutting love up to repair it again?
To show off our intelligence and skill to our friends
As we sit round a table as the sunset begins
And we all want to leave but nobody will say when
So we sit here in silence growing darkness surrounding
Do we think love is in the bottom of the bottle we are drinking?
What do we do to love when we talk about love?
Are we like phony fortune tellers predicting the future
So we can tell our friends, “See I told you so” sooner?
Rubbing a fake crystal ball, a patch over one eye
Saying your view of the world ain’t as clear as mine
Listen and learn whether the world is dark or is light
Are we trying to outshine when we try to shine bright?
What do we do to love when we talk about love?
Are we communicating or just vainly pumping our veins
Full of hot blood when we call out love’s name?
Are we sure we are sharing, are we sure we even know how
To show a sliver of who we are under the shroud?
Are our impassioned speeches just more feed for the cows
To get the attention we were never allowed
We call ourselves artists and sing thru our mouths
But where’s the line between art, preaching, and shouting out loud?
What do we do to love when we talk about love?

Leon Freilich
Park Slope
ADVANTAGE: A parodist with a rapier sword and a witty epee
DISADVANTAGE: His poems are a bit of a joke, truth be told.

“A Cooler 13th”
Steel bars do not a prison make
When it’s bar mitzvah day
And Daddy’s obligated to
Celebrate and pray.
So Tuvia Stern, an inmate at
The fabled New York Tombs,
Transcended lockup etiquette
And ordered party rooms.
He had the gym festooned with bunting
And rocked with festive strains
Provided by an Orthordox group
That blew out everyone’s brains.
Kin and kith and friends galore
All danced and sang out lustily,
Serenading the bar mitzvah boy
Religiously and robustily.
They ate and drank like Rahm Emanuel
Or baseball’s Leo Durocher,
The food having been most carefully catered
To be ultra-strictly kosher.
Sixty guests held forth in the cooler
For fully six-plus hours
While eight correction officers
Kept guard over baskets of flowers.
The guards as well made sure the party
Remained a private affair,
Keeping other prisoners
From infiltrating there.
The only jailbird to be found
Was the influential dad,
Who may be a convicted scammer
But on this day wasn’t bad.

The fraudster’s now upstate and serving
Two-and-a-half to seven
But at least he gave his now-a-man son
A taste of party heaven.
And he’s done the same for his lovely daughter —
Stern showed his jailhouse dash
Again when he had outsiders in
For her engagement bash.
Lynn Chandhok
Park Slope
ADVANTAGE: A bi-cultural poet who would add diversity to the male-dominated poetic world.
DISADVANTAGE: A bit academic, which could hurt her outreach efforts.

“Confetti, Ticker Tape”
I want to say they’re swallows. In September,
when we were feeding everyone we could,
we’d look for them above the tracks on Ninth Street.
What startled me was how their undersides
caught the light, flashed silver, how the group
would swoop and rise like wind itself, the flock
vanishing every time it changed directions,
how the birds hung on air and clung together
circling above us, silver, like the squares
we thought were bits of fuselage or flakes
of skyscraper, falling, until they floated
towards us, lower, landing on our front stoop
and I picked the papers up, but they were blank —
one after the other, blank, burned at the edges.

They Might Be Giants
ADVANTAGE: Might be the single most-identifiable Brooklyn-based rock band. Ever.
DISADVANTAGE: Let’s be real: it is well documented why Constantinople changed its name to Istanbul.

“Ana Ng”
Make a hole with a gun perpendicular
To the name of this town in a desk-top globe
Exit wound in a foreign nation
Showing the home of the one this was written for
My apartment looks upside down from there
Water spirals the wrong way out the sink
And her voice is a backwards record
It’s like a whirlpool and it never ends
Ana Ng and I are getting old
And we still haven’t walked in the glow of each other’s majestic presence
Listen Ana, hear my words
They’re the ones you would think I would say if there was a me for you
All alone at the ’64 World’s Fair
Eighty dolls yelling, “Small girl after all”
Who was at the Dupont Pavilion?
Why was the bench still warm? Who had been there?
Or the time when the storm tangled up the wires
To the horn on the pole at the bus depot
And in the back of the edge of hearing
These are the words that the voice was repeating:
Ana Ng and I are getting old
And we still haven’t walked in the glow of each other’s majestic presence
Listen Ana, hear my words
They’re the ones you would think I would say if there was a me for you
When I was driving once I saw this painted on a bridge:
“I don’t want the world, I just want your half.”
They don’t need me here, and I know you’re there
Where the world goes by like the humid air
And it sticks like a broken record
Everything sticks like a broken record
Everything sticks until it goes away
And the truth is, we don’t know anything
Ana Ng and I are getting old
And we still haven’t walked in the glow of each other’s majestic presence
Listen Ana, hear my words
They’re the ones you would think I would say if there was a me for you

While all of Brooklyn mourns the loss of poet laureate Ken Siegelman, The Brooklyn Paper got to work compiling a list of men and woman (and, in once case, a pair of men) who could possibly fill the big fountain pen of the late Siegelman. Here’s the official “short list” that we will be sending to Borough President Markowitz. Vote for your favorite by e-mailing

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

maria from park slope says:
it's obvious that sharon mesmer's the one!!! funny, irreverent, brilliant. her comments on her sexual history in the news column were clearly extemporaneous jokes. wouldn't you want someone so funny as your poet laureate? she also has soulful depth, just not the kind that hits you over the head with its earnestness.
June 25, 2009, 11:44 am
Brant Lyon from Bay Ridge says:
Sharon knows that humor is an essential part of the human experience, as is excrement. Why not write funny ——, therefore? Though some would poo-poo suchlike. Seriously, though, the facility of Sharon's amazing wordplay, flights of fancy, and Flarf rompings into the recesses of the pysche, if not teenage bedrooms of the soul, belie the great sensitivity and intelligence that undergirds her poetry, not all of it, or even most of it, in anyway flip, which is apparent to anyone who ineluctably gets seduced into a charmed reading of her excellent work.
June 25, 2009, 12:50 pm
john guzlowski from danville, virginia says:
Ever since Walt Whitman walked out of the swamps of Long Island and settled in Brooklyn, the poets of Brooklyn have been guys with lots of attitude, and trust me, Sharon is a guy with a lot of attitude.

She's got my vote.
June 25, 2009, 12:59 pm
Stan Raffes from RegoPark. Queens says:
Sharon is funny and dynamic. She is also a great
teacher at the New School, and very charismatic.
I am a retired teacher, and she helped me
become a published poet. They even know her in
Romania; (my wife is from Romania) Allen Ginsberg's spirit howls within her. She is my choice. If she is elected. poet laureate, we might even move to Brooklyn
June 25, 2009, 4:02 pm
Pigs jumping in Grinders from Wayouts-ville says:
Good Sharon Mesmer
Dripping with monkey nipples
Brooklyn Back da Yard
June 25, 2009, 5:04 pm
Aryeh Finklestein from Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts says:
Allen Ginsberg recognized years ago that Sharon Mesmer possesses a unique poetical voice and personifies a certain vital literary spirit. Her remarkable work to date has confirmed Ginsberg's confidence in Sharon's extraordinary gifts. Brooklyn would be wise, indeed, to elect her Poet Laureate!
June 25, 2009, 7:12 pm
Michele Madigan Somerville from Park SLop says:

A no-brainer:
Sharon Mesmer!
June 25, 2009, 8:39 pm
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
Is the fact that the first seven posts are pushing Sharon Mesmer an indication that there's an organized campaign at work? And as we say around here, four of the seven ain't from Brooklyn. I think I like my Poet Laureates a bit more laconic.

I'm sure Ms. Mesmer's poetry is Mesmer-izing, but Lynn Chandhok is the clear choice for BPL.
June 26, 2009, 1:18 am
Pookie Margdalosa from Bed Stuy says:
How come the demographics of the choices available don't match the constituency? Wow.
June 26, 2009, 6:32 am
Tim W. Brown from Westchester County says:
I vote for Sharon -- she's an exceptional poet who paradoxically writes sophisticated poems with a common touch.

See my review of Annoying Diabetic ——,

I hope the borough names a genuine poet to the post and not a "singer-songwriter" or PLEASE, GOD, not They Might Be Giants, whose cutesy-ass music I cannot stand, let alone their lyrics, which don't qualify as poetry.
June 26, 2009, 9:37 am
Harsh Critic from Park Slope says:
Bob Hershon: While I respect poetic license, but that poem is only 21 words long, and if its a real experience then he hardly had to think to write it, and if its made up: then its meaningless because its a lie.
Matthew Rohrer: Fine, but not as interesting or eye-catching as another on this page.
Sharon Mesmer: With just plain humor, you
Frank Hoier: Fine, but BPL has to be a poet not a singer/songwriter.
Leon Freilich: Parody and poetry are not the same.
Lynn Chandhok: Wonderful, thoughtful, relatable, interesting, and unique.
They Might Be Giants: A band is not a poet. A song is a song, even if a great one.
June 26, 2009, 12:08 pm
Alterboy from Park Slope says:
Leon Freilich's rhyme is sure fun. But in evoking a fading fall day Lynn Chandhok uses fewer words to convey much more. Lynn's my choice for BPL.
June 26, 2009, 12:25 pm
Bgenner from North Shore - Chicagoland says:
Hey: Sharon has my vote !!!

She brings that great midwest wit to the big apple with spice and intelligence.

She's a cuz with a cause.

Love ya,
June 26, 2009, 5:31 pm
Lynn Chandhok from Park Slope says:
She is a terrific poet and I don't find her poetry too academic; it is very humane and emotionally achored in a positive way!
June 26, 2009, 9:15 pm
Pam Laskin from Park Slope says:
She is a terrific poet and I don't find her poetry too academic; it is very humane and emotionally achored in a positive way!

*please delete the last comment; Lynn did not write a comment about herself. I did (Pam Laskin) and I put her name in the name slot (by accident!).Lynn gets my vote. Her language is startling!
June 26, 2009, 9:18 pm
Dave Mandl from Park Slope says:
Sharon Mesmer, no contest. She's very smart and riotously funny.
June 27, 2009, 11:31 am
Donna Brook from Boreum Hill says:
Sharon Mesmer gets my vote as she would be fantastic as she is fantastic anyway and always.
Why didn't Joanna Furhrman get "nominated"?????
June 28, 2009, 9:11 pm
Bruce Sterling from Torino Belgrade Austin says:
I don't get to vote but if Sharon Mesmer becomes your poet laureate my respect for Brooklyn will soar.

I mean, even higher than my already considerable respect for Brooklyn (tips hat)
July 7, 2009, 6:23 pm
niina pollari from bushwick says:
Hell yes, to Sharon. Even though I'm tardy to this pardy.
July 22, 2009, 12:45 am

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