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the dead man and the alligator — for big tent poetry

December 18, 2010

This is a great form, and I’m so glad Deb introduced me to it (and thanks, of course, to its creator Marvin Bell). I didn’t manage its finer points (such as internal vs. external), but I enjoyed exploring the character of The Dead Man. I got the idea for pairing him up with an alligator when I tweeted about not having written a new poem since the alligators ate my last one.



Make sure you go here to visit all the other dead men and their poets!

  1. December 18, 2010 2:41 pm

    Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve read a genuinely scary poem.

  2. December 18, 2010 2:51 pm

    I love this relationship poem. How the dead man things he’s funny; how he will probably through over his alligator for the woman with the purse.

    The voice here is so crisp and clean. Amazing, given the odd characters in the poem. Brings a vividness that is entirely believable.

    • December 18, 2010 7:30 pm

      another relationship poem?! i know! how does one manage to turn a dead man and alligator poem into a relationship poem? it has to be the lady. once the lady entered the scene, everyone was doomed. 🙂

      i bet she’s a redhead. 🙂

  3. December 18, 2010 3:33 pm

    I don’t know the alligator but surely I’ve met the dead man. The voice and thoughts are clearly defined – an enjoyable read!

  4. December 18, 2010 4:38 pm

    This is funny, funny, funny. I think if we were to live life as if we were already dead, we would all find ourselves and life a lot more humorous. Great job with this. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • December 18, 2010 7:31 pm

      nan, it was really fun to consider the predicaments a dead man might get himself into. maybe i felt freer with him than with my normal poetry characters/personae.

  5. December 18, 2010 5:09 pm

    Hadn’t even thought about other characters showing up to converse with the Dead Man… it’s just as much an About an Alligator and the Dead Man as it is the reverse. They both make me smile, though.

    • December 18, 2010 7:31 pm

      it came to me while i was tweeting today. and thank goodness. i was stumped.

  6. December 18, 2010 5:22 pm

    This is so fun and clever. Love the interplay between dead man and beast.

    • December 18, 2010 7:32 pm

      thank you! (and i’ve had tentative friendships like the interplay here.)

  7. Irene permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:28 pm

    I think the lady with alligator purse is the most interesting.

    • December 18, 2010 7:32 pm

      irene, thanks for reading! she is certainly on the mind of our dead guy!

  8. December 18, 2010 6:15 pm

    Carolee, love the interplay in this.

  9. December 18, 2010 6:38 pm

    The alligator’s sense of humour may have suffered but yours certainly hasn’t. I love this

  10. December 18, 2010 8:42 pm

    Carolee, this isto so excellent. I came to read others, looking for inspiration. Yours is perfection!

    • December 18, 2010 9:51 pm

      thanks, mary! i hope it inspires you. i read many this week before writing one!

  11. December 18, 2010 9:06 pm

    I love how this made me laugh, which I wasn’t expecting to do reading a dead man poem! Thanks, Carolee.

  12. December 20, 2010 3:57 am

    I like that alligator; he needs to dump the dead man, though.

  13. December 20, 2010 5:10 pm

    I like the humor in this. I want to know why the alligator wants revenge. Is it to avenge alligator-kind? I have a feeling that purse may have once been someone who meant something to that alligator.

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