Planetary Ping Pong

Lyrics: Dean Blehert & Alan Graham
Voice and karaoke mix: Neal Fox
Who Put the Bomp

Who put the dem in the pandemonium?
Who put the plan in the planetary ping pong?
Who put the ic in the icky pandemic?
Who put the jab in the jabberwocky singsong?
Who was that, Love?
I’d like to shake his glove–
He wouldn’t let me touch the girl I loved (nah).
When my baby heard
“Dem dummy them dumb dem dummy dump dump”
Every word lit terror in her eyes
And when the masked ones chanted
“Panic puny punks in panoramic ping pong”
She sobbed, “They’d never tell us LIES!”

I commissioned this audio track to support my 20 January lecture about poetry at Washburn Academy. The trailing sound effects are a bridge to the next poem.

~ Alan Graham, poet, master collaborator

Try it yourself! Here’s the Bomp track without the words:

Erika, Save Me

Alexa, do you remember typewriters?
No two machines were just alike, because
the keys were never aligned perfectly.

In the Soviet Union,
if you wanted to publish your poetry,
you’d crank in four sheets of paper
with carbons in between

And hand off the copies
to others who would do the same.
The work was called samizdat,
a forbidden activity.
It means “self-published.”

The KGB (the original fact checkers)
registered every typewriter at the factory
with a sample of the quirky type it produced
and could track you down that way.
Alexa, I didn’t say “qwerty.”
Please don’t autocorrect me.

For the wrong viewpoint,
or maybe just bad poetry,

it was off to the interrogator,
maybe the gulag, who knew?
Yet samizdat outlived that dynasty.

Dr. Zhivago was published this way,
countless typists sweating without pay
so others could read about a poet
who wasn’t political.

And if that was counter-revolutionary,
what did that make the typists?
Dead if they weren’t careful—

Unless they owned an Erika,
a sweet little portable
built in East Germany, smuggled by travelers

back to a country starved for poetry.
Her type samples were not on file,
So you could samizdat to your heart’s content
and stay out of jail.

Alexa, get me an Erika.

Alan Graham