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this is just to say (spoof 1)

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I was listening to a podcast of This American Life the other day and it opened with the famous poem ‘This is just to say’ by William Carlos Williams, followed by several spoof versions. Apparently, many writers have done versions of this famous poem. In fact, in classrooms and writing groups it’s not an uncommon exercise, not to mention a fun one, to create a rendition of the poem. Before I go any farther, here is the original poem:

THIS IS JUST TO SAY by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

The apology is pretty lack luster. You totally get the feeling that the narrator is not sorry at all and knew damn well the plums were being saved. That is the one aspect that is consistent with the spoof versions – the false apology. Also, the broken poetry style is often used. Other than that, there doesn’t appear to be any rules. On This American Life, several cast members read their own variations. Some were long, some short, some funny and some quite dark. It’s on the Mistakes Were Made episode and I highly recommend listening to it. The poems are in the prologue so you wont have to wait long. It also happens to be the episode about freezing dead people, so it’s win win.

Anyway, I fell in love with the exercise and thought you guys might like to have a go at it too. So, today’s comic is my first attempt. I found it has the same addictive nature as writing haiku so I imagine this wont be the last time I use the concept on the comic. Hope you enjoy mine and have fun writing your own and sharing them here.

Here’s one variation I came across online that I made me smile:
by Kenneth Koch

Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

A quick bit of happy news before I leave you: We have more mannequin parts! Last Wednesday Macy’s in Tampa had their annual props sale. Unfortunately, we found out late in the day, so a lot of the real gems were snatched up, but we managed to leave there with one almost full mannequin (she’s without arms), a headless torso, two random arms with broken fingers and a hand. HoO! For now I’ll just share a photo of the sale grounds. We salivated the minute we entered the lot!

mannequins galore!

See you next week…

<3 calan

18 Responses to “this is just to say (spoof 1)”

  1. Gabe Lippmann Says:

    wonderful 🙂

  2. J Says:

    Me and my droogs
    were the ones
    who crasted
    the ornamental gnomes from your front lawn.

    I’ve slooshied
    that those malenky vecks were real dorogoy
    to starry collectors.

    It wasn’t for cutter,
    we just messeled
    that it’d be a horrorshow gag
    to put them in neezhnies and otchkies
    and ookadeet them behind
    having a bolshy chai party at the biblio.

  3. insertnamehere Says:

    heh… I’m pretty sure this is my favorite.

  4. calan Says:

    J – horrorshow, indeed! we should go to the milkbar to celebrate your talents. 🙂

    could you remember all those terms off the top of your head? I would have needed to resort to the glossary.

  5. Seraphine Says:

    Do you like my doll?
    It’s looks just like yours.
    I’m sorry you lost your doll.

  6. calan Says:


  7. Chris Says:

    I heard that episode as well! This is the best version! I love it!

  8. Seraphine Says:

    the struggle is
    most enjoyable

  9. calan Says:

    thanks chris 🙂 this american life is my fave radio show. i listen to the podcasts when i’m working on my comic a lot. especially when i’m at the point where i just need to add 8 million little lines to it and don’t want to lose my mind.

  10. matthew Says:

    ok… I did respond to this on Wednesday but it seems to not have posted. Well anyway i loved the toon. Ven is my hero. You looked so peaceful so i decided to suffocate you LOL…too funny. I also won’t even try to compete with such perfection in your poem. Loved it.

  11. calan Says:

    aww, matt. i’m sorry yours got eaten by the interwebs demon. you know, i noticed the server went down really really briefly. just as i was about to freak out it came back up. maybe you posted during those cursed moments. if you remember it, try posting again. i would love to read it. 🙂

  12. Chance Says:

    Why did I think this poem was autobiographical?

  13. Kevin Mullaney.com » Blog Archive » This Is Just To Say Says:

    […] Click the image to see the full comic […]

  14. Nev the Deranged Says:

    Heh. I was just going to do some of these on my own blag, for the exact same reason (that guy who did all the halfassed cryogenics was a real head trip), and google led me here. Glad to see I’m not the only TAL fan out there ^_^

  15. calan Says:

    hi Nev and welcome 🙂 the half-assed cryogenics was def. a trip. that dude was in some serious denial too, huh? i checked out your blahg and loved every random thought in your post. you’re probably an excellent pub or coffee house pal. interesting random conversations rock! hoOO!

  16. gus Says:

    This is just to say, I didnt read all your postings
    You may think you have insightful, profound thoughts
    You can forgive me if you want
    I choose to adhere to my own wits and understandings

  17. calan Says:

    welcome gus and thanks for contributing your own version 🙂

  18. gingerdead.com » Archive » this is just to say (spoof 2) Says:

    […] say’ by William Carlos Williams. You can read the first comic spoof I did and more on the subject here. To refresh your memory, the original poem goes like […]

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