Making a Poem out of Dionysus, Pneumatology, Equanimous, and Boobearalicious: 

The 16th Annual Woodland Pattern Poetry Marathon & Benefit 

by Julie Strand


On Saturday January 30th, 2010 from 10am-1am Woodland Pattern will host it’s 16th Annual Poetry Marathon and Benefit. This year’s Marathon is EXTRA special because it will be the Kick-Off Event to launch Woodland Pattern’s 30th year! 

Over 150 local and not so local writers show their support for WP by reading five minutes of their work to a packed house and by raising at least $35 in pledges to benefit the year-round programming. Although $35 is the minimum, there has always been a prize for the reader who raises the most money. Jacqueline Lalley, has been the winner or runner-up of this prize for the past three?  years. You may ask? Wow how does she get so many people to pledge money? There are two reasons, Jacqueline is an exception writer, but she also came up with a plan for raising pledges. Jacqueline’s plan is simple, contact everyone she knows asking them to pledge her $20 and she will throw in a bonus, not only are they supporting Woodland Pattern’s programming, they can choose a word, any word, and Jacqueline will put that word into a poem, which she will read at the Marathon. As you may have guessed, she has received a wide variety of words, often given just to really challenge Jacqueline, Dionysus, pneumatology, equanimous, and boobearalicious are just a few.

The poetry that comes out of the words is always interesting and the audience always loves to hear the final product of Jacqueline’s fundraising efforts. Below are the poems that came out of the last two years. 


Stimulus Package: A 2008 Marathon Poem by Jacqueline Lalley 


Call me crazy, call me a sparkly 

foundling dazzled by the 

possibilities of this ubiquitous

existence. Still, I will insist

it takes more than six hundred

dollars to stimulate me.


Or call me what you’re 

yearning for, my foundling, 

flummoxed by fidelity to things 

that cost no money:

let me be your Dionysus—

ribald, supine in a tantric revelry 

over some strange piece of 

art—a mere morceau, 

a tiny mezzotint of a giraffe 

or canvass of a hippopotamus, 

nostrils peering out across its 

lost limnetic habitat.


To parse: bipartisan economics 

matter little 

to the changeling party-god 

nor to the party animal. Perhaps 

it’s partly God’s intention that we be 

at loggerheads on inconspicuous

consumption. Consider Chris, 

the man who bit into a sausage 

and perceived 

the nature of the universe—

then, hungry for more knowledge, 

ordered up some ham and cutlets. 

This is known 

as the parable of the wiener. 

Liquor, too, exacerbates things— 

even I forget redemption 

can be found in something other 

than an empty bottle. Still,

consider me your cable car

to kwan, your boobearalicious 

partner in peek-a-boo. 

Call me a socialist, call me Jozef, 

call me late to red-up 

for the shopping frenzy

of the haves and the must-haves. Just 

do not defenestrate my system of belief 

in the impossible. Don’t make

a doughnut of my pneumatology.

My dear, don’t call the fuzz on me. 

Remember: you’re invited to the party.





Poetry Marathon Poem 2009 by Jacqueline Lalley


When Thomas Beazley awoke from surgery

they had managed not only 

to clear his artery, 


but to correct a birth defect.

And so, he emerged a man

stronger than he’d ever been.


The doctor who’d delivered him was chosen by virtue

of his safe, if boisterous, liberation

of many a sweet pea.


The father had painted the bedroom 

vermillion, for that was the boy’s first word,

called out from within, 


from next to the mother’s sacroiliac

as the parents rode the #10 back

from a marvelous talk 


on the Maldives’ Huraa dynasty. 

Well, the reception was marvelous, 

the mother laughed. 

The father laughed too, as he watched her 

bounce and grip the rail

like a callipygous cowgirl.


Then, from out of her, out of nowhere,  

that word—vermillion. Actually 

the boy had said “a million 

heartfelt geese await me, dad, 

and thou shalt shepherd these 

across Nakoma Golf Course

to the pond upon the hospital grounds

where I will smile 

and pee on you.” 


This is what he’d said, 

however, a layer of marvelous 

artichoke dip had interfered


and when the boy was born, he cried, 

and the doctor shouted “Geronimo!”

and the father knew he’d failed, 


and the mother belched,

and the boy became a man.

and when the man awoke from his surgery


they had managed to clear not just his artery, 

but his memory. And so, he was stronger 

than he’d ever been, 


stronger than Phineas Gage, 

for he’d survived much worse

than a steel rail through the head. 


Thomas Beazley had survived 

a world where no geese were there

to greet him, and then survived 

to care nothing 


(Insert uncomfortably long pause.)


Have you heard?


Is the new friendly. 



Is the new zany,

Oh, to be in full control of one’s faculties, poised and self-possessed.



There are still spots open in the 2010 Woodland Pattern Poetry Marathon and Benefit. If you are interested in reading in the event and supporting the year-long programming that happens right here in Riverwest, please call 414-263-5001. If you are more of a listener, please support the local writers and Woodland Pattern by sponsoring a reader and coming to the Marathon on Saturday, January 30th. A day-long ticket is only $8.