Sit and watch me manipulate beneath my garden dress, she whispered.
Two will shake in delirious worship.
Let me smear honey to cool the lust of our knife.
And leave a spray of milk chocolate near me.
Lather my breasts with sweet sausage.
Lick like it's raw pink peach meat.
Eat my smooth juice.
I smell love repulsive.

Miami University,
June 13, 1999.

Most Overrated Songwriter: Stephen Sondheim.

Whatsoever he hews
he gets good reviews,
unlike Webber, who nebber
gets naught but the boot
-except he gets loot.
So much loot he can't fit in his suit.

But Sondheim!

-whose art is so exquisite, so superior,
it hankers hard to hunker up its master's tight posterior.
So refined it leaves behind
the vaulting flute of melody,
the well-stacked house
of harmony,
and the mighty vital organ
of humanity.
Bring on the clowns indeed!
What we need is some grand
old bathtub warmth
which is a nice lead-in to:

Most Underrated Songwriter: Walter Donaldson.

Not hallowed in hardback,
nor printed in glossy,
his songs are our tunes,
never bossy, nor mossy.
He rocked out of Ragtime
and merged into Swing,
a People's composer, an unsceptered king,
whose melodies seesaw or snap or soar high
as if they had come from the top of the sky
when in fact they'd been picked from the street (not the valley)
and cobbled together in old Tin Pan Alley.
Singing "Love me or leave me" and "Little white lies"
and "Mammy" who sits there surrounded by pies
and my dead wartime "Buddy" and fine Caroline,
and girlies like Maisie
who's driving me crazy
and might stop me from reaching my home sharp at seven,
where me and my family make up "My blue heaven."
Dear all-purpose, all-seasons Donaldson!
Never no more "making whoopee" with the horses,
or asking, "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm?"
For now he's safe from alarm
honored by the hour
as round the world we hymn him daily singing-out
beneath the shower.

-Ian Whitcomb, a former 1960s pop star ("You Really Turn Me On"), recently produced the Grammy-award winning Titanic: Music as Played on the Fateful Voyage and wrote a history of American popular music, After the Ball Pop Music From Ragtime to Rock.

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