Times are hard in academia. With so few jobs and so many brilliant minds competing for them, it’s important to publish early and often before even thinking about applying for a tenure track academic position. Alessandro Porco knew that as well as anyone. So before he applied for a position as an assistant professor in the English Department at UNC-Wilmington, he made sure to publish a collection some of his best poetry under title Augustine in Carthage: And Other Poems. Porco’s writing provides a pretty good overview of the kind of material that will help an aspiring English professor stand out among other applicants at UNCW.
For the record, I’ve read Augustine in Carthage in its entirety. It was the worst half hour I ever spent in a coffee shop without my Glock 23. In fact, I was in the Starbucks just up the road from a topless bar called Pure Gold. But I almost felt like I was actually in a topless bar when I read the first poem in Porco’s collection. In that poem, Allesandro finds himself in the “Club Super Sexe” having drinks and writing poetry about his experiences. He writes about getting a lap dance from one stripper who starts “Gyrating her country hips atop (his) stoic d***.” It’s all downhill from there.
As I read more of Porco’s poetry, I realized that he really wasn’t writing in a topless bar. He was actually writing in a topless and bottomless bar. In fact, he wrote that every “tw*t was bald” in Club Sexe. Porco must not have liked the cleanly shaven strippers because, according to his poetic account, he goes to different bar where people can get their “testicles tickled” and their “perineums rubbed.”
But Professor Porco doesn’t just pick bars where one can get sexual favors for money. He picks bars where one can also find good conversation. In fact, Porco recounts one conversation he had in a strip bar with a war veteran who told Professor Porco he liked to “f*** (his) wife with a strap-on dildo.”
In the same poem, Professor Porco talks about his “upholstered d*** drawn with the heroic elasticity of Plastic Man.” For some reason, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that the professor likes to write about having his penis pulled out and exposed in a bar. He continues, writing “my ding dong did settle in a seat at the table of sad M. Hilver for a last nightcap.” Ok, so the professor is sitting at a table with another man in a strip bar with his penis pulled out. Nothing could possibly go wrong here. So I kept on reading.
Fortunately, Professor Porco next speaks of his “comic-western d***” coiled around Hilver’s neck and “choking out one last breath.” I say “fortunately” because this is the first point in Porco’s poetic collection where it becomes clear that he is not always writing about his actual sexual experiences, but instead about his sexual fantasies. In other words, he didn’t actually kill anyone with his penis. That will be very reassuring to readers of this column before my little book review is finished. But I’m getting somewhat ahead of myself.
Porco includes a total of 17 rambling poems in his Augustine in Carthage collection. But they are all extremely academic and educational. For example, Professor Porco informs us that “Graduate students at SUNY Buffalo give awful blowjobs; they’ve no sense of rhythm.” But Porco has great rhythm – poetic rhythm, that is. How else would he subtlety blend a line like “Hey go f*** yourself” into the middle of one of his poems? Byron, Keats, move over. I’ve discovered Alessandro Porco!
As great as this poetry is, and as much of a genius as Alessandro Porco is, some of his work really stands head and shoulders above the rest. I believe that “We So Seldom Look on Nantucket” is his finest poem. Here are some samples:
“I once had a vision at Lourdes
-Not of Mary, but of Traci Lords;
It fits that Jes*s
Rimes with ‘oh, Jes*s!’
Cuz I saw Traci Blowing the L*rd.”
You can’t be a poetic genius unless you blaspheme the name of Jesus. Well, maybe you can be a genius but you can’t count on landing a job teaching English at UNCW unless you insult Jesus. So now his success in finding work at UNCW makes a little more sense to those who cannot appreciate his raw intellect.
Say what you want about Alessandro Porco but he’s no ordinary pervert. He is actually a very creative one. For example, here’s a stanza he writes about having sex with a handicapped woman:
“There once was a Princess amputee,
Arms to her elbows, legs to her knees;
Just a head and a stump
‘Twas my duty to hump;
She: ‘My thanks, kind Knight, for your perversity.’”
Well, at least Professor Porco knows he’s a pervert. But he’s capable of taking things to a whole new level in a department of cutting edge postmodern eloquence. You might want to keep young children from reading the following stanza, which is more suitable for a college audience:
“I met an old whore at Nantucket;
As we humped she kicked the bucket;
But I stayed the course
And skunked in her corpse;
We so seldom look on Nantucket!”
This isn’t to suggest that Professor Porco actually had sex with a dead woman. It sounds like it’s just a sexual fantasy of his. And that’s not disturbing at all for parents of UNCW students, is it? We’re all adults here — unless someone is preaching the Gospel on university property.
To be dead serious for a moment, the fact that a man can write a poem about fornicating with a corpse and not be disqualified from the profession of molding young minds is quite illuminating. It shows that intellectual rigor mortis has truly set in within the halls of academe. It also shows that there is more white trash to be found in a UNCW English faculty meeting than in any trailer park in the state of North Carolina.