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June 19, 2009


I shan’t play a game of Twister with death

By Ivan O’Uris


I shan’t play a game of Twister with Death,

As did Bill and Ted during their “Bogus Journey”

(Or was it their “Excellent Adventure”? – I mixeth them upeth).

Nor shall I indulge Death in badminton,

As in “The Dove.”

Or chess,

As in “The Seventh Seal.”


I shall invite Death into the ring,

Where we shall trade blows

’Til crimson rivers

Stream down our cheeks,

As in “Raging Bull,”

And our eyes are swollen shut,

As in “Rocky”

(The first one, I think – blurreth togethereth theyeth).

After the pitiless pugilistic pounding,

We shall stagger from the arena into the night.

Then again,

I’m game for a game of Twister.


Background Notes: “I Shan’t Play a Twister Game with Death” was inspired from a combination of Ivan’s love of movies, the poems “Death, Be Not Proud” and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” and a dizzy spell from playing too much Twister. It was originally titled “Death, Be Not Proud, For I Shan’t Go Gentle into That Good Night, Especially If You Challenge Me to a Game of Twister.”

The poem was originally published June 19, 2004, in The Examiner*, a Jackson County, Mo., newspaper, shortly after it was discovered by Mark Moyer, Erik Pointer and Shawn Roney, the world’s top three O’Uris scholars, who found it buried in Ivan’s deep-cushioned couch, along with a winning million-dollar lottery ticket (expired) and a long lost uncle (hey, it was a DEEP-CUSHIONED couch). When they submitted it to the paper on Ivan’s behalf, they also submitted “It’s What’s For Dinner.” The poems were published together, along with different background notes.

If you’ve followed “The Paperlessly Wallpapered I.O’U. Papers,” you’ll notice that multiple issues often follow the same theme. Death, for example, is the theme of issues 22 and 23. Not wanting to break the pattern, the folks at Mutt Media had “I Shan’t Play a Twister Game with Death” and “It’s What’s for Dinner” surgically separated by a nameless Hollywood script doctor. Rumor has it that the surgery traumatized Ivan to the point that he might never impersonate Prescilla Presley again. If this were true, it might be cause for concern, considering Ivan hails from Luscia, an overlooked island in the northern Atlantic Ocean best known for having more Prescilla Presley impersonators per capita than anyplace on Earth and that the ability to impersonate her is part of the county’s test for maintaining adulthood. But as with many Ivan-related rumors, this one is inaccurate.

Look for “It’s What’s for Dinner” soon, probably as part of a series of issues where the theme of Ivan’s poetry is food.


*As with other Ivan poems published in The Examiner and reproduced in this blog series, there is a direct link to “I Shan’t Play a Twister Game with Death.” However, it’s recommended that you use the link to The Examiner’s general Web site (http://examiner.net) and search for the poem in The Examiner’s archives by entering Ivan O’Uris’ name.


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