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June 23, 2009


Preface: This piece originally appeared with “A Doe, a Doe and Some Dough” in the Jan. 15, 2005, edition of The Examiner (http://examiner.net), a Jackson County, Mo., newspaper. It’s the second of three poems to be republished (with minor changes) through underwriting from the Hillary Hilson-Hilton Hall of Hallowed Homophones and Hefty, Heady Halifax Halibut.


Courtney Knott’s Knot

By Ivan O’Uris


Contortionist Courtney Knott

Tied herself in a knot,

Despite being advised she should not.

Courtney Knott could not undo her knot,

Making Ms. Knott’s knot all for naught.


Background Notes: “Courtney Knott’s Knot” was found by Ivan O’Uris scholars Mark Moyer, E.E. Pointer and Shawn Roney among a box of soft pretzels. It was written following a romantic encounter with Courtney Knott, a professional contortionist and the good-but-not-great-great-great-great-great-not-so-great-great-great-great-more-brilliant-than-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Courtney Katarina von Schlumberg Knottenheim Stanislovika Smythe-Smith III, the contortionist rumored to have inspired the invention of the Antarctic-style pretzel. According to Ivan’s not-really-private-but-more-like-low-key-hush-hush journal, Knott had begun reading the book “The Kama Sutra for Bread Lovers” and wanted to try the lightly salted Bavarian-style soft pretzel with mustard position. While attempting the position, her left leg got wrapped around Ivan’s left shoulder and the big toe of her left foot got lodged in his left ear.

After hobbling to a phone and calling an ambulance, the entangled lovers were separated by a paramedic who was an expert in popping champagne corks and opening the lids to sardine cans. About two weeks later, while Ivan was suffering writer’s block, he was eating some soft Bavarian pretzels while watching an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” depicting Jethro Bodine’s efforts to be a “double-naught spy.” He remembered the encounter with Knott and wrote the piece.

Thus, Ivan’s encounter with Knott was not for naught.


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