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September 26, 2008


The Supersonically Tongue-Twisting Up-tempo Ballad of Pat Flatt

By Ivan O’Uris


Pat Flatt

Liked almost anything flat:

Flat mats,

Flat Matts

(And flat Matts on flat mats),

Flat bats

(And flat bats toting flat bats),

Flat hats

(Made of flat bat fat1),

But especially flat Matts

Wearing flat bat fat hats,

Lying on flat mats

With flat bats

Holding flat bats.

But Pat Flatt

Didn’t like fixing flats.

And when in England, Pat Flatt

Didn’t like living in flats

Or fixing flats2 in flats,

For doing so left Pat Flatt

Feeling … crappy,

But not flat.


1. A seemingly scholarly footnote: This is an allusion to Seamus Zhing Pao Straniskoviski del Escobar-Smith the Not Really Great But Not A Total Suck-ass Either, a 15th-century monarch, scientist and hot dog eating champion on the island of Luscia, Ivan’s homeland (see also Ivan’s bio). Having heard the period’s greatest minds believed the world to be flat, he hypothesized it was only flat, but also made of a piece giant fat, which led to his fear of going outside on days when it was hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. He spent the last 30 years of his life conducting a study to determine what kind of fat it was. At one point, he insisted it was bat fat.


2. Another seemingly scholarly footnote: Generally, the English (and everyone else in the British Empire – or what’s left of it) use “puncture” instead of “flat” to refer to a flat tire. This is a case of Ivan taking poetic license. Unfortunately, it’s not his poetic license, as he lost his poetic license while trying to renew his driver’s license, which he lost while trying to renew his fishing license, so please don’t tell anyone.3


3. A seemingly scholarly footnote to a seemingly scholarly footnote: The penalty for using someone else’s poetic license is to be sentence to five years of writing Hallmark greeting card verse – or in more severe cases, publishing a university-based literary magazine.


4. A not-so seemingly scholarly footnote: This footnote is here to keep the others from getting lonely.


Background Notes: Actually, these aren’t really background notes because what would be background notes are actually the footnotes above. So, readers, you know where it says, “Background Notes” – just above here? Forget that it says that and pretend that it says this …


Bio: Ivan O’Uris is a flatly pudgy journalist, poet and Olympic mattress stuffer from Luscia, a small North Atlantic island that revived its flat economy a few years ago by exporting sculptures of Kansas made of flattened fat. Since the late 1990s, E.E. Pointer and Shawn Roney – and occasionally Mark A. Moyer – have carried the message of Ivan O’Uris to newspapers, zines and Web sites. Sometimes, one person carries the message. Sometimes, two carry it. Sometimes, all three carry it. Sometimes, a carrier pigeon carries them carrying the message (it’s a big pigeon).

“The Supersonically Tongue-Twisting Up-tempo Ballad of Pat Flatt” was originally published (in altered form*) Dec. 27, 2006, at Lawrencian.com (now Larryville.com). To see the original piece, visit http://news.larryville.com/index.php/creative/45-ivan-ouris/146-the-supersonically-tongue-twisting-up-tempo-ballad-of-pat-flatt.


*Note: Actually, the poem has stayed the same, but the background notes/bio have changed, so that’s means the whole piece has changed, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT? ANSWEEEEEEEEER MEEEEEEEEEEEE, DAMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!


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