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First Impression: Bumper Sticker Report 

Bumper Sticker Report
I have been writing poems since I was 10 (in 1964). Originally, my poems were the usual size of American verse: about 18 lines. Th en in 1996, they began to shrink. My poems became as short as haiku—then shorter. For example:

Mature Eggs
One may refer
to birds
as “mature eggs.”

One day I realized I was writing bumper stickers. I began keeping a list:
WARNING: ANARCHIST ON BOARD
DON’T BLAME ME—I VOTED FOR BRITNEY SPEARS
IF THOUGHT IS OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE THOUGHTS

On February 13, 2005, I published a series of these in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times.
Here is my progress report since then. One of those slogans is now a true sticker. (In fact, it’s on
my own bumper.) A sticker-making company saw the article and now prints this message:
DON’T SHOOT TROUT—FISH FOR DEER!

I just received my third royalty check. I have experienced the American dream—from obscure poet to successful bumper-sticker creator. Further, I have noticed two of my other slogans on bumper stickers:
I’D RATHER BE HERE NOW
and
HONK IF YOU LOVE HONKING
Meanwhile, I have continued writing new phrases. Some are familiar slogans reversed:
EXPECT THE EXPECTED
THE EARLY WORM GETS EATEN
WHAT PART OF “MAYBE” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

Some are self-piteous:
I’M AN ARMY OF ONE—BUT I’M LOSING!

Sometimes I invent variants on traditional slogans, such as “My other car is a Mercedes.”
I SOLD MY OTHER CAR TO BUY THIS BUMPER STICKER
MY OTHER CAR IS BEHIND YOU

Some are postmodern bumper stickers that self-consciously discuss the genre:
MY BUMPER STICKER IS FUNNIER THAN YOUR BUMPER STICKER
I LOVE CAPITAL LETTERS

Some of my slogans reflect recent news:
THE DRUG WAR IS OVER—THE DRUGS WON
PRAY FOR GENERAL MOTORS

Th is one addresses global warming:
THE EARTH IS UNCOOL

So does this one, subtly:
BRING BACK PARASOLS

This slogan refers to the prices at gas pumps:
WITH THE PRICE OF GAS TODAY I CO
ONLY AFFORD 2/3 OF A BUMPER ST

Under the cover of anonymity, my messages grow more political, from:
REVOKE CHENEY’S HUNTING LICENSE
to
I’M A DECIDER: IMPEACH BUSH!
to
DEPORT CHENEY

One of my hobbies is palindromes (words, phrases, or Sunday school hymns that are the
same backward and forward). I have invented two such slogans, both political:
REVOLT
LOVER
and
WED NOT SIS, BUSH!
SUBSIST ON DEW
(I wonder if anyone will see this article and steal some of these gems?)

  • Sparrow gives an update on his bumper sticker slogans.

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