Not a final draft.

Edward Lacie (edwa318@webtv.net)

To understand the serious nature of the seemingly sarcastic prose poem, "The Story of Jerry and the Anole" by Greg Baysans, one must know the reference made only in that title and nowhere in the poem itself. In Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story," Jerry, about to commit suicide, regales the man he intends to have kill him with a story, "The Story of Jerry and the Dog."

The reference is important because it sets a serious tone to the otherwise childish and condescending style of the poem, presented as a parable or children's story. 

The reader first learns of the main character, Jerry, and his interest in anoles, small lizards. Jerry trains his pet advanced tricks. When the public learns that anoles can be so trained, the novelty is gone. Jerry's expertise is diluted. The parable follows Jerry as he tries to make use of his individual skill.

In picaresque fashion, Jerry's adventures are related. A job "where the animals are abused behind the scenes" is mentioned.

The climax of the poem, at a school that supposedly "teaches people how to teach anoles," is a reference to a technical school attended by Baysans. The school, BCTI, is lambasted in another poem, "A Real Education", an epic-length work that attempts to bring Enron into the ken of modern poetry.

Like "A Real Education", "The Story of Jerry and the Anole" is Kafka-esque, a quality more unusual in poetry than in prose. 

Click here to see an index of the poems of Greg Baysans (find "The Story of Jerry and the Anole" under "Prose and Cons")

-Edward Lacie, 12/1/2002