When initiating “Scum Sifter in St. Louis,” written on the heels of “Pantsless in Boston,” Martin moved the duo from the couplets of their first three poems to a four-line stanza. The poem tells the tale of a chemist for a major brewery who fears for his job in middle America but who discovers a measure of liberation by the end. It took more time to complete than the first three — six weeks instead of several days apiece — because Martin was also competing in Project Verse, an online poetic version of Project Runway, and traveling to Brazil. The two finally put on the finishing touches July 6, 2009.
“Scum Sifter in St. Louis” first appeared in Volume 3, Number 34 (January 2010) of Conceit Magazine, the saddle-stitched labor of love of Ms. Perry Terrell. It is the twenty-first poem in the final sequence of Poets’ Guide to America.