Kloss wrote a column called Slightly Kloss Eyed for the Green Sheet, the afternoon paper's weekday comics and humor section. I had the pleasure of seeing him in person (although we weren't introduced) during a tour of the company in the mid '80's.
Anyhow, I came across this today and thought it was worth a repeat here. In January 1974 a city of Milwaukee standpipe, a vertical pipe meant to guide water to the upper floor of a building, leaked during a fire.
"The great standpipe scandal was upon us. The city desk couldn't have been happier.
So many standpipe stories ran in the next weeks that a couple of office wags put together a list assigning fake standpipe stories to everyone in the newsroom, from the sob sister to the music critic. . .
Gerald Kloss, the Green Sheet poet, strolled in that morning and stopped at the bulletin board where, mildly amused, he read the list of assignments. Then he came to his own: "Eighteen lines of iambic pentameter couplets on standpipes beginning `Ah, Chloe.' "
He turned on his heels and strode to his typewriter. In less than an hour, 18 lines of perfectly scanned, iambic pentameter couplets were on the bulletin board. They began:
Ah, Chloe, erst I saw you standing there
Upon that naked shore, pristine and bare,
I fondly mused, "There is, indeed, a verity
In this, your very perpendicularity!
Standpipe-straight, not veering from the vertical,
Nor leaning left nor right en mode absurdical!"
The rest of the staff, some of whom had difficulty writing prose, to say nothing of poetry, gathered at the bulletin board in humbled silence, much like the awe with which the crowd must have greeted events at Lourdes. One suspects that if Kloss talked in his sleep, it came mumbling out as rhymed couplets. He couldn't help it.
He was a genius."