"Jessie" by Polenberg

A follower of the TheBPlot on Twitter is “Korpralpunchmen,” also known as Long Branch resident, poet and artist Kathy Polenberg.

Despite our friendship being purely digitally-driven, Kathy – with 140-characters-or-less tweets such as “peoples inability to tolerate a lack of immediate response has spread to nature: a tree fell in a forest and texted in the sound with a forward” and “had my writing nominated for the prestigious Shoppingcart Prize: p/u turkey, breadcrumbs, cornstarch, bring coupon for laundry soap” – brightens my laptop screen.


I have never spoken with Kathy, so we tweeted an interview in anticipation of her reading Sunday afternoon (Feb. 7), along with my mom, at the First Annual Writers Festival at Restaurant Plan B.

TBP: Where did you get your Twitter name, Korpralpunchmen?

Kathy: My initials…I was trying to use a real name but everything was taken. I was moving the letters like scrabble and ended up with a sound like Corporal Punishment (which I do not advocate – Scrabble and other board games rip families apart and cause premature drug use).

TBP: Where did that sense of humor come from?

Kathy: Betrayal, trauma and hardship starting at a very early age. Oh, and near-genius intelligence.

TBP: Do your daughters and husband think you are as funny as I do?

Kathy: I never poll the audience. I will find out when I am dead.

TBP: What is the secret to being married for 28 years, to Howie?

Kathy: I have a partner who doesn’t let me do what I want – he helps me do what I want. And I do the same for him. Charity really does begin at home as a transaction between two people.

TBP: You have lived at the shore for decades, what about all these new fancy-pants places around here charging $15 for a drink or a hamburger now?

Kathy: I have no idea if that is high anymore. In 1981 my wedding dress from Bamberger’s cost what I spend at Foodtown getting “fill-ins.”

TBP: What is a tech invention that is ruining us?

Kathy: Touch screen art activities for children. If they can’t ruin your carpet then there’s no process engaging the child’s limbic system and amygdala.

TBP: You are a huge supporter of the arts here.

Kathy: There is such a wealth of energy coming from the people my adult kid’s age. The young artists are more generous than the old farts too – they welcome participation from all who want in the conversation.

TBP: I want to meet you. After the Writer’s Festival, where can we find you, besides on Twitter?

Kathy: The Writer’s Fest is five minutes among a bunch of other people with five minutes. Like traffic court, you won’t notice me unless I make the Bench angry.

After the Fest, wherever there is a guy painting another guy – I’ll be there. has more.