Polar Plunge
by Kimmy Alan


Severe bitter shocking memories
Tattooed with large frozen goosebumps

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken during a fundraiser in White Bear Lake for the special Olympics.  I took part in a similar Polar Plunge in White Bear Lake a little over 10 years ago.  I still haven’t recovered from the trauma. (Photo compliments of the University of Minnesota.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poem, “Polar Plunge,” is about vivid beach memory of when I participated in this Minnesota rite of passage. In order to convey the shock of his experience I chose to write my work with a Tyburn style poem. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. Polar Plunges are very popular fundraisers  in Minnesota, proving  just how crazy we are.


Kimmy Alan
is a wannabe poet from the land of Lake Woebegone. Named after Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim, he’s been exposed to poetry and literature since birth. Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Kimmy Alan pursed his love of poetry as a distraction while undergoing chemo and radiation. For him, poetry has proven to be a powerful catharsis, as he is currently in remission. When he isn’t writing, he spends time with his four wonderful nieces, whom he says “are driving him to pieces.”

I’m a frequent visitor of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  What you see in the background is the corn water tower that is visible from nearly every place in town. Every now and then at night, when the corn cob’s lights are on, an excited visitor will call the front desk of their hotel/motel inquiring if it’s some sort of rocket ship about to blast off. For the record, my beret has no particular significance other than to cover my balding head.