Let’s take a moment to remember Bob Watt: poet, artist, self-styled “dirty old man.” After moving to Milwaukee in 1951, Watt established himself as a counterculture poet and outsider artist, focusing on “so bad it’s good” poetry and kitschy, Native American-obsessed art. Later in life, Watt was best known for his audacious stunts and unapologetic smutty persona. In 2000 he announced his candidacy for Milwaukee mayor in front of a Wisconsin Ave. Hooters. In 2008 his “Leo Feldman Presents” Christmas show—in which he dressed as Santa Claus and posed for pictures with nude female models—caused a stink in buttoned-down art circles. Watt’s habit of seeking out nude models in the classifieds of local alt-weeklies was another of his defining traits. When he died in 2012 at the age of 86, Milwaukee lost a true original.

So, what better way to celebrate the back to school season than by reading a 44-year-old Bob Watt poem about building a “giant masturbating machine” for UWM? Entitled “Giant Machine,” the short free-verse poem appears is typical of Watt: uncouth, sex-obsessed, ridiculous, funny, ultimately frivolous and harmless. It appears in the 1972 collection Brewing: 20 Milwaukee Poets, and is read here by Milwaukee Record‘s own Matt Wild.