30 August 2010

Ode on a Moonpie

In our first post back in business, I mentioned that I tried and failed to return to college at age 43.

There are, in fact, several things wrong with that declaration.

1) We all know that I am only 33 years old.
2) Statements of my failure have been greatly exaggerated.

Okay, so two issues does not "several" make. They're two biggies, dammit.

As a result of my NOT failing to re-enroll at the "Harvard of Lauderdale County" and after struggling mightily against an evil department chair and successfully gaining admittance into the Professional Writing Program I now find myself, for the first time in the history of my own personal ever...writing poetry.

God help me, I hate poetry.

Call me a Philistine, a heathen, a Midwesterner...I. Hate. Poetry.

I hate poetry for the same reason I hate 'brilliant literature' - it just tries too damn hard.

The best poetry is simple:
The once was a man from Nantucket.
Cookie-Cookie-Cookie-Cook. (thanks, Mel!)
I never saw a purple cow....

But poets - who I believe suffer from a collective case of short man syndrome - insist on making obscure references to Visigoths and ankhs and chalices in poems about dogs and trees and taking out the trash. It's like they can't help breaking out $5 words at every possible opportunity.

:: sigh::

So here I sit, charged with writing a poem for class on Wednesday.
And I have NO idea what to write about.

Maybe I can write about blogs.

There once was a blogger from 'bama
Who did her best work in her 'jammas
A filthy limerick she created
But her damn blog host was R rated
So instead she droned on about...llamas


I have a LOT of flippin' poetry to write over the next few weeks. If you'd like to lend a hand and offer up subject suggestions, please leave them in the lovely little comment box.

Or, as Rick James would have said if he hadn't died of Jheri Curl poisoning a decade before the proliferation of The Interwebz:

"Poem me, bitches!"

6 comments:

Country Girl said...

I hate poetry. It should RHYME, for beginners. And it should MAKE SENSE, for more beginners. I still have the textbook from Leatrice Timmons in oh, say...19-eight-something. And the good stuff, which you DO have to read a bunch to get, is still good stuff. Obviously, a demon child from hell has carried off my book. Damnit.

Comet Girl said...

I totally agree with you! That's why I think Dr. Suess is the greatest poet EVER! If he didn't have a word to rhyme, he'd just make one up.
"If you'd never been born, then you might be an Isn't!
An Isn't has no fun at all. No, he disn't."
— Dr. Seuss

City Girl said...

I tried rhyming the poem i had to write in class today. It was la-ame. Like, 7th grade lame. ::rolls eyes::

Country Girl said...

Another one of the bizarre things that CG and I have in semi-common. Like mustard ;) I started college part-time when I was 16, in a program for gifted children. And I was so damn gifted I graduated when I was 32. And then went ANOTHER 16 years. Doesn't pay well but you meet a lot of cool people!

Merisi said...

I love poetry (sorry).


I recommend Billy Collins.
Get "Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems" -$10 well spent.
I go sit down and leaf through and read and read, and life is good.

Here a few of my favorites (by far not all):


Morning

BY BILLY COLLINS

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?

This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,

dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,

and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.

or

Marginalia

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

Baby Boy said...

My credit card is waiting for the day when "Poem me, bitches" t-shirts go on sale.