hooray poem. grumble stupid monkey poem...

Okay. So I've decided to join a message board. It has poetry on it but is for grownups. Its poetry area is populated, in fact, by people who appear to BE grownups and do not appear to suck at writing and critiquing poetry! When I found it linked over at Worlds & Time the other day I had conniptions. I had palpitations. I lurked and looked and giggled with evil glee, but alas, it was late and I was exceedingly unsober. When I decided to do a quick self-test, see if I could add to the ongoing haiku thread for my first post, it turned out I could not. This led to an old-fashioned round of "oh dog I'm so rusty I probably can't write a poem to save my butt anymore." Which is like the ancient pirate game of insult beer pong, except without the beer or the table or the pirates.

So I wrote a poem on Friday just to see if I still could.

[winter vacation]

it's not just that I miss my job
the quiet room, the steady pace
and I'm not tired of our place
or how we get to live like slobs

but I don't want to be the one
to drag us from this comfy rut
through ash tapped from tobacco butts
and hours of pre-recorded fun

let's just put life on DVR
we'll sleep for six or seven years
fast-forward through the trials and tears
to where our favorite programs are

we'll be two glad automatons
deal out the cards--one subroutine
or cook, and when our plates are clean
drink up till all the gin is gone

what bothers me, my lovely half
is how we've barely changed a lick
or haven't made new habits stick
past when the next thing makes us laugh

the world we've yet to conquer lurks
down sidewalks where we've never been
we'll stumble, rise, plod on again
until we figure out what works.

I'm very unhappy with the ending. Hopefully I will think up a way to revise that stanza so that it no longer seems so...dull and plodding to me. Also I think there's parts in the middle where I need to tighten up the phrasing. So indeed, I am rusty. I am not ready yet to start posting in a place populated by people who don't suck. Hang out, build a presence, the old familiar drill.

The internet allows me to develop a wonderfully unambiguous sense of the proper procedure for approaching and settling into social groups and relationships. Every interaction takes place at a location. The relationship of the interacting parties to the location in which they meet determines their relative social statuses for the purposes of that interaction. And because the default social hierarchy is provided by the structure of the interface, it's breathtakingly easy to sift out the subtext from the frame so as to avoid most faux pas.

Usually. Most of the time. And you don't have to look 'em in the eye even if you are accidentally insulting a time or two. So, hooray for the internet.

In the meantime see if I can remember how to write a good tanka. Those things are fun!

she spilled a coffee
but oh! in wind chill so low
her gasp froze solid
a little bridge so the drink
could arrive where it belonged


Spherical Time said...

Poetry forms were always my downfall. I always preferred free verse. Of course, if you really want to challenge yourself, go for a Sestina.

Fiat Lex said...

I've only written two of them that were any good. One was the 50th part of a big, huge poem in 50 parts. The other is me musing on the story of Persephone and Hades while walking up the stairs to my apartment in the winter. They were fun, but a whole lot of things have to come together for one to work.

A lot o people dislike form, because it can stifle the outpouring of a creative idea. The writer's mental censor gets focused on the structure, and conscious awareness of the inspiring idea can fade out. I'm the other way around. I prefer to have a form to bump up against and give shape to my thought. Otherwise writing something crisp and arresting is very hard for me to do. I get all bogged down on bunny trails.