Still working on the back wall stuff (barely the tip of the iceberg on that, really). I’d estimate this one around 2002. It’s thematically really similar to the last piece I posted, so likely were written around the same time. This one had to be written immediately after college. I would assume it was a college poem, if not for the reference to the blanket and computer chair – I didn’t have a computer station in my room during the college years; I remember pretty much living in the campus computer lab, so that pretty easily dates this piece at after that, but definitely not by much.
I struggled a lot at that point in my life, between enjoying poetry, but hating the collegiate, hipstery crowd that gravitates toward it as a beacon of counter culture. (“See. I go to poetry readings, so I’m not like YOU. I turn my nose up at YOU, ordinary person.”) The constant analysis and, oftentimes, overanalysis. The intellectualism. The complete inability for a poem to just be a poem and stand on it’s own. This is what I was playing at with the words “intellectual subterfuge” in Overdone, as well. This habit of analyzing things to the point that they’re no longer enjoyable.
This piece, in it’s original form, was basically three paragraphs of diatribe that ran straight across the page. It didn’t take the typical poetic form. I imagine that was deliberate on my part to riot against the structure, but as I post this I have changed that formatting, because it interrupted the flow and overwhelmed the eye. I’ve just chopped up the lines in what I feel is the most natural flow of language in the poem, because it was easier to recite when broken into a structure that better followed the flow of speech. I resisted the temptation to edit the hell out of it, but I just couldn’t bear to look a the paragraph-style lines for this piece.
I once told a good friend that I hate poets and poetry critics, all of them—religiously.
‘Being a poet yourself,’ she said, ‘that must be rough.’
I shrugged with the appropriate asterisks and said there was something about analyzing human emotion that just rubbed me the wrong way.
Since then, I find I’ve written many poems and my opinion hasn’t changed.
I like the way Nye writes about onions and men who make brooms.
Lee’s talk of persimmons and his father makes me nostalgic for a man I’ve never known.
I don’t waste time tripping over every last syllable.
I like poetry like a spontaneous night drive: not fretting over small details.
Lately, I can only get three lines into a well-planned turn of phrase before declaring it trite and boring.
It seems that everyone is speaking from magazine to magazine.
My fingertips form words without my permission.
When they stop, I realize, ‘crap, I’ve done it again’.
I wonder if I’ll ever get out of this habit.
In the winter, I can spend seven minutes trying to arrange a comforter on my computer chair so I can bundle up and still have room to type.
There’s a system to this sort of thing:
inhale, exhale, repeat.
I’d like to think poetry is like breath—necessary to life and coming with as little effort.
…and then someone tells me of a supposedly ‘amazing poem’, and I discover it rhymes.
If I gouge my eyes out with a spork, do you think they’ll get the message?
When people tell me I should join a poetry club, I say things like ‘I’d rather drink urine.’
I get so tired of pretty words sometimes that I hardly say a thing for days.
The last time I went to the zoo, the person I was with (who it was I no longer remember or care to remember) said something very activist about the lion alone in his cage.
I thought the lion looked amused, laughing at her, saying:
Don’t lump me in with all those other wild beasts.
I think I might die of humiliation.’