You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Monday, May 19, 2003

Im a poet and dont know it, but my feet show it cause they smell. No, thats not right--exactly.

I have kept an interest in poetry since I was a freshman in high school. Once during Literature, when I was supposed to be doing the assignment, I wrote a one-sentence poem.

A terrible twisting invader that runs wild,
ripping and scratching
till the body goes limp,
and the soul goes free.

I showed it to my Lit. teacher to get her opinion. She really liked it and tried to have it published in the school Annual. It was not accepted, but it was a great encouragement for a shy teenage boy to have a teacher’s support. That and she was hot.

I was really into Poe at the time and she prompted me to write short stories and poems. I tried, but they stank, and life moved on.

My best friend in high school wanted to be a recording artist. We tried writing songs together. Only two of the lyrics I wrote were put to music, but they stank, and life moved on.

I met the girl who would become my first wife and wrote her several poems in the Rod McKuen style that was popular at the time. Most of them stank, but my brother held on to them for a while. He is seven years younger than I am and did not know at the time what poetry was supposed to sound like anyway, and life moved on

Occasionally I get the urge to write a poem, (almost like a gas pain) and I let one rip. That is probably the best metaphor I will find to describe the results. I once wrote about why I cannot seem to finish a poem and the sad, truthful answer is that as long as it is not finished, then it could get better, eventually, maybe. It is best to leave some things obscured.

Part of the problem is my confusion as to what makes a poem, poetry. I have read several books about poetry and none of them has given me a satisfactory answer as to what modern poetry is. There does not seem to be structure or form to modern poetry like the sonnets, odes, ballads, etc. of the poets of the past. I read an editorial in Newsweek on The Death of Poetry. The author said that poetry has lost its place in modern life by becoming too elitist, and incomprehensible to modern readers.

No one seems to speak in the language of ordinary people anymore. Today’s poems all seem to be secret code that makes no sense unless you have the key to decipher the hidden meaning. Like the emperor’s new clothes, the critics are afraid to admit they do not understand what they are reading. They just agree the more enigmatic, the better. So modern poetry is like modern painting, only the experts decide what is good and what is not. They cross their fingers and hope that some one has not tricked them with the work of a child or an elephant, brush in hand or trunk or a monkey typing away at a keyboard.

As to which Poets I like to read, mostly I peruse compilations and let individual poems speak for themselves. Rarely have I found a poet who consistently speaks in a voice that I can hear and identify with. One exception I (am embarrassed to) admit to, because he exhibits many of the problems mentioned above, (and uses R-rated language) is Richard Brautigan.

Brautigan was a dysfunctional alcoholic beat poet who reached the peak of his popularity in the 60 has and committed suicide in 1984. I think it is my reoccurring bouts with depression that lets me hear what he is saying. Maybe that is not a good thing.


I was dive-bombing the lower

emotions on a typical yesterday


I had sworn never to do it again.

I guess never's too long a time to stay

out of the cockpit

with the wind screaming down the wings

and the target almost praying itself into your


August 30

This is my favorite Brautigan poem; the one that best explains to me my mind set some days. I have posted this before, spiraled down, and was lost for several weeks before climbing back from the abyss.

I am not on that plane today. Thank you for asking.

Other poets I like: Edna St.Vincent Millay, William Blake and Whitman in small doses.

I also like Emily Dickinson, when I can make myself forget that you can sing all of her poetry to the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas.

Rats, now it’s in my head again.


Post a Comment

<< Home