Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Bad Poet Society

My name is Sherry and I am a bad poet.

I know because I always got marginal grades in poetry class and once the professor refused to read my poem saying it was too self serving. I never did well in poetry I think because I like happy things like chocolate and Christmas and friends that wear bright colors. Also, I don't drink serious wine, have never lost a love and don't deliberately read edgy literature or watch film noir for film noir's sake. I'm too fat and cheerful to be a poet unless it's a bad one. It's not that I've never suffered or experienced the sublime, but that when I want to express something, prose fits.

Also, I'm not cool and I don't smoke. I never saw what the poets had to be so worked up about, most of them were cricically acclaimed and paid for their terse verse such that they could live a academic life on past laurels.

Poetry also hasn't been good to me personally. When I was asked by my teacher's aid to help her with her poetry critique, I read the two poems she had to compare and contrast. I gave my opinion. She parroted it. She got her paper back and apparently, I was wrong about which poem was best. I thought the question was stupid and that poetry that speaks to you, speaks to you, that "best" doesn't really come into the equation.

Now I was an English major and know how to read poetry. I can break it down, analyze structure, understand rhythms and rhymes, cadence and stanzas and symbolic meaning. It's just I get lost in the modern stream of consciousness pieces that always seem to seek the razor's edge and then splice that, as if all verse must draw blood and proclaim all is meaningless, or else the poetry itself is utter meaninglessness. I happen to like meaning. That's why I'm Catholic.

A high school teacher told me, "There are no happy poems."
I would argue, no happy poems are ever assigned, nor are happy poems ever given a good grade or published willingly.

But all suffering has meaning and my bad poetry has meant that I am an expert at what is no good. Meaning if I like it, it's probably el stinko by the poetry people's standard, and that if I hate it, it's probably universally adored by those far more urbane than me.

So just for fun, I merged two of the most recent poems to be quoted and declared verbal marvels by the educated world; I didn't like either: the Inaugural Poem with Al Gore's piece that was in his book and now is making the rounds to persuade the faithful about Copenhagen.

With some judicious editing, here's my poem. There are plenty of words I removed but not one added. That's right, I just mushed the two together like mix-ins at an ice cream; new words from the happy bad poet, me.


About our business,
The hour of choosing has arrived

Some live to pre-empt grievance
Here are your tools
In today’s sharp winter air,
any thing can be made On the brink

there’s something to find

where are we safe?

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Did it make any sense? No, not really, but then, it could be that I just don't get myself as a poet either.

Make your own version:

I'd make a badge but I don't know how to do such things. If you do, please email me.

Then declare yourself, "I am a proud memeber of the Happy Bad Poet Society." and reward yourself with an ice cream sundae. It isn't a poetic thing to do, but it makes reading Sylvia Plath or any other poet considered of note by Vanity Fair or otherwise, much less depressing.


MightyMom said...

ice cream sundae poets society....I like that..has a nice ring to it.

perhaps we should start by all going around the room stating our first name....then recite in unison (or some semblance thereof) the bad poet's ode to an ice cream sundae.

by the by. could you send me the code for your advent wreath? I'm liking it and not finding it anywhere.

MightyMom said...

thought of a new name....

Sundae Poet's Society

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!