12 mar. 2004

Here's my test of poetry. No fair if you've already read the poem and know who the author is, although none of the poems is at all famous. Two of these poems are egregiously bad, in my humble opinion: one is trying to be bad while the other is bad despite the best efforts of the poet. Email me before 6 p.m. Kansas time this evening.

[a]

My life's controlled by swelling paper piles:
rough drafts go here, and syllabi right there,
that one's for worthy causes I should care
about, this one's for frequent flyer miles
and credit card reports, the run of bills
that tell me what my spending limits are.
The journey to insolvency's not far,
so should I save or spend it all on thrills?
I'll tell you what my greatest thrill would be --
to live without these piles, all orderly --
or maybe just a neater symmetry --
no more receipts gone loose, my desktop free,
no more piles on the floor or in my bed.
Don't even ask what piles dwell in my head.

[b]

I stood behind you
last week
in the flu shot line
at the student health center
I must have been sniffling
on the way out
you recommended some antihistamines
you said you were a voice teacher
on the faculty here
you asked what my major was
I was on the faculty too!
you kept saying "I hope you're feeling better"
I found your glamour photo
on the music department home page
maybe we can get together
for a coffee or a drink sometime

[c]

going way back to dusty road
before cars, silent walkers

come to junction
avoidance of junction

run towards woods
green field gives way

hole, plummet into it,
new universe

exciting freshness and strangeness
the strains don't apply here

accidentally reborn
head home