14 jun. 2005

Here's my second attempt at a bad poem. You can only guess what I was doing when I thought of this idea:


I empty the contents of my pants-pockets
like some meticulous, non-violent mugger--
I have worn these pants now for several days--
and transfer each item to the appropriate pocket
of the pants I am now wearing:
wallet in left rear, comb in right rear,
cell phone, change, and keychain distributed
in the two front pockets according to a system
of my own devising, like someone cooking
on all four burners at once of a stove,
careful not to let anything burn or get done too soon,
so that the dinner will be prepared by six.
Receipts, loose pieces of paper I no longer need
go in the trash. The fountain pen,
in shirt-pocket, at the far left side.
This is not a metaphorical approximation of my life
but my life itself. And what of those things
that cannot be transferred from pocket to pocket,
pants to pants? I ask myself as I leave the house,
locking the door behind me. What of the dreams of my youth?

15 comentarios:

michael dijo...

shoot it to Poetry, my man!

m.

shanna dijo...

yes, this one is much worse! :)

Laurel dijo...

No! You are on the wrong track...

A really bad poem starts with a meditation, while walking in the streets of a European city, on something small. It spreads out to encompass larger "issues", and ends up back on something concrete, usually with smoke wafting and the name of a bird, which inevitably circles, lands, or flies by. Often there are hints of "industrialism" and a woman.

C. Dale dijo...

Yes, much worse, but still not bad enough. We desire a badness so bad we can barely even speak of it here.

Jonathan dijo...

___

To be that bad I'd have to be C.K Williams and run over a fliock of blackbirds in my car.

C. Dale dijo...

Hahahahahahahahaha! Yes, THAT bad. That poem made me ill, it was so bad.

Jonathan dijo...

___

Won't they throw you out of the School of Quietude for saying that? You might as well turn in your membership card right now. I foresee an avant-garde future for C. Dale Young...

C. Dale dijo...

I don't really believe in the SoQ vs. AG thing. I just read and write poems. I hold no membership cards. I don't want any. I like some of CKW's poems. Others I don't. The one you mentioned is my least favorite poem of his I have ever seen. It made me sick and it made me mad. It made the deaths of those people in Iraq seem almost equal to the deaths of birds, or less so because it is the news of them that distracts the speaker driving the car. I am sure Williams thought the poem would conjure a different response. Maybe not. But I did not like that poem.

Tony dijo...

I need to turn in my card, but I'm not sure what's on it.

I think I've got dual citizenship.

Ron dijo...

What of the dreams of my youth?

I have worn these pants now for several days--
wallet in left rear, comb in right rear,
of my own devising, like someone cooking
so that the dinner will be prepared by six.
in shirt-pocket, at the far left side.
that cannot be transferred from pocket to pocket,
I empty the contents of my pants-pockets
of the pants I am now wearing:
on all four burners at once of a stove,
go in the trash. The fountain pen,
cell phone, change, and keychain distributed
Receipts, loose pieces of paper I no longer need
pants to pants? I ask myself as I leave the house,
and transfer each item to the appropriate pocket
This is not a metaphorical approximation of my life
like some meticulous, non-violent mugger--
but my life itself. And what of those things
careful not to let anything burn or get done too soon,
in the two front pockets according to a system
locking the door behind me.

Stuart Greenhouse dijo...

I was going to suggest "Dreams of My Youth" as a title, to trick it out even more, but Ron beat me to it.

It is pretty bad. How did you do it?

Laura Carter dijo...

Jonathan, It's still not bad enough. It's too aware of what's going on without the broad emotionality that makes a poem particularly bad. (I've written a ton of these, I would know!)

You need to practice mixing metaphors some. And bringing in "metaphorical approximation" is too savvy. The poem is too self-aware. I think the line "of the pants I am now wearing" is actually kind of interesting: tighten it up so much you can't stand it, but make the thinking sloppy, & then you'll have a really bad poem.

Jonathan dijo...

Ron's rescrambling is pretty brilliant, actually.

Tim Peterson dijo...

Jonathan, this is absolutely brilliant (I love the totally forced "mimetic" line breaks, and the "world of pants") up until "This is not a metaphorical approximation of my life," but at this point in the poem to make it really bad the speaker should enter a meditation that begins with something like "And now I think of..." Ideally it should be something recollected in tranquility, and then at the end of the poem it should come back into collision with "pants" for some kind of blinding synergy/epiphany.

Also, you should employ some of those Iowa locutions like "the dark pants of him"

Jonathan dijo...

***

Thanks, Tim. I love "dark pants of him." This is the best comment thread ever on my blog.