...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

do not go gentle into that sorta OK post

My junior year in college, I took a poetry class as part of my ever fluctuating major requirements. I thought it would be interesting to sit around with my classmates, my fellow intellectuals, my real life Dead Poets Society. When I rushed in for the first day of class, however, I found it severely lacking in Ethan Hawkes. Instead, the room was filled with other clueless classmates staring at a man at the front of the room with a head of manic ivory white hair and wearing an unironic tweed jacket so infused with the scent of cigarette smoke I wondered if it hadn't actually been woven from the leaves of the very first tobacco plant ever grown. When he introduced himself to us as Doctor, I knew we weren't going to just sit around and listen to pretty, pretty poems, but we were, in fact, going to have to write our own.

As soon as he told us that, before adding that we'd also be critiquing our works in class, I wanted to die. "Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee and my fear of poetry," I thought (except, you may note by that thought, I was already a poet and didn't know it)(heh...). Before Dr. Ivory N. Tweed was halfway through the syllabus, I was plotting the quickest route to rage, rage against the dying light at the end of the registrar's line to drop this class.

Then he told the class about the many published collections of poems he'd written about King Kong and I thought, "Oh, I am in like Flynn!" (still with the poetry, btw!) because other than the words ding and dong, what can someone rhyme with the name of a giant ape? If such a thing can be a fertile muse, then easy A, yo!

Turns out, you don't have to rhyme in poetry, friends. I learned that after turning in my first attempt, which came back with more red slashes from the good doctor than actual poorly attempted stanzas on my part. I wish I had it to include here, but if I recall correctly, I think it was about snowflakes and their fickle hearts and melting spirits. It was from that work I learned the meaning of trite, which the the professor so kindly defined for me between my verses.

I wish I could find the poems I wrote that semester because I don't recall a single one beyond my snowflake sonnet. However, I can recall the work of a classmate who penned the following after we were assigned a poem about something we loved:


The crowd is loud in the gym tonight
The score is tied. We have to fight.
I grab the rebound. I check the clock.
He's open for the pass. I ignore his spot.

Dribble, dribble, dribble I do
Down the court to shoot for two
The orange ball spins 'round the rim
The shot is good! We crowd goes wild!
Hooray! Hooray! We won today!

Inspiring, is it not? Oh, had Shakespeare only thought to have Romeo stop for a quick pick up game before meeting Juliet in the tomb! You'll note the author started off strong, but then seemingly shot his wad after he shot his ball, and the poem seemed to fall apart. However, the fact I can recall this from memory nearly 20 years later, and none of my own poetic attempts speaks to one's view of art, perhaps. I mean, we all know about that girl from Nantucket, do we not?

When the class finally ended, I earned a solid B for my collected works, which I imagine will one day be unearthed in my mother's basement and published upon my death from mysterious circumstances or at the hands of a former lover...OR BOTH! While I can't give you any of my former works, this post does serves as a way for me to give you the words that follow, which I found over the weekend while cleaning out the drafts folder in my email account:



growl growing up from his chest


blah, blah, blah, eye roll, blah



Apparently I wrote that back in early January. Obviously, I have titled it Untitled. I don't remember writing it or what it's supposed to be about (King Kong, perhaps? Hmmm....). It's possible that I, like many famous poets in history, was drunk, high on opium, or suffering from the effects of syphilis. I don't know. Is it a line of dialogue from a television show I was watching at the time? I suppose there's always the chance, but unlikely. I don't know what inspired it, but it's powerful, is it not? Read it aloud this time. Listen. Blah, blah, blah, eye roll, blah. That is intense. Yep.

Whatever the case, the reality is, I just wrote another long-winded post about nothing that allowed me to clean out my engorged email folders, and you all played along. Thank you and you're welcome.

(Also, feel free to share with me any awesome poetry attempts or haikus you have. Just don't be sad if they don't live up to the majesty that is Untitled. We can't all be poet laureates on our first attempt - need I remind you of Basketball?)

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Blogger TwoBusy said...

"blah, blah, blah, eye roll, blah"

I think you've just found your defining statement as a writer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Hello... found your blog from... somewhere, I don't remember anymore. But I just thought I'd share a poem I wrote in fifth grade. The theme was "Best or Worst Lunch You've Ever Had". It went like this:

The worst lunch that I ever had
My mom made me when she was mad
I had a sandwich full of peas
And when I saw it, I said "Geez"
I had to throw it away
And I was hungry all day
When I got home I went to bed
And I just wish I had been fed.

Sadly, this may have been the pinnacle of my poem-writing career.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Swirl Girl said...

I have written two poems in my lifetime...that I can remember.

Haiku =
White Snow falls silent
Until the plow comes along
and it is now mud

There once a girl named Wendy
whose legs were so very bendy.
She exclaimed with glee
as she fell on her knee
I hope I don't trip ever again(dy).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Consecutive days?
A post about poetry?
I am so confused. . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only did you provide excellent poetry for my Tuesday afternoon, you used the word engorged. I'm pretty sure you're my hero.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

I have a fat journal of poetry, all of the lovesick variety, usually followed a few weeks later by the heartbroken variety.

I don't go there anymore.

Can I just say I really, really love Ethan Hawke?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Possum said...

I'm still in the first paragraph just HAVE to comment on the "unironic tweed jacket" before moving along - FABULOUS wordage!!!
(okay...as you were...)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 1:16:00 PM  
Blogger Possum said...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bex said...

when i read your poem aloud (the second time) i read it from deep in my diaphragm and it was all throaty and i can't figure out how to describe it without sounding like a porn comment....

this is why you are the writer, and i am the reader.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:34:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

"This coffee is black.

Like my soul."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger Divine Chaos said...

i write poetry when the muse descends, none so earth-shatteringly inspiring as "Untitled," but I do try my best.

When I was younger (around 8), I had a whole series of little poems. Literally. "My Little Room." "My Little Chair." "My Little Corner." I was shorter then. And in trouble. :p

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 6:33:00 PM  
Blogger Penney said...

you've made me want to go dig out my old poetry from college. I'd love to see if I could beat "blah, blah, eye roll, blah" though I doubt even my intensely brillant college self could do such a thing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:20:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I was sitting her trying to figure a way to work "Dribble, dribble, dribble I do" into casual conversation tomorrow until my man lost all cred by Hooraying it all over the place.

Poetry is for those who don't know how to rock.

P.S. I can send you my 220-line Canterbury Tale I wrote in a flurry one night for a college assignment. Got an A minus. It even rhymes!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

I am debation whether you would make a better stand-up comedian (yur post from the 12th) or a beat poet in a club.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

I agree--a beat poet in a club!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:05:00 AM  
Blogger justmakingourway said...

I was on the staff of the "literary magazine" at my high school. I'm sure I have an old one somewhere in my attic. I'm also sure I would have something epically embarrassing in there!

I think "blah, blah, eye roll, blah" is brilliant, actually.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "eye roll" line is pure genius. Look out Poe.

Personally, I've always been a fan of Shel Silverstein. Yep, still have the literature tastes of an eight year old.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Kyddryn said...

I cannot Haiku
Worth a darn and I'm so blue
'Cause I'd sure love to

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who bows to your poetic genius)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

You might recall that I emptied a couple year's worth of high school and college notebook folders full o' The Poetry upon my blog a couple of years ago. I'm pretty sure I was drunk, high on opium, AND suffering from the effects of syphilis when I did so.

Also, remember when us dudes write poetry, we call them "song lyrics," because that's much cooler.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:37:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I just looked back at one of those poem posts I wrote nearly three years ago, and the first comment is you, talking about the basketball poem.

That's awesome.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

I have never been able to read or write poetry. I just don't get it. So a poetry class would have been a total nightmare for both me and the hapless teacher.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2:44:00 PM  
Anonymous A Vapid Blonde said...

I have ton's of emo poems from my teens to my twenties...now in my
40's (acccckkkk, I did not just wright that OHMYFUINGGOLd) I kind of refuse to look at it...but if I find Fuinggold, I will let you know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:37:00 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

You know, if you just threw in one line that was vaguely political you could probably get this published.

I'm going to be in the minority here but I'm actually one of those who likes, reads, and writes poetry. Heavy sigh, sheepish look, sigh. I am writing a whole volume of smartass poetry, however, that should be some redemption.

Friday, October 16, 2009 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I cannot write poetry
worth a SHIT
That's my story
take it or
leave IT.

Friday, October 16, 2009 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

I won't compete with Basketball, but I will however share that you have unearthed the memory of the oddest game of Donkey Basketball, which is exactly what it claims to be, that I ever attended.
It's amazing we survive childhood!

Saturday, October 17, 2009 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

TwoBusy - This comment made me smile. It then made me want to go get that line put on a Tshirt that I would wear constantly.

Maureen - However you found my blog, I'm very glad you did because it allowed me to read this fantastic poem of yours. If that was, indeed, your poetry writing pinnacle, you honestly can't feel bad about that!

Swirl Girl - More fantastic works of art! You are all far more creative than me!

Des - Now you know how I feel most days. I'm pretty much in a constant state of confusion!

mommygeekology - I'm curious what my hero costume would look like as Engorged Girl. ;)

Cocotte - You absolutely can say how you feel about Ethan Hawke here. I imagine he'd be happy to know someone feels that way about him!

Possum - I'm glad I caught that, while editing this, I'd lost that word usage and was able to recall it.

Possum - Ah, shucks...thanks!

Bex - Your comment makes me feel both humble AND like laughing! I shall now read all my posts with that deep throaty action!

Aunt Becky - That is a greeting card I would actually buy.

Divine Chaos - You should look into binding those into a collection. The Little Years!

Penney - Believe me, a grocery list could top 'blah, blah, blah, eye roll, blah'!

Chag - 'Basketball' had the potential to be quite fantastically Dr. Seuss-like until he blew it by Hooraying all over himself.

William - I could do two shows a night, one of each!

Christina Lee - Can you find me a pretty beret to wear?

just making my way - 'Blah, blah, blah, eye roll, blah' can go so many ways. It's angsty. It's arty. It's light hearted. It probably would never end up in a literary magazine, though!

Meg - Every time I shelve a Shel book at work, I smile. Earlier this year, I introduced his books to my youngest son, and have loved reading them again.

kyddryn - I wanted to write a haiku in praise of your fine body of work, but I've failed in three attempts. This proves some people have it, and some people don't. You have it!

ftn - Oh, I do remember your 'song lyrics'! You don't write me song lyrics, btw. Why is that? Sigh...

ftn - My material rocks. Plus, it's breathable. Ideal for when you're planning to eat a big meal.

Brian - I read every poem far too dramatically. Ofen, I do it outloud, too. Basically, I annoy people with poetry.

a vapid blonde - Embrace the age, my friend! I was 41 when I wrote 'Untitled,' and apparently it is a work of staggering genius!

the weirdgirl - I would absolutely buy a book of poetry by you, and when I asked you to autograph it for me, I would like you to put that 'heavy sigh, sheepish look, sigh' line there!

Pat - The best poetry is the poetry we write when we claim we can't write poetry. :)

Zip n Tizzy - I remember going to donkey basketball games as a kid. They wouldn't let us wear hard soled shoes in the gym, but they'd let a bunch of donkeys clomp around in there in the name of charity!

Sunday, October 18, 2009 8:33:00 PM  

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