The poem below is entitled “Writing A Poem,” which is a trick that poets do to make you think that their poem has more meaning/relevance than it actually does. A good trick, nevertheless.
WRITING A POEM
We were in the middle of a pretty big
argument. “So what I like to drive around
and yell at the guys on the radio?” I said.
“At least I don’t leave my yogurt cartons
all over the front yard.” “Well what about
the garage?” Mel said. “You know what
I’m talking about Mr. paint-canny-can man”
“Oh yeah!” I said. “And that guy in the Robotics
Department?” “At least I don’t wear
that stupid clown nose in public” she said.
It was getting pretty heated so I grabbed
a bucket of water and dumped it on her head.
She screamed and slapped at me until I fell
down the stairs. I woke up a minute later
not knowing how I ended up at the bottom
of the stairs. I went looking for Mel. She was out
in the driveway. She was waiting for me.
I saw her and waved to her from the front door.
She looked lovely in her sun-dress
until she started pouring soda all over my
passenger seat. I remembered then our fight.
“Oh yeah?” I yelled. “Watch this!” I went into
the closet and grabbed my pitching wedge
and started hacking divots out of the front lawn.
She had run out of soda so she went to the garage
door and started punching out all the windows.
I laughed. “This is your house, dummy!” I said.
That really got her mad. She screamed, and I
mean really bellowed, “well let’s talk about what
we’re really fighting about! Adrienne Rich,
I mean!” The neighbors were starting to
come out and watch from their lawns. I was
embarrassed so I looked out into the crowd. “Chuck,”
Tom called to me from his front steps,
while she was pouring paint thinner into my gas tank,
“you guys alright over there?” I said “Yeah
Tom, thanks buddy. We just got into a disagreement
about a poem. Sorry about the noise!” She
was now kicking in, or trying to kick in,
my car’s windshield. “No problem buddy,”
Tom hollered back. “Hey, you need some
help fixing that car of yours, when this all
blows over, call Ted. He’s the best in town.” Tom
went inside. I looked down the street, at all
the couples and families that had come out
to watch us. There was Ted!, I noticed,
two houses down from Tom! Same side
of the street and everything. Mel
was really doing damage to the body
of my car now. “Hey Ted!” I called out,
“I really need to talk to you about my car!”
This is partially a response to a professor once saying to me “never write punch lines into your poems.”
For posterity, here is a poem by Yeats, my favorite poet in English, so you can leave this blogopage without having felt like you have wasted your time here (if you have even made it this far).
TO A FRIEND WHOSE WORK HAS COME TO NOTHING
Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, for one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.
He’s so great, isn’t he?