Monday, June 7, 2010

Poetry Jam #4

Hey, guess what?  It's time to gather 'round again.

Around the time I started this website in the spring of 2009, I was writing a lot of poetry; more, in retrospect, than I actually remembered writing.  It must have been some sort of mania, because I ended up with more than I really wanted to deal with.  Back logs should never be allowed to grow this big.

I'll only be commenting on a few of these, because not all of them are honestly worth commenting on, and some are quite independent of context.  I don't even remember the context of some of them, so it's just as well.

Some of these poems are pretty good.  Some of them are not so good.  Some are pretty bad, or incomplete, and I won't bother posting them.  They'll have to sit in my binder until Kingdom Come, or at least until archaeologists dig up the remains of my effects and try to figure out just what the hell I was all about.  But I have a big handful of them in my hand now, so let's have a look at them, shall we?

The Answer

The answer is the truth,
The truth is all I have,
It doesn't matter what I think,
Who I am is what I do,
Or maybe I am backwards
And who I am is up to you

Do you hear what I am saying,
Am I still being too vague?
I am still much too unclear,
And this will surely end in tears,

I feel stuck within my years.

Maybe the answer isn't true,
And I must look for something new.

Untimed Regret

All I have done
And all that I will do
Is a dream that I cannot sleep my way through;
Though I hear the song,
I know I cannot sing
As I listen to hear the bell ring

Deep in my soul
In the heart of myself
I can feel the unreal tales that I tell;
When I fall asleep
Who knows what I will say?
As my spirit is carried away.


I can feel my mind start slipping away,
Can't wait another moment
Got to force it to stay,
Stimuli and caffeine keep me awake
Don't know how much longer
How much more can I take?

I can feel my brain beginning to die
I can see my eyes are losing their sight
Falling to the floor, can't put up a fight,
Hold me up, I'm barely alive.

Free Fall

I wish I could fall
For twenty miles,
Landing softly in a snow drift
In a valley by the sea.
And then I would sleep
For twenty days,
Waking gently in the springtime
In a valley by the sea.

The Gold Bug

The swirling schedules crash around me,
The gold bug torments me to death;
My swolen brain cries out for relief,
It tries to escape from my head

My sleeping schedule is defective,
It's wreaking mischief on my mind;
I concentrate on the invective
That dribbles forth from every sign,

The signs that tell me where to go
And where to pay and how much,
And tell me when I'm stepping out of line.

They'll find me tripping on the wire,
The gold bug chasing me around;
I'm falling fast into the fire,
Upwards from the stable ground.

An Old, Dear Friend

You and me, we've been together
But not for very long.
How long has it been since,

Can you remember?
Neither can I.

If circumstances had permitted
Or, if I had been less selfish
Maybe we'd have been together

And it wouldn't be this way?

Yes, can you forgive me?

It seems to be that way.

You and I, just like old times
But not for very long;
I must be going soon,


Impressions of a Lover

When you see me, do you see my eyes?
When they focus in the morning light
And they absorb your gentle form,
And to my mind deliver sight,
When they do this, do you see my eyes?

The light pours in through leaves and blinds
And reminds me of the jungle,
The colors seem different down here.
Your skin is soft, you seem resigned
To indulge my state of wonder,
The wonder of lying with you,

I hope you never go away,
I hope you stay in my room forever;
I hope we never, ever, ever, ever
See a sadder day than this.

Water Light

The waves of water flow across the glass,
Though which is which is hard to tell,
Or even if it can be said
That they exist at all

It's not for those of us to say who look
From one side of the glassy pane
What ripples cross the surface of
The brittle human brain

So question not appearances that seem
to contradict our common sense;
Our eyes are fooled by water light
That trickles down the lens.

Seven Sad Days

A piece of my life was taken from me
For seven sad days, and then it came back
And so I was forced to ask of myself
What I'd do if that piece of me passed,
Those seven sad days had been the last,
And that piece of my life had faded away
While I had been left with nothing.

To the River

Take me to the river, and don't make me wonder whether
You had hoped we could be something more,
Take me to the river, and let me know for sure

Take me to the river and let's settle this forever,
So I don't have to worry anymore;
Take me to the river, and let me know the score

Take me to the river and let's jump into the water,
Take me to the river, won't you please give me an answer?

Cemetery Sadness

I hurt my leg at Wounded Knee while
Falling from my family tree; as
I reflected on my face, you
Disappeared without a trace, my
Lovely graveyard etching.

Onward to Ennui

I'm wide awake with nothing to do
And nothing to watch but hands on the clock,
While feeling that I have something to prove
But nary a clue as to why or to what

Ennui, ennui, onward into revelry,
Reveling in motionless
Existence on the edge of doing
Nothing worthy of construing
As a worthwhile use of time
For a lazy or supine
Sort of person like myself;
The type who listens, seldom speaks
Except to blather on, would rather
Contradict than to improve
His sour mood.


I want to live my life again,
I'd like to fix mistakes I've made,
I would be closer to my friends
And I would watch the things I'd say,

If I had made a better choice
At least a hundred dozen times
I would have never lost my voice,
Nor have forgotten all my lines,

What more can I say?  I can't believe who I am today,
That't I'd say the things I've been known to say
Or grown in such an unfulfilling way
Is a disappointment at best,
And I know I could do better
With a chance to make things good
Oh, if only I could,

I'll have to live my adult life
With eighty awkward memories
And I will always be that child
Who never left his fantasies.

The Trilobite Song

The ancient song is much too long,
Though trilobites are all but gone;
They spend their days encased in rocks
Or spinning round like dervish tops;

For some exist, and here's the gist
Of those whom Evolution missed;
These trilobites still rule the globe
And waste their days in comfy coves;

They each awake at five past eight,
And then proceed to sleep too late;
They toss and turn in fitful rest
On sandy underwater beds;

At half past ten they rise again,
And venture out across the sand
To find a corner telephone
And interrupt the dial tone;

Now one and all proceed to call
The horseshoe crabs across the hall,
And pester them with silly pranks,
The kind the crabs are bound to hate;

Their breakfast is a spartan list:
Just detritus and ambergris,
(The latter is not there for food,
Only to set romantic moods);

They save it for their kitchen stores,
For trilobites are lovers born;
And so they tolerate the stink
(It's less romantic than they think),

They like the waves, and love to stay
In tidal pools at noon each day;
At one they go for minty tea
They brew from tasty, minty trees,

Each day at two they play ski-doo,
And sometimes play all afternoon,
Unless distracted by a round
Of "Kick the Fish" or Drunken Crowns;

As evening falls they one and all
Arrange to drink some cannonballs;
They set their sails for parts unseen,
But crash themselves in orange trees;

The trilobites spend sleepless nights
Awake beneath casino lights;
Where tokens drop in slot machines
All shaped like golden submarines;

They all lay down at four each night;
Returned to sleep, they huddle tight
Against the rocks and sand and sea,
And dream their incandescent dreams.


Many of these poems, particularly The Answer and Fatigue, revolve around a classical theme, namely "oh-my-God-I'm-about-to-graduate-from-college-help-me." Maybe that makes them less interesting?  Possibly, but it's the truth.  Not-college is a scary place, and it's enough to give a young poet the shivers.  Immature is of the same ilk, and is the kind of poem a twenty two-year-old has no business writing, but I think it turned out pretty well.

I'm not sure what the "gold bug" is.  It may have been a hallucination brought on by staring at U.S. history textbooks.  It may also have been an actual bug, attempting to eat my brain.  In any case, I think I fought it off.

An Old, Dear Friend and Impressions of a Lover were written over spring break, as I sat in my mom's house and contemplated the good old days.  I wrote two other poems there as well, which are absolutely, atrociously awful, and will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it.  Water Light was written in my head shortly thereafter, as I drove from Portland to Eugene on my way back to school.  I was particularly proud of that one, so much so that I kept reciting it over and over so I wouldn't forget it by the time I got home to write it down.  Now?  Eh, it's alright.

Seven Sad Days is the first of two poems dedicated to my much-missed cousin, Kirk.  The second will have to wait for another day, as I like to keep these in as close to chronological order as I can; this one was obviously written in the spring.  I don't know whether it was adequate to the moment or not, but there it is.

Cemetery Sadness is a profoundly stupid poem, and Onward to Ennui is a profoundly stupid title.  Nevertheless, I like them both.  Cemetery in particular is kind of a private inside joke that no one else in the world will ever get, but I find to be too awesome to leave out.

Finally, I'd like to offer my sincere apologies to everyone for The Trilobite Song, the silliest piece of self-indulgence I will ever expose to the world.  It was born from a simple impulse: write a long-ish poem in a steady meter, and write it about trilobites.  It expresses a few simple ideas: that trilobites yet walk (crawl?  swim?) among us, eat ridiculous things, play ridiculous games, and have poor sleeping habits.  Also, they are apparently unaware that Ski-Doos are a brand of snowmobile, not watercraft.  In spite of this misunderstanding, they somehow make it work.  The world could benefit from a little more of the ingenuity, eccentricity, and joie de vivre of these noble arthropods.

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