Monday, March 10, 2008

School work

Hopefully, I am in my final semester at the University of No Opportunity. One of my classes is great fun. It's Materials and Methods in Secondary School English. Our class as nice easy discussions about what we've read and/or experienced, then concludes with a writing workshop. We're using the book "Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? -- Teaching Great Poetry to Children" by Kenneth Koch. It's a well-documented fact that I hate -- nay, loathe -- poetry. I'm not good at it. I'm not deep enough, I guess.

Anyway, I really look forward to this part of my day on Mondays. We're given a poem to read, then we write a poem in that style. I look at it as spoofing, which I enjoy, as opposed to poetry, which makes me uncomfortable.

I thought I'd share some of my work.

This is Just to Say
By William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This is Just to Say
By me

I threw away
your favorite
T-shirt that
you cut the sleeves off

and wore
to mow the lawn
the summer

Forgive me
it was trashy
so ugly
and inappropriate

The Passionate Shpeherd to His Love
By Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair linéd slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

A Passionate First-Time Homeowner to Her Family

By me
Come work with me and fix my home
And we will drown in cleaners that foam
To scrub the filth from all the walls
Left by people who trashed the halls.

And we will spackle all the holes
And have the house leveled on poles
By men who crawl and yell and curse
As they earn money out our purse.

And I will pick out paint swatches
As the bugs my grandmother squashes,
We'll buy stock in Killz
As we pay all our bills.

A couch of microfiber suede
Will be just right and make the grade;
We'll tie it together with a rug
And flowers from the garden we dug.

A plumber to fix our water lines,
Shades to replace the scuzzy blinds,
And boxes that we'll need to move
So we can get our life in groove.

The work will be quite arduous,
My parents may try to argue us,
But in the end it will truly be ours,
Made lovely by our simple powers.

A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island

By Frank O'Hara

The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying "Hey! I've been
trying to wake you up for fifteen
minutes. Don't be so rude, you are
only the second poet I've ever chosen
to speak to personally
so why
aren't you more attentive? If I could
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up. I can't hang around
here all day."
"Sorry, Sun, I stayed
up late last night talking to Hal."

"When I woke up Mayakovsky he was
a lot more prompt" the Sun said
petulantly. "Most people are up
already waiting to see if I'm going
to put in an appearance."
I tried
to apologize "I missed you yesterday."
"That's better" he said. "I didn't
know you'd come out." "You may be
wondering why I've come so close?"
"Yes" I said beginning to feel hot
wondering if maybe he wasn't burning me
Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry. I see a lot
on my rounds and you're okay. You may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you're different. Now, I've heard some
say you're crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other
crazy poets think that you're a boring
reactionary. Not me.
Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention. You'll
find that people always will complain
about the atmosphere, either too hot
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long.
If you don't appear
at all one day they think you're lazy
or dead. Just keep right on, I like it.

And don't worry about your lineage
poetic or natural. The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto. Wherever you were
I knew it and saw you moving. I was waiting
for you to get to work.

And now that you
are making your own days, so to speak,
even if no one reads you but me
you won't be depressed. Not
everyone can look up, even at me. It
hurts their eyes."
"Oh Sun, I'm so grateful to you!"

"Thanks and remember I'm watching. It's
easier for me to speak to you out
here. I don't have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but
you ought to look up more often.
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with
the appropriate sense of space. That
is your inclination, known in the heavens
and you should follow it to hell, if
necessary, which I doubt.
Maybe we'll
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am especially fond. Go back to sleep now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem
in that brain of yours as my farewell."

"Sun, don't go!" I was awake
at last. "No, go I must. they're calling
"Who are they?"
Rising he said "Some
day you'll know. They're calling to you
too." Darkly he rose, and then I slept.

My Least Favorite Class Piece to an Obnoxious Poem

By me

My flash drive opened on my first
attempt this morning. "Hey! I've been
meaning to catch you. You're usually
in such a rush that I slow you down
by hiding from your save icon just
to make sure you're paying attention.
I'm opening immediately to make
you appreciate
what I do for you."
"Sorry, flash drive,
I stayed up late playing 'Rock Band'
and forgot to type my study guide."
"When I save your photos, you're
a lot more cautious," my flash drive said
cantankerously. "Most people don't shove
me on a keychain and throw me around
like a beanbag."
I tried to apologize.
"I never leave home without you."
"That's better" he said. "I
didn't think you'd reveal yourself
before I clicked save thrice."
"You may be wondering why I worked the first time?"
"Yes" I said beginning to
feel reformatted and wondering if
he'd wipe clean like my first one did.
"Frankly I wanted to tell
you that I like your prose. I see
all of your files and you're okay.
You may not do poetry
worth a darn, but your
prose hits home. I've saved
some corrupt files and frozen in
your USB, but I've always
saved your photos and prose properly.
Just keep on doing
what you enjoy and are interested
in. You'll find everyone's a critic,
but the arts a re personal. Too
wordy, too action, not lengthy,
to posed. You'll never please everyone, so just enjoy what
you do.
And don't worry,
not everyone shares your quirks.
But that's what keeps us awake and interested."

We had a few examples of Blues poems, and I wrote two. One has the exact repetition, while the other does not.

Cable's Gone Down
By me

Cable's gone down again,
Cable's gone down.
Cable's gone down again,
Cable's gone down.
Another truck barged down the street
Cable's laying on the ground.

Third time this month,
Plus once for the electric wires.
Third time this month,
Plus once for the electric wires.
We're lucky that one
Didn't cause house fires.

Cox swears they raised the lines,
Yet down they still go.
Cox swears they raised the lines,
Yet down they still go.
You'd swear these guys were amateurs
But they swear that they're pros.

Tried to call Cox on my cell phone,
But my cell phone's a hunk of junk.
Tried to call Cox on my cell phone,
But my cell phone's a hunk of junk.
No phone, no TV, no Internet,
My communication is bunk.

Feel cut off from the world,
In this Gilligan's Island.
Feel cut off from the world,
In this Gilligan's Isle.
Hope no disasters strike,
'Cause Cox says it'll be a while.

Coulda Had Another BA Blues
By me

Was back in '04 when I came here
Thought the program would be a breeze.
Came to UNO in '04 to learn
Thought the program would be a breeze.
Had no idea that I'd still be around,
Crying here on my knees.

Registered late back in '04,
Couldn't get a class.
PRAXIS scores came late in '04,
Couldn't get a class.
So I spent that first semester
Planted firmly on my ass.

Things went well in Spring '05,
I found a routine and did well.
Things were easy in '05,
loved my routine and did it well.
Found a job for the coming school year.
Spring '05 kept me a live.

In Fall '05 there was Katrina,
I landed back at Nicholls.
Fall '05 here came Katrina,
Landed in my alma mater, Nicholls.
Those teachers and students only cared about themselves
I had to drop because I found more empathy in pickles.

Spring '06 was a bit better,
Had a full schedule.
In Spring '06 I thought it was better
Despite my full schedule.
Took some classes with a great teacher,
She kept us awake, and had passion for school.

Fall '06 was just the pits,
Nothing was attainable.
The end of '06 was seriously the pits,
No classes could be had.
It was just as well, with all that happened,
Going to school would have been bad.

Spring '07 found me hopeful,
But what was UNO thinking?
In Spring '07, I was hopeful,
But tell me what the hell they were thinking?
One class was only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
From 10-11 a.m.? My patience was shrinking.

Went to register for Fall '07,
Discovered that I was out the system.
Went to register again in the fall,
But they kicked me out the system.
Had to reapply and cross my fingers,
They let me in, so I didn't have to beat 'em.

Had blocks on my account
Due to a medical waiver.
Had to remove blocks from my account
And sign a medical waiver
Married, monogamous women who don't live in dorms
Shouldn't get hepatitis, just UNO fever.

Got a class in Fall '07.
Couldn't believe my eyes.
Actually got in a class in Fall '07.
Couldn't believe my eyes.
I'd been gone so long that most had moved on,
And my new classmates I didn't recognize.

In Spring '08 I loaded down
Took three whole classes.
In Spring '08 I loaded down,
Actually got 3 whole classes.
Finally got some good news:
The state may choose to waive the last of my classes!

I'll be done by Fall of '08.
I can't believe it's near.
I'll be finished in '08,
Never thought it would near.
Instead of a mere certification,
I coulda had another BA, after 4 years.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

By Wallace Stevens
Among twenty snowy mountains
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was as mall part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos.
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But i know, too,
That the blackbird is involved in what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Seven Ways of Looking at a Blister.
By me

Tucked away on the back of my
heel, just above the line of my shoe
is the scab of a hellacious blister.
It was blisteringly hot on Mardi Gras.
The shoes were broken in but sort of new.
My feet were sweating,
and the Quarter funk didn't help.
My friends blistered with excitement that the day had arrived.
The blister is a testament to the amount
of fun we had on the balcony on Royal that day.
All these weeks later,
I wear dress shoes each day that rub the blister that won't die.
Band-Aids sweat off and cease protecting the blister.
I tried to ignore the ache
and kept on my shoes as long as I could.
Hand grenades and Rainstorms dull the pain of a
blister, but only for so long.
Before you know it, your shoe is covered in
blood and you let out guttural yells as you gingerly wash it.
Beware of Peroxide; pass me another drink.

Home Thoughts, From Abroad
By Robert Browning

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brush wood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England -- now!

And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops -- at the bent spray's edge --
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
--Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Home Thoughts, From Anywhere But Here
By me

Oh, to be in Lakeview
Now that Spring is there,
And whoever wakes in Lakeview
Smells, some morning, unaware,
The scent of Tony Angelo's wafting 'cross the street
And sees the well-dressed and well-off stuffed down to their feet,
While we microwave Hot Pockets and toss a small side salad,
Wishing we could join them with their fragrant palates.

And after Katrina, when drought followed,
And the tornadoes blew through buildings hollowed,
Why? Oh why should we still yearn
For the ligustrums that blocked my nasal cavities
To be reborn and to return
Where Nature wrought her biggest travesties,
In this land of crime and sadness
Still this city brings me gladness!
And though we suffer much corruption,
Still I find the girl's got gumption
Like battered wive who won't leave their men,
--Still we return, again and again.

No comments: