I opened the mailbox to more junk mail and advertisements than usual today. So I decided to cut it all up and turn it into somewhat of a poem. It’s so nice of the advertisers to give me not only inspiration but the words I need to express it too.
Poetry, like any written work, needs revision. I suppose there might have been a handful of times when inspiration for a short poem hits and what comes out the first time is good enough. But most times there’s a good bit of thinking, speaking and writing that goes on after the initial words are put to paper.
When I say good enough I mean I’m happy with the way it sounds and I feel I’ve gotten my message across. In other words, good enough is an incredibly subjective measure of a poem’s completion.
Notice that I didn’t say a poem is good enough if half the people who proofread it say it’s OK. No, good enough comes before any eyes but mine have beheld the work. And that makes it incredibly dangerous. Because whether I think my message has been put across or not or whether it sounds good, no one else may see it that way.
That’s why the initial words of a poem’s first draft usually shouldn’t be published. It’s tempting (and I do it more than I should) to just put them out there quickly and see what happens. But that usually results in reading them later and cringing when you realize you let other humans read that slop.
Those initial words are not the poem; not really anyway. Instead, they’re the idea, the inkling of a theme or the exploration of a subject. Usually, when I think I’ve got something good, I’ll walk away from it for a week or more. I come back to it later with fresh eyes and see that it wasn’t very good in the first place. It’s then that the poem begins to be written.
Planning to go is fun
as is having gone
but being there is often
less so than either one
I wrote this poem a few months ago but I can’t remember the product that inspired it. I just remember that the font all of the text looked different from most of the “back of package” writing I usually see.
There’s something highly appealing to me about poetry that addresses aspects of technology. And it’s not just poetry. Some of my favorite photography subjects are power poles.
Here’s a little poem I wrote nearly 20 years ago. I must have been very tired.
Cynthia Path was no good at math
You could tell by the way she subtracted.
For one from two made kangaroo stew,
And three from four made two pots more
So from her grade points were subtracted.
The consequence of
a painting I
observed in a book
is this poem.
With simple strokes it
came to life and
in my mind
set its hook
light and dark play
havoc with my
sense of depth and
can meaning lie in
If none is found then
art is maddening
Neatly stacked and straight
Yet with the slightest breeze
Everything crashes down
Nothing is coming
My art is at a standstill
Hoping haiku helps