My Doggerel Ate My Poetry Homework

SOLANACEAE 茄科 - Night-blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) 夜香樹 / 丁香花

37, day fourteen.

I am surprised at just how much poetry there is on WordPress, and the internet in general. Poetry hasn’t had a surge of mainstream appeal since Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg and the Beats. I succumbed to the popular idea that interest in poetry was essentially nonexistent. I am happy to find that I was wrong. One of the great things about the internet is that people’s interests in areas with non-mainstream appeal can thrive without requiring financial support. I suppose if there is a thriving text adventure community, the edge of the observable universe is the limit.

That there was hyperbole. It’s a poetry thing. Also everyone does it these days. Literally everyone. Poets did it before it was cool.

I used to be a fair poet. I won some stuff in high school. It turns out that when you don’t practice something for over a decade, it gets rusty. I used to be able to pump out passable verse without much effort. Now…not so much. Still, playing with meter and rhyme is great fun, and the restraint of the poetic form is satisfying.

On a related note, I am quite surprised the title of this post passed the pathological originality test.

Anyway, here are my poems! There is a bit of “foul language” here, which I haven’t really used on this blog yet. I don’t know if anyone cares, but I figured I put a warning about it anyway.

The First Poem Everyone Writes 

Writing verse is easy, rhyming is as well,
I think I’m pretty good at it but cannot really tell
Images and similes, on the other hand,
are tenuous and absent just like gold in river sand,
that glistens in the sunlight, and dims when in the shade
you only need to catch a single glint and then you’ve made
a poem that is decent or at least you’ve fit the rule
of rhyming ever other line, just like they said in school.

If you want something deeper, you only need to leap
into the trash of words right to the bottom of the heap
it’s sticky and unpleasant and will ruin all your clothes
but that’s the risk you have to take if you want to compose
a page that glistens softly with the sheen of better verse
the kind that in a contest would most surely come in first
you could show it to your mother or the king of Camelot
And if it was a model he’d be really fucking hot.

A lot of people these days do not care for poems much
They think that those who write them are a good bit out of touch
To those of us who carry pen and ink where ere we go
Who write limericks in arid climes and sonnets in the snow
Who dream of bloody battles being captured in our verse
Who never finish novels cause they’re never very terse
We think that poem critics are just self-indulgent jerks
For no one who writes poems thinks the format really works.

But if you wish to be a poet from the corners of your soul
if life without the verse and rhyme would never leave you whole
and if you are so desperate you would heed my strange advice
and please to let me warn you should probably think twice
I’ll tell you what I once relayed unto the rhyming bear
(who now has several cases of his published works to spare)
If poetry is truly how you mean to reach your star
Get used to riding buses, cause you’ll never own a car.

Quickly in our vision, just as quickly gone away
Sunlight chases shadow to the other side of day
It can never catch them till it radiates its last
until the final sunbeam is a memory of the past


Purple is the color of the sky, as it dies
In the twilight,  the scent of death is faint but present
Lingering amidst the car exhaust, and the night blooming jasmine
beginning to open

Nightingales only sing in the moonlight
Because they are frightened of the dark
Their feathers are thin armor against the claws and talons
that hide behind trash cans, and under stars
Any minute now, as the purple decays into blackness
and ferments into night, like a fruit whose flavor blooms when rotten
I will hear them, singing their songs

I can see the city skyline, over the lake
It is already lit
It does not take full nightfall before the tall buildings are covered in tiny cuts
so the light inside bleeds out, and drowns the stars
Better to live, peppered with wounds
Than lose themselves in the darkness

When the light of the sun as faded
to a bitter memory the sky would like to forget
I light a match
and watch it burn
I wish the darkness was total
A plastic bag pressed tightly against the faces of my senses
drowning everything out, into desperate, suffocating serenity
no scent of jasmine, no nightingale song, no city lights
Just me, and the darkness, and the flame

Soon, I will need to get back in the car
Turn on the lights, blare the radio, rev up the engine
And drive home
Not yet. Not yet. A few more moments.
Another taste of the night
I bite down on it like sugar glass
it cuts the side of my mouth, but it is sweet
I blow out the match flame
I inhale the smoke
I cough, and sputter
For a moment, just a moment, I am in darkness


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