Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some poetry for a brisk day

Good God, it's cold this morning! I opened the back door to let the dog out and this brisk, nipple paralizing wind blew in from God knows where and I had to close the door. And I'm in my warm, fuzzy pajamas! Apparently they weren't fuzzy enough.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. This morning I want to share a couple of gems that I found. The average American doesn't get enough poetry in their life (did I just possibly make a political statement by specifying "American" instead of "person?" Possibly. Poetry doesn't enter politics enough.)

Here something I found this morning by Pat Schneider called "The Patience of Ordinary Things."

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes.
How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

I believe "the lovely repetition of stairs" is my favorite line. This is what I dig about poetry. Lines like delicious bites. You chew them slow, twenty times atleast, the jaw moving as lazily as a cow's. This is different from the gorging of a good book.

Here is another one. It's a little weird, but bear with me. This is my favorite one out of the two. It's "The Dental Hygientist" by Tom C. Huntly:

She said "open up,"
so I showed her my teeth,
a chipped-white fence
that keeps my tongue penned in.
She rinsed my mouth.
She suctioned my cheek.
She said "How do you like this town?"
so I said "Mmpllff"
though I meant "More every day,"
and she said "Gorgeous weather!"
so I said "Mmpllff"
though I meant "In my mouth?"
and she didn't say anything,
so I said "Mmpllff" and "Mmpllff"
though I'm not sure what I meant,
and she took me to mean
"Would you like to go out tonight?"
and "to an expensive restaurant?"
When I arrived with a bouquet of roses,
she stuffed them in my mouth.
She told me all about her feelings:
how she feels about fillings,
how she feels about failures.
She said "open up." She said "It's like pulling teeth
trying to get men to talk about their feelings."
So I said "Mmpllff"
though I meant "You smell prettier than the flowers in my mouth,"
and I said "Mmpllff"
she thought I meant "I'm afraid of dying alone."
She said I was a good conversationalist
and showed me her perfect teeth.
I felt an ache in my jaw.
I felt drool crawling down my chin

Did you know that poetry could contain the words "drool" and "Mmpllff" and still be kick ass? That's because a poem is a snapshot. It shows you a picture and that picture could be of anything. But if it's a good one you can pause beside it, take in every grainy detail. If it's rhythmic you can sing to it. If it says what you can't put into words you can use it as a tool to get someone to understand where you're coming from, or as a mirror to see exactly how it is you feel. Handy little thing, a poem. You can fit a dozen of them in your pocket, unless one of them is an epic poem, novel length, in which case you can carry it around because a book can fit in your hands. And when you come across someone who you think could use a line, someone thin and starving and maybe not knowing how they feel, you can open the book and feed them a morsel. And then you can walk on feeling cool, if not a little eccentric, for being the dude who walks around holding a poem, an epic in your hands.

6 comments:

biggearhead said...

"This brisk, nipple paralyzing...epic in your hands."

I just took the beginning and the end and put them together. Oh, and I corrected the spelling on "paralyzing." It all just seemed to fit together.

I loved the second poem for its misunderstandings and miscommunications. Of the first I liked "what is more generous than a window?" Aw, generosity!

Genevieve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Genevieve said...

Wow. I just removed that comment because of a typo, but the explanation of the deleting seems so possibly obscene. Like I reread it and said, "Eeek! Remove this vile thing!"

Anyway, what I said was, the line "You smell prettier than the flowers in my mouth" made me laugh out loud. And, this brisk, nipple paralyzing epic? Hee, hee.

biggearhead said...

Yes, quite a good read it would be! Even better than Paradise Lost!

melissa bastian. said...

windows. trees. water.

i think genevieve should write us some poetry.

Genevieve said...

Mel- I would like to write poetry. I've tried to write it before and it feels like I'm trying too hard. It doesn't flow like the rest of the writing does. But I could change over the years. Maybe I'll loosen up with it, and some day I will be an unstoppable poetic force.

I haven't visited your blog in forever. I will stop by later today.