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Monday, January 26, 2009

First Lady of Bad Poetry

I found this at work, and must present it to the world.

Amanda McKittrick Ros will always be my 'patron saint' for my Bad Poetry section of this blog. She has inspired me to write some of the most awful poems ever found on the blogosphere, but I know that my works pale in comparison to her contributions to English Literature:

"She tried hard to keep herself a stranger to her poor old father's slight income by the use of the finest production of steel, whose blunt edge eyed the reely covering with marked greed, and offered its sharp dart to faultless fabrics of flaxen fineness."

I strive daily to one day attain even a slight fraction of her poetric greatness.

But after January 20th, there is a new poet in my life. This new poet breathes a fresh breeze upon my stale and weakened poetical attempts.

Her name is Elizabeth Alexander.

I shall never forget where I was when I first heard her voice, playing out in forceful cadence one of the most beautiful auditory works of art I had ever experienced. It took all my strength of will to tear myself from the radio, and leave the car to echo with the words so beautifully spoken:

Praise Song For The Day

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other,
catching each others' eyes
or not,
about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise.
All about us is noise and bramble,
thorn and din,
each one of our ancestors on our tongues.
Someone is stitching up a hem,
darning a hole in a uniform,
patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words,
words spiny or smooth,
whispered or declaimed;
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe;
we walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain,
that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks,
raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle;
praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by "First do no harm,"
or "Take no more than you need."

What if the mightiest word is love,
love beyond marital,
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle,
this winter air,
anything can be made,
any sentence begun.

On the brink,
on the brim,
on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

What artistry. That was deep.

Who else could conjur up such thoughts as autism, a steel band at Busch Gardens in Florida, Flannery O'Connor, the MCAT, jokes about a chicken crossing the road, custodial workers, Hippocrates, Smokey the Bear, and decaffeinated coffee - all while reading a poem in honor of the presidential inauguration?

Amanda will always be my patron saint of Bad Poetry, but now I have someone on earth to be my additional inspiration.

Now, to contemplate Love Token, Part 2.

Here is the video of herself reading her own poem:


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Sitting here.
Crying baby.
Husband yelling, or not.
Kid spinning to fall down.
Mom changing diaper, or not.
All around us is the sound of feet, running, sliding, not wearing boots.
Because it's way too cold.
To go outside.
And get away from.
The computer.

Watching, videos of people.
Trying to look interested, and interesting, and enlightened, and inspired.
All the while, thinking.


The End...or not.

P.S. That's one, cute, new noisy kid you got there!

dadwithnoisykids said...

That was deep, Laura The Crazy Mama. Perhaps YOU have it inside yourself that nugget, that kernel, that nidus which could bloat up into a creative penchant or compulsion to write that which posterity will evermore ensconce as Bad Poetry.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Check out my nfp post..

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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