Sunday, July 16, 2006

Still portraying a Niagara Falls barrel

I confess that I actually uttered the following words since the summer began to another professor in the department: "Well, I'm not even sure how to teach about poetry in class. This is why I stick to teaching fiction and film."

Here is, perhaps, another reason. Personally, I'm mildly impressed at my 16-year-old self's turning-of-phrase in "captain at helm." I'm not entirely sure I would have come up with something like this now.

Since we're unearthing all sorts of the musty past, I confess that I've recently rediscovered a whole trove of poetry written during high school and college. Unlike the example on the pink card, most of my teenage stuff is best described by Henry Rollins (paraphrased here): "And you lock yourself in your room and dress in black and your write lots of poetry and you know it's all good because you are the king or queen of paaaain."

Exhibit A:

[originally published in Kaleidoscope, Colegio Roosevelt, 1987]

Eyes bright
Cheeks are rosy
A smile curled upon my lips
A friendly hello to a few friends . . .
Not much, but enough
To let them see what I
Want them to see.

Mm. Cheery.

It's stuff like this that led my tía Elsa to inform my mother that I was about to commit suicide at any moment. Don't let her know, but one of my most recent poems, written on the sly in the last year, is titled "Car, crash." (For those of you now even more worried about me, my most recent one - still in progress - is tentatively titled "Music for Anne Beattie's Frank," which is much lighter. No, no Xan poems yet -- I'm too busy running after him to write poems about him.)

Still, I wonder what that 16-year-old whipping out a ditty on the back of was probably a note attached to a carnation or something would think of me now, twice a lifetime later.


Mrs. Non-Gorilla said...

don't give yourself too much credit for "captain at helm" -- i was incessantly singing the theme song to gilligan's island, after all.

i still have that issue of kaleidoscope. was it the only one printed, or were there others? (and you should see some of the stuff ben wrote on carnation and easter egg and candy cane cards...)

McNastabator said...

Roses are red
Violettes are black.
I hear Latinos
Have gigantic...


Middento said...

Ahaaaa. That's what inspired "captain on helm." Well, I'm glad one of us remembered that. (Why on earth were you incessantly singing the theme song to Gilligan's Island? This, coming from the guy who still hums the theme to A Different World every so often...)

As for other publications in Kaleidoscope, yes, I have others -- a few stories, a couple poems. I can dig them out from mothballs as well, if you want.