Poetry is more fun when mixed with sarcasm
Over the course of a lifetime that spans more than half a century, I've been chastened by many thoughts and memories. One of my lasting embarrassments is the time I attempted to follow in the footsteps of Rod McKuen, the Nicholas Sparks of my generation. Girls went goopy for poetry that was greeting card-level sentimentality coated with chocolate.
You've but to push your fist through the mist and haze to penetrate the clouds - easier for the dreamer, harder for airplanes.
Never mind the emetic, doctor. Just give me a stanza of this stuff, and I'll vomit all these pills I accidentally swallowed.
My first attempt at romantic poetry was something I wrote for a girl I fell in love with at a dance. If you had only met her, you would understand my fascination. Her name was Allison. She told me she was in the high school choir, so I assume she had a talent for singing. Her eyes and hair were brown. That's the extent of my memory, which is pretty remarkable, considering I tend to mix up the names of my own children with my own brothers. I worked for days on a poem that would capture her attention and heart. It was a maudlin thing with a simple AABB rhyme scheme of iambic pentameter, as regular as a clock.
My devotional departed my hand in a sealed envelope with a 10-cent stamp. I regretted sending it as soon as the postman plucked it off the clothespin holding it to the mailbox and tucked it in his mailbag, spiriting it away to a girl who, I'm convinced, to this very day takes it out of her desk drawer now and then to rouse her spirits - starting with a smile, leading to a girlish giggle, crescendoing to a horselaugh and finally leaving her gasping for breath.
Although you can catch more flies with honey, I've since found you can infuriate twice as many with vinegar. Plus, I discovered the joys of our national smart aleck, Mark Twain. Since then, I've devoted all my poetry to lacerating my favorite targets.
Here, for example, is my "Ode to a PowerPoint In-service":
Fish, we're told, can sleep
With both eyes open down in the deep.
As I sit here staring at a power-point graph
Explaining statistics for the staff
I devoutly, sincerely wish
I could sleep through this like a fish.
Anybody here detest Jerry Jones? Can I get a show of hands? No, not middle fingers, just raise your ... never mind. I see you're with me.
Here are some:
"Lines on Disgrac'd Cowboys or I Regret That There Is But One Jerry Jones to Hang By the Ankles and Beat His Plastic-Surgeon'd Face For Our Country"
All the clouds that lowr'd upon our
House (stadium, actually) have descended yet again
And where sunlight should shine on the 50-yard line argent star
Is dimmed by the shadow of Terrel Owens.
Yeah, mem'ries dim, but not yet the sight
Of that showboating Neanderthal
Who gaily danced upon the symbol bright
Of the once-proud Cowboys before the Fall.
'Twas despicable, dishonorable, yet not so traitorous
As that sawed-off pipsqueak named Jerry Jones
Who ne'er met a player so odious
He wouldn't sign on the team he, sadly, owns.
Erstwhile fans, meantime, will rue the day
Til' that odious runt be encased in clay.
Now that I'm warmed up, I can finish with:
"A Desultory Phillipic on Geraldo Rivera"
I hate his blow-dried wavy hair.
I hate his beady Machiavelian stare.
I hate his mustache and proboscis
Which sticks out like a Polish sausage.
I hate his dimpled lantern chin.
I hate his Cheshire cat-like grin.
I hate his arrogant demeanor.
He's just a trench-coat media preener.
And now I hate Fox network brass
For hiring this pompous pain-in-the----.
Now, these poems probably won't get you a second date, but at least you won't be haunted by the possibility your earlier attempts will surface in the middle of your election campaign for the senate, embarrassing you, your family, your minister, your staff, the professors who vouched for your degree and the national poet laureate.
Patrick Hubbell lives in Victoria and is a Spanish teacher in the Victoria school district.