Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Poetry Reading: Be Back in a Week

In a few hours I will be off for the last little summer fling I can allow for myself before heading back into the classroom.  I am going back into Utah for the express purpose of doing a reading at the Hollow Earth Conspiracy launch.  I will be reading poetry and discussing the idea that art begets art, how creativity and creation promotes the same in others.  As such, I have selected some of my poetry which has been inspired by various art forms.  I am going to be reading poems which have been inspired by paintings, songs, comic books, films, and other poems---even origami.  I have been given about 20-25 minutes, right in the middle of the event, which makes me hope I don't drive people away.

Why else should I be nervous?  This will be the first time I have read my poetry in public in about six years, and I will only know three or four people at the event.  On the other hand, it is nice to be thought of in this context as a hired gun of sorts.

* * *

We are leaving early as to attend a sort of reunion of my wife's friends.  When I started dating her I was adopted into this group of friends and they are for the most part pretty creative and intelligent people.  I am the oldest person in the group, and my wife is about the youngest, which creates an interesting dynamic.  We used to get together all of the time, but as happens with young Mormons, families start to grow and people move.  For a while, we did this 4th of July thing, but even that got to be too difficult to coordinate on a yearly basis, so now we are all catch-as-you-can about getting together.  Facebook is both a good and bad thing.  As it stands, not too many of us feel a need (or at least that's my impression) because talking to somebody is just a message away, and saying something to everyone is just a post away.  But it's happening tomorrow, and Becky and I are excited.  Now if we can just convince our 17 year old to keep his moth shut.  He fancies himself a computer expert, and this group are predominantly experts in the field who have probably forgotten more about computers than my son has learned.

* * *

Here are two poems I plan to read later this week:

Prelude to a Letter to my Ex-Lover

My therapist tells me I should write you a letter
explaining all the wonderful things I have
become without you, all the things I could never
have done if I was still caught beneath your spell.

He tells me I need to liberate myself, tell the world how
you were my last and greatest disaster.  He tells me
I should create a list of words, each one
describing how I feel about our sordid past.

He says, Give yourself a way to contextualize
her nuclear bomb to your Nevada test grounds,
her politician to your naive voter, her dung beetle
to your ball of dung. I am not so sure.

Whenever I think of you, everything that was wrong
simply fades away. I can't help but imagine myself
as exoskeleton to your soft scorpion center;
my pompadour to your best Elvis impression.

After hours of trying to break away from you, it's all
I can do to stop myself from widening my scope, thinking
how I could once again be oceanographer to your ocean,
spend the rest of my life exploring your contours.

But then, after all the backpedaling and excuses, I return
to my senses; admit the ugly truth.  You have always been
the flame which sets my orchard on fire.  You will always be
the tiny spark to my hydrogen filled Hindenburg. 

Why My Wife Wants Me to Quit The League of Justice

It's no use hiding behind the door when Superman
comes knocking at 3 a.m. asking for the power tools
he thinks I borrowed. He's drunk again, this time
on more than power. Somehow he's convinced
I've had his lawnmower for more than a month.

But: A) He has me confused with Aqua Man
and B) it's the middle of the goddamned night. I think
it has more to do with the night I saw Lois Lane
flirting with Agent Liberty and didn't say anything,
but that was while we all thought Superman was dead.

When I let him in, he's pacing the floor telling me
how I owe him some sort of loyalty, how The League
is more important than any one of us. Suddenly
he's a frat boy, all bro's before ho's, and he deserves
to know if his woman has the eye for someone else.

It doesn't take my Name That Tune super power
to know Superman is a bully, how he lords over us
minor heroes that nobody want to draw our life stories
in the comics, or to know he gets off on the drama.
For Christ's sake, I've got to teach a class tomorrow.

As I get back into bed wondering whether my neighbors
saw a drunk Superman banging on my door screaming,
potentially blowing my secret identity, my wife turns over,
reminds me that I was the one who said it would be
too expensive and not worth the hassle to install lead walls.

* * *


  1. Great poems! Nothing to worry about, my friend.

  2. I love these poems! Oh, have a wonderful trip and a wonderful reading. They're going to love you.