I do a really good job of writing really bad poems. Since I write as many poems as some people go to the bathroom (for better or worse), God or natural law or the cosmos or what one believes is the ultimate force in the universe must be at play. Thems the odds. I’m well aware that every hare-brained scheme I get that winds up in a finished enough piece of writing can’t be fully realized as intended. That’s quite alright.
Kinda like life.
Often the bad poems start off a LOT worse and take an awful lot of head banging and effort to get as bad as they wind up! Bad since birth and from start to finish.
keep along on your way
toward that big great beyond
tell me why do you shudder
when the subject comes up?
i can see how you stammer
at the mere mention or inkling
and you flounder and waffle
and tremble and flitter
and dither away
cause there’s so much to do
important stuff mind you
in the future not behind you
a smoother transition
to that next time and space
talking if there even is one
if there is oh what fun
so get along now keep moving
we’ll be fine now ya see?
great beyond where you’ll be
you’ll be fine there trust me.
Nowhere fast! But I like the idea. And I feel it. I’ll work on it too much. It’ll take up time so if you ever happen to wonder what I’m about, tedium like this is about as good as my private time gets. It’s not a matter of pulling the poem apart or analyzing or deliberately sitting down to make it “good”. That’s not how it works. I’ll be drawn back into it and chisel away as weeks go by. It’ll be in the background along with so much else. I’ve written many MANY poems with a similar enough rhythm and structure, so it’s really not that big deal in and of itself. It’s not at all a complex twenty lines.
It just is.
As a writer-in-production, which is a subject of a whole ‘nother story, making my bad writing as good as I can and taking it as far as it can go is a big part of the craft. Forever honing. Hopefully in the end it’ll be at least interesting. Or something. Cause things go up and down and I’m obliged to work on it all with equal aplomb. Hey you remember that hokey biorhythm chart thing right? I have to embrace wherever the waves go, and laterally (again with that word). Therein lies the real creative challenge.
Bad writer, bad!
There’s growth in the drek, albeit the hardest. A while ago I wrote YIN TO YANG and always hated it. I still do (define hate). It was widely circulated and I got a stomach ache. I wanted people reading OTHER of my writing, writing I happen to love (with a different kind of stomach ache), the writing that for some reason got passed by in the night. Don’t get me wrong, most of what I write DOES get read, it’s not that. But I will say in all humility that as an artist I have much writing that I’m much attached to and I think is pure genius. If I didn’t why would I write it down in the first place? Any artist worth his grain of salt, be it a writer or visual artist or rollerblader or whomever that wouldn’t say the same thing isn’t being forthright. If you love what you do then you show your ass, right? With YIN TO YANG my whole feeling has always been to throw tomatoes at cars! I worked months on it, patiently and deliberately trying to move it ahead. Into SOMETHING. Of course I didn’t work on it every day and was writing lots of other more agreeable things along the way thankfully. But I kept returning to it. The cadence and scheme would pop into my head while getting gas on my way to work. I’d fix it and fiddle with it, chastise and whip myself, love it, despise it. Anyway I got to the point where I made that bad poem about as close and good as I could and took it as far as I could. And ought.
YIN THE YANG
sometimes the world it seems so tired
in so much muck we get so mired
to greater good we shrug our shoulders
no longer strength to lug more boulders
when life no longer holds that magic
we once believed in oh so tragic
tough and jaded made of stone
we walk the desert all alone
where manners and gentility
have left with our nobility
are memories now but soon we’ll see
the yin the yang it well could be
when oftentimes in history
embracing yin the yang will flow
and be back soon like flowers grow.
KILL ME. But I like the idea is the thing. The feel. That been the impetus. When I marry an idea I’m entrenched. Whether writing or visual art or rollerblading or whatever form of self-expression you do, to me it’s about being as close to the idea and feel and intent as possible. Even if you’re making mud pies. And why not? Should it be more? If one has an interest in authenticity? For me that’s what determines success, whether good bad or ugly.
So the bad isn’t bad, it just is.
The other day I was in a gallery by myself, looking at a collage hanging on a wall. I overheard a couple critiquing it. She said, “well it’s not his best work.” He said, “well this was from his low period”
I thought it was nice. And it’s what the artist did.
It just is.
Just like this.