Monday, June 29, 2015

Are these poems or trash? Trash. They are trash.

My best poems (if I do say so myself) are usually the ones I spit out all in one (or two) sittings. I get an idea (usually a story about some poor sucker) and I enter a flurried fugue state. If you interrupt me during this, I will bite your arm off and feed it to whatever mange-gnarled thing sniffs my knee.

But not all poems happen that way.

Sometimes I get an idea, but just an idea, not a poem.  Sometimes I get just one line, or a few.

Mostly, those little bits are what I get, instead of fully formed, burping, peeing, eating poems. I write the zygotes on a scrap of paper and stick them in my notebook then go back to watching television or panic-searching WebMD or applying lipstick.

What I have accumulated is a stack of little, waiting poemlettes.  Not poems.

They are like Sofia Vergara's children, waiting in a freezer. They are like contestants waiting on stage during the American Idol Dancing with the Stars X Factor The Voice So You Think You Can Dance latest televised talent competition.

And they've been wracking my nerves.

The pressure of writing them.  The potential.  The unclinched glory.

But, here's the thing.

Maybe they are never going to be poems.

Or, more importantly, maybe they are never going to be good poems.

They've become more burden than anything else.  They feel like work to do.  They feel like going into your garage to find a screwdriver and realizing you need to clean out the garage.  Everytime I think of the poemlettes, I feel dread. And I feel like I can't write anything else until I've dealt with them.

So, I've been cleaning out the garage.  I've been going through my poemlettes with a ruthless eye, Simon Cowell-style casting aside poems that have waited months if not years to be picked and coached into something more than they are.

It's been difficult, and there have been choices that would shock America, but it has been really, really freeing.

Preening poems, like preening lines, makes me feel like a more competent, judicious poet.  I would highly recommend this to anyone who has a stack of fertilized eggs waiting on stage.

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