That may be my favorite title to date.
When I was eighteen my friend Carter had written a bunch of poems at his high school. He went to a fancy prep school where they fostered and encouraged creativity. I went to a Catholic school. Enough said.
Carter was not in the drama club, didn’t own a black piece of clothing, and would be described as “very masculine.” I went through his poems. They were damned good.
I had hardly ever read a poem much less penned one. Being inspired by my friend, I thought I would give it a shot. We both liked each other’s writings and made two copies of a co-authored poem collection. It was called Under Construction and Carter drew the front cover and I the back. We produced all the content and got the thing published at Kinkos.
I’ve never studied poetry. I don’t understand rhyme schemes or couplets or any of that metered crap. It’s a whole thing and I’m not interested. Once I bought the collected works of Emily Dickinson and made it three poems in before getting bored.
Toward the end of college I decided to try another volume of poetry. I worked on it for about six months and completed Ballads, Fortunes, and Other Vices. Much of it is poop but I’m proud of a few pieces. This is probably the best poem I’ve ever written. If you don’t like it, you can go munch on dog boogers.
Written in this backward dream
The oceans spring of innocence
And further down than it may seem
This practiced fear inheritance
Master teach of armored spells
The curtains drawn on yesterday
And after night falls into now
The wind picks up and sweeps away
I was on a roll (a self-published author of TWO poetry volumes)! I decided to try something ambitious for my next collection. I spent a solid year writing regularly about whatever was going on in my life at the time. I amassed a hundred poems and whittled them down into thirty or so for The Now Project.
I was deeply in love at the time and there is a lot of, “I’m so hurt! No, wait, I love you! But you’re so cruel! Don’t leave me!” writings. It’s embarrassing. Here’s one from the book.
Thankful beauty follows near
for winter’s smile treats vested space
As quickly she could disappear
with my regrets to take her place
Not exactly Robert Herrick. But I wasn’t obsessed with virgins like him. I only had a mean girlfriend muse.
I have not written a poem since The Now Project. I thought I’d dust these off to see what was in my head fifteen years ago. Lots of loneliness, apparently. You don’t spend a year writing poems if you’re going out on dates and crashing beer blasts. These poems are more depressing than that poster in my high school of Mother Teresa asking teens who are going to abort to “Give them to her, instead.”
I don’t think anyone in my class ever gave her one now that I’m thinking about it.