Skeletons in my closet (there are many)

In commemoration of getting the doomed paper sent to the commenter (in totally unready form, but oh well) at 4:15am last night, I’m going to dredge up one of the many skeletons in my closet. I used to try my hand at a little poetry, primarily for amusement purposes. I was quite popular for satirizing people at the Tuesday Night readings at the Dragon’s Den (the best club in New Orleans). Something I wrote* actually showed up in a chapbook produced from those readings.

The fundamental problem for Paul as Poet has always been that Paul has a totally tin ear for meter. I suspect it comes from having grown up with a British accent in America and having assimilated the two accents into one continuous mental stream — perhaps it impaired my ability to hear stresses? So I’m completely incapable of writing, e.g., iambs. Unmetered all the way for this boy.

So, to prove to myself that it can get worse — that there are more ways to be publicly humiliated by one’s own writing than academically, I present: the most pretentious thing I’ve ever written. It was rather fun, actually. Unmetered verse, but I think I actually got most or all of the non-meter-related requirements for a sestina right. In case you’re curious, it’s ridiculously difficult to write a sestina. The backstory: there was a social networking site, and I got into a verse throwdown with a really cool person going by the handle “be secret and exult.” (Hence the allusion below.) So I decided to blow her away with a sheer mad haze of words. And, of course, it had to be dirty. One can’t write a sestina without being dirty + silly. Not unless one is being boring. And who would want to be boring?

Also, I don’t think one has to rhyme a sestina. But I wanted extra fun/challenge/madness.

When posting, I appended “Written, but not read” to the end, so let’s make that the title.

Right. :

Sans meter, sans rhyme, sans vestigal beat,
to rhythm, to space, to sestinal heat.
Formless form forming harmonic b-flats,
resonant vibrations drip resiny saps.
Memento mori, most things quickly gone,
but oh god not this, this form’s too damn long.

This form quite like mine, so mighty and long
(and lord this is wrong, I’m due for a beat –
my brain is kerfuffled, my morals one-gone),
the burn-versey kitchen, mercurial heat
swift-stepping, skull swatting, surrounded-sock saps
descend into babble, my lines are all flats.

Disorganized poets, in slovenly flats,
with coals of hot keyboard, slaving a-long!
We ninnies! We wastrels! We trifling saps!
Compete with a secret, exulting to beat
her languid lines loosing haiku-horny heat –
this madness! So random! Look where we’ve dun gone!

Come quickly, fly lightly, before they’re wrong gone,
my trills and my trebles and my sharps and my flats,
watch as the firebug fits forth through the heat,
come see the rainbow, it won’t last too long!
E’en the worst verse shines for one blinking beat,
‘fore the thunder goes mute and the lightning saps.

So taste while you can, my syrupey saps,
Vaingloria mundi, sic transit, then gone.
Like strobe-flash euphor’ post-good-healthy beat,
look on works, oh ye mighty, dey crumble to flats.
And if you should loiter and linger too long,
the whole cosmos fizzles, entropic heat

So is this my verse, no light and all heat?
Then what shall I say when consciousness saps?
flammis acribus addictis, eternities long,
Or ashes, and dust, electricity gone?
The moment is now, ‘fore ECG flats,
Hie to my mattress, please scratch but don’t beat.

So come-on a-along, lets make steamy heat,
Drip subterranean saps and don’t meet the beat
Be there, don’t be gone, for flesh-peaks and flesh-flats.


* I will not say what. I had given the publisher of the chapbook, a participant in the readings herself and the boss of a small press (on whom I had a massive crush — but, damnit, she had a boyfriend the whole time I was in NOLA) something that I liked, but she decided it was too long and instead published something I liked a lot less. I confess to taking some pleasure in the fact that the small press in question seems to have been squelched by Katrina, so that the horrible thing she included will probably never resurface.

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2 Responses to “Skeletons in my closet (there are many)”

  1. Uncommon Priors » Things you never expected to see from Paul Gowder Says:

    [...] These will be stored as “pages” under the “extrabloggy archives” tag. Perhaps I’ll promote some other such things to that status, like bad poetry.* [...]

  2. Uncommon Priors » Scheduled skeletal closetblogging Says:

    [...] nothing to say, it’s time to reveal a few more skeletons in my closet. A while back, I posted an attempt at a sestina, written a couple years back in the course of an internet poetry [...]

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