Vulcan’s Peak


February 16, 2006 7:14 pm

Poetry slam went well. There was a really interesting mix this year – lots of hiphop-y and rap-y type stuff, which interests me as a novelty if nothing else – which I didn’t remember from past years. The audience was really into it, and to no one’s great surprise, the few of us who were a little more conventional didn’t last past the first round. So I actually only read the first of the poems you see below. I’m not so much heartbroken over not having to compose a poem in five minutes, though now I’m curious to try. Delusions of grandeur shattered again. I’m over it – friends have been really great, espcially CCLC people (my Furman family, really), to include an adorable note from one of our newbies (in whom I sometimes see more than a little of myself, two years ago).

A Sudden Focus

Turning back, he stops,
squinting as the Ford’s dusty hood
turns dragonfly blue
in the four pm sunlight of mid-October.

The car’s tapered nose and sassy eyes
hit him like the first guitar chords
after the amp kicks in.
He quivers like a cymbal,
in the cacauphonous midst
of a bustling WalMart crowd,
focused on that curvaceous little car.

Did Jessie still drive a car like that?
Back in high school she used to squeeze her drum set
one piece at a time
into the back seat of her Ford Focus,
hitching up her jeans before they fell off her hips.

Those days, Jessie dreamed of leaving home
getting her eyebrow pierced
hitting it big –
back when the old gang tried to start a band.

Practicing a riff, she used to purse her lips,
pounding, repeating, perfecting,
until a wild smile spread ran her face,
tossing her head as sound ricoched around the garage.

When he dealt out chords, she would cut the deck
syncopating, improvising, slipping him ace glances
until his fingers slipped and the whole group
fell apart with a crash

louder but less shocking than the slam of Jessie’s trunk
when she packed that dragonfly car,
pointing it into the sunset.
“So long, ya’ll,” she saluted,
heading for flight school in Colorado.

Dodging a cell-phone-shopper with a baby,
he surveys the parking lot,
watching the back of a woman in orange for
a full
half minute
before deciding she’s somebody else.

Circling the blue Ford, he half expects
to see it full of drums,
but all he finds is a bumper full of stickers:
Vote Bush. Greek letters. In pink: I (heart) Jesus.

The drum solo in his chest
stops dead.

* * * * *

The Musings of One Whose Neighbor Owns a Moped

I wouldn’t want to leave you in the dark
when one day you come home to find it gone –
that moped I hear squealing as you park.

I lift the blinds to watch you disembark,
You pat the bike and stumble off, mid-yawn.
I wouldn’t want to leave you in the dark

Temptation sure is strong to leave my mark
and leave that thing in pieces on the lawn:
that moped I hear howling as you park.

But crime, in truth, is really not my lark
Defacing strangers’ property at dawn?
I wouldn’t want to leave you in the dark.

Temptation sure is strong to leave my mark,
to take your whining bike and chain it down.
that moped I hear sputtering as you park.

So if you find your bike has lost its spark,
Or cannot find the motor I’ve withdrawn –
I wouldn’t want to leave you in the dark
about that moped, squealing as you park.

True story, that one. I know several of you love motorcycles and I’m okay with that, but this moped drives me up the wall. Whining in or out all day and half the night, then joy-riding around the parking lot… My walls are thin and the thing is LOUD. Oh – and I really want to get the word “lark” out of this thing. This is one of my problems with reading too many old books…I pick up too much old slang and when I try to write with it, it sounds precocious. But when you read it out loud, you can gloss over “lark” and move along to the next line easy enough.

P.S. Jumping off the bridge: my Johari window. 

9 Responses to “Poems”

Pug wrote a comment on February 16, 2006

Poor lark! It’s such a great little word. Why must it be relegated to second rate stature among its fellow frolic-y words?

Huzzah for competiting and providing proper poetry to a crowd of unbelievers. 🙂 This takes guts, as Elf said in a comment to the previous post.

Good choice, also, of Sudden Focus – well, good non-rap choice.

Odette wrote a comment on February 16, 2006

Don’t get me wrong – some of it was quite good. I say rap-ish because that’s where the style comes from, and it’s actually interesting in how it flows and sometimes rhymes without needing a meter and so on. I definately wouldn’t say it wasn’t poetry. Perhaps not the kind I like best, but that’s preference.

I think we should start a grassroots movement of using “lark” in everyday conversation. And not refering to the bird. 😉

Pug wrote a comment on February 16, 2006

“People for the Reintroduction of Lark into English”, or PRILE. How’s that sound?

Odette wrote a comment on February 16, 2006

I love it. And you have to roll the ‘R’ when you say it, too. PRrrrrrILE!

Pug wrote a comment on February 16, 2006

Thanks. I made the acronym whilst cavorting on a lark.

Carmen wrote a comment on February 17, 2006

Alas for the lark, which surely could not support the frolicing of such a Pug. 🙁

Pug wrote a comment on February 17, 2006

Are you saying I’m over the weight limit for a lark? Do you mean an African Lark or a European Lark?

Odette wrote a comment on February 17, 2006

Fear not, Carmen. For certainly does he mean the Giant South American Lark, which could support the frolicing of three such Pugs!

Pug wrote a comment on February 17, 2006

Yes, but beware ye if ever ye see three such Pugs frolicing together. The Giant South American Lark could most certainly support such a number of Pugs but Earth, nay, the Cosmos would surely be sundered.

I am reminded of a comment in “Mirror/Mirror: A Parody” which I recently read regarding a Enterprise/Firefly crossover. The author attached a footnote to ‘CHIEF ENGINEER CHARLES “TRIP” TUCKER III” (one of the characters on Enterprise) which reads: “Dear God, there were two before him.”

Care to comment?