I took a Introduction to poetry class in college with a professor I absolutely adored. Actually, I had a massive, heaving crush on him. and wanted to do many things to him, but I kept him from knowing that. I quickly learned though that on a first try, writing poetry is tough. Not the teenage angsty stuff I attempted to write in high school, either.
One of our assignments was to copy the style and tone of a poem we really liked. I think I got a pretty decent grade on it, maybe a high B or so.
Here’s the one I mirrored:
Give me the strongest cheese, the one that stinks best:
and I want the good wine, the swirl in crystal
surrendering the bruised scent of blackberries,
or cherries, the rich spurt in the back
of the throat, the holding it there before swallowing.
Give me the lover who yanks open the door
of his house and presses me to the wall
in the dim hallway, and keeps me there until I’m drenched
and shaking, whose kisses arrive by the boatload
and begin their delicious diaspora
through the cities and small towns of my body.
To hell with the saints, the martyrs
of my childhood meant to instruct me
in the power of endurance and faith,
to hell with the next world and its pallid angels
swooning and sighing like Victorian girls.
I want this world. I want to walk into
the ocean and feel it trying to drag me along
like I’m nothing but a broken bit of scratched glass,
And I want to resist it. I want to go
staggering and flailing my way
through the bars and back rooms,
through the gleaming hotels and the weedy
lots of abandoned sunflowers and the parks
where dogs are let off their leashes
in spite of the signs, where they sniff each
other and roll together in the grass, I want to
lie down somewhere and suffer for love until
it nearly kills me, and then I want to get up again
and put that little black dress and wait
for you, yes you, to come over here
and get down on your knees and tell me
just how fucking good I look.
And here’s the one I wrote:
Give me a white page, one that exhibits talent best;
and I want it placed on the mantel, the one in the nice living room,
the one right in front, done up like a museum,
so it’s distinct among the framed Van Gogh’s and Dali’s .
Give me trips circumnavigating the globe, from the temples in Asia
to the Great Barrier Reef,
so that I might come to appreciate and discuss
all the beauty that it offers with an
astute eye and not
a questioning mind.
To hell with the ones who held me back
with their own Hindrances, suffering from obstructions
too immense for me to help tackle,
To hell with the ones who snubbed me
in spite of their own Cowardice,
giving me skeptical advice when I rattle off my goals
in a bender of over-achiever’s syndrome—
their words cut into me like villains in a slasher flick.
I want recognition. I want to walk into a room and feel the
appreciation like the pink currents of electricity coming to fingers
in that ball of currents that make my hair stand like Einstein’s.
Recognition I feel I deserve.
I want to feel like the most powerful female
in the world, dictator of my self and my surroundings.
No controversies swirling in my head,
No sentiments that come back to haunt me.
I want to achieve the impossible, and
then come home with a voracious appetite craving more,
of myself and of life
than I’d ever imagined.
I want to come home to someone who gets up from his lay-z-boy
When he hears my keys drop back into my purse, walk over,
And tell me just how fucking great I am.