How to be a Truly Terrible Poet

I can’t tell you how to write a good poem.

As a poet, I am pretty terrible myself.

So, I can’t really tell you how to do it.

I am, however, an expert on how NOT to write a good poem.

A truly terrible poem might begin with an over-extended metaphor.

It might begin by saying, “A poem is like a fairy tale, filmed in black and white on 35 mm film stock, with Orson Wells as the director.”

And for the meat of the poem, you use details about the fairy acrobats having an accident on the trapeze, and the circus train derails and has a terrible accident, and the clown never takes his makeup off because he’s on the run from the police… and you totally forget that the movie “The Greatest Show on Earth” was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and filmed in color.

And you have a tendency to “squinch” the rhymes, rhyming “good” with “food” and “dud” with “odd,” and at the same time you put trochaic warts all over the iambic pentameter because as a poet you are not William Shakespeare, and you are not even Buddy Rich because the rhythm sounds more like banging trashcan lids than drumbeats.

In the middle of the poem somewhere it suddenly becomes free verse without a rhyme scheme or reason for the change. And the theme circles back on itself and does a pretzel twist with no logic to salt it with.

And you are a terrible poet like Mickey because, when you write a poem you don’t realize;

the gemstone at the center of your poem must go from your mind, to pen, to paper, to eye of the reader, to mind… and finally to heart…

And the blaze of its beauty must be strong enough to resonate…

and be able to SHAKE THE BONES OF THE UNIVERSE.

And you can’t do it because you don’t even get the irony of that rule.

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Filed under fairies, humor, irony, Paffooney, poetry

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