Category Archives: poetry

It Is Amazing That…

…Ideas come out of nowhere, and fit together so easily.

…People can laugh at almost anything, and for almost infinite reasons.

…Ugly things can contain great beauty, and beauty can conceal great horrors.

…Songbirds can be everywhere that there is life.

…You can live many lifetimes if only you allow yourself to be fully absorbed by books.

…You can be more confident and bold when you are naked in the world than when you wear suits of armor behind castle walls.

…When people get what they wish for, it never works out like they thought it would.

…People will often let others tell them what to think, but still won’t listen if you tell them they are wrong.

…You can learn wisdom from satire and foolishness from a philosophy teacher.

…Gravity works even when your brain doesn’t.

…We survived even when the clowns ran the circus.

…We didn’t really learn about the problems with drawing in our textbooks, until we became the teacher.

…Bananas do the Tango when the grocery store is closed

(Now, there’s an idea with real a-peel!)

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Filed under humor, poetry, wisdom

The Philosophy of Bad Poetry

I do write poetry. But I must admit, I am not a serious poet.  I am a humorist at heart, so I tend to write only goofy non-serious poems like this one;

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So here is a poem that rhymes but has too much “but-but-but” in it.  A poem about pants should not have too many “buts” in it.  One butt per pair, please.  So this is an example of spectacularly bad poetry.  Why do we need bad poetry?  Because it’s funny.  And it serves as a contrast to the best that poetry has to offer.

As a teacher I remember requiring students to memorize and recite Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”.  Now this sort of assignment is a rich source of humorous stories for another day.  Kids struggle to memorize things.  Kids hate to get up in front of the class and speak with everybody looking at them.  You get a sort of ant-under-a- magnifying-glass-in-the-sun sort of effect.  But in order to truly get the assignment right and get the A+,  you have to make that poem your own.  You have to live it, understand it, and when you reach that fork in the road in your own personal yellow wood, you have to understand what Frost was saying in that moment.  That is the life experience poetry has a responsibility to give you.

roads-diverging

Hopefully I gave that experience to at least a few of my students.

Bad poetry makes you more willing to twirl your fingers of understanding in the fine strands of good poetry’s hair.  (Please excuse that horrible metaphor.  I do write bad poetry, after all.)

But all poetry is the same thing.  Poetry is “the shortest, clearest, best way to see and touch the honest bones of the universe through the use of words.”  And I know that definition is really bad.  But it wasn’t written on this planet.  (Danged old Space Goons!)  Still, knowing that poetry comes from such a fundamental place in your heart, you realize that even bad poetry has value.  So, I will continue writing seriously bad poetry in the funniest way possible.  And all of you real poets who happen to read this, take heart, I am making your poetry look better by comparison.

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Filed under humor, insight, irony, philosophy, poem, poetry, Uncategorized

Found Poetry

by Sergio Aragon├ęs

Found poetry begins with three found things

Picked up at random

Like three pictures from my internet gallery

Plagiarized from somebody’s fandom

oil painting by Maxfield Parrish

And then you have to sit and have a thought

About how it fits together

To make a stupid poem you’ve wrought

That’s not about the weather

Movie image by Woody Allen featuring Woody Allen

You must pretend the very best you can

There’s sense in what you’ve found

And it fits together as if you had a plan

That was always quite profound.

———————————————————————————————–wow!-a-weird-divider————————-

Writing a found poem

Okay, this is the essay part. That first part is a terrible poem written by me to illustrate how to make your own found poem. Of course, you should know that I was not a natural-born poet. I am among the lower percentages of America’s worst-possible poets. Right there somewhere between the poetry books of Farley Bumbletongue and the Collected Musings of Hans Poopferbrains of Snarkytown, Wisconsin.

But I take great pride in my abilities as a terrible poet. You see, what I mainly was, truly was, was an English teacher of middle school and high school kids. And found poems were an activity in the classroom intended to teach writing skills, creativity, and an appreciation of what a poem actually is.

I needed a large usable picture file cut out of Christmas catalogs, Walmart advertisements, newspapers, magazines (“What are those?” is the most common comment you would get out of today’s classrooms,) grocery-store bargain flyers, outdated calendars, and any other non-pornographic picture sources available.

I would hand out three random images pulled out of the picture file without looking at them to each student (or small groups of students) and then require them to create a poem of at least twelve lines with an optional rhyme scheme and rhythm.

I would have to remind them not to eat the pictures, even if they were pictures of food. And with middle school students I would have to have extra pictures for the next class to replace the ones they ate anyway.

I would tell them there was a time-limit, specified to be much shorter than the actual time I planned to give them, and then let them create horrible poetry. Near Vogon quality in its horribleness.

When all of this was done, we would have a good long laugh by sharing the pictures and poems, and find out who the truly wacky and perverted poets were.

Now, don’t go telling parents that we teachers are wasting their children’s precious learning time this way, but it is not I lesson I created. Simply a lesson I used at least once every year.

But the real question on my mind is, “Given three random pictures, what kind of poem would you write?” Feel free to share.

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Filed under education, humor, kids, poem, poetry, teaching

When the Old Mind Wanders…

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When the old mind wanders…

They tell you you’re just too slow.

But thoughts like mine drift everywhere,

And the edges of the universe… are a place to go.

 

Maybe I should write in red.

And argue with the voices

That rhyme inside my head.

And break the rhyme scheme 

Here and there

Because of what they said.

Eden

Or maybe I should write in blue

Because I’ve been thinking in the nude

And laying all my secrets bare

Which really might be rude.

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But the old mind wanders…

In the form of a poem,

And breaks and squanders

Tallest waves in mere foam.

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Filed under artwork, clowns, goofy thoughts, humor, nudes, Paffooney, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Reds and the Blues

Lord, grant me peace

In times of great violence

Grant me wisdom

As everything around me burns in ignorance

Let the cold blues

Be tempered with warm reds

Let me juggle life’s fortunes and misfortunes alike

Red balls over blue balls

Yellow, purple, and green

Over and under

The spiraling path

I’ll keep written records

In journals with pictures

And share my discoveries

With any who’ll listen

And I’ll always keep close in my heart

The people and places and memories

That mattered and shattered

The whole color wheel

Because Shakespeare once showed us the whole color wheel

Is necessary for magic to form on the page

And though yellow is also a primary too

It’s the reds that warm life as the color of blood

And the blues let us chill as the deeper color of ice

But let there no period be

To stop the color progression

Of this warm/cold blank verse

Nor rhythm or rhyme sully

The Reds and the Blues

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Filed under artwork, Paffooney, poem, poetry

Foopty-Hoodooloo

Ima mickey33

I’m a Mickey, yes, indeedy…

Foopty-Hoopty-Hoodilly-Hoo!

Chicken-ninja throwing stars,

Hit their targets thrown from Mars…

Foopty-Hoodilly-Hee

And when the pandas drive their cars,

Their tire treads are candy bars!

Take that truth from me!

Animal Town212

Foopty-Hoopty-Fiddly-Ho!

Being a Mickey is a rabbity thing…

As if it were Bugs who taught us to sing,

And unmusical music we all start to bring…

Because we use only the words that we know!

Foopty-Hoodilly-Fling-a-ding-Ding!

castle carrot

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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, Mickey, Paffooney, Paffooney cartoony, poetry, rabbit people

Drawing Girls for Art Day

As a boy, drawing girls was always important to me. I didn’t understand them. I couldn’t control them other than to make them dislike me. I couldn’t get away from them… but I could draw them. I could completely control what the picture looked like. And I could make them be whatever I wanted.

Lines and shapes and contours… a smirk on the lips… a twinkle in the eye.

Mysterious… inscrutable… attractive… weird….

Infuriating… beautiful… sassy… and rude.

Sugar and spice, they say…

With everything nice, they say…

Yet still with the power to kill and to eat me.

Cute girls and sweet girls…

The proper and neat girls….

Girls with no clothes on…

And girls I’m afraid of.

I have to draw girls just to understand me.

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Filed under artwork, drawing, Paffooney, poem, poetry

Songs Sung with Paint Brushes and Colored Pencils

I tend to draw and photograph and make artistic images about the things that I love.

Swashbuckling adventure.

Magic.

Scantily dressed young girls.

Iowa landscapes.

Forgotten dreams that came back to me in the night.

Spaceheart and Mai Ling.

Stories with amazing features and paintings with soft sable brushwork.

Painted in oil.

Revealing who I used to be…

And who I still am.

Songs sung with paintbrushes.

And colored pencils.

Drawings done with syncopated tunes.

And full-color half-notes.

The people and places and faces…

Of who I am and who I love…

For life is a poem sung out loud.

And to live is an artform.

So we must make art to live.

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Filed under artwork, humor, metaphor, Paffooney, poetry

The Iris of the Eye

Maxfield Parrish = the Girl with the Watering Can

Blue eyes, brown eyes… see differently,

Bur the eyes still see,

Immune to bright sun

Or comfortable with the blue-black shadow.

Whatever the color of the eye… the seeing is the important thing.

Have you ever noticed, that all the best artists,

The ones who see and record what they see the best,

Are now dead and gone?

And all we have left of them

Are the artifacts,

What their eyes beheld,

What their hand captured and interpreted,

In paint

Or picture

In book

Or song.

Or is it only that… the new eyes remain yet to be discovered?

Whatever color your eye is now,

The iris of the eye,

Won’t you look with me?

To see?

What yet we may uncover?

Not as good as Georgia O’Keefe, but still sexy and beautiful… even if it is by Mickey.

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Filed under artwork, commentary, empathy, insight, inspiration, poem, poetry

A Walk Amongst the Flowers

Today I went for a walk with my daughter. Both of us are walking to improve our health. But it was a bright and sunny spring day. And in many unexpected places… there were flowers.

Yes, flowers are blooming now in Texas.

And it occurs to me, I was walking in a metaphor. That’s what life is. A finite brief journey from beginning to end. And round every turn… There are flowers along the way. Bright spots of color and gentle, lovely scents… things that make the walk worth taking.

And so, I went for a walk with my daughter today. A walk amongst the flowers.

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Filed under flowers, humor, metaphor, poetry