As you probably already know, April is National Poetry Month. Serena over at Savvy Verse & Wit has organized an amazing poetry blog tour that will be going on all month. Since Serena pretty much has so many of the “professional” or “published” poets covered, I thought I’d use my April FreeVerse posts to focus on “amateur” poets. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean “amateur” to mean “unprofessional” or “not good.” Rather, I’m using this definition:
Amateur: A person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession.
In other words, I’m going to spotlight poets who are unpublished and regular folks like you and me. Frankly, I think many of the poems and poets I am going to share with you are just as good as anything you might find in a poetry book. Each week, I’ll spotlight two “amateur” poets and tell you how I came across their work.
The first poem comes from my friend Michael5000 of The Life and Times of Michael5000. Back when I was publishing my zine, I asked my readers if they would send in some original poetry. The following poem is what Michael submitted, and I thought it was good then and I think it is good now. (Note: Michael5000 has no idea I’m publishing this. I sure hope he doesn’t mind!)
Symbolism (For Kelly)
she walks like a prussian corporal carries her cheshire cat
along the river staring at the lizards in their wild west hats
a one-armed anarchist spanish priest on the issue of realism
She doesn’t like symbolism
she hums an irish wedding hymn unlocks her brass-bound door
chases the fox from the shattered clocks melting on the floor
she likes to flaunt the bust of kant but can’t read syllogism
She doesn’t like symbolism
she dons her aqua funeral shroud thinks about the saints
the wind it blows and the thunder rolls like a drum as she starts to paint
a crucifixion of richard nixon in pink abstract expressionism
Don’t call it symbolism
And just think: Michael was in his early 20s when he wrote this! Impressive, no?
And coming full circle, the next poem comes from a blog that I had never visited until Michael5000 sent me a link to this poem last week saying “You might enjoy this. Or not.” The link was to a poem from a blog written by Rosemary Kirstein. (Ms. Kirstein is a published author of four novels called The Steerswoman Series. She has also published some short fiction but didn’t have any information about it on her blog.) Anyway, I loved the poem and asked Ms. Kirstein if I could feature it in one of my FreeVerse posts, and she was kind enough to agree. Her poem was inspired by a Wallace Stevens poem titled Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird, but her poem deals with one of the evils/pleasures (depending on your viewpoint) of the 21st century—Facebook. (And I hope I haven’t offended Ms. Kirstein by calling her an “amateur” since she is a published writer!)
Thirteen Ways of Looking At Facebook
by Rosemary Kirstein
Your farm does not exist.
You puzzle me.
I was of three minds,
Facebook, Twitter, and blog.
But it was only one post,
Like a blackbird
Sitting in three trees at once.
Sixth grade lunch hour
Decibel level = 110.
All my friends are talking at once,
But not to me.
Twenty years ago, you dumped me for no good reason.
Hello, my new friend.
I see you have become a fan of XX==>DDD.
Now, what page is that?
Yes, those breasts are quite large.
Eighteen years ago I dumped you
For very good reasons.
My Fan Page is ready
One click away from Live.
Oh, look, I have a fan, huzzah!
No, wait, that’s me.
My personal account has 32 friends.
My fan page has 7 fans.
I now understand my royalty statements.
I do not believe these are the End Times,
Nor that God has a plan for me.
I do not care that you are in an open relationship.
But my fan page is open to everyone,
And you may stay.
I saw my comment on three pages.
Three circles of which I am the edge.
I’ve known you all your life
But I never knew you liked that song,
And you never knew that I sing.
They are all here
The mountebanks and preachers,
The grade-school crushes and bullies.
We find, and we are found.
But do you see the distance I have run,
or my shadow?
We speak, addressing no one in particular
and wait for comments.
Where is this river going?
Where does the blackbird fly?
It was 3AM all night.
I was writing
and I was going to write.
I used a pen
And I was alone.