When I consider all the degrees one can get that mean nothing, if not less, to me, I think an advanced degree in poetry wins.
The sealed stamp of the degree on paper is a qualification like a passport stamped many times over with “wrong road” printed everywhere.
Why did you need academia to improve your commentary on life?
Was it really the form, the meter, the use of metaphor or simile?
Did you do it to impress someone? Did it make you feel more esteemed? Do you now tell people about your advanced degree in poetry?
A degree has no value if it creates none.
The mechanics of poetry is: wax on, wax off.
The unique inspiration of good poetry is taught far, far away from those who institutionally aggregate to dissect it, and the people who know this would never frame a stamped piece of paper that empowers anyone other than themselves to judge what they must.
I write two kinds of poetry:
- “On Demand” – meaning: people give me a topic, a time constraint (3 minutes), and a number of words. These poems are usually rough.
- “I Meant That” – poems I worked on without constraint.
I started a new category called “Best Poems“, which is a collection of category #2 (I had time to think and edit).
I did this so that you can read the stuff I think is my best.
When she’s feeling her worst,
the only comfort she wants
is to be told everything will be OK.
I’ve learned to tell her this,
even though I know it’s a lie.
If I am ever beside her on her deathbed,
and I tell her that,
I fear she’ll leave this world with the realization
that the lifetime of comfort
that gave her a sacred sense of home,
was nothing but an illusion.
Another from Zeitgeist, 6/29/08.
The guy who suggested this topic was smoking pot at the table next to us (hey, in SF at a beer garden, this is wide open).
His eyes were really red, and he was totally loving this poetry game we play.
Asked for a topic, he gave an ironic theme.
Theme: Why I Don’t Smoke Pot
Word Count: 23+
I made two versions.
Why I Don’t Smoke Pot
Don’t smoke weed you say
I’m still waiting for why
Your argument has no life
Nothing about you ever has
Get high, then try again.
Why I Don’t Smoke Pot
Give me a reason not to
It must be large and philosophical.
If you can’t think of one
Get high, then think again.
Again from Zeitgeist, 6/29/08.
Word Count; 10
(The fellow who offered the topic was clearly quite drunk and the subject is obviously a product of his state of intoxication. But whatever – the idea with the poems on demand is you never know what someone is going to come up with, and you have to embrace it.)
All else hides inside
Testicles have far more worldly ambition.
Another Zeitgeist poetry challenge from 6/29/08.
Topic: “Sheep’s Milk”
Word Count: 17
Before my first sip
The image of the farmer that fucked this beast.
Do I want to swallow?
The story goes like this:
Ernest Hemingway was given a challenge to write a complete story with six words.
This style of writing is known as “flash fiction.”
I am a huge fan of short form poetry (check out my poem, “A Good Poem” as a starting point on my approach to short form poetry).
Hemingway nailed it. He told the story with the words he didn’t write:
“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”