Last week, I was supposed to write a poem for my English class. It’s fun writing poems because nobody understands them. You could write “A blue cup, washing in the wind” and accept praise for it. When people ask you what it represents, you can really make up anything. In fact, this usually works: “Isn’t it obvious? It represents the fleeting Neolithic tradition of modern medicine.”
And the person will respond with a nod, still uncertain, yet pretending to grasp the idea. Meanwhile, you look down at them with a commanding air. Yes, I understand literature, you stupid piece of shit.
Recently, I wrote an imitation of a Wallace Stevens poem for an English extra credit assignment. Stevens was an old poet in love with nature and obsessed with the word “nothingness.” So my poem begins like this:
The light August sky beaches the hill,
A light of nothingness
(This is an A+ already)
Then I scanned over more Stevens poems and realized I was missing the other essential component: the inscrutable meaning of the poem. So I whipped this up:
A flying dog scans the atmosphere,
Petals in a large, black bough.
The word “bough” will always score you points, because it’s actually in the dictionary, yet nobody uses it except for 19th century poets. It’s a “literary” component with “layered meanings.” Like, it could represent sexual intimacy and In-N-Out Burger at the same time.
Also, when you write a poem, be sure to piss the reader off. Making it “easy for the reader” is out of the question. Instead, pull an Ezra Pound and start your poem with the word “And.” Or just babble bull, like:
Forever night the birds would cry,
I never ate the Irish pie,
Throughout small alleys I never minded,
Big fat fuckers who licked shit.
Then, at the end, make a grand analogy to the human race. Something that will trick the readers into thinking there actually is a meaning to the whole thing. Like:
The love of our land is furthermore bourgeois.
Hopefully, your readers will have to look up “bourgeois” in the dictionary, and by the time they find the six definitions, they give up, thinking, “Oh well, it must make sense somehow; I’m not going to go and try to figure it out.”
And that’s how you score. So next time your creative writing teacher tells you to write a poem, whip out the ol’ bull. Tell of flying light and running beaches, ugly animals and bourgeois donuts. In the end, you will find yourself satisfied with what you write because, after all, it’s poetry. Now, I conclude this piece with a real piece of my mind:
In all my years, I have never come in contact with such surreptitiously fine linchenbergers, the exception being the bough, of course.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
Anthony Manganaro is an undeclared freshman.