Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poetry—Keep it Brief, Mr. Murfin, Keep it Brief

Three years ago I started an experiment with high hopes.  Based on the then strictly enforced word limits on Facebook status updates, I decided to try to experiment with poetry that would fit.  I see other folks have since done the same thing with the even briefer limitations of Tweeting.
In the rich fantasy world of my head, I envisioned inventing a sort of Haiku for the age of Social Media.  I started a page on which I would save these dazzling little gems envisioning it to blossom somehow into, I don’t know, maybe a collection.  I was sure that I could come up with something killer almost every day.
Didn’t quite work out that way.  I may be naturally too long winded for the medium.  Maybe the ol’ creative juices have just slowed to a trickle. 
I stumbled on that abortive page or so while trying to find something else.  Eight measly entries.  And by the end I was straining against the limitations.
Anyway, for lack of anything else in the quiver today, here they are.

Poems for Electrons
A new series

…wrote a poem this morning.
            Thought I had forgotten how—
a   new beginning?

Everyone works on some kind of wisdom
            just doesn’t know it—
the drunk pissing on the third rail—
I and my presumptions.

…nurtures hope
            like the kid on the bicycle
            counting his change out of a baggie
            for a box of—

Poetry does not come back automatically
            throw a leg over this battered Schwinn—
            fall off and skin your knee. 

In that endless verbose series
            stuffed with modifying clauses
            the inner Victorian
            scatters semi-colons—
                        periods taking a shit.

Pleasantries with a wave and nod acquaintance of some years. 
Don’t know each other’s last names. 
You know—
weather, sports, a bit of family trivia. 
A passing word betrays an affiliation. 
The eyes narrow, the jaw sets just so. 
In an instant the other,
the enemy,
the sub-human. 
Whose eyes, whose jaw?

...dusk falling with admirable punctuality. 
Birds make last visits to the feeder. 
The breath of what-is-to-come stirs the skeleton trees.

Getting morning coffee at the convenience store—
a youngish grandmother—
my age probably—
nice blond hair designed to fool nobody,
tight designer jeans from a few years back,
and a diamond stud in her nose.
Exchanged smiles.

—Patrick Murfin 

No comments:

Post a Comment