I knew nothing of
automobiles back then
except about how to drive
(not well) and add gas—
My first (legal) car
was twenty bucks—
I got it for fifteen;
(Dad didn’t know, yet—
he called cars “motors”
and expensive things “dear”)
but she said, “Oh, dear,
what’s wrong with it.”
I was about to learn so much
rings, pistons, and
timing points, and why not
grab hold of a bare spark plug wire
on a running straight six,
and about positive and negative.
Guys at school, the ones taking
auto mechanics shop classes,
(learning something useful)
were not the ones to ask
even though I took
English III (again) with them.
(I’m still grateful for how
smart they made me look
another story there.)
while those know-it-alls
claimed auto knowledge,
helpful they were not,
and I’d already bought
my old green Chevrolet
capable of burning
a quart of oil
per city block or
country mile—either way,
lesson learned late.
Learn first, then buy
(now I tell me).
And used car salesmen—
that lesson took a lot longer.
beware. Be aware.
Look both ways as time keeps on slippin’ into the future.
Mind the gaps, feed the babies, shoe the children, house the people livin’ in the street.
One must have lexicon to poem.
Language to arrange words right.
Poet’s lingo contains abundant terms
shared with the world of writing
like style, voice, or tone. Words,
as Mary Oliver said, “If words were only words…”
We need to learn vernacular and forms; The Rules of the Dance, poetry handbooks to
comprehend values of meter: monometer,
pentameter, and octameter.
Toeless feet with iamb, trochee, and dactyl.
How often does one see a spondee running free?
Books by Packard, Turco, Oliver,
and more for poetics.
Look both ways as you dip you pen into the poet’s ink.
Mind the gaps as there is so much to learn about the plethora of poetry terms.
I can almost see in my memory
when mother was proud of me
for those first sobering steps,
my cheerful run. Later,
I saw and heard mine;
Billy, then Steven, finally
Julie taking first frantic steps of life,
another charge without
casual saunter. We learn
to run, then we slow down.
Look both ways as we walk, run, or saunter through life.
Mind the gaps, do the best you can, and have fun.
It’s a one-way ticket.
And now, a 1980s fun rock as Dire Straits teaches us about the “Walk Of Life.” (Hilarious)
For this prompt, I was to select an existing poem and write my poem using the shape (form, style, beat) of the original. Each of my lines must begin with the same first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem.
For this assignment, I selected two Billy Collins poems. For shape, I chose “Class Picture 1954” (click to read it). I picked “Drawing Class” for subject and musings. Mr. Collins enjoyed his drawing class much more than I did. But we both like to draw.
Me in Drawing Class
I took the art class
for my drawing to improve.
To the instructor I was not
special nor obedient because
to me, she was retentive and inflexible.
The first day she belittled tardy.
I was early. Most were on time.
Is she too good to teach me?
At the front and center
in my surgical mask,
was I to be her basic class problem?
Because I claim my work
instead of me making art her way;
oh, how we entertained the others.
What’s so bad about using graphite?
And why is it carbon or charcoal
you think superior to what tool I use?
And now we’re done.
So class is over,
another moody artist goes his way.
Look both ways in dealing with the artsy types.
Mind the gaps, but graphite works equally well.