And It Doesn’t Even Rhyme

April 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm 15 comments

Well, look who’s especially chatty today? Wouldn’t have anything to do with her mind racing over this due date business would it? Nah – she always spends her lunch hour at work obsessively reorganizing her desk drawers and wiping down every exposed surface with antibacterial cleaning spray. Cleanliness is next to Batshit-Craziness!

cleaningI can’t believe I ignored all the awesome nesting opportunities at work until now.

I just wanted to share a little something with you, Internet: April is National Poetry Month, and every year at my office, the Library staff hosts a lunchtime poetry reading (which I will miss because it’s on April 30th, and BY GOD I will be on maternity leave by then), and they also post a different poem every day to their internal website. Anyone can suggest a poem to be posted, so yesterday I sent in one of my favorites. It should be noted that I LOST MY SHIT when I re-read this poem yesterday before sending it in, and RE-LOST my shit today upon seeing it posted on the site.

But before I share it, a disclaimer: I am not a Poetry Person. Frankly, I don’t get it. I definitely can’t write it, and I don’t especially enjoy reading it. There are a precious few exceptions:

1) The poem I’m about to share with you, which I saw on someone’s blog ages ago;

2) A poem a particularly brilliant and friend of mine and CFoST’s wrote that his parents printed and handed out at his funeral when he very suddenly passed away the year after we all graduated from college. (I read this poem for the workplace reading last year and, of course, TOTALLY LOST MY SHIT and then started sweating profusely in addition to fighting back tears because WHO likes to lose their shit in front of coworkers? No one. That’s who.)

3) Walt Whitman. Pretty much anything from Leaves of Grass. We had to read it in high school, and somehow I am able to GET his poems in a way that totally escapes me when I try to read other stuff.


Also, he looked like Santa. Bonus.

So here’s the poem I submitted this year. I am not a very religious person at all, but something about this poem totally encapsulates what I like to think God is all about (and, incidentally, what I feel is missing from most organized religion). I still don’t know how I’m going to broach the topic of religion with Spats, but if I can somehow communicate the spirit of this poem to her, I feel like everything will be OK:

God Says Yes To Me

by: Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I am telling you is
Yes yes yes


Now, Internet, I’d like to invite you to share some of YOUR favorite poems. Show me that there are more than three poems in the world that I might like! Share something you wrote yourself! Or just throw a dirty limerick in the comments, I don’t care. KEEP ME OCCUPIED, INTERNET! Because I am this close to researching Walt Whitman’s sexual orientation on Wikipedia, seeing as how my high school English teacher wouldn’t offer any conjecture either way.


Is a Santa lookalike AND geigh? No wonder he’s so awesome.


Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.

Doin’ the Due There Once Was a Cute Little Fetus…

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MLE  |  April 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Our friend Erin, the person who married us, is a published poet. Here is one of my favorites by her. You can find a link to her blog (and website) on my sidebar (she’s listed as EEK, rockstar poet). Another of my favorites, Sweet Aphrodite on a Bicycle, is on our refrigerator at home.

    The Secondhand Record Store Clerk
    by Erin Keane

    The clerk at Better Days knows
    the location of each twice-loved album,
    he can lay hands on Dark Side of the Moon
    or Beggar’s Banquet by closing his eyes
    and trailing his fingertips along the cardboard edges
    of the covers until his heart murmurs
    and his hand knows this is the one.

    The clerk at Better Days keeps time
    by his piercings, knows that the first
    eyebrow was for Julia when she left him,
    the bar through his tongue to remind him
    of the summer he said too much, each hole
    in each earlobe growing larger to match
    the years he’s spent standing in the same spot.

    The clerk at Better Days understands
    your hunger for ten years ago, or twenty,
    and knows that your high school reunion
    is sneaking up and you need a copy
    of Bleach, Reckoning, or Let It Be to feel
    like a whole single person capable of dancing just
    as badly as you did at the prom in rented shoes.

    The clerk at Better Days can’t name
    the trees in Cherokee Park, doesn’t know
    the difference between a birch and an elm,
    can’t tell one nervous brown bird
    from another, even when they nest in the eaves
    above his window, and their babies grow
    more hungry and bold by the day.

    The clerk at Better Days runs fingers
    through his hair, back to front, and sighs
    with the weight of a complete discography, leans
    elbows to countertop, silently counting
    the tanks of gas it would take his ancient
    Volvo to make it from this corner to
    Miami, or New York, or San Francisco.

    The clerk at Better Days ran out of breath
    when he crossed the Mississippi and the land opened
    like a book; driving I-70 west, he topped out
    his lungs to a digital soundtrack, then whispered
    into the canyons and let his voice bounce
    off mountains that stretched skyward
    in surrender, blood slowed to a trickle in his veins.

    The clerk at Better Days lies down
    during his lunch on the warm concrete and attempts
    to hover using only the powers of his mind, tries
    to harness this energy of the universe that he’s heard
    so much about, but grows sleepy and placid
    as pedestrians step over him, the sun speckling
    his lean torso between drifting clouds.

    The clerk at Better Days climbs
    onto his roof each night after the store closes
    to count neon signs flickering
    over Bardstown Road, ticks upcoming shifts off
    in rhythm with the BIC lighter chorus
    prowling, glowing the sidewalk below,
    his own ashes tumbling into an empty soda can.

  • 2. HoST  |  April 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    “There once was a fellow McSweeny
    Who spilled some gin on his weenie
    Just to be couth
    He added vermouth
    Then slipped his girlfriend a martini”

    I know… I always ruin everything. This is why Jive Turkey can’t have nice things.

  • 3. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  April 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I’m not a poet, but I do write haiku and this pretty accurately reflects the mood at my office these days:

    Cash flow. You blow and
    make people have wrinkles and
    take away the love.

    Not really worth sharing, but our old friend’s poem definitely is. Thanks for reminding me of what an amazing person J was and you are. XO!

  • 4. kristin  |  April 3, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    One of my favorite poems ever is “Songs of the Open Road,” by W.W. there. I won’t post it here because it’s really fucking long. I actually copied and pasted together my favorite parts of it and had that bastardized version of it hanging above my desk for a long time. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Dorothy Parker’s “One Perfect Rose.”, Coincidentally (I just learned from Wikipedia), she once described an ex-husband as “queer as a billy goat.” Let us know if you think that description could apply to dear old Walt.

  • 5. kristin  |  April 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    One of my favorite poems ever is “Song of the Open Road,” by W.W. there. I won’t post it here because it’s really fucking long. I actually copied and pasted together my favorite parts of it and had that bastardized version of it hanging above my desk for a long time. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Dorothy Parker’s “One Perfect Rose.”, Coincidentally (I just learned from Wikipedia), she once described an ex-husband as “queer as a billy goat.” Let us know if you think that description could apply to dear old Walt.

  • 6. kristin  |  April 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Yeah, that should have been “Song of the Open Road,” singular. But while I’m here again admitting my lapse in proofreading, I would also like to say that I love “i carry your heart” by e.e. cummings. I love it so much, I’ll even forgive him his lack of capital letters. It’s such a romantic poem. Sigh.

  • 7. Sorry to get heavy but this one came to mind  |  April 3, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    by W. H. Auden

    About suffering they were never wrong,
    The Old Masters: how well they understood
    Its human position; how it takes place
    While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
    How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
    For the miraculous birth, there always must be
    Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
    On a pond at the edge of the wood:
    They never forgot
    That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
    Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
    Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
    Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

    In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
    Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
    Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
    But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
    As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
    Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
    Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
    Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

  • 8. Shelli  |  April 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Shel Silverstein, and aa Milne. Awesome stuff.

  • 9. Daughter of 4th Reader  |  April 4, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Poems, you ask?

  • 10. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  April 4, 2009 at 4:08 am

    This was actually the poem that Mr. Garrison Keillor read on The Writer’s Almanac today on NPR. I think it’s fitting. I love your poem, BTW. It’s kinda the opposite of this one.

    Lies My Mother Told Me
    by Elizabeth Thomas

    If you keep eating raw spaghetti
    you’ll get pinworms,
    then I’ll have to make
    a necklace of garlic for you to wear
    each night while you sleep,
    until they go away.
    If you’re mean to your younger brother, I’ll know
    because I have a special eye
    that spies on you when I’m not home.
    You cannot hide from it,
    so don’t try.
    If you touch your “down there”
    any time other than when using the toilet,
    your hand will turn green and fall off.
    If you keep crossing your eyes
    they will stay that way
    until the wind
    changes direction.
    It is bad luck to kill a moth. Moths are
    the souls of our ancestors and it just
    might be Papa paying a visit.
    If you kiss a boy on the mouth
    your lips will stick together
    and he’ll use the opportunity
    to suck out your brains.
    If you ever lie to me
    God will know
    and rat you out.
    And sometimes
    God exaggerates.
    Trust me —
    you don’t want that
    to happen.

  • 11. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  April 4, 2009 at 4:17 am

    And if Walt Whitman was gay (and, you know, still alive and all) he could totally get married in Iowa now! Yay, Iowa!

  • 12. The Constant C  |  April 6, 2009 at 9:17 am

    OO! I have lots! Lots and lots of poems! My husband is a poet, which means our house is EXPLODING WITH POEMS.

    Unfortunately, I tend to do my interneting while in the office, and there are no poems here. But! This one lives on the internet, and I know where, so here it is… (and hopefully the line breaks won’t get too screwy–the lines are long):

    You Can’t Have It All
    by Barbara Ras

    But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
    gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
    on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
    You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
    of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
    every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
    you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
    though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
    that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
    until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
    You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
    so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
    glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
    never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
    all roads narrow at the border.
    You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
    and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
    where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
    but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
    as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
    for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
    for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
    sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
    for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
    the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
    You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
    at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
    of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
    You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
    but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
    how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
    until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
    and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
    as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
    you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
    of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
    your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
    There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
    it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
    but there is this.

  • 13. Sara  |  April 6, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Blurg, poems. I took a creative writing class in college (taught by someone who could barely speak English, ironically) and we HAD to write some poems. Is it truly creative when you’re forced to write it? Anyway, I wrote a bunch of horrible poems at the last minute, including one about my mom and one about my dad. I gave my mom the one about her for her 50th birthday: BIG HIT! And then I gave her the one about my dad, which caused tears: BIG HIT! I’m telling you, they’re pretty bad, although I did put the one about my dad on my blog once. Let me know if you want to read it. In the meantime, I leave you with one of my favorites by Shel Silverstein (this is from memory; I remember finding it hilarious when I was a kid; it was in a book someone gave my sister and me when our father died, I think Free to Be a Family):

    There’s too many kids in this tub.
    There’s too many elbows to scrub.
    I just washed a behind,
    That I’m sure wasn’t mine,
    There’s too many kids in this tub.

  • 14. FoSt  |  April 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    There one was a dinosaur from Paris
    Whose name was Major Harris
    He kicked the ball over the Great China Wall
    Don’t you think he was a little careless?

    – FoST circa 1988

  • 15. Bird  |  April 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    i found this going through my college boxes in my parents’ basement. i think ellen wrote it, but i have no idea. do you remember it?

    Come smoke with us,
    Theatre girl.
    Feed us your nicotine fingers.
    Our ashtray is full,
    filled with our Guignol stories,
    our Blackbox adventures,
    and our egos smothered in the depths of addiction
    Whispers of sex,
    theatre dreams,
    and smoker things are breathly uttered among friends.
    Nicotine nymphs tumble beneath the moon’s shadows
    with their addiction elixer.
    One touch,
    one encounter,
    one cigarette, theatre girl.

    -seriously, we were restupid and a smidge self-involved.


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