Thursday, April 30, 2009

NaPoWriMo Through Field Glasses

My friend Stacey Donovan wrote a poem a day in April, and they weren't just little nothing poems. Big, juicy, full of feeling and imagination and lovely phrases, is what they were. Crafted, not sloppy. Fine prosody from one of the superfinest people I work with.

I watched from afar, remembering how I used to write poems relentlessly, always something in the works. Not so much lately. I did teach a writing workshop to some 2nd-graders this month, but even that was mostly watching others create. So I was feeling like a spectator. And egregiously envying those with time and energy to apply such devotion to the art.

And now the month is done. So on this, the last night of NaPoWriMo, I present a little snideswipe from the sideline. My shame is great.


Spectators On Parade

The parade for National Poetry Writing Month
seemed long and aimless, wandering toward
the end of a street with no identifying sign,
most of the marchers distracted by themselves,
trying to remember dreams, scribbling notes,
slouching toward dressing the part of a poet,
some glancing at their fellows, resenting
the notebook scribblers or the ones texting
God knows who—can we not just experience
this event? The oneness, the solidarity,
the living poetry? Must everything be grist?
And then there came a complicated turn

around the intersection of form and subject,
a ramp, an elevated expressway, a blind alley
that seemed to stand for something else.
By now, the new proxyism had people trading
places, rank and file observing the spectators’
meanderings—"Say I am you!" someone shouted—
and a child on a tall man’s shoulders piped up,
“This is the most boringest parade I ever saw.”
A hush, a lull, a caesura. The procession
stopped. And then a dozen poets pounced,
quoting the phrase, embellishing it, throwing
rhymes at it, interviewing the child, learning
by going more or less nowhere where to go.


Forgive me, Erato (and Stacey--you're your own magnificent parade). That's all I could manage this year.