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Uh oh… a serious poem?

Well, this is going to be challenging.

In a culture over-saturated with irony, it’s hard to say something serious and leave yourself vulnerable to criticism, judgment, or even simple interpretation. That’s why I’m at least a bit reluctant to post this poem, because although I did indeed write it ten years ago, it’s strikingly devoid of the irreverence typical of the rest of my work. Was my teacher somehow successful in motivating me to actually attempt a serious poem?

Fortunately, the fact that I wrote this poem ten years ago is akin to a famous actor posting a video of the commercial he did for a local insurance company in Kansas when he was 16, so let’s face it: I can’t be too sensitive about any feedback I receive from anyone. So without further ado, let’s see if I was able to muster any poetic talent after my first couple weeks of a creative writing class (note that my actual poem attempt appears at the bottom half of the page):

 

The top half is either a rough draft, or random notes... there's really no way to tell.

The top half is either a rough draft, or random notes… there’s really no way to tell. Either way, feel free to ignore it!

Transcript:
Darkness, stars, shattered dreams
Golden Idol among blindfolded denial
Cry of the Lifestream
Bloodshed of war
Fall of the epic hero
Hardcore
Body falling endlessly
Fallable, Falling, Failing
Hopeless destruction
Ultimate end
Hopeless failure
Goodbye to a friend.

A few things:

  • “Lifestream” is a Final Fantasy VII reference, and knowing me, I used “Hardcore” in the context of professional wrestling. So I guess I did go a LITTLE “inside” with this poem.
  • I feel like this poem would be awesome at a beat poetry open mic, probably because it doesn’t have an obnoxiously generic rhyming scheme.
  • Is this perhaps some kind of analogy for the life of a video game character?

You know what’s weird? I wanted to write some commentary on the poem, so I scrolled up to read it. And seeing it written on a blank white screen in sans serif, Italicized font… well, it made it un-readable to me. Am I totally crazy or what? But seriously, I feel like I can only read this in its original hand-written form, or I’m not able to really “get into it.”

Anyway, what do you think? Is this any “good” or is it just mindless high school drivel? I took the creative writing class to learn how to be more poetic (whatever that means), but I think that at the conclusion of the class, I never really learned whether I was any good at it or if I just got better at feeling like I knew what I was doing. Does that even make sense? Probably not. But I’m going with it anyway.

Clearly, I need to practice writing some more… good thing I’ve got this web site! Thanks for joining me for the ride. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share my project with anyone you think may be interested. More posts to come soon!

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

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About Cody Gough

Cody Gough is a producer and host at WGN Radio in Chicago. In addition to producing the Brian Noonan Show since 2008, Cody co-hosts both Brian's web-exclusive podcasts and his own lifestyle podcast, Game/Life Balance U.S. Cody also moonlights as a commercial actor, video game enthusiast, and professional social media manager for a global firm.

4 responses to “Uh oh… a serious poem?”

  1. cateberlin says :

    Not enough people seriously consider writing when they are in high school. It is a tough language with lots of words to learn. And then they want you to appreciate Shakespeare’s middle-aged man’s sarcasm. Who wants to try to tame wild mustangs (or tackle a grease pig–you pick the metaphor) when everything else that being 14-17 years old is going on. The course analysis is subjective, and the product requires the producer to expose feelings. So anyone venturing into writing becomes vulnerable. Not an attractive place for most, regardless of age. Then it gets worse. If you ask a high schooler who they think is smarter, the kid in honors chemistry or the kid in honors English, I’d wager the interviewee would have a bias towards science. Pile all those things on top of each other, and the selling point for me becomes not how good your poem is, but the fact that you did it with earnest. Eventually we all learn that the impassioned–from scientist to poet–keep advancing across the increasingly turbulent river the same way: one slippery stone at a time, never looking back for too long to criticize or analyze past footing. Everything has to do with the next move forward. Good poem,btw. Poetry is impossibly hard.

  2. cateberlin says :

    Sorry. Me again. To get to the next stone, but still engage in a retrospective, complicate matters by creating two characters: you and some person playing your 10 year ago self. No one can know what you are the same individual. It has to be written as two separate people. This technique pushes you into characterization elements while allowing you to work with material you know: you and your work. Your instinct to retrieve was correct. When it comes to execution, think of a literary device and imitate it. Sorry. This intrigued me.

    • Cody Gough says :

      I love the idea! I will think about how I could best implement that technique, and we’ll see where it goes. I love the feedback, thanks so much for the comments!

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