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A Poem: “Bad Poetry Gone Worse”

AN ASSIGNMENT! Looks like we had homework in my creative writing class. And this also looks like a semi-serious attempt at a semi-serious poem. I’m going to post the transcript first, and THEN an image of the poem, so that you can read it (if you’d like) without my teacher’s commentary first.

Just as before, I’m reluctant to post one of my actual serious attempts at poetry, because who wants to feel vulnerable ever? And yet I must, not only to grow as an artist, but because I wrote this ten years ago and really have no business feeling self-conscious about it in the first place. So here you go:

Bad Poetry Gone Worse

Warmth and safety –
Temporary, not contemporary –
Brought about by softly stroking,
Holding close who means the most,
To feel warmth and safety.

A delicate caress, and a moment trapped in time
Forever – an eternity – can never last that long
The feeling held, the moment constant,
Infinity within a single embrace
Yet no time, no numbers, no measurements
Can quantify my Happiness.

Supporting Me, supporting You
Like two, like one; like one, like two;
Together at last, together forever
Together forever… but only for a moment.

One last look one last sigh
One last hug at the end of the night
One last peck – unless we’re just Friends –
One last grin as if keeping things quiet
One last touch to ensure that She’s there
One last heartbeat—
The everlasting hug… Gone.

Don't let the title fool you: it's not actually that bad. Maybe.

Don’t let the title fool you; it’s not actually that bad. Maybe.

A few things:

  • We studied Emily Dickinson quite extensively in English class; this led to a substantial use of “random” capitalization in my poetry, often somewhat mockingly. In this case, however, it looks like my teacher (and I, ten years later) was pleased with how I used it.
  • I can’t decide whether I agree with my inclusion the line “Temporary, not contemporary” that my teacher circled. It kind of doesn’t fit, but I feel like there’s a case for it. Thoughts?
  • This poem doesn’t suck, so that’s kinda cool, right?

I wasn’t what you would call “good” at things like “turning in assignments on time,” so I’m sure the check with “-20%” at the top of the page means that I turned in my assignment late. Oh well, I still graduated!

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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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Poetry about hell… and Roy from Smash Brothers

I’m not sure how or why this happened, but apparently I penned a few poems about hell. The first poem is my “main” hell poem, followed by a poem that is about both hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Melee, equally. Let’s see how dark my high school mind could get:

A poem about hell, followed by two poems about hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Brawl

A poem about hell, followed by a poem about hell and Roy from Super Smash Brothers: Melee

Transcript:
The descent.
Through the cloud;
Off a cliff;
Into the needles
—Of a blackberry bush.
The voice of death
Whirring in your head
The descent into hell—
You know that you’re dead.
The same from all places
The distance of the journey is
For central the location be
Of Auburn’s room 296.

Wow… talk about anticlimax. I’m guessing that my creative writing class met in room 296. Anyway, that poem is followed by a rough draft of the next poem. Moving along, here is that second poem:

Gripping, masculine, muscular hands
In hell, no-one can hear you—
Play Smash Brothers—
I guess Roy really IS flaming!

A few things:

  • Roy is a character from Super Smash Brothers: Melee (originally from the Fire Emblem video game series), and I never liked him. His sword often bursts into the flame in the game, so I liked to call him things like “flaming idiot” and “flaming loser.” At the time, “to flame” someone meant “to insult” someone; I often had “flame wars” with my friend Captain, who of course LOVED Roy.
  • The imagery of tightly gripped hands could apply to Roy’s very heavy in-game sword, but it ends up implying the grip used to hold a controller. This gives the Smash Brothers poem actual poetic validity, which both annoys and pleases me.
  • I wonder why I specified “blackberry bush” in my first poem?

I like that my seemingly serious attempt at a poem about death/hell devolved into a stupid comment about my high school creative writing classroom, but my stupid anecdotal poem about a character I hated in Smash Brothers resulted in the creation of some actual legitimate poetry.

I’ve always been told that the best material comes from your passions. I was VERY passionate about Smash Brothers in high school (and college… and now), so I guess it makes sense that some semblance of creativity would have come out of me when writing about Roy.

…still feels totally ridiculous, though.

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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!

Greek philosophy and a poem about semicolons

Whether or not you like my (10-year-old) poetry, you will likely find something you enjoy in this post! That’s because the top half of my page of notes contains timeless quotes about life from Greek philosophers, transcribed here:

“Actions always planned are never completed.” -Democritus
“Old men were once young, but it is uncertain if young men will reach old age.” -Democritus
“The path up and down is one and the same.” -Heraclitus
“Nature likes to hide itself.” -Heraclitus
“The world is change; life is opinion.” -Democritus
“Theraclitus said that a man’s character is his fate.” -Stabeus (?)
“[Parmenides] speaks of perceiving and thinking as the same thing.” -Theophrastus
“All things were together. The mind came and arranged them.” -Anaxagoras
“Worlds are altered rather than destroyed.” -Democritus
“Dark and light, bad and good, are not different, but are one and the same.” -Heraclitus

Whoa, we’re starting to get deep, aren’t we? I have no clue how these quotes tied in with the poem I wrote below them (if at all); nonetheless, here it is, transcription following the image:

Top half: the ideas of great philosophers. Bottom half: my poem about semicolons.

Top half: the ideas of great philosophers. Bottom half: my poem about semicolons.

Transcript:
Poor, deprived semicolon
There isn’t even punctuation in Latin
So then, why, Anaxagoras?
The mind came,
Arranged everything
So then, why?
Punctuation, arranged for granted?
Taken for granted?
Taken at all?
The mind needs a mean
By which it can arrange;
How, then,
Is the semicolon neglected?
Rejected?
Disrespected?
Why, Anaxagoras? Why?
…why?

A few things:

  • Did Anaxagoras invent written language? No[t that I can find using Google]. Does my poem suggest this? Yes. Do I know what to make of this discrepancy? Hell no.
  • For the uninitiated, Anaxagoras was a Greek philosopher best known for having a totally badass name.
  • I took a Latin class my senior year of high school, and that is directly responsible for my use of the phrase “by which,” as we used a LOT of prepositions in that class. As a result, we learned to write by means of many prepositions (see what I did there?).

I used to LOVE writing semicolons in high school and college, but lately I’ve become a huge fan of using colons. Not just to introduce lists, mind you; my use of colons is much more advanced than that. Of course, right now I can’t think of how I could purposely write a sentence to utilize a semicolon, but that just means you’ll have to keep checking my web site for more updates so you can spot ’em when I write them!

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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!

An abstract poem

I have no back story on this poem other than the obvious fact that I wrote it ten years ago today. Let’s see what I devised:

This is a bit more abstract than my other high school poetry

This is a bit more abstract than my other high school poetry

Transcript:
Antithetical,
Monkey thought.
Thetical,
Jerk thought.
The greedy discussion
Blood red checks to get in
Stained with pain,
Written in vain
Thoughtful thinking
Never ceasing
Until it do.

I can’t say much about this poem other than “until it do” is a blatant misuse of correct grammar. Some of my classmates in certain high school classes didn’t talk very goodly, so I’m sure they inspired that line. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about this. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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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!

A really good poem with sexual undertones

There’s a bunch of crap on this page that you can probably ignore, followed by a poem that I actually kind of like a lot. More specifically, the top part of the page is probably some sort of word association, as I wrote about memories like “Forest City Invitational, senior year” (a cross country meet I ran) and “Picking up Dorothy and spinning her around” (I played the Scarecrow in “The Wiz”), and the middle part of the page looks like some disjointed stream-of-consciousness-type writing.

I’m only going to transcribe the poem that follows those thoughts, however, because frankly, I think it’s actually worth reading:

February 5, 2003: Poem

Transcript:
Rest
Relaxation
Muscles loosened
Body stopped
Staring at the closet, the closet staring back at me
One last movement – cuddling
One last thought – sex
One last sigh –
Finally.

It has pretty strong implications, but it’s also open to interpretation. You could even say that it’s… poetic. Maybe my creative writing teacher got to me after all. I just hope this poem was as good for you as it was for me (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

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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!

Writing exercise: writing a poem using similes

We did a fun little writing exercise in class on February 4, in which we completed some sentences to create similes. I feel like I wrote some pretty cool similes! But then, we were supposed to use them as an inspiration for a poem. Let’s see what I accomplished:

This poem uses a lot of similes! Which goes to show that a poem that uses a lot of similes... is still crap, if it's a terrible poem.

This poem uses a lot of similes! Which goes to show that a poem that uses a lot of similes… is still terrible, if it’s an awful poem.

Transcript:

Pouring coffee down his throat
As if he hadn’t had a drink since last night,
The honor walked down the plank
Towards the ring
Towards his title shot
For the WWE Undisputed Championship
The puffy clouds in his glass of wine
—Last night—
Had been like the jagged clouds in his opponent’s bag of cocaine
The clouds rolling like dice out of a cup
Like his mother’s fist did to his face last night
And as the honor saw the hydrochloric acid at ringside
He knew it could solve his greatest problem:
Zombies.

A few things:

  • This is terrible… except for the last line.
  • I don’t know what an “honor” is, in this context. Obviously I know what honor is, but my use of the word here baffles me. It’s not capitalized, so it’s not a judge… any ideas?
  • At least it’s coherent?

This just goes to show that there’s more to writing than just using literary devices. I think I probably took the assignment too literally, but I came up with something that at least told a coherent story, so… it could’ve been worse? Either way, let’s hope it doesn’t get much worse.

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This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” project, 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!

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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