Sunday, February 17, 2008

Is This A Poem?

Author, teacher of writing and my friend, Val Vogrin sent me this poem quite a while ago. Not sure I answered her question, "Is this a poem?" but I did save it, folded into one of my all-to-many little journal/sketchbooks. Recently, I've been cleaning out, tidying, restructuring my studio/writing hole and found it. I offer it to you all:


What time is it when a poet sits on your fence?
Time to build a taller fence.

How many poets does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One hand, a thousand ideas, darkness.

Knock-knock, you say.
Who's there? I reply.
A poet.
A poet, who?
Doesn't matter, I'll die anonymous.

Why did the poet cross the road?
For a drink, for love.
No, really.
To catch her hat, skidding
Across the asphalt, orange velvet ribbon flying.
That's it?
That's it.

Why is the poet afraid of seven?
Because seven eight nine.

What do the dreams of poets contain?
Windows, falling out of.
Mother, arguments with.
Metaphors, for flight.
Words, like cats' claws.

I like this poem more every time I read it. I like how the familiar riddles are played with (cat-like) and how they set us up for the index list in the last stanza. It's an inside joke for sure, but then, being a poet and lover of language and word games is sort of an inside joke, too.

Val doesn't have a blog (wish she did) or a Website, but she does have a lovely novel called Shebang published by The University of Mississippi Press.


Nirgov said...

Thanks, Leesh. I enjoyed seeing my words in a fresh space. Maybe I'll send my students here and see if they think it's a poem.

ABG said...

Please do. Maybe challenge them to add to it?

Anonymous said...

There was an impromptu reading of this poem at the Stagger the other night, where everyone volubly agreed it was a poem, responding to the heightened sense of daily affliction and occasional reward of the writer.