Friday, November 4, 2011

Nanowrimo and poetry

This month is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and this is my 6th. I am a few thousand words behind. As it turns out, despite doing this every year, I am distracted and missing focus. My main distraction isn't Angry Birds - the Halloween edition, or great food or cleaning the floor. This year, my distraction is poetry.

I've been involved in a few Slam Poetry events, and even volunteered to read my poetry in front of a bunch of strangers with no reward to speak of except a bit of applause at the end. So, I continue to write poems in the middle of a novel writing month. The urge is strong, and I have even made my main character a poet, in order to have the excuse to write some as part of my novel.

I have also been reading lots of poetry and am currently caught up in the genius that is Billy Collins. One of the ones I've really enjoyed is:

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius. 


I liked this one enough write a parody, which I thought of not from listening to a dog bark, but from hearing my windscreen wipers squeak:


The windscreen wipers on my car are squeaking
I’m sure there’s some mechanical problem
It sounds like a falsetto speaking
and continues after a change of blades
On a long drive in the rain
I slowly descend into crazy
squeak, squeak, squeak

In an attempt to stay at least relatively sane
I turn on the music, U2 at full volume
But the squeak cuts through
It’s not even one type of squeak, but two
One on the way up
And another on the way down

I eventually imagine
The squeak as part of U2’s action
And even picture Bono singing
Walking around the car on stage
Leaning over the bonnet, singing to a wiper blade

Then the music ends and the squeak continues
But the stage remains
The wiper solo goes on
And I picture the audience in rapt silence
Eventually raising their arms
Flicking lighters and swaying to the squeaking solo

That, they’ll say, was amazing
A tribute to U2’s genius
A lasting legacy and it all started here.
Inside my car, on a drive in the rain

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