I took part in a poetry reading this last week. I felt like a pretender as usual. When I’m in a play, I know I’m the only one without a degree in theatre or lacking a part in the next show they’re already rehearsing for. At work, I feel like my mental illness isn’t bad enough to really qualify as a mental health consumer. As a poet, I’m better at limericks.
People respect haiku, sonnets, even slam poetry has it’s defenders but I hear little praise for the humble limerick. Why do I excel here? I’m Irish. I’m angry and like to use humor to tone it down a bit. I worked for many years in libraries so I know plenty of literary allusions that I can use against people. I sometimes sound like Reader’s Digest does Prairie Home Companion. I guess I could express that better with the word “goofy” Did you hear that Garrison Keillor is coming to Alaska? He must be getting old.
The poem which got me second prize in the contest was a fluke of sorts. I had another fluke which was very similar a few years ago when I was runner up in the Haiku contest. I think it’s because I live in the past and I do little Harry Potter tricks like use something from mythology to get people’s attention and then turn it around. It’s not really a conscious trick but a subconscious one. My mind is always popping with little connections which I think are obvious to everyone else but am discovering are perhaps only recognized by people who have mentally erratic brains or poets.
At the reading, they asked poets to write on the spot and I thought that was wicked fun because my brain is always doing that anyway. Let’s face it, the expectations are pretty low for that kind of work and that’s a very good fit for The Great Pretender. I got to write about military men, an absent husband, being too old to hear poetry, the caterers and a daughter learning how to drive.
So now I’m going to try some more quickies. I’ll just grab a word off a page of a book that’s lying around and write a limerick. Then I will practice pretending anyone will be reading them.
Of course the first word I chose is “death”, believe it or not from “Anne of the Island”(3rd book in the Anne of Green Gables series) so here goes.
When greeting our friend Mr. Death,
Will you meet him like Alcott’s sweet Beth?
Will you run? Will you sneer?
You could buy him a beer!
Or see if he does crystal meth.
That one wasn’t too bad. Let’s try another. From Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope”, I find the phrase : “Mandatory public high schools.
We live in a world full of fools
Who make up the silliest rules
Seeing socialist threat,
In health care, but yet
Mandatory public high schools?
Not as good. Just one more to redeem myself.
The word is “intellectual” found in David Brandon’s “Zen and the art of Helping” which I probably won’t read based on scanning that page (I got it at the library book sale.)
Do Intellectuals have sex?
Does the idea of intercourse vex?
Since my brain isn’t slow
To both I say ” no!”
Either that or I’m under a hex.
Enough already, I’m not helping myself here. Goodnight!