Rhymes with Rubes

April is National Poetry Month, and I am touched to be the one reintroducing this lost art form to the masses. This includes people like you and me! Because odds are, we don’t understand poetry.

You think this guy's cute? He is. But wait til you see the underwater pictures that I couldn't include for free!

You think this guy’s cute? He is. But wait til you see the underwater pictures that I couldn’t include for free!

Poetry has lain dormant since history days, murking its modern-time meanings. What I can tell you with authority is that poetry used to be a noble calling, largely because humans had not yet invented doctors. Once we could compare it to medical science, we got the notion that poetry was HARD and did not earn actual money. Plus, with doctors on hand, people weren’t all dying by the age of twelve. With all that extra time to challenge our brains, build our vocabularies, and deepen our understanding of human nature, we as a species chose to browse pictures of puppies jumping into swimming pools after tennis balls.

But poetry does not die easily. There is no other way to explain why I was supposed to read both The Iliad AND Shakespeare’s sonnets in high school. Tragically, modern-day-me was not around to teach high-school-me to better appreciate poetry’s efficiency and utility, literature’s answer to the Sports Illustrated sand bikini.

Though I was too late to save myself, I am now poised to help poetry pounce on a comeback. We live in an age of short media, such as six-second videos, 140-character journalism, and Seth Green. Why not turn to poetry?

Probably because so much poetry these days is, objectively speaking, bad. That’s what happens when a society tries to prioritize science, mathematics, and human rights violations over true art. Yet the quality of poetry does not negate its publishability! Plenty of presses print volumes of carefully chosen poetry submissions for the super low price of FREE* (*with purchase of five or more copies at the one-time wholesale price of $45.00 each).

Still, quality work is often buried among such wastelands of drivel. For instance, in the fifth grade, I composed a rousing epic about the Titanic—WAY trendier than the lame movie, although unfortunately with less portrait drawing. My poem was chosen for publication by one such press because I was clearly a Wunderkind. My parents snipped $45.00 out of the grocery budget only because they were so proud.

garbage collectorI pity the other, self-appointed “poets”—all those poor saps suckered into filling out my volume of poetry by purchasing copies for their distant relatives, secretaries, garbage collectors, and spouses. But don’t let the publishing houses deter your pursuit of poetry; they will do ANYTHING just for money. The true poets out there are in the poetry biz for all the right reasons.

The right reasons are simple, given a few qualifiers. Writing a short, meaningful, artistic poem is something all deep and attractive people do in order to become embarrassingly wealthy AND immortal! Plus, it’s easy. Want proof? Here is my own edgy spontaneous composition:

Roses aren’t red.
The sky isn’t blue.
The distinctions between colors are a subjective phenomenon adhering to social regulations and contextual indicators; colors, in other words, are not definite, and our perception of them relies on linguistics, cultural norms, and possibly our own personal color wheels.
This poem is so edgy, it doesn’t even rhyme.

Eat your heart out, T. S. Eliot. And speaking of crowd-pleasers who craft non-controversial hits on the fly, even you can be goaded into creating poetry, so long as you too are deep and attractive. Absolutely any poet can trick graduate students by using only the sex-advice section of the newspaper, or a page anonymously donated from your sister’s diary.

Go through the paper, circling your favorite words, either for sound, definition, the shape of the letters, or all of the above (as in the case of the word “boobs”). Then find other words to link those words together, and bam! you have a poem.

Here is an exemplary example, using this selfsame Public Service Announcement to hone a Meisterwerk that is the sum of its parts:

Noble sand bikini
Poised to prioritize quality.
Super low, a rousing,
Snipped, deep and attractive
Using only boobs.

This technique, unlike other so-called “arts” that require chunks of marble or alpaca-hair brushes or training, is canaima parakeetactually feasible. Seriously, even a pet parakeet can make this kind of poetry in the bottom of its cage. And who can judge the quality of little Fluffmugget’s creative genius?

I can. And I’ll consider it for publication, if you enclose enough incentive.


This Fool’s Gold originally appeared in the New Mexico MercuryThe KC Post, and The Durango Telegraph.

(Featured image of parakeet copyright Nicholas Laughlin/CC. Dog making a splash copyright KOMUnews/CC. Garbage collector copyright Sjoerd Lammers/CC.)


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