How To Write A Free Verse Poem, Part 1 (Draft 1)

How to Spawn Poetry Like Deviled Eggs With Caviar

    Writing poetry is impossible if you want to be stylish with ambiguity or vagueness. True poetry does not flow out from pen or sword or computer. It is a thing that escapes on the backs of creatures who run wild or sleep on a couch, but is it encapsulated like a virus.
    No, there is a poetic skin on its matrix of thought that is entangled in emotion, and sometimes the creature is injured and bleeds. It growls and purrs but often bleats from the woolly heart of chaos, bleats on the cold beachhead at dawn, setting patterns in the crystalline sands of time. Mello, it retreats to the meadow, becomes a lamb. Is there a shepherd or a wolf about, or is it a wolf?
    Behold the blurted poem — record it. But if you must write in blood, write in ketchup, because it tastes better and bleeding out tends to stop a poem. Remember, in greasing the way, French fries are deep fried, shallots are shallow. We mostly have onions.
    Yes, poetry is impossible. Poetry exudes from the pores like sweat and oil. It stains the fabric of exhibition. So then some items to consider:

1. Don’t read too much recommended poetry. Poetic poisoning can seize you eruditely, taking you, clouded in pristine smoke, to a land of oxymoronic sweet stench, an un-pop literature den of denizens pontificating with lit cigar wands waving towards an unholy upper atmosphere, a heavenly hell with cirrus puffs, those feathery clouds with dandruff flakes.

2. Write from the middle. When you start to write a poem, you’re in the middle of something. You’re going to have to write an introduction so somebody will know why rambling through a forest of ideas doesn’t make birds fall out of the trees from boredom or from being frightened by a crazy person invading their territory. So, when you start a poem from a notion, it’s likely that it’s going to wind up being a pitch in the middle of a game — you’re going to need a new beginning and a new end. By the way, as I started to imply, nature poems usually don’t work out. When I’m tempted to try that stale genre I get my ideas from the horse’s mouth or in this case, from a little bird. [Idiom alert: “from the horse’s mouth,” and “a little bird told me”].

Avian Translation

I’ve always wanted to speak
to the smaller birds, so
I’ve done a lot of weird whistling

Sometimes a little birdie cocks her head
and tries to see if I’m a threat or a bird benevolent,
but I’m neither a mate nor predator, just
a conversationalist

So I whistle something which means
“give tomatoes to Owls, like Caesar.”

And she says, “Huh, what? And
for a Human you don’t look so bad
even though you have no feathers.
Why is it that you can’t fly?
It’s so easy.”

And I said, “Why is it that
you can’t speak and write novels.”

“Well, then,” it said, “have you written one lately?”

And I said, “Um, no…”

And it said in a way that I think it meant kindly that
I was a birdbrain.

3.     So you have a great idea or theme and you’ve written a line. Now you think the next (or alternate line) must rhyme. Sometimes none of the rhyming words make sense with your theme, and all the synonyms you might try to substitute for the first line don’t really express what you want to say. Despair?
    Oh, to rhyme is divine, sometimes, if you can keep your original thought, or re-do the whole poem to match the new theme that’s been implied by your quirky synonym choice. I mean, you have a poem about a “pest” and it could be about a guest or an insect or both, but you definitely didn’t intend it to take place in Budapest, or on top of Mount Everest, and a cockroach doesn’t have a “breast.” So you have to decide whether to stay true to your original idea or go with Kafka, or go with God, or go to an inquest for a dead metaphor, or don’t rhyme.

4. Yes, you do have to edit. Put it aside and try to forget about it. Come back using your best method acting skills and pretend you’re another person. This other person should be able to read and understand the poem. If the meaning is obscure, you have a problem. Perhaps you can add an explanatory phrase, or add a dramatic interlude. If you fade back into yourself, you might find yourself saying, “What was I thinking?” Maybe you can answer yourself or look for your scrap notes.

5. Make scrap notes.

6. Develop the proper attitude. I sometimes do OK, but

    I Hate Poetry

I claw through words
growling to rip the meat,
add a soupçon to
a consommé, but
don’t make me
eat my soup in the woods

Like a bear
I hate poetry, because
it’s senseless to be dense
letting forest rangers throw
huh words in a campfire.

What would I want with dense description:
it makes my soup too thick, and
if I burn my tongue,
emotions will be hot
without corn indigestible.

Don’t make me
eat in the woods. My
kingdom for a kitchen table.

Can I just have my
Parmesan cheese, nutty and fine,
not looking for
patterns
in the wallpaper, equations for space travel,
’cause I can stare beyond the stars
some other time
after I’ve had
my soup with a spoon that need not be silver like the moon,
a simple spoon, only

large enough not to stew me,
not vaporize ineffables like vegetables
7. You may find it odd that you’re struggling to write a poem when everyone else is doing it easily. After all, a herd of sheep can arrange themselves in the form of a poem, and any boy can guard them from the wolves of criticism. You have probably been taught the Aesop fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Actually, something over the years has been lost in translation. It originally was called, “The Boy Who Cried Run-on Sentence.” Well, not every very long sentence, embellished with care, is improper, and such a complex sentence, running naked through the streets like Archimedes, can be used to trigger thoughts for a poem. A main clause just needs a subject and a verb. Dependent clauses run wild. Put them together. It’s not always true that sentences are runaways. These sentences, gracefully elaborated, embellished with the sounds of glorious triumph, with cacophonous instruments of drunken loquacious musicians strung out on their heart strings, like birds and cats who are mine, playing around with joyful noise, making every trill a wave to glory, oceanic, are not runaways, being ensconced in dreams, and pray tell, if I may continue, the words of the angels are infinite and concise like love that sings forever charming and as elaborate as is a sentence to joy, many times re-phrased, re-claused like a Santa Clause whose mythology endures way beyond his run away sleigh, bells of grace reverberating with every sentence pronounced by judges and supplicants gracefully joined in symphony, in sympathy, in empathy, and joined on every path to any pathy even daffy, because the complex can be simply wonderful like you all who indulge the marathon run into oblivion with a billion words and who pause to hear my running word.

Sentences

Sentences, gracefully elaborated, embellished
with the sounds of glorious triumph, with
cacophonous instruments of
drunken loquacious musicians
strung out on their heart strings,

like birds and cats who are mine,
playing around with joyful noise,
gracefully making every trill
a wave to glory, oceanic, are not runaways,
being ensconced in dreams, and
pray tell, if I may continue,

the words of the angels are infinite and
concise like love that sings forever charming
as elaborate as is a sentence to joy,
many times re-phrased, re-claused like a
Santa Clause whose mythology endures
way beyond his run away sleigh,
bells of grace reverberating with every sentence
pronounced by judges and supplicants
gracefully joined in symphony, in sympathy, in empathy,
joined on every path to any pathy even daffy, because
the complex can be simply wonderful like
you all who indulge the marathon run
into oblivion with a billion words and
who pause to hear my running word.

May I write a poem that is like a story or fable?

8.    NO!

    It’s like the children’s game, “Mother, May I,” and you need to get permission from Big Brother or Sister, a Union Leader, the Main Stream Media or Academia, or permission from a proper Party Leader or Intelligence Service like in George Orwell’s “1984” in order to express an unapproved opinion, and even with permission, you’ll probably be erased.

    However, just because everyone is playing a children’s game, that doesn’t mean you have to. Besides, in colloquial English, most people don’t distinguish between “may” and “can.” Anyway, if you are physically able, go ahead and write a “narrative poem.” However, you don’t have to model it after the “Iliad and the Odyssey,” unless you’re writing in Greek. It’s not traditional but you can do it in free verse until it’s squashed or shadow banned.

    Consequently, a fable milieu can be attempted while trying to be a witness to truth.  Sarcasm and satire are handy tools to use while you’re searching for an alternate witness protection program where you can get a new identity. You would need plausible deniability to write something like this:

The Depravity of a Union Teacher

Depravity
would be seen
as unforeseen
consequences:
a union of travesty
gravity
and dirt

The botanist had had a child in school.
Had sad time off; there’d be time too
for the funeral soon. There would be

blood in the kitchen, a kind of
spilled wine in the garden for
teachers of the vineyard who demanded
more whine privilege than little
giggling girls like her Randi
used to be, but the Union

had demanded masked smiles until doom,
more rules for tiny children in a classroom.

The botanist had
more time off from work for the funeral.

Walking in a hellish haze
the botanist felt nauseous
along the way from the smell
of her daughter’s favorite flowers

far afield she wandered
drifting in a fog, in a
random eternal pattern
to reach the ceremony
of the grave; had a thought
(Randi’s vision
made her cry)

She was startled by a reporter. Blurted:
“yes, I am certain that
the teacher is an idiot.

“You want to know? You know…
My little Randi darling flower spirit
was precocious ‘once upon a time’
before a teacher tore her petals off”

This Mom was a little nauseous
smelling her daughter’s favorite flowers
as she walked in a daze remembering

far afield she wandered in a trance
yet jolted by the voice persisting;
replied:

“Yes, I’m sure
it was suicide.
You want to know? You know…
my child vomited in her mask,
and the teacher wouldn’t… (you know)
she came home; said school was fine —
the usual kid denial, and the
counselor said don’t worry

“Yes, you know the story —
report it.”

Far afield she wandered in a trance
yet jolted by the voice persisting; replied
“the nurse said it was nothing”

she smelled the flowers

The reporter fell backwards
when she vomited on him, and
she enabled his fall over
the unmasked cliff
with prejudice.

Startled, she turned around to
walk home, so as to smell
the corpse flower, and to
join her daughter with a plunge of
a kitchen knife into her own heart.

Actually, as poetry, if you examine it, you’ll find some partial internal rhymes such as here:

Walking in a hellish haze
the botanist felt nauseous
along the way from the smell
of her daughter’s favorite flowers

and the “el” sound in “felt” and “smell.” Also, if you read it out loud, you’ll hear some rhythm patterns.

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