More Poetry For Poncy Millennials

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Well, guys. Sorry I’ve been so little in evidence this week. I’ve had a lot of rush to deal with at work, and some editing stuff to do as well–this blog totally took second, possibly even third, place.

I know. I suck.

In the meantime, posting a few more happy little poems about The Millennial Condition–namely, being a Millennial parent. (What’s so special about this? I don’t know. But plenty of people seem to think it is.)

We’ll be back next week with heartfelt articles and all that shit you expect. For now, CLEVER RHYMES. (Dear hipster moms of the world–I deeply look forward to you being indignant at me saying Thieves relieves stress. Long story short: I don’t KNOW what it’s supposed to do. I don’t care.)

LITTLE JIMMY

Poor little Jimmy’s come down with a cold!
Hope these antibiotics aren’t too old.

Coconut oil. His hair’s a mess.
A dab of Thieves to relieve stress.
Ginseng for focus, he likes shiny lights,
And don’t forget the multi-vites.
Fish oil in his morning tea:
We think he’s low on Omega-3.
For energy and steady will,
A timely dose of clorophyll
And carotene, for better sight–
He only takes one? That can’t be right.
Vitamin D for healthy skin,
A fistful of A to let life in.

What else could be wrong? He still looks slightly ill.
Just give him a fistful of nutritive pills.

Oh no! He’s convulsing! Somebody, please save him.
It must be something the doctor gave him.

REASONS YOU’RE A SHIT PARENT

My child says your child
Gets cookies every lunch.
My child says your child
Still drinks Hawaiian Punch.

My child says your child
Got vaxed for the flu;
My child agrees that your child
Simply won’t do.

He’s never known the luxury
Of kale chips salted light,
Or cupcakes made with free-trade flour.
How do you sleep at night?

A gender-neutral nursery
And carseats ’til they’re twelve:
Right-themed novels into which
A little mind can delve.

These are the things that make a child
As good as he can be:
A moralistic member
Of our great society.

You say love’s more important? What?
Sit down, shit mom, and can it.
Child-rearing ain’t about the child:
It’s all about saving the planet.

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Nursery Rhymes for Disaffected Millennials

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Image by the illustrious Johnny Gruelle!

Nursery Rhymes for Disaffected Millennials

Wow, guys. Sorry I missed posting Wednesday. A lot can happen in a week.

…in this case, pretty much nothing happened. But still–a lot can happen. I mean, the nuclear apocalypse could take place. The world could burn. People could die.

Anyway.

I’ve been quiet because I just haven’t had much to say lately. So sue me. But I HAVE been working on getting a fun little side project together.

Most of you won’t know this (why would you?) but I actually went to school for poetry. I was plainly expecting to marry someone wealthy, or win the lottery, or have a patron who recognized my greatness and just cut me checks each month for existing.

Or maybe I figured someday I would write an astonishingly deep book of poetry. So astonishingly, turgidly great, in fact, that it made Americans get over the fact that nobody likes poetry long enough to read my poetry.

I spent my adolescence in search of The Burning Verse. I just knew, somehow, that I had something profound to say. (Surprise! I didn’t). I spent a lot of time reading and pretending I understood T.S. Eliot. I made definitive inroads into being an adolescent who appreciated Ezra Pound.

At some point in college, while I was busy searching the Dionysian depths of my soul for elusive inflammatory writ, I had an unpleasant realization.

All the people I met who immediately identified themselves as ‘poets’–all the people, in short, chasing after the same paindrenched literary dream I had been chasing–were dicks.

There’s this thing about people who loudly proclaim profundity, you see. They don’t have much of a sense of humor. Too busy drinking pathetically and imagining the greatness of their own epitaphs. Too busy thinking about what they have to say. Now, I’m not saying all poets are like this, but some of them are, and you know at least one of them. I suspect the best ones aren’t: I might go as far as to say the good ones aren’t.

But there’s a definite stigma, no matter how undeserved, attached to poetry in this country. And it says poetry is gloomy. It says poetry is self-serving and indulgent. It says poetry has to be painful to be real.

And it says good poetry doesn’t rhyme. Good poetry isn’t metered. And for this stigma to exist, my dears, somebody has to be feeding it. Teenagers on message boards. Folks with dreadlocks in coffee shops. The Rimbaud look-alike dangling a cigarette from his lip in the back of the bar.

I happen to love metered poetry. I swoon over sonnets. I sway to sestinas. The stranger and more complicated the verse form, the more impressed I am when somebody’s mastered it. Poetry, to me, isn’t a matter of sturm und drang, it’s a matter of puzzles, and limits, and mental exercise. Can you write a strictly correct Spenserian sonnet and still say something worth saying? No? Your blank verse doesn’t impress me. Not until you can work with limits.

I’m not saying I dislike blank verse. When something is done well it’s done well, regardless of form. But I do think it’s time we moved past this idea that poetry is one thing or the other. This is a postmodern society. You can shit on a brick wall and call it poetry and someone will not only believe you, but think you’re sparklingly brilliant (especially, I note, if you’ve recently eaten glitter).

One qualification I see for good poetry pretty often is that poetry should ‘say something’. Of course it should. Any piece of writing should say something–if it doesn’t, why’re you wasting your time? I rarely see specified what, precisely, poetry should say, but the inference is clear–something world-rocking. Something deep.

I don’t know about deep. Usually, unless the word is used in tandem with ‘frying’, I don’t trust deep. I trust sensible and I trust funny. I also trust true, but that’s getting harder and harder to identify.

Why am I rambling like this? Because I’m introducing my collection of nursery rhymes for disaffected millennials.

Is it great poetry? No. Is it the expression of my generation? Not really. Will you be impressed by my understanding of human nature? Pfff.

But it’s funny. And if you’re of the millennial generation, it might be a little true. More, maybe, than you want to admit.

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it–I could make a little book, or just post ’em up on Wattpad–but I found these darling public domain kid’s book images (by the guy who created Raggedy Ann and Andy, no less–see them and a little about him here) so now I’ve got to do something with them, even if it’s just posting it here.

At any rate, welcome to my self-indulgence project. For your pain or pleasure, here’re two of my millennial nursery rhymes:

DINNER OF THE DAMNED, I

Little Meggie Makon
likes tattoos and gourmet bacon
while bearded Willie Wooten
avoids the fuck out of gluten.

Maia, Vindra and Teagan
are, as individuals, vegan
(but when they get together
they eat pretty much whatever).

Eileen will surely panic
if her cake pop ain’t organic
though her friend Bethesda Vancer
knows essential oils cure cancer.

(Neither talk to Linda Wu,
who sometimes drinks a Mountain Dew).

When they all sit down to the Holiday table
they Instagram their meals, if they are able.
They can’t eat the food, but it’s awfully thrilling
to hear how their lives are so very fulfilling.

OLD FRIENDS

Some of your high school friends are sinners.
Some of your high school friends are whores.
Some of your high school friends cook dinners,
some of them mop your high school floors.

Some of your high school friends made money.
Some of them got a law degree.
Some are comics, ironically funny;
some want to make art and live rent free.

Some are suffering crises of spirit,
some are victims, repeatedly.
Some do well, and you’re happy to hear it.
Some deserve what they got, and it fills you with glee.

But when you look at Facebook
here’s the fact you can’t ignore:
all of their children
are better behaved
than yours.

A Poem About Gun Control

At home today. Therefore, wrote poem about guns and how I feel about them. Obviously, I’m a pro-gun kind of lady. For unusual reasons.

Dear media,

bore me with guns.
Give me guns on parade,
in marching band.
Give me gun coupons, gun promos.
Two for one guns
at the supermarket,
kept in back
with the lettuce
and endives.

Give my Aunt Mabel guns,
though she’s incontinent
and wall-eyed
and mightily fond of cats.

Give guns to my parents,
so they can think of them fondly
over boxed wine
and low-calorie snack mix
when the fire burns down
and there are no more dishes to be done.

Give guns to my grandparents.
Film them complaining
about the rising cost
of bullets.

Give guns to the teenagers.
Make them wake up early on Saturday
for Firearms Ed.
Make them stress about
the gun safety portion
of their SATs. Make them groan
when it’s their turn to shoot.

Make a pile of them
in the office
on a rainy day:
“.38s Lost and Found.”

Have nobody claim them,
mixed in with sweatshirts
and bookbags
and cheap sunglasses.

Give guns to my accountant
so she can think about capping me
on April 14th
and decide, hopefully,
not to do it. I’ve been late so often
she deserves the opportunity.

Give guns to substitute teachers,
bakers, pharmacists,
golfers. People who’ll forget about them,

give them homes in dusty closets
under swim noodles
and the Christmas wreath
asleep in its plastic bag.

Choke us with guns.
Make our blood run steel
and our autumns
smell like black powder.

Do this
so that some day
a gun in the first act
means a walk home after the fair
because the sunset is lovely

and nobody gives two shits
where the gun is.