What rhymes with “poetry”?

April is National Poetry Month.

Back in the day (high school and college), I fancied myself a poet. Reading most of my work today, I wonder what I was thinking. But hey, creativity is still creativity, no matter how mediocre, no? (And believe me, most of those poems were mediocre at best.)

I’m not one of those people who go out of their way to read poetry, or attend poetry readings, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at either situation. If I had to pick a favorite poet, it would be Kenneth Koch. Saw him read at Queens College (the jewel of the CUNY system) during my sophomore year and he was charming, laid-back and hilarious. And his poetry, although some of it a bit long, is chock full of vivid images, straight-shooting revelations, and clever use of the written word.

My favorite work of Koch’s is The Magic of Numbers. As an assignment in a Poetry class in college my junior year, we were asked to write a poem inspired by a favorite poet, and I used Koch’s work to come up with this, one of the few poems I’ve written that I can actually look back on and say I still like. Will you agree? Beats me….(And yes, the spaces in some of the lines are done on purpose. I’m an artist, dammit.)

The Folly of Numbers 
Some think numbers
To be magic
Wondrous
But in this world
Of romance
Relationships
Sex            breasts
And colors
The only number
That counts is
Two

I know
I am twentytwo
And you are twentyone
And we could play
Twentyquestions all night
Without a word            or words
But you and he
Are the two
And I am the three
The third
The triskaidekaphobiac
The outside
Voyeur            looking in
At pink pumpkins
And red legs
Masked all year round
By magic            when
Folly is the
Actual norm

P.S. Continuing with National Poetry Month, make sure to check out this awesome site of poetic genius: Godzilla Haiku. Do it now, or The Big G will step on you. Darn, should have done that in haiku form….

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Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm  Comments (7)  
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