Thanks to that lovely writers' retreat that I went to, I have started to remember things about my past. It seems that my life as a "writer" did not start a few months ago when I began posting regularly on this blog. I had not thought about my other written pieces in years. They were just random blips on my radar and I had buried their existence deep in my mental library. There are some essays and published Letters to the Editor here and there. And then there are the poems...
Truth be told, I had a fling with poetry in my youth. There is a ring binder somewhere in the garage that has some really bad - really bad - poems about being emotional. Those were composed over the course of my high school years. I don't remember if I kept the composition book that I had to turn in for the poetry unit (all six long weeks of it) in Senior English. Mrs. Apple handed that back to me with a note in it that said, "get a publisher". I laughed at that. I was sure those poems were complete rot - especially the rhyming one about my tree. That was awful.
There were another four poetry-filled months in the Fall of 1987. I was at college in Worcester, MA (nobody is sure why) and I ended up doing grunt work on the student newspaper. I also ended up with a crush on the poetry editor. So I dutifully turned in poems each week for his consideration. The weeks when I had a poem published in the two-page spread of verse and art were full of romantic daydreams. The week that the poetry editor let me know what he really thought of me was followed by a page-long poem entitled "Death of a Nice Kid". Two or three of my poems ended up in the staple-bound anthology the college published every year. I don't know why. Then I went home to attend the local junior college and my affair with poetry was over.
Unlike many of my other relationships, there was no horrible, angry breakup to be burned into my memory. My affair with poetry just sort of faded away as I discovered young men from the Friendliest Cotton Pickin' Town In Texas. I definitely should have written about some of those experiences, but I must have dropped my pen when I picked up my lipstick and mascara.
Years and years went by... fast-forward to 2011.
Many of the writers I met at the retreat are poets. Several of them have published their poems. Others were inspired to give it a try. It is an art form, yes, but I personally see it as a form of discipline as well. Word economy and turn of phrase are important. I think I was a little intimidated to be around so many established and aspiring poets. But the encouragement to try has continued even now that we have all reached our respective homes. "Maybe if I just ignore them..."
Then Amy, of all people, has to step in. She wasn't even at the retreat, but here she is needing a poem. Let me say here that Amy and her family are wonderful people. There is not much in my power that I would not do for them. So when Amy needs something - even a poem - I take it very seriously.
I found out about Amy's need through a strange series of Facebook status conversations. It seems that Amy's fame as an intermittent blogger has been neglected and she let her Facebook friends know about it. One of Amy's friends then tried to placate her by saying, "No, we are all really stalking you." Amy wasn't having any of that. She pointed out that real stalkers provide the stalkee with locks of hair and poorly written poems. She said that it is a fact that stalkers are terrible poets. I asked her to prove it and she gave me this link. I'm not sure how that serves as verified research, but she seemed convinced that she needed a bad stalker poem.
This all started on Wednesday. I started thinking about it, but got distracted. Amy's husband got in a car wreck (he is okay even if the car is looking bad). My father unexpectedly came home from out of town. Life happened. But yesterday I finally managed to provide something to make Amy feel famouser (word sanctioned by the Cool and Even Famouser David Dark). I shared the poem with Amy on Facebook, but thought it best to share here also. Now that I have produced a verse, I want my new friends from the writers' retreat to know that I am trying. So here it is:
A Stalker Poem For Amy
It was probably bad form
To go skulking through your dorm
I lost track of you for years
But my Facebook peeps are dears!
[Friend Request] "Guess who?!?!"
Now you are not that hard to stalk
Because you cannot walk
You can't get very far away
At least not for today
in that car.
And it might not seem very fair
But you can't have a lock of my hair
because I'm vain.
But I'm writing you this verse
It's probably the last even as it's the first
Love you, Amy.
Thankfully, this poem did the trick. Amy commented on my Facebook page:
Yay!! A person can't really say they have achieved greatness without a decent stalker. Thank you, Carolyn. This made my day.
She then shared the poem on her on Facebook page with this preamble:
I have a stalker! I have a stalker! I want to thank all the people who liked my updates and kept me in the public eye long enough to develop this level of celebrity. I'm overwhelmed with your creepy love!
This whole episode has convinced me that I am going to need to sharpen my poetry skills. Verse is powerful. And who knows when you might need to stalk somebody to bolster their level of self worth?