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poet, technologist, cynic, father of five, child of chaos, punker, prankster, patriot, punster, leftist, latino, japanophile, audiophile, beer drinker, quiche eater, dog walker, soft talker, deep thinker, shallow sleeper, introvert, covert operative in a parallel universe.

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  •  

    extra special bitter
    hops are bitter. life is bitter. coincidence?

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    be nice

    I suppose I was a typical adolescent in that I felt acutely awkward and disenfranchised most of the time. Most of the words that flowed from my pen at that time were full of angst and negativity.

    My attitude toward life improved somewhat with age, but never to the point where I could bring myself to view any sort of authority without extreme skepticism. I muted my public attitude as a concession toward my need to make a living, but my writing continued to smoulder unabated. I remember my mother finding some poem I had written while in college, only to lament "why can't you write anything nice?"

    My haiku tend to be static observations of the world around me, therefore they can be "nice" in the sense that they are neither optimistic nor pessimistic; they just are. My longer work, however, tends toward take stock of my relationship to that world, and as such takes on a dark, cynical tone. It really doesn't start out that way, but it gets there quickly enough.

    I wrote this poem for a woman who once (and only once) called me "sweet". I started by acknowledging that I had fleeting moments of near niceness, but couldn't sustain this beyond the first line:

    I can do sweet —
    words that make you
    clench your teeth
    in a practised smile.
    I can spin nouns and verbs
    into cotton candy
    that will rot your teeth.
    but my tongue
    craves a sugar
    beyond your lips
    and will swirl
    in an orbit
    beyond your outstretched arms
    into the irresistible honey
    of your loneliness.


    What ever will I do with me?

    2 Comments:

    Blogger Cinnacism said...

    Ooh, ooh!

    I can think of half a dozen responses to this post. I can't decide which one to go with. I think I'll just tell you, it reminded me of the lyrics to "Be Sweet" by the Afghan Whigs.

    I'll leave now so someone can chime in with the expected and unoriginal, "Sweet is overrated."

    8:49 PM  
    Blogger Iris said...

    For me, writing with time constraints and the polarity of how wickedly mundane the ordinary, must-eat job can be are the things that allow me to ensure my writing *smoulders unabated*.

    That's a pretty *sweet* poem.
    -i

    9:36 PM  

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