National What Month?

The world would be a safer place if Sean Carroll didn’t go around telling people it was National Poetry Month. For you see, I took two semesters of Poetry Workshop (easiest course credit I ever got). I also took a couple archy and mehitabel books with me to Amsterdam one lovely spring, which I read in between researching my supersymmetric quantum mechanics paper, visiting the Van Gogh Museum and generally enjoying the sights. All of that probably sloshed together and fed into the following, which is entitled “workshop”.

the old men know when an old man dies
em dash ogden nash

hi boss i ve been away for
quite a while i know
but i haven t been wasting
my time oh no
i ve been spending every wodens day
evening at a writer s workshop

a dozen twentysomethings and i get
together and read each other s verse
while sometimes we even bring
in sonnets or odes from famous poets dead
or alive and read them to each other
so we can get better at doing
their job now that they re gone

it s really very much fun because
my fellow workshoppers write about the
most important things they know and they
do it with such a sense of levity that you
would almost think they put effort into
sounding flip and carefree

i ve learned the best tricks of
the trade colon
one always preface your own words with somebody else s
    and i m getting lots of practice at that
two if you copy a dead man s form then
    you can do everything he
    does and laugh at him too
three put your most important feelings out in the
    open because the other workshoppers are
    willing to listen

it makes me sad when i
think all this talent is going to
waste why just last week we had
poems on abortion and globalization

it makes me wish that all the
terrorists would stop eating falafel and
come over here and make children s
blood run through the leafy clogged up
gutter drains because then
maybe all the poets i ve met
will finally have a chance to
become pablo neruda

NEXT: supersymmetric quantum mechanics.

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