Old notebooks


One of my odd side projects involve digging through stacks and stacks of old notebooks casually scribbled in over the years. Thanks to blogging, nowadays much of my scribbling involves post-it notes and magazines, but back in graduate school I tore up entire notebooks attempting to make my “higher education” writing tolerable to myself. I haven’t really written much in the way of poetry in years – it takes a certain slightly otherworldly mindset, and to accomplish what I need to accomplish at this point in my life takes some very “here and now” mentality. Since I’m giving myself a week-long break from the intense work of book proposal editing and book revision, I’m going through notebooks and transcribing. I have an eye on freeing up space, and also on generating scrap for some papermaking projects I plan to try this winter.

In the process, I found the above. It’s notes for a poem that I wrote for an Advanced Poetry class. As I recall, the poem I turned in anonymized the children (in this one I found today I gave them names) and it looks like I had grandiose ideas about making it a metaphor for celebrity. Since I don’t care about celebrity in particular, it falls flat. This also thoroughly predated the zombie craze by at least five years, so I’m delighted at my own prescience…that I did nothing with.

As I recall, this was one of the poems my classmates greeted with uncomfortable silence. It beat the hell out of the chick who read poems and sing-song and only wrote poems about roadkill and pie.

Some of the bits on the notes I found amusing/interesting:

Bones crunching on windshield
Social worker bitter (social worker bit her?)
insane monks praying at property (I’m pretty sure this has to do with reading a lot of Tom Robbins at the time)
Reporter interviews the oldest: Oldest eats his tape player and part of his foot
Whips his liver at the youngest, chokes on the bile

I wouldn’t write something like this these days – I think I’ve experienced enough real life horror to have some sympathy for myself. But I can see some comic elements in there, way before I watched any Whedon.