It’s the end of day 12 for this year’s Poetry Month, and my personal recording challenge. The way my schedule is this weekend, I think I’ll just be really quick with the postings. More poetry, less commentary at least until Monday. Yeah, we’ll see how well I do with that commitment. In any case, it’s quite likely that we’ll slip past midnight by the time I am done editing and hit that publish button.
Since we didn’t do any recording at our local poetry gathering last night (Poetry Under the Paintings), and since Jody, the owner of the art Gallery where we meet (Faustina’s in Lewisburg, PA) requested it, I recorded this poem for tonight’s reading on the Dad Poet. It was written actually back in 1996 or 1997 for a workshop lead by the wonderful Penelope Austin, whom I will write more about this coming week. At that time she was professor at Lycoming College in Williamsport, and hosted poetry slams the first Monday of every month at a local bar. On the Mondays in between a group of us joined her workshop.
The idea for this piece was a was a spin off of Ezra Pound’s injunction to “Make it new.” We were to take a cliché and give it new life. That was all the instruction we were given, so I got to thinking about how people say the silliest things, like, “You literally drive me up a wall.” Yes, I’ve heard people say that. It’s supposed to be a figurative idea, someone who makes you so crazy that it is as if you are being driven up a wall, right? But I have heard people add that word “literally,” so I decided to explore what that would literally be like.
You slam the door against my protests
as the automatic seat belt cruises down its track,
humming toward me, clicking into place.
Faster than my frantic thoughts you dive
behind the wheel. “Oh no, you don’t!”
I shout, scratching for the handle. I know
what’s coming; we’ve done this before.
But the locks are controlled on your side (I never liked
that feature). I beat my fist against
the window. The window—yes! No.
It’s jammed; your fingers on the buttons.
I slump back and hurl an exasperated glance.
You take it as your cue, smile and sink your shoe
down to the pedal. The world is jettisoned
behind us, an implosion of moving color,
swirling sound. Our living room blows by,
a cartoon blur. Coffee table, lamp and TV
stretch behind, disappearing with a snap.
Your favorite farmyard scene in gold leaf frame
accelerates to meet us. Whirling wheat
and blue-brushed sky expand and fill the windshield.
For once I fear we’ll burst the old
brown barn, and I press my hands
to the dashboard—their accustomed place—
bracing my body as the scream begins.
Then the jolt, that sudden nauseating lurch
as the car tilts back (I’ll never get used to it),
and rubber tires grip on flowered wallpaper.
You drive me up the wall, swift,
swallowed by black bucket seats.
That crack in the ceiling (where I have yet
to patch the plaster) swoops toward us like a hawk,
and I imagine, ever hopeful, that we’ll just slip
through this time, blast past
our cluttered attic to a new reality
above the quiet tree tops of our town. But
the thought cuts short in a crescendo
of wrenching metal and splintering beams
of wood and light, accentuated by the clatter
of a spinning hubcap on the hard-wood floor.
–by David J. Bauman, The Dad Poet
- Day 11 – DaPoRecMo: “The Way It Is,” by William Stafford (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- So,…NaPoWriMo: let’s discuss! (gypsywordsandwhims.wordpress.com)
- David Reads a Found Poem (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- NaPoWriMo Challenge: Day 12 (dolunaylaben.wordpress.com)
- David Reads from April’s Poetry Magazine, Part 2 (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- David Reads from April’s Poetry Magazine, Part 1 (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- NaPoWriMo 2013 – Day 12 – Under Dark Night Skies. (wordyrappinghood.wordpress.com)