Sunday, April 21, 2013

Column A, Column B

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo, last week of poetry torture.  In general, I think poetry gets a bad rap.  Either people find it too "high falutin", with nightmares of Lit Classes past or trite and corny, as if everything needs to rhyme or be written by Hallmark.

Today's prompt is inspired from Frank O'Hara's piece "Line For The Fortune Cookie."  People have different ways of celebrating the wise cookies, from not reading the slip of paper until the cookie has been eaten, to adding the words "in bed" at the end of their fortune.   I like the "new" fortunes; the lucky numbers do me no good but the "Learn Chinese" portion is fun. Even if my vocabulary consists of "dog", "milk", and "bus" I feel like I am getting more than a slightly stale, almond cookie.

For a concise history of our famous dessert, look no further than from our friends at Wikipedia.

Another thing I like to read are bumper stickers.  Old political campaigns, religious causes, school athletics, advertisements - I like them all.  I abu.., er, adorn my car with various stickers and well, it struck me today while I was running errands that they are nice and short, like fortune cookies.  I compiled new ones I saw today, with some others from the past, and tried today's prompt.  I see this as some diverse advice from our fellow drivers and citizens.

Lines on the Road - Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

Jesus Loves You
Support Local Strip Clubs
I'm a Friend of Bill W.
Procrastino Ergo Sum
Heavily Armed, Easily Pissed
I have the body of a god - Buddha
Save the Earth
got jesus?
got milk?
Bad Decisions Make Good Stories
Obama '08
Pray for Our Troops
Don't Believe Everything You Think
Built Fjord Tough
Somewhere in Kenya a Village is Missing their Idiot
Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing their Idiot

Lines For The Fortune Cookies - Frank O'Hara

I think you're wonderful and so does everyone else.
Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you--even bigger.
You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.
You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.
You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.
In the beginning there was YOU--there will always be YOU, I guess.
You will write a great play and it will run for three performances.
Please phone The Village Voice immediately: they want to interview you.
Roger L. Stevens and Kermit Bloomgarden have their eyes on you.
Relax a little; one of your most celebrated nervous tics will be your undoing.
Your first volume of poetry will be published as soon as you finish it.
You may be a hit uptown, but downtown you're legendary!
Your walk has a musical quality which will bring you fame and fortune.
You will eat cake.
Who do you think you are, anyway? Jo Van Fleet?
You think your life is like Pirandello, but it's really like O'Neill.
A few dance lessons with James Waring and who knows? Maybe something will happen.
That's not a run in your stocking, it's a hand on your leg.
I realize you've lived in France, but that doesn't mean you know EVERYTHING!
You should wear white more often--it becomes you.
The next person to speak to you will have a very intriguing proposal to make.
A lot of people in this room wish they were you.
Have you been to Mike Goldberg's show? Al Leslie's? Lee Krasner's?
At times, your disinterestedness may seem insincere, to strangers.
Now that the election's over, what are you going to do with yourself?
You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.
You eat meat. Why do you eat meat?
Beyond the horizon there is a vale of gloom.
You too could be Premier of France, if only ... if only...


  1. I'm not 100% sure, but I think your bumper sticker poem qualifies as a Cento. I'm being too lazy to look it up. But when you take a line from different poems/poets and make a new poem out of it, you gotcherselfapome. They take on a different meaning when their presented like this.

    I think poetry could be a lot more accessible to people if there was more context provided. And like I said before, better marketing. And just take it out of the classroom and make it more fun. (I'm tired and rambling -- can you tell?) Nite-nite.

  2. Heh, glad it is called _something_ ;)

    Yours was much better than mine today. I was going to write something devoted to my PMSing 13 y.o. and make it sweet and poignant (I keep reminding her she's gone in 5 years) but I am tired.