13 poems of mine I recommend you start with

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Summary: I write poetry randomly, even haphazardly. My poetry page reflects that, with poems of varying quality and skill being tossed up. That is fine, because it makes a good record of my poetry skill. However, it does sometimes force the reader to pick a few and just as soon as one displeases, they are not as likely to read more. I have written this list of 13 poems that have received regular praise, and tend to get bookmarked and commented on, and will share it with you, from my least favorite to my personal favorite, so you might can choose which, if any, of my poems to read.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

(13:58:52 CST)

13 poems of mine I recommend you start with

Sometimes, checking my logs, someone will stumble unto my Poetry page and they will pick two of three poems. Almost always two or three. What happens is they pick a poem towards the top, seem to like it, and then pick another and then they disappear. Looking into it, I noticed the poems that helped them to disappear are poems that I, myself, do not favor very much. I leave them up because this is not a website to sell my writings, at least not yet, this is a website to randomly chronicle the kajillion things I write down every day. For sometime now, on the order of a year or more, I have intended to write a list of "read these poems first!" For whatever reason, I am just now getting to it.

When I started the list, my original number was eight poems. There was an immediate problem, though, in the question of "how should I count the shorter poetry?" Should a five-line, ten-line, or even a fifteen-line poem take up the same space on the list as a thirty- or fifty-line poem? The thirteen was something of a compromise. There are a handful of longer poems and a handful of shorter poems. With each one, I included a short blurb about why I picked it and why you might like it (or why it would at least let you know what sort of poetry I write). For those who have read my poetry and have no real interest in rereading them right now, then I'll admit there are few surprises. I have tweaked a few (the original in most cases, but not all, included below the rewrite) but probably not quite enough to really ring your bells. Maybe, you know, if you love me, bookmark it...share it with friends and family. Use words like "great" and "heavenly" to describe it. No pressure, or anything.

Enough tomfoolery, from #13 to #1, my "13 poems of mine I recommend you start with":

  1. "Good As You Need, a Revel of Lacks". This poem is in a good need of a rewrite, but the last couple of lines are personal, sardonic favorites of mine: "So forget all your taxes, And enjoy your lapses Of dilligence to whatever god you believe. 'Cause he'll kill you, too, And death'll take his due. And that's just about as good as you need."
  2. "I Am Not Your". I am not one of those egocentric poets who goes around being terribly moved by his own work all of the time, but this poem is a good example of a personal favorite that does move me. It begins with the simple statement: "I am not your 'I love you.'" This one recently received fairly major reworking, by the way, with the original included.
  3. "Why Is a Four Letter Word. That is an amazingly dougish statement. This is one of the handful of poems written, essentially, about my father's death. It was rewritten kind of recently, to be a little more general. "Percolating coffee, Cracked linoleum, That old family photograph, false Sepia due to age and smoke and redclay... These idols breathe too, Also watch the old, tired blue sky;"
  4. "We Want". What started me on the phrase "We all want to catch as catch can," I have no idea. I still like this poem, though, because it is my most "poetry slam" poem in a while. It is best read with each little section a bit louder and more excited than the one before, up until the end, in which the passion is sort of lost in repetition.
  5. "When, in the Acre of Leaves". Written the night I read the graphic novel Blankets, this poem was me trying to invoke the sense of loss. Not a perfect poem, but has some of my personal favorite lines, including: "Who was the first loved? Who was the first given, in their hearts, to that season of ourself? That great spring, fresh and damp and filled with aromatic want, misting of redemption? Who did we first speak, breath life into, bring out of dirt? Who did we first forget? Learn to hate? Watch fall And build there, in that acre of leaves?"
  6. "8Space". One of my most well-recieved poems and now given at a couple of readings. The poem is about the transient nature of many living in Huntsville, as well as our obsession with the space program. This version fixes two mistakes I felt were in the original. "Orbitting the bars, and lost in asphalt, the cars, the highfalutin dreams, the fields of corn Slightly to the west, whatever they mean, the stars Reflecting from the hazy fog and Background lights. No one calls this home."
  7. "Inevitable". This short poem (one of my shortest, being only 42 words long) is also one of the first I actually remember writing. It would have been written circa 1992, while almost all of the rest come from at least a decade after that. "The stormy death Comes to a monumental (yet painful) end Breaks on the shore-line brings small Crustaceans to their death"
  8. "Kabuki Looks at Kabuki". Not a perfect poem, and probably busting for a rewrite, but it was one of the few poems I wrote where I immediately knew I had something to hold on to. It deals with two lonely cross-dressed kabuki actors who cannot help but see their fellow male actor as something he is not. While it does sort of deal with themes of homosexuality, it was meant to be more about the falsity of the dating scene. We both know the other is faking it, but we play along. "Knows it is not What it would seem. Can not once his love be. But loneliness is long, And love so strange and close."
  9. "Come Now". As a poor, Southern boy, I've had a bit of a fascination with the "bluesman selling his song at the crossroads" legend. While it was originally Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson is whom we normally associate with the myth now. It deals with a person who figures he has given enough, and is ready to head down and sell his soul: "I walked across nowhere, And I got nowhere fast. Excuse me while this poor boy gets mine. "
  10. "Santa Claus". With a little tweaking, this could be my number one. This deals with the Challenger explosion, and how it woke me up to realization that myths were not real and to the notion of personal sacrifice. "And if Santa bathed on the ocean floor, A smile upon his melted face—his pipe and button nose lost, just memories in the way; Maybe he remembered the gift I adored, Maybe he remembered outerspace."
  11. "Maelstroms". This short little almost nonsensical poem has the exact imagery I wanted it to have, and is one of those that feels bigger than its words, which is what I was going for. If I had to pick a short, traditional poem to brag about, it would be this one. "I asked him, 'Dad, Are they to be In paradise tonight?' 'No son, not maelstroms, Turned wrinkled and white, They go to Pluto And die in the ice.'"
  12. "Pomegranate Lips". Written while Sarah was down in Birmingham for a job and I was alone. The flavors of longing and desire came naturally and blended with the myth structure. "I still taste A hint of your pomegranate lips, The tangy bite of their sweet, the rose petal caress of their grenadine, their sculpted sigh brought forth From glass, the clay Upon them as they melt into smiles and thoughtful knowing Glances, Scattered across the shores of Lethe." This poem is the second most common reason Google searches bring people to my site according to statistics. I have no idea if they are searching for my "pomegranate lips" poem or someone elses, but there you go. I really like it, still.
  13. "What I Know". At only 40 words, this is barely a poem. With a quiet, quick rhyming scheme and almost every major Doug's standard imagery worked in, though; it stands as close as concise perfection as I am likely to ever get. I cannot even quote much of it without spoiling all of it, but the central line is the very douglishly ironic, "I hope one day...[to] say 'I just don't know' To all of this."

Si Vales, Valeo


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Written by Doug Bolden

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