Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 29 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2015


Day Twenty-Nine. Looking online for something to say about the number 29, I found these interesting facts: According to USA Today, 29% of married couples share a toothbrush. It would take 29 million years for a car traveling 100 miles per hour to reach the nearest star. And April 29 — today — is International Dance Day!

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "write a poem in the form of a review. You can review either animate or inanimate things, real places or imaginary places. You can write in the style of an online review (think Yelp) or something more formal that you might find in a newspaper or magazine. (I imagine that bad reviews of past boyfriends/girlfriends might be an easy way to get into this prompt, though really, you can 'review' anything in your poem, from summer reading lists for third graders to the idea of the fourth dimension)."

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "write a what nobody knows poem. It’s easy to write a poem about what everybody already knows, though it may be difficult to write an interesting poem about such things. Still, use today’s prompt to explore things people may not know — secret stories, locations, and so on."

Since Kathy and I live 1000 miles apart, I occasionally take a selfie to show her my look for the day. This afternoon's selfie was from the side and in it I found something to write about.
I hope I've been successful today in combining the "official" prompts for a review and the topic what nobody knows.

My Father Reviews My Hair Style

                        —a hay(na)ku sonnet

What
nobody knows
looking straight on

is
I’ve got
a baby ponytail

today,
bantam swashbuckle
serpentine of black,

saying
how iconoclastic —
rebellious! — I am.

Papa, long dead,
shakes his head.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Here's Alan's segue into his poem. "Today, I attempt to blend the Thorson prompt of a review with the Brewer prompt of what nobody knows. I spend a great deal of time writing about literature, of course, but I also write about music — I co-edited with Roxanne Harde a collection of essays about country music, Walking the Line: Country Music Lyricists and American Culture — so I was at one time drawing some distinctions between AM pop and contemporary music. I sort of put myself to the challenge of getting copies of some of the most sickening pop of the era, and I discovered this album on one of the online retailers. The problem was that it was listed by the wrong title. If you get a copy of the CD, the title on the spine is ’70s Party Classics, but the title on the cover is ’70s Party Classics with the word Killers written over the last word of the title. That made finding the album a bit more complicated."

’70s Party Classics

You may not realize it, but the spine
on this CD is full of lies — it’s meant
to drive adults away though treacly hits
they might remember from the seventies,
when AM pop began to eat itself.
I swear a deli down in Knoxville played
this disc to drive its customers to gulp
food down and clear the seats for turnaround.
I will not mention songs — this festered nest
of earworms almost breaks a man like me,
who built his tolerance bits at a time,
but I will name the culprits: Dawn, Clint Holmes,
Bo Donaldson, Dan Hill, and Paper Lace.
If Terry Jacks were on this disc,
the ATF would confiscate it, but
Paul Anka’s here, the Captain & Tennille, and Rupert Holmes
(no relative to Clint that I can tell),
Sammy Davis, Jr., Morris Albert,
the Starland Vocal Band, a dirty joke
sung straight by someone named MacGregor — how
I wound up with this disc I cannot say.
I’m shamed to see my surname shared
with two offenders on this ugly thing.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Alan tells us, "As indicated in the poem, the worst of the '70s earworms, 'Seasons in the Sun,' is not on the CD, but this one disc is a useful tool to create a noxious pop mix to clear rooms, void appetites, and extinguish all romance in any group. It's the saltpeter of albums, I assure you. If you are so unfortunate as to have a frat house next door to you, get some amps, some mighty speakers, and let loose."

Alan also says, "There's a trick in this poem. I made the two worst songs not fit in the rest — the line that mentions Sammy Davis, Jr., and Morris Albert is trochaic instead of iambic."

If you're not familiar with poetic meter, what Alan means is this: the poem is made up mainly of iambs (dah-DUM). So the preceding line — "no relative to Clint that I can tell" — has an iambic pattern (i.e., made up of iambs): "no REL- | a-TIVE | to CLINT | that I | can TELL" . This iambic pattern is predominantly used throughout the poem.

But the line about the worst songs and singers on the CD — "Sammy Davis, Jr., Morris Albert" — uses not iambs but rather trochees (DUM-dah): SAM-my | DAV-is | JUN-ior | MOR-ris | AL-bert | (a trochaic pattern). So essentially that line is upside-down from the rest, if you will, calling attention to itself by its opposite rhythm, and thus calling attention to the worst singers. Clever, huh?

Thanks so much, Alan. Very entertaining poem, especially that bit of metric magic. Friends, here's the cover of this invaluable CD, showing the title "full of lies."
Hang on to that one, Alan. If it becomes a collector's item, you could retire in comfort! At present, though, you can buy it from Amazon for $1.46.

Incidentally, Alan, one of the unforgettable earworms on this CD, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)," by your "cousin" Rupert Holmes, hit number 1 in the 1979 Billboard Hot 100. Bet he made a pretty penny with that song and still gets royalties every time it's played on the radio. Maybe Rupert's the one retiring in comfort.

Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2015 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


1 comment:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

Please excuse the shameless plug for the book, but I have to make a shoutout to Roxanne Harde, who has been a first-rate co-editor; without her, I think the project would still be in development, and I am grateful for her.

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