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Taking a Poetry Class in college was the easiest “A” I ever got.

Thoughhhh, at first, it wasn’t so easy. Admittedly, not everyone got A’s in my class. And I was horrible at writing poetry. I mean…HORRIBLE.

My idea of awesome poetry could probably be summed up in the poem My Beard, by Shel Silverstein:

My beard grows to my toes
I never wears no clothes,
I wraps my hair
Around my bare,
And down the road I goes.

See? Awesome!

My college professor did NOT share in my sentiment. And after weeks of trying (and failing) to make halfway decent poetry, I turned to my architecture skills to pull me out of this mess.

And all that meant was for me to look at the style of my professor and emulate it. Sucking up was usually the best way to get an “A” in an art-based class. Just saying.

So what I needed to do was create poems with words that didn’t necessarily make sense together, but made sounds that went nicely together. Add in a bit of sexual innuendo, sprinkle in a couple random paragraph indentations, and throw in either some religious imagery or pop culture, and BAM. You gots yourself a recipe for “A”-worthy poetry.

Want an example? I give you, American Sonnet #1, my first “A+” poem:

Let me tell you,
ooh, how you shoo away the Scooby-Doo spooks
that haunt my mental attic at midnight hours.
Yet your eyes dig into me like a diamond-tipped
drill, chiseling away at my chaste thoughts and planting
seeds of tangled limbs and steamy sighs.
Ooh, the shivers that shift down my spine taste like
rainbow Skittles, scattering down and shattering the
windowpanes of my suburban red-brick house nerves.
And the Tide-freshness of your chest causes me to press
my face deeper into that place between your pulsating
heart and exposed throat,
messily inhaling the heat that clings but slowly gets washed away
with every exhale, like makeup melting off in an April shower.
I don’t know what was funnier: the fact that my professor gushed at how it “transcended the conventional rules of form and became simply excellent works of art,” or that I actually started to enjoy writing these kinds of poems: it almost became a game for me to write progressively more crazy poems through the voice of an alter-ego I didn’t know I had. And my professor loved them all.

In the end, what I learned was that they shouldn’t call getting your Bachelors of Art a “B.A.”

Despite the fact that I did end up enjoying poetry class, the majority of our work was still just a colorful pile of “B.S.”

For much much more of my hipster poetry…well, you’ll have to ask. I only have the hard copy of my class portfolio gathering dust somewhere in my apartment.

A Cartoon Stuck in a Real Girl’s Body

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July 2010