An Experiment Repeated (Rereading Old Notebooks and Resurrecting Forgotten Poetry)

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Last year on this very date, I decided to go through my massive collection of old notebooks and journals filled with poems I penned, find an old poem I totally forgot about, and attempt to give it a new chance at life by publishing it on this blog. This is a practice I would encourage every writer to try at least once. Though revisiting your past words might prove to be quite embarrassing, it also helps track your progress as a writer. On this first anniversary of that post, I’ve chosen to repeat that experiment, settling on an even older piece which I estimate is about 25 years old. Rereading the following has proven extremely illuminating to me, showing me how much my writing has changed (and hopefully improved). Back then I was writing strictly in free verse, not yet having developed my fanatical obsession with weird poetry forms. Also slam poetry was a definite influence on me, although I didn’t really care much for that style (I still don’t), but it seemed like during that time slam poetry was the only type of open poetry readings that were happening in my area (the line about “greater Providence” is a reference to AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island which hosted a slam poetry venue I frequented). As a result, I heard a lot of angst-filled rants and I remember this poem being an attempt to parody that type of poetry even though it probably wasn’t much better than what it was trying to satirize. Truthfully, I don’t even think this poem is all that terrible. I sort of rather enjoy the building and construction metaphor which I later recycled in what I believe was a much more successful poem. Still, like its title indicates, it probably is an example of fairly bad poetry. But I am not sure, so please let me know what you think:

In Celebration of Really Bad Poetry

There is enough venom in my veins
to poison greater Providence

(or at least make their spirits sick)
and I have bled all over this verse,

flooding the foundation with
an ocean of my insecurities.

The previous metaphor
was so poorly mixed,

the whole damn construction
is structurally unsound,

and ought to be condemned.
So unsuspecting reader,

be forewarned, do not seek shelter
in this poem so full of holes,

the similes like a leaky
ceiling drip incessantly,

disturbing this slumber
I once thought was my life.