#129: Recipe for Disaster


Ocean of sky today, blue, clear,
and a monkey siphoned all the gas
from our car, gasoline fumes wafting,
the drip, drip, drip evidence on concrete,
crows soaring above the trees, I taste
the toothpaste still from half an hour
before, and rub an itch on my scalp,
an itch that smells like gasoline.
Rex Putnam, here I come, on bicycle,
not because of a monkey, no.
I listened to The Monkees as a child;
still do. I’ve never seen the word
scoodly-poop in a poem.  Perhaps
it’s not really a word, even though
I’ve heard it spoken by people who
know words. Someone speaks,
inevitably someone else listens.
For crying in a bucket, my mother always
used to say, the blue voice of absence,
the black crow calls for peace in our time.
On my way home today I will rob a bank.
It’s time Jammin’ Jarmer robbed a bank
and he will not, I predict, serve any time.
I have become a warbling bicyclist and I have
discovered this essential truth: Cops love
calamari.  N’est pas?  And calamari
is equally enamored of the smooth
sailing down into the gullet of law,
and order too. Sky blue ocean sky,
crows soar, gasoline, toothpaste.



Note:  Here is the recipe I followed to write the poem above:

1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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