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Saturday, April 15, 2017

RENOUNCE / anatomy of a bad poem


There is a sweetness in your eyes

that makes me want to give up gambling and yoga

Remembering the sweetness of your eyes

I practice self-defense against tortoises,

am immune from the charms of Andalusian seductresses

I could give up salt and lime

Remembering the sweetness of your eyes

I could give up smoldering Andalusian eyes

the sweetness of kisses from Andalusian lips and tongue


A bad poem has to begin with a very bad line. In this case, I began with "There is a sweetness in your eyes."  It just sounds kind of odd and sentimental.  Then I needed to have a non sequitur.  It seemed too easy to say that the speaker of the poem would give up honey, so I thought of gambling.  But then I thought of yoga too, I'm not sure why. Self-defense against tortoises seemed like a logical "surrealist" image to put in at that point. Then the scene changes to Andalusia. Now, instead of the beloved's eyes, the speaker is fantasizing about the women of Southern Spain:  the images of things he or she might renounce are more vividly imagined than the sentimental image of the "sweetness of your eyes."  At this point I thought of the title "RENOUNCE."  The repetition of the words "sweetness" and "Andalusian" seems poetic, but not in a good way.

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