Let’s All Write an Event Poem!

by Paul Mathers

First, I thought this would be a form of poetic journalism. Well, actually, first I thought “Aw crap. Does this mean I have to go to an event?”

But then I read Ron Padgett’s description of the poetic form. He said that the form evolved from “Happenings” from the 1950s. One example of an event poem he showed was a nonsensical, and in fact impossible, event where naked people are eating Cheerios on top of mountains of used tires. That sort of thing.

He then muddies the waters further by suggestion how to write one. Take a noun and make a list of five of six things to do with the noun. Let them be creative and let them be nonsensical if you so choose.

So, even more frustrated, I wrote something that would land me a suspension and regimen with the district psychologist if I were still in public school. Hint to public school officials: speaking as one who did this sort of thing in the days before adults went entirely irrational over such things, more often than not the child is probably being facetious.

This is me being a bit of a smart aleck with the writing prompt. I was, frankly, a little disappointed with this one.

Event Poem

by Paul Mathers

1. Look at the waiter. The waiter is in white with an apron. White denotes purity and holiness while the blackness of his trousers is reminiscent of the void, oblivion, non-existence.

2. Give the waiter ice cream, a vial of mercury, a canary, a stone, and a sportscar. See which one he eats.

3. Take the waiter to a carnival, the lavatory of a public swimming pool, a desert, an insurance investigator’s office, a walk-in meat freezer. Note how he reacts to each of these environments.

4. Taste the waiter. Feel the chewiness of the waiter. Note the difference between his external and internal flavor.

5. Feel the waiter. Thumb his face, his cheeks, his lips, his nostrils, his eyes. What happens if you press his eyes with your thumbs harder and harder? See how much fluid comes out of the waiter.

6. Speak rhyme and nonsense words to the waiter. What sounds does he make? When does he stop making sounds? Why do you suppose he has stopped making sounds?

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