The poem in question: Pretense
After a break of just under nine months, I am back to wow my readership with amazing commentary on amazing poetry that I, myself, wrote.
I actually began writing this commentary about ten months ago while commenting on What Lies In Wait. I mentioned my high school junior English teacher’s general cluelessness and not-liking-me-or-my-friend-Ben-ness, and was going to expound on it until I realized it would be more fitting in this commentary. Since I have gone so long without writing, some of this text has just sat, collecting metaphorical dust.
As I have noted earlier, Miss D. (why I feel it, if not necessary, at least polite, not to name names, I know not) was the bane of my academic existence at the time. She shared that honor with a class that was called “Business of Living” that was required coursework. One day in “Business of Living” the class watched “Grease.” What that has to do with the business of living, I shall likely never know, as I refused to watch the movie and instead went to the library, which is a story for another time, mostly because I like telling it.
Back to the subject at hand, I had the hardest time pleasing Miss D. with any of my poetical work. This is not to say that my work was amazing, which obviously goes without saying, but it was a sight better than the crap she held up as a shining example.
actual example of poetry held up as inspiration in Miss Decker’s class
I am like a staple
sometimes I am bent
other times I am straight
end actual example, begin mass spoon-aided seppuku
Now, I didn’t always try very hard in my English classes, as mentioned before, but I had a passion for poetry, and I worked hard on those assignments. Imagine my dismay at being told time and again, “This isn’t what I’m looking for.” Well, Miss Decker, no one knows what you are looking for, except Staple Boy. At one point I began writing down lyrics to songs by Paul Simon; I remember using “The Boxer” and “Born at the Right Time” specifically, just to see what kind of excuse she could give as to why they weren’t good.
I don’t remember her comment on “The Boxer,” but I do remember what she said about “Born at the Right Time.” I showed her these words:
Down among the reeds and rushes
A baby boy was found
His eyes as clear as centuries
His silky hair was brown
Never been lonely
Never been lied to
Never had to scuffle in fear
Nothing denied to
Born at the instant
The church bells chime
And the whole world whispering
Born at the right time
She said, “If this boy was found in the reeds and rushes, how could there be a church nearby to sound bells? I just can’t see the image. It just doesn’t work.”
I was dumbstruck. One, who said the church was nearby? Two, you’re a FREAKING RETARD, MISS D. So much for imagery. At that point, I absolutely gave up trying to please her with any serious attempt at poetry writing. If Paul Simon wasn’t good enough for her, how on earth could I hope to compete? So I went back to my desk behind my friend Ben and sat down. After some grumbling between ourselves about how stupid Miss D. was (again), I began to write. For the next 45 seconds, I wrote, and what landed on the page was Pretense. I took it up to Miss D.’s desk to show it to her. She read it, and loved it. She told me she was glad that I was finally starting to understand what poetry is all about.
To this day, apparently, I still have absolutely no idea what poetry is all about, because I have no clue what this poem is about. I wrote it, and I have no freaking idea. I took a neat-sounding word and wrote the first things that came to mind, mindlessly scribbling in an attempt to be as good as Mr. or Miss Staple. As best as I can recall, what is published on this site is entirely the original wording. Why mess with what is, for all intents and purposes, perfection?
So I keep this poem around as a reminder of stupidity that was not my own, as so much stupidity is. (My own, not not-my-own.)
Side note 1: I found out that Clark, a guy I used to work with, also had Miss D. for English a few years before I did. If you knew Clark, you’d imagine what kind of hijinks he’d pull in her class and laugh till you peed your pants and cried at the same time.
Side note 2: I mentioned in my last post that I had found the original draft of a new beginning. What I actually found was the original draft of From now on. They share something of the same theme, so apparently that’s why I was confused.