Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Avoiding the Finley Stick

When somebody has wisdom in a topic that is of interest to you, if you are anything like me, you try to tap every last ounce of it, down to the marrow.

But then there is always certain variables attached, right?

Variables like disagreeing, perception, lack of clarity.......

If there is one thing I have learned from Finley, just one thing....

It would have to be that if I want to be a good poet, I have to keep boiling excess off my poems.

Bad poets use too many words -

Bad poets get in the way of their message -

Bad poets don't understand the value in simplicity -

Bad poets roll in their emotional paint -

Anytime, everytime I try to get artsy with a poem, it's like Finley will stare at it (or any poets work that infuses extra drama for that matter) and shake his head while reminding me to "Cut the fat off and use words that people use in everyday conversation."

I gotta tell ya a secret, but you can't tell Mike, because if he finds out....he'll hunt me down and "WHACK" me with a tree brach, but sometimes I like words twisted together that don't make "Nut's and Bolt's" sense, but somehow evoke a mood.

A couple days ago I read a poem by Carl Sandburg that I don't understand. I really can't even decipher the jist, but somehow it makes me feel good and I don't know why.

Is this one of those zodiac deals?

Anyways, I'll share the poem with you, and if Finley ends up reading this posting, i would be interested in his opinion of 2 things.

#1 - what on Earth was Sandburg talking about here?

#2 - how would Finley have approached this piece?

Remember, as much as I worship Sandburg, he wasn't 1/2 the rebel poet Finley is.

My People

Carl Sandburg

MY people are gray,
Pigeon gray, dawn gray, storm gray.
I call them beautiful,
And I wonder where they are going.


  1. I don't know what he's talking about! It seems like a cocktail napkin poem, or the thing you write on your bedstand after waking up from a crazy dream. Or maybe 0one other person really gets it, and their little joke is knowing what it really means.

    I don't even know the pt of view of this poem. Is he making fun of the speaker? Is he the speaker?

    But back to yr post ... I write moody phrases sometimes. You can't NOT because you are trying to please your ear as well as the rest of your mind.

    But you know, a year later, I don't love those moods any more, they make me roll my eyes, and I sense the opportunity that was lost so I could have a nice roll in the paint.

    You know what it is? Nobody WANTS you to be amazing with words ... they want the goods, the real stuff, the punchline, the gas.

    But, I'm an ass, so who can say.

    Maybe you should just wrestle with this choice the rest of your life. Half of what comes out should be pretty good!

    1. Yes, interesting point...the rear view mirror that is. Often times when I run across things that i have written in the past....I burn them before people can laugh at me.

    2. Sometimes I look back over my shoulder, expecting to see the villagers with torches, drawing closer ... they're never there.

  2. Oh, I forgot the catch 22 -- you can also boil a poem down so much it becomes goop.

    Better to think of it as a variety of prose -- it should be able to breathe.

    Boil too much and it becomes so short it is obscure for a different reason!