Irrational Exuberance!

Our Yellow Woods, and a Story

May 7, 2008. Filed under haikupoem

Our Yellow Woods

I'm wounded by Robert Frost's yellow wood.
How breezily its roads were navigated.
Bruce Cockburn got it done as well.
A child of the wind, till the end of his days.
The measure of a man is the road less taken.

Much less lyrical, reality feels different.
Like Robin Hood's winning shot,
we cleanly split the arrows before us.
Following a long and true trajectory,
towards the wrong bullseye.

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Waking up I knew,
Nothing can prepare me for
The ocean I swim.

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The pulse quickened.
Eyes colored panic.
Two drops of sweat.

A road seen from above.

The Riveting Story of Will and Poetry

My history with poetry is a rather brief one. For some reason I would like to label it with the term tragic, but that is a bit unreasonable. Its tragic in the sense of a chicken crossing the road and the joke ending without a punch-line. Tragic in the sense of what usually happens happening, like it usually does. What is it that usually happens with budding poets and poetry in this day and age? Well, you can answer that, can't you? In the end, not a goddamn thing happens. Equivalent tragedies are occurring in mathematics, physics, history and the other subjects that comprise the pallet of academic education. These tragedies are passive and lethargic thing, lacking the explosive punch of a Michael Bay film, and thus mostly ignored by our tragedy-vision which works best at detecting movement.

Regardless, this history between poetry and I begins the summer before high school. I have no idea when or how it occurred, but at that point I decided I was someone who wrote poetry. Why not, ya know, I guess these things just happen sometimes. It turns out I was in a summer school type program that summer, a condition predicating acceptance to the high school I was to attend, and one of the rich and fulfilling courses I was taking was a writing course. Perhaps it was a fictional writing course, or a incalculably generic Writing course, I can't really remember, but we did have a journal that we wrote in everyday1. Seeing as I had decided I was a poet, I took that opportunity to write a poem in my journal. This would be the poem, the one that convinced me I was a deep and rapturous poet. The one that would cheer me when I recognized my inability to write a second poem, and the one that I would remember as the only poem I wrote that I actually remember2.

The theme of the poem was fireworks exploding in the sky, shining tremendously brightly, and then fading into nonethingness. This was symbolic for my life, or life in general, or perhaps of the entire damn universe. It raised questions that cannot be answered by any red pen or adolescent, and was undoubtedly the culmination of my career as a poet.

Following it, it is clear in retrospect that I was destined for relative failure for the rest of my time. This became more and more clear as high school discolored my small world, and philosophical confusion about fireworks as a metaphor for humanity was replaced with a more urgent confusion about pretty much everything (and a few additional things as well).

Inevitably the clusters of phonemes I called poems collapsed into some horrific amalgamation of self-pity and angst. I was a principled man and didn't write the pedestrian love poetry favored by some youths, instead finding solace in large and unhappy words. At some point a handful of those miserable hordes of sounds made it into some literary review at school, largely because they were desperate for any content whatsoever. Also, I think it was staffed by other individuals who specialized in long and unhappy words.

Recently, I find myself starting to string the long and unhappy words together once again. Like Zorro putting on his mask or Clark Kent donning Shaq's suit, it has a nostalgic feeling to it. I can only predict that history won't suddenly verge and prevent another iteration of the same.


  1. And by everyday, I mean I have no idea how often we wrote in it, but this seems like a reasonable and story-progressing lie.

  2. It is also the one that I think I may have thrown away at some point.