I have The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron and in one chapter, “Don’t Get Me Started,” he gives prompts for anger writing. Yeah! Get it out on paper, I say!
One of the prompts was to write a list of anger sparkers or pet peeves, then freewrite about one or more of them. I started my list and halfway down realized I’d already written a poem that included 3 of them.
A poet I admire very much, Jack Craddock, once told me this was a “Damn fine poem.” His approval meant a lot because the poem hasn’t done well in contests since. One of the judges said the speaker was too judgmental–she couldn’t stand her. While I respect her opinion — after all judging is purely subjective and I’ve learned that all reactions count, I don’t think she got it.
Can you tell me what she didn’t get?
She lords it over every gathering
As if hers is the example to uphold.
She speaks with fat words
Favors pejorative replies
And pretension lies upon her face
Ornamental and bold.
She suffers from proper etiquette fixation
A pious and unwavering thicket.
Fills her quota of one good deed per week,
For in her world,
You must rack up enough points
To score the big ticket.
I’m fascinated by her unflagging display
Her need to don the war paint,
An almost poetic dance
Along that fine line
Between hypocrite and saint.
I feel nothing but sorrow
Watching her desperate search for grace.
For she will never find it
Not as long as she looks at the world
Through the reflection of self
Through her own perfected space.
But, I once glimpsed beyond that mask
A woman in fear of crash landing.
And in that brief moment of clarity,
That maybe one person’s perspective
Is just another’s misunderstanding.
I even made a shirt with this last bit. I’d post the image here but my computer is freaking tempermental today and it won’t upload. So, go to www.cafepress.com/thewritesnark and look about three quarters down the page in the last column.