March 20, 2007

Introducing: Doggerel Poetry!

Miss Jenny Ruth Crawford called me at work yesterday & asked what helicopters are doing when you see them flying around. There are many new things to me, living in a quasi-densely populated area like the East Bay. When you see a helicopter, what is it doing? Who's in it? What are they doing? Where do they come from & where are they going? For that matter, how the hell do they work?

If you've ever read the poetry I publish here, you'll notice I am a sucker for difficult themes, & I fall easy victim to the high-art Modernist pretensions of the 20th Century, that many current poets are desperate to move beyond. Of course, many of the poets that the ivory towers dote upon were beloved by a large population - as someone somewhere recently pointed out, Tennyson's birthday was celebrated by the whole country when he was alive. I remember Philip Glass mentioning that Verdi's operas sold out, a bit defensively when he was speaking about how he (Philip Glass) sometimes plays to packed audiences, defensively because of a prevailing 20th Century Academic Zeitgeist that good art can only appeal to a small educated crowd. I guess the lesson I've learned from trying to gage the relation between popularity & its 'esteem' (for lack of a better word... but I mean 'greatness as perceived by a bunch of people who know greatness') is that it's often coincidental, or largely dependent on marketing. Blake's prophecies & Moby-Dick had to wait for upwards of a century before emerging from obscurity. Of course, they're difficult texts for any average reader. But so are things like Wordsworth's Prelude or "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", but those were soon devoured by huge masses & remain favorites.

That paragraph was tangential. I just wanted to inaugurate some Doggerel Poetry on this weblog, to compliment the tougher stuff. Didn't, in happier times, there used to be doggerel poets at the corner pub, the doggerel poet just one of a usual cast of characters one knew in the community. Those were the days before cars ripped up our society, but now we write doggerel poetry on the internet. And it gets e-mail-forwarded from California to your friends working desk jobs in Chicago. (Click on the little mail button at the bottom of this post.) And hip-hop now fills part of that human need. But what about drunk old white guys? Doesn't anyone want to contribute some doggerel poetry to James? Sam? Sarah? How about:

What are helicopters doing when they fly above?
Is it for money or is it for love?
Do you need a reason or do you just go?
Won't you take me for a ride up above San Francisco?

Would a helicopter swarm cause the people to alarm?
Is your fuel from Saudi or is it from a corn farm?
If I used one to commute, would I get to work early?
Won't you take me for a ride up above Berkeley?

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