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Amazingly Bad Poetry Journal Review - Untitled

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Feb. 20th, 2012 | 11:20 am

Untitled
by Charles


I changed her mind about the ice. I held her feet;
I gave her skates.
I held her as we walked on water:
Simple figure eights.
All her balance
In my hands, her hands on my
Coat's down lining.
Strolling 'round a quartz ellipse,
Cold when hands go down mining.
We went on out
Into the vertex of the scraping sounds.
Faith in a possible ruse:
How we fly in deux formation
From the metal on our shoes.
All around's the echelon of
Fathers and their young, two patterns
These days are just a lonely lifetime
You can be my fulfill sometime.


What a lovely winter scene. It's a shame Charles had to go and ruin it by writing this poem that has all the charm of frozen snot. First of all, "Untitled"? Un-fucking-titled? Charles, are you trying to get my ulcer to quadruple in size? Clearly you are trying to do that, Charles, because you could not do the right thing by calling this poem "Skating" or "Reflections on Ice" or "Ice Ice Baby." In the interest of full disclosure, I've written "Untitled" poems before. I am equally guilty of being a pretentious douchebag who felt that his poem transcended the need for a title. "Oh, but giving a title to this poem would be like trying to give a title to the happiest, most spiritual moment of ones life." Please do not open your mouth ever again. If you are a professional poet, you can get away with "Untitled", in limited quantities. No, wait, I changed my mind. Professional poets should know better too. It's like a movie where one or more of the main characters isn't given a name. It better be a really good movie, like "Rebecca" or "The Brother from Another Planet." If this poem was a movie, it would not be a good movie.

By the time we've finished reading the first two lines, we've already given up hope. "I changed her mind about the ice. I held her feet; / I gave her skates." Now, I'm pretty sure, about 98% sure that he held her feet in order to put the skates on her feet. But the way the line is written, the way he chose to arrange the text, it seems that holding her feet was how he changed her mind about the ice. Why does he say "I held her feet" when a certain percentage of us will want to complete the line with "to the fire." As in, "I held her feet to the fire." Fire. Ice. Author possibly thinking he's cute and clever. From Cambridge's Dictionary of American Idioms via the Free Dictionary website, "hold somebody's feet to the fire - to cause someone to feel pressure or stress." Fantastic.

I believe Charles is seeking a quaint, pastoral "Charlie Brown's Christmas" tone with his poem, but he fails at setting this mood entirely because of two things. First, there is this bizarre word choice. Echelon of fathers? Quartz ellipse? Deux formation? We understand what he's saying, but why the $2 words in a nickel worth of poem? Did he get a vocabulary-word-of-the-day calendar for his birthday? "Echelon" and their ilk do not fit in this poem. They are immediately distracting and stick out like a bloody thumb in your Old Spaghetti Factory dish.

Then there's this bizarre detail: "In my hands, her hands on my / Coat's down lining. / ... Cold when hands go down mining." Mining where? For heavens sake, mining where? He's describing her cold hands, touching him ... where? Is she just holding onto him for balance? Then why describe it as "mining?" I associate the word 'mining' with the word 'under.' How much can you get away with in public and at a skating rink? Hands shouldn't "go down mining" in public, much less when there's kids present. It may very well be that this is a father writing about skating with his daughter, in which case I apologize for this paragraph. We already knew I'm headed to hell.

Bad Poetry Grade [F = your standard bad poem; A+ = worst poem imaginable]: D

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Comments {4}

Respice finem

(no subject)

from: malsperanza
date: Feb. 21st, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
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As always, a pleasure to read your review.

I do think, though, that as an opening line, "I changed her mind about the ice" is pretty damn good.

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Katherine

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from: cactus_rs
date: Feb. 21st, 2012 07:44 am (UTC)
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actually can't imagine what a quartz ellipse is. Is someone making huge geometric patterns with quartz mineral samples?

I just. What.

(Reposted because I confused "ellipse" and "ellipsis," hur durr.)

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Mistrali

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from: with_rainfall
date: Mar. 5th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
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Agreed on the opening line. It starts off all right, then it devolves into WTFery.

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Maurya Murphey

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from: Maurya Murphey
date: Apr. 5th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
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"deux formation" is obviously a pun, ughh. Then there is the last line, "You can be my fulfill sometime." God, I hope he's not talking about his daughter...

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