March Monthly Poetry Group

Tonight, at the monthly poetry group we drew two scraps of paper from two plastic bags. Each scrap had a line from a poem typed on it– from one bag we had a line we had to use to begin a poem, and from the other bag we had a line to use somewhere within the poem as long as it wasn’t within the last three lines. At first I didn’t like what I created, but it has been growing on me. I think I’ll tuck it away for a week and work on a revision. Here’s first draft:

-No Title as of yet–

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
the way slice bread is famous,
the way a tire iron is famous,
the way a paper clip is famous—
not the way that lands Brad Pitt in People,
not the way that lands OJ a book deal,
not the way that makes Sharon Tate famous.

I want to be famous, like Wonder Woman,
a normal woman until she spins
into a skimpy American flag outfit
using a lasso to get the truth,
bracelets to stop bullets,
but at the end of the day she takes off her glasses
to rest her head on a pillow in her middle class home.

I want to be famous like the locations of fieldtrips;
then add up all the zoos and aquariums–
add all the pitter-patters of feet,
the “no you can’t feed the ape,”
“no you can’t feed the elephant,”
“no you can’t feed any of the animals.”

I want to be famous,
like the columns of the Lincoln Memorial,
which you walk through to see Abe.
~ Dustin Brookshire, 3/15/07

First line, “I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous…” is from Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Famous.” The second line I drew was “then add up all the zoos and aquariums,” which is from Billy Collins’s “Insomnia.”

We’ve been going strong for about six months; it has been exciting. We might have something special going on for National Poetry Month, which is next month!

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8 responses to “March Monthly Poetry Group

  1. DBROO2!!!!
    Hey Baby!!!
    Just wanted to drop a line, finally hit your page and wanted to say Hi…

    In regards to your untitled poem… you are famous my dear… in so many ways!!! after all, you ARE DBROO2!!!

    Smooches!
    Jeani

  2. Jeani… it has been forever. We need to meet up for a drink some time!

    Montgomery…. yeah, I thought it was as well. Everyone enjoyed it, which made me feel good since I lead the workshop and selected all the lines.

  3. Typo, I think: “the way slice bread is famous”. Should be ‘sliced’, no?

    I like it but I don’t. I like the idea and the topics, but I think there is something missing to really draw in the reader. It’s a difficult thing though, to writing using another’s lines, and I think it turned out really well. And I like the idea of this exercise.

  4. I agree with Sibille. It’s a little too repetitive, too static. I’m also not sure why you end with the Lincoln Memorial. It seems like the poem just stops. Is Lincoln any more famous that Wonder Woman? Not in some places of the world. Adding the Collins line also fractures the piece, because you have to go into another train of thought. Great exercise, but I think using one line of another poem as you starting point works better.

    My two cents.

  5. Sibille, Yeah– I caught the type-o, was just posting the first draft as it was written. I agree that something is missing– in time it will come.

    Collin– thanks for the two cents. You know I like input!

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