Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God Awful Poetry Fortnight ...


Below is my entry to Peter Griffin's Godawful Poetry Fortnight (go to the link above for more information)

There's something odd about this item, aside from being a stunning example of atrocious "poetry". If anyone succeeds in guessing what it is, I'll send them a set of my Women of the World cards. (HINT: it has nothing to do with words/content)

A CONVERSATION IN IDLENESS

A stream of iridescent soap bubbles
Spewing forth from a beer-mug
In a reflected technicolor phantasm
Of reflected light
From the brilliant solar nova
Exploding second by second
Over a writhing reeling splurge
Of corrupt homo sapiens.

Silverfish scintillating feebly,
In cool green waters
Splitting atoms with infinite precision.

A frothing cauldron of boisterous joeys.

A goblet of cynic mouth-wash
A crystalline crucible of death

Filaments of steel floating in a coalfield
Finding no night in shining armour

Flakes of purple snow
Filtering through the leaves of banana trees
Making the bananas freeze simultaneously
into fossilized fruit

A crescendo of dancing cockroaches
Pirouetting in glorious sympathy
to swelling tones

A vale of tears in a a valley of sunshine
Dripping with solid jelly
and crumbs of sandalwood cake.

Frosted heat standing rigidly at attention
Attending the melancholy mustard 
Of daily drudgery.

Galaxies of silk worms
Spinning with patient endurance
Reams of time-patterned silk
Clothing ethereal naiads
Worshipped by patent nymphomaniacs,
gasping at ecstatic visions
of pure grotesquities.

Queer musk-rats
Gnawing at decomposed humus
Rotting in the farmer's field.

Frustrating globules of fat
Glinting under a sunlamp
Enriched by infra-red rays
Discharging ultra-violet
And sodium bi-carbonate.

Mausoleums of tomes
Mouldering in vast encampments
Of all-conquering book-worms.

Floating in a bowl of incandescent whipped-cream
Eating a pink banana sitting on a blue strawberry
Looking at the bears fly by
At the velocity of light.

Star gazing on a cloudy night
Daydreaming in the wilderness
Lotus-eating on a wet pancake

Meatballs drenched in spaghetti sauce
Steeped in Marmalade

Castles of excelsior
Floating in the golden sunset
Of yet another day in the life.

-- by Manjula Padmanabhan

10 comments:

Sharanya said...

I think the "there's something odd about it" is just a way to make us read and re-read it. (I did). GAHHHH! Thanks. Thanks a lot.

marginalien said...

No, no!!!! I SAID it has nothing to do with content!

Anyway, I am impressed that you lasted long enough beyond the first reading to try again. Goodness. That shows true dedication. It's awful in a truly skin-crawling way. I am quite proud of myself. *grin*

Lavanya said...

It's got 59 lines..one for each birthday you had?

marginalien said...

Lavanya, you have made my jaw drop with amazement -- NO, not because that is the correct answer, but because you discovered something about the ... errr ... "poem" that I had never noticed.

And indeed, why would I? Because -- and this, now IS the feature that I consider to be the poem's oddity -- I wrote it when I was 15. That's an age at which few people can even begin to imagine what it might be to be so ancient as almost-60. I definitely did not write it with an age-specific line-length.

So WELL DONE, you. If you'd like to send me a terrestrial address by posting a comment here, I will send you the set of four cards mentioned in my intro. I won't post your address here (or anywhere else). It's not the right answer but hey. I make the rules here.

For those who might be interested (and especially those who are sensitive about words and who can see that this "poem" is like nails-on-glass for insensitivity to words/poetry) in the how and why of this piece: it was my effort at "automatic writing". I held a pencil in my hand and allowed it to have its way with a sheet of innocent paper. The word associations can easily be traced to White Album* imagery -- the last line is a dead giveaway. (*Beatles)

I was NOT a dreamy-eyed, soft-focus 15-year old. I detested poetry and "mushy" movies like the Sound of Music (I referred to it as the Sound of Mucus) and I thought my friends were totally fakers when it came to the gentler arts. I wanted nothing more than to run away from my boarding school and go marauding across the world. In fact, I rather hoped that I would be kidnapped and held to ransom -- but since I knew no-one would pay to get me back, my plan was to slip away from the kidnappers and THEN have an exciting adventure, running around, unsupervised and joyful.

Sadly, none of this happened. Kidnappers were a discerning lot in those days.

marginalien said...

Thank you Lavanya! Your cards will be on their way on Monday. In my enthusiasm, I POSTED YOUR COMMENT -- for just a moment -- before remembering that I wasn't going to do that ...

I'll send your "prize" by courier, so it should reach you by mid-next week.

Yes, I'm delighted too. *grin*

Lavanya said...

Hi Manjula,

I'm not sure if my email reached you (I used the id from your blogger profile). Just wanted to say thank you, the cards are lovely!

Indian Bazaars said...

hi, i've just been reading your essay 'Jellyfish' in 'The Popcorn essayists' and wanted to tell you that I absolutely loved it! - the moving back and forth of memories as 'scenes' and so many of the ideas within them, in particular, the wad of hundred rupee notes being 'not-money' but a 'prop' and the way the essay ends!

marginalien said...

Hey there, Indian Bazaars! I'm delighted to get that response to the 'wad of money moment' in Jellyfish.

You know how ... you send stuff out to the Universe? And you never quite believe it goes anywhere? And then someone posts a comment at your blog? And you hear the silent BOOM! of confirmation?

A good feeling.

Shobhana said...

Hullo, Manjula! This was truly horrible. Melancholy mustard is a good one, and I thought of the Beatles before I got to the end. Such a cauldron of mixed metaphors frothing at the brim. Keats could have learnt a bit. Send me the cards anyway?

marginalien said...

Haha, Shobhana, NICE TRY ... But no, sorry, this particular little amusement is closed (the answer has been revealed after all!). And, um, you're a bit late? I posted this item last year.

Yes, it is a supremely awful 'poem'. Kind of sets the bar high for what awfulness in poetry can sound like - meaningless, derivative and tone-deaf.

I may float another amusement some other time, so maybe if you watch this spot very closely ... I might offer another set of cards for winning. (you can also just buy them, but I guess that's not the point!)

Still and all, thanks for visiting.