Today I get to play with random song titles. The prompt, from NaPoWriMo again: "take any random song play list (from your iPod, CO player, favorite radio station, Pandora or Spotify , etc.) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem."
Titles and artists/versions of said songs are below. If there ever is a below! I just have to say how much I'm enjoying writing these blurt poems directly onto the screen. It's not something I could have done before finally accepting Paul E. Nelson's fierce urging of the process during the writing of August postcard poems. It's incredibly liberating not to be obsessing over every word, scribbling out, etc., on the written page. Sure, I do an edit before I post, and sometimes after, thanks to readers who send me queries or suggestions on how a line might be improved, (You know who you are, and I appreciate you so much!) but basically the poem gets written here.
I've fired up iTunes on this thing and got my five titles, so here we go.
Ten minutes later, I'm trying to figure a way in. Boy, song titles are often clichés, aren't they? I've been metaphorically knuckle-rapped for years any time one has managed to sneak into a poem, and they are sneaky, clichés, the way they keep popping up; that's how they get to be one.
Back to the poem...
One of Us is Missing
One day they're out for their usual walk
and don't come home.
Soon the searchers assemble,
a mismatched hodgepodge of help,
day tripper, night sipper,
apostles gathered from those the one who's missing knows
— where they shop, what they do,
a disparate congregation that just wants to help.
It's not like a train leaves here this morning and they're on it.
Trains like that stopped running years ago
but still the assembly will search along the lake
as if long steel tracks that stretch beyond the horizon
can tell them something. Those tracks, that lake
have kept secrets before, have shielded
body and soul of many a pilgrim passing
through this day, this town, this life.
Not everyone means to stay forever.
Sometimes saying good-bye is not easy.
Does it make sense to search for answers
on tracks, trails and mountains,
in lakes and gullies? Does it make sense not to?
Such complex creatures, humans.
We wage war while we cry for peace,
we huck and hoard our chattels,
we are busy, busy, busy,
but still we band together and search
when one of us is missing.
The song titles:
Train Leaves Here This Morning (The Eagles)
Beyond the Horizon (Bob Dylan)
Body and Soul (Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett)
Easy Does It (Supertramp)
Day Tripper (The Beatles)
NB: My friend Lynne (whom I wrote about on this very blog a month or so ago) read today's poem and said if she was going to do one from those titles it would go like this:
well, easy does it
for this day tripper
because my body and soul
will lie beyond the horizon
when the train leaves here this morning
See? Anyone can play!