Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm in the Mood for Rhyme

This week's Project Verse assignment was to write a tribute poem to Dolly Parton! So, I've been reading lots of Dolly Parton lyrics, and thinking about how much I love a good rhyme. Even a bad rhyme, actually. I don't know the subtleties of current poetry fashion, but I'm pretty sure rhyme is "out", like prairie skirts, or dressing up to go to the gym. That makes me feel a bit huffy, because rhyme is so much fun, and practical too. Years ago when I was in massage school and cramming for anatomy tests, I remembered bony landmarks by writing out little rhymes. Now I wish had I kept all my study notes from that time, so I could write a poem where I rhyme something with "bicipital groove".

I'm reading an advanced copy of a book called "The Anthologist" by Nicholson Baker. It's a great read. There's a whole section in there where the main characters goes on a long, possibly beer-soaked monologue about early brain development and rhyme. I don't know how scientifically accurate it is, but it makes sense to me, and it's great fun to read. Rhyme, he says, pulls us back to the beginning of speech, when everything was undifferentiated; it was just pure sound, that you took little wigs off of and put other wigs onto: Bloom, broom. Floom.

Here's a rhyming poem I wrote a year or so ago. "Wanderings" Magazine was kind enough to publish it in their Winter 2008 print issue.

Long live rhyme!

Poem for the Television

Give me your background noise, your winking lights,
Your Iron Chefs and your spandexed fights;
Your Animal Planet, your wild girls,
Your Adult Swims and your rapping earls;
Your Easter colors and hushed affairs,
Your stomping models with their sullen stares.

Grant me grace in the dark when I’m in pain,
When my loneliness asserts it’s reign.
Give me your shocks, and your wives done wrong,
Your perfect ending, a cheering throng;
Your spangled dancers, your jazzy band,
Your laconic hosts and your hipster brand.

Give me those abs, as flat as a nickel,
The slayer with his rusty sickle;
Astute detectives, forensic porn,
A frumpy mother done-up, reborn;
Tell me my skin can glow like honey,
And quitting my job will lead to money.

Tell me that my deepest, scariest ill
Can be vanquished with a common pill.
That I’m sexy with this latest scent,
Then I’ll sleep easy, at last content.
Tomorrow I’ll claim to hold this view,
like Judas, that I have never known you.

--Kristen McHenry
copyright 2008


Emily said...

I like rhyme too, in certain situations. And I like Dolly Parton. Hope your poem turned out well!

Dale said...

Oh, that's magnificent!

(I don't think I can remember any of the rhymes I composed in massage school, but I did that too.)