Haters of confessional poetry will certainly disagree but I think childhood memories are ripe for poetic content no matter how ugly the subject matter. I once wrote about my experience of being forced to kiss the men’s toilet seat at a Girl Scout slumber party. Later on, I wrote about wiping my snot on the wall, eating out of the garbage can, and about a neighborhood boy touching me inappropriately. The way I see it, the uglier the better. Not everyone’s childhood can be sunshine and farts.
I read somewhere once in an article from a prominent editor that he did not care to read about bullying, for example, and found confessional poetry to be dreadful. I don’t know if he spoke of the confessional poetry of the 50s and 60s with Sylvia Plath and Theodore Roethke or just the modern confessionals like Sharon Olds and well, people like me who write about female masturbation and porn.
It just seems ridiculous that in this day and age when there are so much larger problems out there like terrorism and gun violence that we should still be playing by rules in poetry. Artistic expression should not be bound by what some old white men in slacks think defines a poem. These are the same guys that hold the pocketbooks and frankly, it’s getting a little old that we allow them to push us around. Of course, if you want to get published, you’ll write what they like…
That is the conundrum essentially. I champion the right for all poets to write in the styles and genres that suit their work the best and still have their work represented in print or online if it is deemed well constructed. Of course, you can always rebel and self-publish without waiting for an authority to rubber stamp your work.
My goal in publishing my work here is to gain a little exposure but also to encourage readers to read more poetry of all kinds and write their own work if so desired. Reading poetry is a gift just like the ability to read is a gift. Share it with someone you love today.
What follows is a relatively new narrative poem detailing a childhood memory my sister and I shared growing up in Saginaw, MI.
Why I Don’t Take Vitamins
Like a nurse, Dad doled out
pasty orange vitamins stamped
with moons, the sun, and stars.
My sister and me thought the
circular specimens tasted of
an old lady’s purse mints and
slipped them into tissues
carefully carrying the nutrient
bombs out the front door.
Slipping by the orange VW
Rabbit in the driveway, we
shoved the offending tablets
into the holes in the hub caps.
Elated to head to school
without a mouth full of chalk,
we forgot that someday Dad
would pry off those hub caps,
“Damn it! What the hell?”
and our butts burned for days.