Slowing as the school bus in front of me arrives to a flock of parents and children on the sidewalk. As we come to a stop I wonder why the parents are present. This was not the way of my bus riding days. We were unsupervised flocks. No adults in our brood. Under watchful eyes, children embark, sliding into vinyl seats as parents wave to them from their concrete perches. Children wave back through smears and smudges. As the bus driver releases the brakes and turns off the flashing reds a dad in Adidas sweatpants plays rock-paper-scissors with his son through the smears and smudges. Through my own smudged windshield I see only one side of this game. Dad loses with the biggest smile. Maybe this is the reason why parents wait with their kids.
This is an example of a Prose Poem which acts like a poem but is in a format that looks like a paragraph and is created with sentences rather than lines. Confused?
Wish you were here – Pink Floyd (written by Roger Waters)
Dandelions – Ruth B
Glycerine – Bush
Stubborn Love – The Lumineers
Missed Connection – The Head and the Heart
The Wolf – Mumford & Sons
Brando – Lucy Dacus
You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
I’m so lonesome I could cry – Hank Williams
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
John Blaze- Fat Joe
Bonfire – Childish Gambino
Play God – Ani DeFranco
Take me to Church – Hozier
That’s All She Wrote – TI featuring Eminem
You So Done – Noga Erez
Snow on the Beach – Taylor Swift
I Apologize – Five Finger Death Punch
Spanish Pipedream – John Prine
A Little Bit Off – Five Finger Death Punch
Darkness Settles In – Five Finger Death Punch
Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World
Revolutionary Kind – Gomez
River – Joni Mitchell
Destination – Nickel Creek
Spirits – The Strumbellas
You are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
Darkness Between the Fireflies – Mason Jennings
People Get Old – Lori McKenna
Name – Goo Goo Dolls
The Mother – Brandi Carlile
Walking in the Snow – Run the Jewels
Boss of Me – They Might Be Giants
Bitches – Mindless Self Indulgence
Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast in America – Gym Class Heroes
Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – John Lennon
Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan
Simple Man – Lynrd Skynyrd
Wildflowers – Tom Petty
You’ve Got to Learn – Nina Simone
Loose Lucy – Grateful Dead
A Dustland Fairytale – The Killers
Fuckin Perfect – P!nk
Redemption Song – Bob Marley
Satisfied Mind – Porter Wagoner
Me & Bobby McGee – Kris Kristofferson
More than a Feeling – Boston
Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
About this Poem and the Process
Music has always been an important part of my life. Our family grew up with music playing on the record player and some of my earliest memories are dancing on my dad’s feet to the crooning of a classic country song from the 50s or 60s.
My dad also read poetry with me, and my mom wrote poems and I have been doing both since I could read and write.
Combining the two was only a matter of time.
This poem is based on the Cento poetry form where lines from the poems of various poets are taken directly from the poem and assembled to create a new poem. The poem created from the lines was meant as an homage to the work of the others. The same is true in this case but I have used the lines from songs.
The song lines were crowd-sourced from family and friends. I simply asked people to share their favorite line from a song with me and most did not know I was writing a poem with them.
I did not listen to the songs before putting the poem together, choosing to incorporate them into the poem without the context of the music or the rest of the lyrics, only with the context of the other lines provided to me.
I loved the process of creating this. I learned so much about my family and friends. For some of them this was a tough assignment because they do not really listen to the words, just the music; while others this was a difficult task because it was hard to pick just one line. I learned about new music and was really surprised by some of the choices. I ended up with 50 songs and 50 new insights into my friends and family.
Plastic wrap gaiters secured with twine protect the transition from cotton sweatpants to leather work boots.
A well-tuned rumble shattering the muffled morning as he heads up the hill to my drive.
Snowy morning smell replaced by fumes of gas and oil immediately unearthing memories of my dad.
This vintage machine, made when machines were mostly metal, is piloted by ages of experience and a depth of mechanical knowledge I envy. It displaces snow practically, usefully, purposefully, precisely out of the way so I can move another machine about which I know so little.
“I’ll help you with the heavy snow at the end of the drive” he says while idling. “Thank you so much” I say. “Just being neighborly” he says, the end of the sentiment engulfed by the increasing throttle as he turns, heading back down the hill to home.
The cushioned silence greets me as I open the door. It’s early enough that snowblower rattles and shovel scrapes are not yet replacing Carolina Wren song.
Plodding through inches of snow, I am not yet ready to begin the tasks required to accommodate a normal day’s activities.
Heading to a flat open spot covered deep in snow, I fall backwards without worry, certain this mattress of frozen hexagons will catch me softly, conforming to my curves as much as any memory foam.
Smiling into the blue sky I move my long arms and legs in arcs, uselessly, impractically, for no reason but sensation, for no purpose but pleasure.