Monday, February 27, 2012

The Gifted Program (Why Poems Fail)

A poem can fail because you're too close to it. Or you so desperately want to say something that you trip over your own words. Sometimes, ironically, you're the worst person to tell your own story. This is a poem that doesn't quite work the way I wanted it to. I'm hoping it will come around again with some new insights because I want to tell this story. 

The Gifted Program at Byron
Elementary School

Was two isolated makehift cubicles
Shoved into one corner
Under a map of Antarctica where me
And Michael  Robinson 
Studied humanity

Antarctica is the place where 
Special people go,
 Ms. Stieglitz said

We spent the year alternately
Being President, Vice President
Ulitimately declaring anarchy
Though the mordent precision
Of our isolated obrbit
Assured nothing would ever be
Out of place

They fed us Animal Farm, 
Rice crispy treats,
All the loneliness the "special" 
Amongst us deserve as they learned
To make more and more elaborate
Dunce caps out of papier mache

You designed something I can't 
Even pronounce, died last week

Maybe you've gone back to Antarctica

I hear they need an Ambassador


  1. I'm never sure if a poem is good or bad or what makes it so. What I know is this poem makes me mad.

  2. That's just the way they did it then. I think they did me a favor because instead of learning how to make a clay ashtray I read book after book after book.