Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

30 July 2011

Improv and Poems

Recently I was in an improv show for some of my awesome friends at The Improv Space. It was a show by the all-girl group Token Boy and I was the guest token boy. As a person who is terrible at improv, it was kind of nice to A) be given an opportunity I would never actually earn through skill and to B) have my first improv experience with a group of women who were kind and generous with me.

Well, in the middle of each of their shows, the ladies of Token Boy feature their token boy, which means that he does something related to a skill set he possesses. While wracking my brain to figure out what skill sets I possess, I started thinking about poetry – not because I am good at writing it, obviously, but because I have actually written some of my own poetry and because I am not necessarily ashamed of a few of my poems, even if they are not exactly good.

I decided against the poetry after all. I told jokes instead and talked about marriage – I have officiated at two weddings for different ladies in Token Boy, so that sort of made sense. And this part of the improv was actually funny.

But the poetry thing kinda stuck with me. I was looking here, at poems that I have posted on this blog over the years, some of which are my own. And I find that there is a lot that still resonates with me on those pages.

I don't know anything about poetry, really, but I love reading it, and I wish I could write academically so that it looked more like poetry. Academic writing, I think, is a kind of poetry, too, when it is done very well.

I am going to share a poem that is on the back cover of Bob Hicok's book This Clumsy Living, which is a gorgeous book that everyone should check out. (The book also includes his poem "In Michael Robins's Class Minus One", which I absolutely love.)

This is called "Solstice: voyeur"

I watched the young couple walk into the tall grass and close
the door of summer behind them, their heads floating
on the golden tips, on waves that flock and break like starlings
changing their minds in the middle of changing their minds,
I saw their hips lie down inside those birds, inside the day
of shy midnight, they kissed like waterfalls, like stones
that have traveled a million years to touch, and emerged
hybrid, some of her lips in his words, all of his fists
opened by trust like morning glories, and I smelled green
pouring out of trees into grass, grass into below, I stood
on the moment the earth changes its mind about the sun,
when hiding begins, and raised my hand from the hill
into the shadows behind the lovers, and contemplated
their going with my skin, and listened to the grass
in wind call us home like our mothers before dark.