Of all these, the one course that I absolutely loved was my Poetry class. I had a huge crush on my professor. He was an African American musician who would start narrating a poem in iambic pentameter, turn on some beats and start rapping the poem along with his own lyrics that he would make up on the spot, intertwining poetry and rap like the intricate weaves of a quilt. We were in awe of him and he was totally unaware of it.
I've included three poems that I had written in the course. I hope you won't find them too tedious to read.
The first poem was an assignment on writing an Elegy. I decided to write about one of my grandfathers who suffered from depression. He was not part of my immediate family but, as with any joint family with innumerable grandparents, cousins, et al, I was told he was family and that I should call him grandad. This was simply my perspective of him when I was a kid, so don't ( necessarily ) consider it an accurate representation of him.
If you were to come back to that home;
All because of him.
The ignorant would question the state of
Uncle would make fun and ask
Him: “What was the hardest
Work you did today?”
He would smile and reply to Uncle,
“A lazy man does no hard work.”
Tobacco powder, shooting it up
His nose—coughing violently.
A lithe body lying limp,
Decaying on the bed.
His dark eyes would seek
Out your questioning gaze,
His mind observe your
He would say, “Don’t frown near
Me. I was never heavenly.”
I used to love writing Haikus. This one is about all the seasons of the (East Coast) year. You'll notice there are five stanzas even though there are only four seasons. I added an extra stanza for a season that I made up: that time of the year between winter and spring where you just can't take the harsh cold anymore and you're madly hoping for Spring to arrive. For me, that is my fifth season!
A Season of Haiku
Beating down ill will.
Leaves rustle to peace.
From last night’s iced tea.
To swell tender fruit.
Retain spring juice again.
Lastly, we had to write a Blues poem. I loved the overdramatic, melancholy nature of Blues. It forced even the most jaded people to become hopeless, lovelorn romantics. I remember going through several revisions of this poem and my professor would invariably come back disappointed in me because he felt I wasn't opening up enough. You can assume this was the last revision where he chose to give up on me.
I stare 'cross lonely streets and remember
Burnin' desire on a blues winter night.
Now time’s gone and, baby, so have you.
I see the sun’s up and flowers've bloomed.
Ol' lady Winter’s left but my blues remain.
So I keep strollin' down memory lane
And it drives me insane.
Now, because my Blues poem isn't very good, I felt like I should leave you guys with one that is downright amazing. By Langston Hughes, the below is an excerpt from his poem "The Weary Blues":
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.