A Shut-In Poet Responds

I’ve known a woman for a long time that many people consider a great poet. She has written a couple of thousand poems and had many published. I asked her to define her poetry style as I find it hard to read. She said, “When writing poetry I avoid pentameter, opting for trimeter, tetrameter and, less often, dimeter. The regular form I use employs the ballad stanza, a traditional form that is divided into quatrains, using tetrameter for the first and third lines and trimeter for the second and fourth, while rhyming the second and fourth lines (ABCB). I often use perfect rhymes for lines two and four. In some of my poems, I vary the meter from the traditional ballad stanza by using trimeter for lines one, two and four, while only using tetrameter for line three.” At this point I was shaking my head as I didn’t know or care what any of that meant. I really feel she needs to have some fun and lighten up.

I asked her to compare my poems to hers. She replied, “Your poems only resemble mine in the fact we both use what I’ll call unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Mine because I find it artsy, you because you’re terrible at spelling, punctuation and the English language in general. My poems sometime contain slanted rhymes, yours contain politically slanted rhymes. I write about spirituality and loneliness. Your poems are rants or ridicules of politics, social norms and trends.”

She certainly has my number. On the other hand, I told her she isn’t able to write about current things like I do. I say that because she doesn’t really get out very often. As she has gotten older she has become a bit of a shut-in. I have often wondered why she has withdrawn so much from people. She use to be fun to hang out with even if she was artsy fartsy. She decided to show me up. She decided to write a poem describing why she has become a recluse. She also took my advice to have some fun. She said she would write her poem in my straight forward silly rhyming style.

This is the poem she sent me:

Why I’m a Recluse in 2015

I sometimes walk to my livery stable,
play pool on my billiards table,
and write poems at my drafting table.
I gaze out from my Victorian gable,
but never go out in public as I’m not able.
Some gab and say I am very unstable.
That talk is all just a mere fable.
I don’t leave the house as I have cable.
I watch it while drinking lite beer.
The TV news brings me no cheer.
It only plays on my fears.
As it warns me about racketeers,
black marketers, mutineers, emirs,
financiers, political spheres, privateers
storms that are severe,
both far and near.
Every month I’m told of a spreading new epidemic to fear.
Swine flu, Ebola, SARs, the measles it’s all hype and insincere.
Meant to benefit that Big Pharma profiteer.
Sorry I won’t let you be my puppeteer.
I’m to fear terrorists from Somali buccaneers
or is it ISIS or the Taliban it’s not clear.
It all makes me off-balance affecting my inner ear
and messes with my celestial and physical sphere.
I realize I have to be a shut-in to persevere.
Politicians who are part of government
want me to fear big government.
I use my good judgment
to realize I fear government
because these clowns are part of government.
I never did anything to deserve this scum as punishment.
I want regular Joe’s to realize their own empowerment.
Staying home keeps me out of trouble day-to-day.
A message lost on our nation who gets into foray after foray.
First military attachés, communiqués, and armament caches
then boots on the ground Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan invasion day.
On to Somalia, Libya, Syria so cops of the world we can portray.
I almost ventured out sometime around Christmas Day
but there was a war on Christmas I heard Bill O’Reilly say.
Calls for war by those who never fight in them will never fade away.
Think I’ll just go to the garden and pick a big bright bouquet.
I don’t pick ones in the woods anymore.
Reality TV has shown me I’m done for
and can expect nothing but gore
if I ventured into the woods on such a chore.
There might be violent moonshiners with guns in their dirty drawers
making killer lightning shit you can’t buy in a liquor store.
I fear there also could be zombies, and vampires looking for bloody goods
or Chupacabras, Big Foot or the Jersey Devil lurking in those backwoods.
I’m into gardens and anything to do with botany
that’s why I thought I’d like that channel HGTV.
The house shows said my life was gloomy, paltry and measly
because I didn’t have granite counters which are the new swanky.
Double sinks in the bathroom is hip all the designers did agree.
Anyone know of a plumber who will put them in my outhouse privy?
My Victorian estate with so many walls is considered shabby and stodgy
as an open floor plan is considered more roomy, homey and cutesy.
What a bunch of dizzy, daffy, dopey, snooty, cheesy hooey.
They said if I don’t remodel, redecorate and upgrade
my house will decay and be worth less than I paid.
Just more crap to make me more and more afraid.
Screw them I say as I open a Mike’s Lemonade.
I haven’t traveled and I haven’t strayed
from my estate in many a decade.
I’m old enough for Medicare but poor enough for Medicaid.
I’ve never had a love and know I’m going to die an old maid.
I’ve corresponded with lots of people so it’s ironic
every one of those relationships stayed plutonic.
All these fears have made me panic
so I ended up a psychotic,
neurotic, hysteric eccentric.
My biggest fear is speaking in public.
and reading at open poetry like a beatnik.

How’s that Jim? ~ Love in spirit Emily Dickinson

Frequently asked questions about Emily Dickinson.

Quoting Napoleon: “Emily Dickinson Tribute”

Freisberg & Sokacic: “I’m Nobody Who Are You?”

“The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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