Poetry


Here are some examples of my poetry. All of these examples are – more or less – complete poems. I have probably ten times as many that are still unfinished going back a couple of decades or so.

The Bear (1990): This is a parody of Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” poem. In her poem, the narrator celebrates the majesty of life and nature by catching a tremendous fish and then letting it go. I had a lot less tolerance for that sort of thing when I was 20.

Bright Eyes, Blue Eyes (1991): I wrote this about a girlfriend I had. I think I was inspired out of sexual frustration!

Catalyzed – First Assignment (1990): In 1990, I was working for WPGU FM as a news reporter and then I got my “break”. The Catalyst workshop was running over a long weekend and most of the regular staff was at the NAB conference. So, I got to be the opening voice of Catalyst, my first live report. I remember trying to drink in the “feel” of conference and report on what was going on, but how I felt walking around as an “official reporter”.

Catalyzed – Ellen’s Workshop (1990):After the first day, various workshops were held all over campus at the University of Illinois. I reported on one and found that I had – unconsciously – written the report in prose. So, it wasn’t all that hard to change it into a short poem… and I happened to have some due that Monday in one of my rhetoric classes.

Christmas on the Moon (1987): My take on the classic Clement Moore poem. I wrote it for my mom to send out in our Christmas cards in 1987. Somewhere along the line, I did edit it; I used to have lines in there about SDI. I must have taken them out in the 90’s when “Star Wars” went away. Of course, missile defense shields have come in vogue again; I might have to look in my archives for the missing lines.

The Coming Storm (1991): This is one (of several) poems about my parents’ divorce when I was 13.

Freedom (1987): This was my take on Woody Guthrie; that is, I imagined it to be the lyrics to a folk song of some kind.

Grandpa (1990): This is my favorite poem, I think. I wrote it about my Grandpa Ramsey. It started out as a Rhetoric exercise where we were not supposed to use any similes.

Looking Back (1990): I was taking a Rhetoric class and had to write a series of poems on the same subject from different perspectives. I had just watched one of my “time capsules”; where I recorded a video of myself to watch in a year or two. So, this second poem was from the perspective of watching it at age 20.

The Meeting (1988): I wrote this poem as a senior in high school. It won an honorable mention in a poetry contest.

The Monsters at Night (1987): As part of winning the contest, I was invited to a Young Authors’ Conference. This was the result of a “slam poem”; where we had to put something together in a very short amount of time.

No Long Goodbyes (1997): My dog Tramp had to be put down when I was 13 because he attacked one of my friends suddenly.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (1995): This was a quickie poem that I threw together in the spirit of Shel Silverstein in 1995.

The Spooks (1977): I was in first grade and came up with my own version of Dr. Seuss.  I liked it so much, I asked my mom to use her manual typewriter to make it all nice and neat.  Special thanks to my mom for saving it in my baby book all these years.

T-120 (1990): I was taking a Rhetoric class and had to write a series of poems on the same subject from different perspectives. I had just watched one of my “time capsules”; where I recorded a video of myself to watch in a year or two. So, the three poems were from the perspective of making a time capsule at age 15, watching it at age 20 and then the third perspective, from the point of view of the videotape itself.

To a Special Girl (1987): The “special girl” in question was a girl in my history class junior year in high school.  The story of the writing of the poem and all that transpired because of it can be found here.

Traveler’s Tale (1990): This was inspired by The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Unnecessary Surgery (1987): I wrote this in 1987 in response to (in my opinion) the overanalysis of poetry when it seemed to me that the most important poetry was felt more than analyzed. I won first place in the writing contest in high school with this poem.

Untitled (1990): The actual title of the poem is Untitled (as opposed to not having a title).

The Vow of the Raiders (2008): My son Daniel played for the Belvidere Raiders flag-football team in 2008.  I wrote this as part of the narration for the “NFL Films” version of his opening day game.

Why I Missed Last Monday’s Class (1991): I wrote this as a combined exercise / excuse for missing class after I fell off my bike in a rain storm and broke my finger.

Working at Fast Food Restaurant; Anytime at All (1987): My first job was working at Burger King. While I didn’t get paid much, I have to say that I was quite inspired by working there. This was a parody of Robert Frost’s poem (originally this was “penned by Robert F.”)

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