Express Your Opinion in the Anthology of the SDMB Poetry Sweatshop, May 2010 Edition

It is past 8 PM, EDT - the May 2010 Poetry Sweatshop will now close in 40 minutes. In the meantime, I will start posting the poems I’ve received thus far, and I’ll start the poll at 9 PM.

I just want to emphasize the importance of voting - the poets are depending for an outside opinion of their work. The poll is by secret ballot, so no one need ever know how you voted. As we did last month, I’ve made this a multiple choice poll.

Please note that the poll is seeking your favourite poem - no deep, arcane knowledge of poetry’s inner workings is required. Whichever poems strike a chord with you, please give them your vote. And, though the choice will be difficult, please take the time to choose at least one poem.

I also want to mention that because of our current working method, all of the following poems will be posted under my user name, which may lead people to think that I am trying to claim authorship. Only one of the following poems is mine - the authors’ names may be found in the spoiler boxes at the bottom of each reply.

The three words this month are:


And so, allow me to present our poets’ work for this month…

It’s gotten a little crowded in here with the three of us.
My poet, my physicist my politician.

Were it entirely left to my poet I’d spend
The days walking, the grass laughing beneath my bare feet.
I’d leisurely graze in everyone’s pasture, trying
To make my own milk.
And I’d agree, thinking the idea quite grand.
Being in communion with the earth and all that.
I’m a sucker for that leisurely hippie shit.

The poet would be distracted by the physicist
Shrieking in a way only a physicist’s mother could love.
He’d be measuring the refraction of the light from
The drop of dew on the top of the blade of grass
All the while trying to explain to the poet how light
Is energy and at the root of us all we are all made up
Of the same things and a little bit of light.
I mean, the word physics is the root of meta-physic.

And I’d be out there for a while with the two of them.
Thoroughly convinced I’d discovered the way of the soul.
I’m sure I’d be writing a book in my head.
The one where I tell everyone how wonderful I am and that
In fact, I have cracked Sartre’s maxim and have figured out
How to live.

The politician would begin to realize we were on to something
And he’d begin to wonder if anyone we know in LA or
Chicago could Get us on the talk show circuit. People are all touchy
feely these days. We could sell this. The poets got something and the
physicist can prove it.

I’d listen to them all for a while.

Then I’d have the physicist build me a scaffold.
I’d lure the inattentive poet hitherto with a siren song.
And I’d promise the politician he could sum it all up.
Then I’d hang these three assholes so they’d shut the fuck up.
But not before I had gotten the PC term for self improvement from one of


When the king’s soldiers arrested me, they were not gentle
my reputation probably precluded that, I concede,
especially if you believe the more noisome broadsheets.
A threat to the realm, they have cried; a murderer and a king of thieves!
Remarkable, really, how how little they know me.
I believe I have achieved a certain station in life
and would like to have had at least some deference paid.
But no matter; enough said of that.
My cell is comfortable, if spartan, and on occasion
my jailors are inattentive when I need them to be,
thanks to a judicious mix of bribes and threats.
I still have my friends beyond these cold walls,
allies and associates who can find out where they live,
or where their wives shop, or their children play;
for I am not without resources, even now.

My barrister, Velginn, tells me that my acquittal is almost certain.
Perhaps he lies to me, fearing me as others do, but I think not.
I am many things, but never self-deluded;
in my work, I cannot afford to be.
Rigorous honesty, at least within, is vital;
I may lie, when necessary, but never to myself, never.
Even if I were convicted, Velginn says any term of incarceration
would be short, and perhaps a pardon might even be arranged
with money put in the right hands, perfumed ones,
for he has his own friends, courtiers close to the throne.

Did you know I have met the king, twice?
Yes, in the palace itself, and taken his measure;
he is a fool, and does not realize how precarious is his reign.
More titles than brains has he, and he is deaf to his own people
who might easily be stirred to rebellion.
Withal I am a reasonable man, even if the king is not;
I will put up with this temporary inconvenience
not happily, but patiently, at least for now,
but if I must ascend the scaffold, he should beware,
for I will not be alone.

Elendil’s Heir

While my heart was plying practiced waters my soul proved inattentive
To the tides your petitions demanded; if through my term
As pilot I erred in navigation, my grief portends perhaps your scaffold.

And note the doubtful craft I sought to marshall often wants a scaffold,
If only to support such weighty schemes of payment. Though inattentive,
Perhaps my impecunious soul might sooner reimburse the proper term.

I would not suggest “predation” as the proper term
Nor “usurious” the heart which built this scaffold.
But I would hope the staying soul continues inattentive.

Now inattentive to the term completed, then careful of the scaffold’s making.


It is somewhat strange, the way we live,
Always seeing, but never perceive.
Ever hearing, yet rarely listens.
Inattentive to the little things,
that makes all the matter in the world.

Isn’t it often, that we ignore,
the sigh of a friend, uttered softly?
a faint creak of the voice, hinting weakness?
We’re more concerned with being done,
check and ticking to do lists.

Could we afford, to avoid seeing
a crack in the scaffolding, which leads to a crash?
a term in the contract, which spells trouble?
Yet spreadsheet and numbers are more immediate,
than tears and blood, grief and sweat.

It’s somewhat sad, the way we live.
Always talking, but never connecting.
Doing so much, yet accomplishes naught.
For we forgot, that behind stereotypes and abstractions,
are people with all their little details.

Crowbar of Irony +3

Full of gasses, inattentive
Self-absorbed, and uninventive,
Mr. Baxter makes his way
Through yet another Saturday.

Coffee at the corner store,
Paper from the stand next door,
Glasses perched atop a nose,
Which he often loudly blows.

Shoes he purchased at a sale
Wander out to get the mail.
The box is empty, no surprise.
He turns and rubs his weary eyes

And sees the scaffold, large and dark
Standing silent in the park,
The body hanging by a rope.
What, another? What a dope!

What’s the term? An agitator?
Hang them now or hang them later,
They’ll never learn, the stupid fools
That Mr. Baxter makes the rules.

Then, softly humming, kicking rocks,
He heads back home to sort his socks.

The Hamster King

I picture you sitting there, indifferent to my fears,
Pleas for consolation whisper past inattentive ears;
‘Nothing much to say,’ I hear you speak in my head
In feeling and in thought, more than terms we used instead.

I lay back on the scaffold, clutching chisel to my chest,
And close my eyes to see you while granting eyes a rest.
Twelve years past I brought you forth from cold stone
An imperfect echo of perfect flesh and perfect bone.

Ten years past I last felt your warm skin
Ten years carving a space for you within
Eight years now since you found love with another
Six years past you first became a mother
Five years I count since we last said ‘farewell’
So five years it must be since I came to this hell.


All term, Italo has sat inattentive.
In a cohort of Alpha Male engineers,
His slacker’s indifference stands out.
He’s got the brains, but his heart’s not in it.

It isn’t booze or dope that holds him
to a B+ average -
He simply doesn’t want to be tethered to a desk.
He’ll tough it out, but only because his family expects it of him.
He’d rather be ‘up there’, working high steel.

Watch him in his down time -
Gymnastics, Rock Climbing, Hang Gliding…
He’s never turned down a dare
For buildering on the way home from a pub crawl or
Hanging a Froshie’s Y-fronts
Off the top rung of an open scaffold.

The only time I’ve seen him come alive
Was when they put the crane up
In the construction site across the street.
We got the play-by-play of the way they’d done it
A hundred times in his uncle’s construction firm in Parmap

Since then, he looks out the window
And his eyes go far away
Like a sleeping dog twitching its legs,
Like an indoor cat watching birds outside.

And he tosses off the right answers in Spherical Trig,
Without so much as looking at a calculator
In a voice that sounds like it’s coming
From thirty stories up.

Le Ministre de l’au-delà

“The city is such a lively place,”
she said to herself
from her perch
on the scaffolds
at 34th and Broadway.
The wind was exhilarating
as it rushed across
her bare arms.
She knew she had time
to be a bird
here; her daughter
at the sitter’s, her husband
at work. “Some errands
in the city,” she told the sitter,
but she only had two
things to do
and this was one.
Be Free.

After an hour or so
of breathing the city
air on her perch,
she realized just how inattentive
the people below
were. No one had noticed
the 30-something woman
who climbed to the top
of the miracle building.
No one begged
her down.
She sighed.
“Maybe lively
isn’t the right term.
busy, yes, but they’re not

She knew it was time
to come down, to complete
her other task.
so she stood up,
stepped to the edge,
and flew.


And with that, we all now have a week to enjoy these fine creations. Congratulations to all who took part - great work!

And please, don’t forget to vote. Our poets really appreciate the opportunity of getting the readers’ reactions to their efforts.

Another great month! I’m proud to stand in the company of such wonderful poets! Some really great stuff here!

Even with names hidden, I’m starting to recognize certain authors. :smiley:

Whatever do you mean? :wink:

Hold on to that thought - I’d really like to discuss it further, but it’d be easier after the poll closes and the spoiler boxes don’t matter any more…

It’s inevitable, really, the same way that I can tell if my iTunes just popped up Modest Mouse or Wolf Parade.

Just a reminder that the poll closes in a little over 13 hours! Please take a moment to cast a vote today.

First of all, I’d like to thank all of the poets for participating this month. ** mauxlicious, Elendil’s Heir, xenophon41, Crowbar of Irony +3, The Hamster King, Cuckoorex, Le Ministre de l’au-delà** and ** Serenata67** - please take a well-deserved bow.

And with the closing of the poll, I take great pleasure in congratulating ** mauxlicious**, our Poet Laureate of the SDMB for May 2010.

I’d also like to once again thank the Mods and Admins for their support - it is greatly appreciated. Thank you as well to those who took the time to read and vote. It has once again been tremendous fun, and I look forward to the next one sometime in late June.

Congratulations, mauxilicious! Well done, and a deserving win.

I will say that I really enjoyed The Hamster King’s “Saturday Morning,” though. A rhythmic little ditty, almost greeting-cardish, but wham! An O. Henry ending–or is it? Reminiscent of Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” but likely to create much more discussion in undergraduate cafeterias.

They were all good, though. My thanks go to the poets for participating!

Thank you, Spoons.

Don’t I get a goat or some pie or something?

Congratulations, mauxlicious!

One more vote … just one more vote … . :wink: