Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday poetry challenge: surprising factoids

Assign a poem that refers to Mickey Mantle and the first question my students ask is "Who's he?" It's hard enough teaching them how poetry works and now I have to teach them baseball too? And in a poem by William Stafford called "Running," they puzzle over the phrase "whacking keds" because they don't recognize the word "keds." Is it some sort of sexual innuendo? Um, no...just a kid running. In sneakers. Like the kind I wore in my youth, back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

And don't even get me started about the students who assumed James Wright's poem "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio" was written "during slavery times" and asked me to define the word "Polack."    

I don't know why any of this surprises me. After all, I am old--a lot older than my students, and aging by the minute. We old folks have to work really hard to keep up with the trends, like the fact that nobody wears Keds anymore (and at $45 a pair, I'm not surprised). I'm sure Mickey Mantle, whoever he was, never wore Keds, and if he did, they were probably produced by slave labor in Martins Ferry, Ohio--you know, back in slavery times. Whenever that was.

Oh brave new world
where slaves can drink
at bars with Polacks,
glasses clink-
ing smartly in
the autumn breeze
like whacking keds.
(That's dirty! Please
don't foul my mind
with sex--or worse!)
Say, Mickey Mantle:
who's on first?

Now it's your turn: entertain me by placing in the comments poetry of any sort on something that surprises you.


dgwilliams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dgwilliams said...

Little kitten
Gnawing softly on my fingers
Until time lingers
I am bitten!

dgwilliams said...

Oh boy - it looks like I have made a mess of this comment board. It is strange because it appeared that after my first post, I had accidentally double posted. In attempting to delete the extra post, it proceeded to delete both posts! And now it looks to me like a double post again when I am certain I only posted once. Oh well...

Blogger commenter coding
creator of captcha words that aren't words
and double posting!

Anonymous said...

My student made fun of her mother,
who kept referring to thongs,
confused I thought "shoes," or "undies,"
they catalogued her wrongs.


Bev said...

Fun poetry! I'm not sure why the comment function is acting nutty, but I'd rather have double posts than no posts at all.