Hi. I'm Dan Vickers. I attended Nathan Brown's writing workshop in mid-March not to learn to write poetry, but because I am writing up some notes on my life for my children and "Journaling" was mentioned in the information received about his workshop. I am a retired engineer. Retired from work but still an engineer. I think like an engineer and not like a poet. You know, like if something is 26 5/8 inches long, it is 26 5/8 inches long, not "a couple of feet" long. If a poem has something about water rushing along a rocky mountain stream I visualize water rushing along a rocky mountain stream (that is, if I read the poem at all). If the poet meant it to describe the trials of life in the big city, it flew right past me.
In Nathan's workshop I learned that poetry does not have to be all imagery. It can be like plain old everyday talking. It doesn't have to have a consistent meter. It doesn't even have to rhyme.
So I started playing around with writing poetry. It was hard to admit it at first, but it was fun. I liked it. Of course I limited my audience to my wife and children, all accomplished writers, and all who were somewhat forced to encourage me. As I gained confidence my audience was expanded. First to my step-children. (Now, that takes guts.) Then to some of my fellow workshop takers (workshop takers? Well, you know what I mean.). And now, a farther step, to you.
The following is based on a true and rather unsettling story:
A Senior Citizen's Memory
Let's see now,
What was I going to write about?
It's not really quite that bad.
But, it's getting there.
It is the little things that drive you crazy.
Oh yes, there are plenty of big things, too.
When you are looking for that misplaced item
You think of a thousand things you should have done
To help you find it. But you didn't.
Like when your granddaughter left her car
With you as she flew to New York.
She's back now. Asleep. Due to leave soon.
Where did you put her car keys?
This is serious business.
They aren't in the miscellaneous old keys box
With all those unidentifiable keys
That you are afraid to throw away
Because you might will need them someday.
They aren't on the bar
Where everything else that doesn't have a home resides.
And time is running short.
I hear the shower running.
She'll soon be out of her room.
She'll have to be told.
They aren't on the workbench in the garage,
Another spot that seems to collect the odd item.
Not on the dryer where I often "temporarily"
Put an item until a trip to its real home is made.
Let's face it. It's time to call Pop-A-Lock
And then the key shop who will call General Motors
(Is their key department still in business?)
To get the key code.
Yes, the problem can be handled
But her dad, my son-in-law, will have to know
And the grief I'll get from him will be worse
Than the ridicule I'll get from everyone else
Including my grandson.
Especially including my grandson!
I may have put that key on the dresser in the guest bedroom.
That seems like a logical place to put it.
Then I wouldn't have to remember where I put it.
It would be right there with the rest of her things
When she got back from New York.
(How long does it take that girl to dress?)
I can actually feel my hair turning grey.
Surely she won't apply her make-up before opening her door.
I need to take a Rolaid.
Oh, no, I hear the hair dryer going.
This is definitely making me old older
Which will worsen my memory.
Why won't that girl open her door?