Poetry Sucks


Richard Blanco delivered the inaugural poem today. Here is “One Today”:

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies,
greeting the faces of the Great Lakes,
spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains,
then charging across the Rockies.

One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper –
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives –
to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind — our breath.

Breathe. Hear it through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me — in every language spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us –
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it – together


I hate poetry, bit I would still rather listen to this guy than hear Obama read a speech.


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About The Klown

I've been an ideological free agent since 2008.
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97 Responses to Poetry Sucks

  1. DandyTiger says:

    I’d rather hear that crunching sound of my impacted wisdom tooth being extracted than hear Obama speak.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    Ben Smith:

    Now we are in Reagan territory, and in the hall of statues in the American imagination that includes, this century, probably only FDR and maybe JFK and Teddy besides. Obama’s best interpreter, Andrew Sullivan, made that case last fall: “If Obama wins, to put it bluntly, he will become the Democrats’ Reagan. The narrative writes itself. He will emerge as an iconic figure who struggled through a recession and a terrorized world, reshaping the economy within it, passing universal health care, strafing the ranks of al-Qaeda, presiding over a civil-rights revolution, and then enjoying the fruits of the recovery.”

    {{pukes}}

    Gee Ben, didja spit or swallow?

  3. yttik says:

    I love poetry. LOL,” inaugural balls and fan boiz” was poetry, just probably not the kind they’re going to read at a state dinner.

    What I’m tired of is soaring rhetoric and empty words. I’m tired of watching people’s emotions exploited with words that have no substance behind them. It’s like listening to a used car salesman or an alcoholic promise to quit drinking. I just want to knock people’s heads together and tell them to wake up. Stop falling for the flattery, stop believing all the promises.

    I’m sure this is a very nice poem and in any other context would be enjoyable, but whispering out from behind the “one sky, one world” crap is the reminder that we are all bitter clingers, racists, sweeties, that “they bring a knife, we bring a gun.”

    I don’t buy what they are selling. Worse, I worry about why they’re trying to sell it so hard.

  4. THAT? is poetry? On what planet and in which classroom?
    THIS is poetry- even though this is not the poem Frost recited that day so long ago- a day of hope.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/inauguration/frost_poem.html

    And then there is the poem he DID recite

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-gift-outright/

    The Gift Outright

    The land was ours before we were the land’s.
    She was our land more than a hundred years
    Before we were her people. She was ours
    In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
    But we were England’s, still colonials,
    Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
    Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
    Something we were withholding made us weak
    Until we found out that it was ourselves
    We were withholding from our land of living,
    And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
    Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
    (The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
    To the land vaguely realizing westward,
    But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
    Such as she was, such as she would become.
    Robert Frost

  5. I think spammy just got me. damn it

  6. Constance says:

    I’m OK with poetry but I think less is more. This poem needed an aggressive editor. If they needed to fill time then fill it with moments of silence.

  7. Big old pot of beef stew working. Damn it’s cold outside! Is it too early for wine? I had to open it for the stew.

    • Constance says:

      I’m going for lentils and sausage. It is not too early for wine even on the west coast. Hhhmmm, I think I will use a nice dark beer for half of the liquid in the lentil soup, this means I need a jug to go.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I’m looking for a good beef stew recipe, so far none that I’ve tried have tasted better than Dinty Moore :( (hint, hint) :D

      • Simplest thing ever.
        I take a pound of chuck- cut it up into bite size cubes. Throw it in a bowl and marinate it with your favorite Italian dressing. I like to marinate it for a couple of hours. You could marinate it in the red wine if you want- but I find it overpowers the end product.
        Heat up your stew pot.with a couple tablespoons of oil (or bacon grease lol) (or a frying pan if you want to do this in a crockpot) Dredge the meat cubes in flour and saute them quickly til brown. Chop up a good sized onion and a few cloves of garlic- throw those in when the meat is about halfway to brown.
        After all the meat is brown, deglaze the pan with some decent dry red wine.Make sure you scrape up all the yummy brown bits! At this point you can chuck it all in a crockpot.
        Add a can of tomatoes- you can use diced, or whole peeled, or whatever you have. Fresh even if you have them – which I usually don’t in the winter. Add two or three shakes of Worcestershire sauce.Some fresh or dried Thyme. Add water to cover. Simmer (or put crockpot on low) until meat is tender. (This will take all day with crockpot) If using the crockpot- add three or four sliced carrots, a couple of stalks celery and about four medium cubed potatoes now.)
        If using the stew pot method, when the meat is fork tender, add sliced carrots, celery if you like it and cubed potatoes. Let it simmer until the veg are tender. Taste for seasoning- add salt and pepper to taste.
        I think everyone has their own things they like in a beef stew. Some use peas or green beans. Some leave out celery. Others add peppers.
        The whole secret to beef stew is marinating that meat. And the tomatoes- which help tenderize tough meat and give good color and depth to the broth. That is where your base flavor comes from. If you use the bacon grease to brown the meat it gives a slight background flavor that most can’t figure out lol.
        If you find the stew is not thick enough – make a standard roux (equal amount flour/butter) and use some of the broth from the stew pot.
        That’s it.
        Sorry I don’t give exact measurements. Depends on how many I have to feed lol. Mom always added extra veggies if unexpected company showed up!
        Dinty Moore it ain’t lol!
        Biscuits to go with!

        • myiq2xu says:

          Celery really enhances the flavor.

        • Myiq- I like celery- and use it in many of my soups- some people really don’t care for it though. I don’t use bell peppers too often- I like the flavor- but they give me wicked indigestion.

        • HELENK says:

          when I make my spagetti sauce, I put in a stick of celery and take it out when the sauce is done. that way you have the flavor but not the cut up celery that some people do not like.

        • leslie says:

          Sounds good!
          It also can be cooked in a pressure cooker — my favorite method for pot roast and stews.

        • votermom says:

          If you use the bacon grease to brown the meat it gives a slight background flavor that most can’t figure out lol.

          We rarely have bacon grease at hand, but I do something similar.
          I like to cook the onions first, until soft, take them out of the pan, leaving the onion-flavored oil in there. Then I brown the floured beef in the pan.
          I add the onions back in with the rest of the stew ingredients.
          Also I add at least one bay leaf.

  8. votermom says:

    I endorse Eric Cantor’s reaction to the poetry

    • swanspirit says:

      I love poetry . That poem just sucked ,

      This one does not

      I Hear America Singing

      I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
      Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
      The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
      The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
      The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
      The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands;
      The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
      The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—
      Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
      The day what belongs to the day—
      At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
      Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

      Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass, ( first published in the 1867 edition)

  9. DeniseVB says:

    For my TCH Foodies, you too can recreate the Official Inaugural Luncheon:

    http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/search/label/2013%20Inaugural%20luncheon%20recipes

    As seen on a healthy eating and moving site, if you eat everything on the menu = 3,000 calories.

  10. DeniseVB says:

    Ok, I did have to watch the parade, on non-talking headless Cspan so it wasn’t so bad. Though did hit mute when the crowd started chanting ObamaObamaObama. Wait. What? Isn’t this for all America and a historic tradition? How about UsaUsaUsa ? That would certainly be a more post-election uniting rallying chant. I think OFA members (now Organizing for America) were scattered along the route to start the chant.

    I

  11. Hey, Mr. Broad-brush. Poetry DOES NOT suck. Not even inaugural poetry. For example, check out Maya Angelou @ Bill Clinton’s inauguration. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~oliver/soc220/Lectures220/Angelou.htm

    Some of us write that stuff and have for years. Some of us have been paid for writing it and won awards and shit. Reading your poetry comment is like you reading me saying TAYLOR SWIFT CANNOT CARRY A TUNE IN A BUCKET. And I would never do that. Except when you piss me off. :mrgreen:

  12. honoracarroll says:

    Embarrassed to say that I just checked my facebook and my BIL’s comment popped up: ” Love that Richard Blanco poem too. He rocked it.” Fortunately, I married the family’s smart brother.

  13. driguana says:

    Having just finished my first full length book of poetry….which I only read to funked up groovy, live jazz….I have to say you are a tough lot…what I find most interesting about the poet is how much he looks like Paul Ryan…..found the poem, how shall I say, a bit corny….like in amber graves of wane…
    I actually thought Lupe Fiasco’s poetic rap was much better…..

    http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/21/report-rapper-lupe-fiasco-thrown-offstage-at-inauguration-event-after-anti-obama-rant/

    • swanspirit says:

      It was much better , and congrats on the book , is it available to read ?
      I write a line or two myself, but i am addicted to Chinese Poetry,

      Peach Blossom at Dalin Temple
      Bai Juyi

      Across the world this June, the petals all have fallen,
      But the mountain temple’s peach blossom has just begun to bloom.
      I regretted so much that spring had gone without a trace,
      I didn’t know that it had only moved up here.

      • driguana says:

        Very sweet…..I tend toward the Imagists….William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Frost, Sandburg, T.S. Eliot and the likes…appreciate some of the poems posted earlier…
        myiq…..my son, also a budding poet, but very different than I….dig a poem based on QB signal-calling…it was hilarious…you’da dug it…even if you hate poetry…

  14. myiq2xu says:

    Is anyone else having problems with Twitter today?

    • HELENK says:

      Twitter experiencing access issues, including intermittent site downtime and t.co link failures – @TheNextWeb

  15. Denise- the beef stew recipe is up above. Let me know if you try it. My family loves it!

  16. HELENK says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/01/21/tingles-compares-obama-second-inaugural-to-gettysburg-address/

    there is something really wrong with tweety tingles. Has he had a psych exam lately?? he needs one

    • HELENK says:

      her usual no classy self

    • Somebody says:

      Ah even the new wighat can’t hide the nastiness that is our FLOTUS.

      For the life of me I can’t understand the anger this woman harbors. She went to Ivy league schools, had great jobs, two beautiful daughters and is the first lady of the United States of America. Yet she has a chip on her shoulder the size of a Mack truck.

      Why on earth can’t she see how very fortunate she is? I dont’ get it.

    • angienc (D) says:

      For the love of God! She’s not supposed to even be eating — she should have eaten beforehand & just “picked” at the plate in order to NOR be *eating* in public like that & so that she could spend her time being gracious & chatty to everyone.
      I’m just a rube but even my mother taught me THAT much.

    • swanspirit says:

      While her hubby picks his nose at the table , Didja notice ? whatta pair

      • angienc (D) says:

        Like school in the summer time:

        No Class.

        Of course, with 1/2 the country even worse, they look at them & think “sophisticated & elegant.”

    • votermom says:

      My MO impersonation: :roll:

    • angienc (D) says:

      AP has picked it up — it’s under headlines on Yahoo when I logged in! LOL

  17. myiq2xu says:

    “I know some of you may have a distressingly partisan view of the festivities in Washington. You may not be on board with all the jubilation. So look at it this way: Today marks the midpoint of the Obama presidency. In other words, this is hump day. It’s all downhill from here!”

    Mark Steyn

  18. HELENK says:

    http://www.facebook.com/ShutUpImStillTalking

    this website will make you laugh on any given day

  19. yttik says:

    Arrrggg, in honor of MLK, today is not President’s day! A couple of local stores are having President’s Day sales and it really ticked me off.

    ‎”Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

  20. HELENK says:

    http://www.newsmax.com/US/alveda-king-bible-obama/2013/01/20/id/472237

    I can understand her mixed emotions about backtrack using MLK’s bible.
    on one hand backtrack being sworn it shows that blacks and whites have come a long way.

    on the other hand
    backtrack represents nothing of what MLK believed in.

  21. HELENK says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/9816878/Barack-Obama-inauguration-a-call-for-unity-that-may-go-unheeded-by-half-the-country.html

    there will be no unity for the next four years and that is how the backtrack bunch want it to be. They go out of their way to create strife in this country

  22. myiq2xu says:

    Obama’s first two years in office were guided by the how-to-win-in-Washington tactics of Rahm Emanuel, his first chief of staff and a veteran of the Clinton administration and Capitol Hill.

    Emanuel subscribed to the theory that in Washington, “if you aren’t pitching, you are catching,” as one former senior official said. And Emanuel did not want Obama, with his popularity high and his party controlling Congress, to wait for the ball.

    That’s not a baseball reference.

  23. swanspirit says:

    Rachel Maddow just commented on something Obama did that I found odd and narcissistic . Before Obama left the platform where he took the oath of office , he stopped on his way out turned around and looked at the crowd for an extended period of time .
    While showing a clip of that moment ;Madcow went to great lengths to point out what he said while looking out over the crowds ;and that you could even read his lips . He said , ” I won’t see this again”
    Well ,Rachel blathered on about how precious this moment was as an insight into the “man” and went on and on about how this shows how he takes in the sheer monumentality ( I made that word up ) of his office and the importance of his office and himself and blahblah .

    I don’t get it . We do this every four years ,and of course he can see this again . We invite former presidents , there were two there today .
    O WAIT .. he won’t see this again for HIMSELF .
    Rachel missed the real insight , she probably wouldn’t get it if you pounded it into her head with a hammer .

  24. angienc (D) says:

    A palate cleanser after today’s bullshit:

  25. DandyTiger says:

  26. DandyTiger says:

  27. myiq2xu says:

    Patrick McManus:

    The First Deer

    People often ask me how I ever became such an awful hunter. The answer is my first deer. I never fully recovered from it. Many years ago I reported on this incident in a column for Field & Stream Magazine. I believe that column was collected in my first book, A Fine & Pleasant Misery. I could tell you for certain but I would have to get up and walk across the room and check the book. Anyway, the report went something like this. Although my memory may be a little shaky, everything about this report is true.

    When I was 14 years old, there was nothing I liked better than deer hunting. But I had one problem. I had never been and had no one to take me, because my father had died when I was very young and all the neighbors were afraid to be around me when I was armed. So one fall day I decided to take matters into my own hands. I tied my deer rifle to the handle bars of my bicycle, put a little sack lunch in the basket, got on and started pumping up the mountain in quest of my very first deer.

    About half way up the mountain I came across a real hunters’ camp. It was beautiful! Just like one of the illustrations of a hunting camp in an outdoor magazine. There were big white-wall tents, men walking around in their beautiful hunting gear, big four-wheel drive vehicles—oh, it was absolutely wonderful! When the hunters saw me, pumping my bike up the mountain in quest of my very first deer, they thought I was the funniest thing they had ever seen and they started hooting and hollering and teasing me. I said to myself, “You guys just wait! You’ll be surprised when I get a deer before you do!”

    Well, just as I crested the top of the mountain a beautiful four-point buck stepped out of the brush and stood there looking at me. I didn’t know what to do—I’d never shot anything before, but finally I managed to snap off a shot. That deer dropped like a rock! I was amazed! It had been such a difficult shot, too. The rifle was still tied to the handlebars!

    I rushed over to the deer to look for a bullet hole but couldn’t find any. Then I noticed a big chunk had been taken out of one of its antlers. I had hit it so hard in the antlers that I had killed it! My problem then was how to get the deer home so my grandmother could dress it out for me.

    I somehow managed to drag the deer over to my bicycle. (Deer are a whole lot heavier than you might think.) First I tried draping it over the rear-fender carrier but its hind legs dragged on one side and its head and front legs on the other side, so I knew that wouldn’t work. Suddenly I remembered that I often carried friends of mine astraddle of the rear-fender carrier! Yes! I thought. I twisted the deer up and around and finally got it sitting astraddle of the carrier. Then I tied each of its front legs to either side of the handlebars. Finally, I wiggled in between its legs and got on the seat. I now had the deer’s head draped over my right shoulder. I started to pedal—it’s a lot harder to pedal with a deer on a bicycle than you might think.

    Just as the front wheel of my bike went over the crest of the mountain and we started down the steep decline, I heard something strange. I had never heard anything like it before—it sounded kind of like–I don’t know exactly what–kind of like –a snort. I turned and looked at the deer. It was blinking its eyes! Right away the deer panicked—its first time on a bicycle—but there was nothing I could do about that now! The bike was picking up speed and bouncing over rocks and around logs and the deer was thrashing around and blowing deer slobber all over my face and it was terrible.

    Just then we passed the hunting camp. I could see the hunters were surprised I had got a deer before they did.

    We continued on down the mountain and suddenly I realized I had made a serious mistake. I had forgotten to tie down the deer’s hind legs. As it thrashed around it somehow managed to get its hind hooves on the pedals. And then it caught on to pedaling! It started to like it! Now we were really flying down the mountain! If you think a deer can run fast, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a deer of a bicycle! When we reached the bottom, I threw myself off and lay there on the ground as I watched the deer disappear over the horizon with my bike!

    Later I heard that it was shot by police–while holding up a liquor store–in Tacoma, Washington–with my rifle!

    I think that first deer is the reason I never became a very good hunter.

  28. myiq2xu says:

    I just tried reading a transcript of Obama’s Second Coronation speech. I gave up after two paragraphs.

  29. myiq2xu says:

    Biden Working His Way Through Scratch-Off Tickets During Obama’s Swearing-In

    As President Barack Obama recited the inaugural oath that will formally commence his second presidential term, onlookers confirmed Monday that Vice President Joe Biden was frantically working his way through a large pile of scratch-off lottery tickets. “Shit, no ringers yet, but once you get into that groove, Lady Luck rewards you with a hot payoff, and I’m gonna be right here when she does,” said the vice president, taking an occasional swig from a brown-bagged tall boy of Keystone Ice before continuing to scrape at a long spool of scratchcards with a thumbnail. “I’ve got about a dozen of these Funky 5’s, and these bad boys can pay out 200 large with the bonus multiplier. I don’t even bother with those lousy-ass one- and two-dollar ones. Casino Joe’s hunting big game today.” At press time, Obama had just concluded the swearing-in ceremony when sources reported Biden had jumped up from his seat and screamed “Fuck yeah!” before leaving the inauguration stage to redeem a “Free Ticket” win at a nearby gas station.

  30. threewickets says:

    I don’t read much poetry, but even I could tell this poem reeked. Saccharine and cornier than the Iron Chef chairman from the original Japan series. Honestly, I’d rather listen to this original Coke commercial.

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