Old

You’re only as old as you feel, the adage states,

an appealing fantasy, but clearly untrue,

as shown by wrinkled skin and added weight,

the piper’s bills for what you used to do.

Even if your step still springs, it hurts,

though you can’t recall what made it so.

Motivation comes only in spurts;

metabolism has begun to slow.

The actors that you watched as teens on screen

have been divorced three times and have grandkids;

it’s not something you thought you’d ever see.

Basically your youth has hit the skids.

It could be worse, of course; you’re not dead yet–

but you’d better hurry with goals unmet.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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Wordsworth Is Too Much with Us

For my British-literature students, currently reading the Romantics

 

Wordsworth is too much with us late and soon;

reading and reading, we waste our hours,

missing out on nature with its flowers.

To his odes, we’ve sacrificed our youth.

All these words that, stacked, would reach the moon,

the pages we’ll be turning at all hours;

assaulting us with iambs while we cower,

into bed he makes us want to swoon.

He excites us–not! I’d rather, dude,

be one of those Philistines that I dis,

so might I quit reading his endless Prelude

and sink into my comfy bed so soothing,

or drink some beers while I watch Netflix.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Scenes from the Thirteenth Night


Scenes from the Thirteenth Night

1.

“Oh, Seb, I thought we’d never be together,”

Antonio whines as they lie in bed entwined,

his dark curls resting on Sebastian’s chest.

And Sebastian strokes that hair and responds,

“I told you, Tony, ‘Livia was just a practical move;

it’s you I’ve always loved, from that first time at sea.”

2.

“’Cesario,’ Olivia says to Viola,” that’s what

I’ll always call you, Love, ‘cause even though

your secret maidenhead’s what I wanted to claim,

I still like you looking all butched up in your boots.

“Call me what you like,” Vi replies, “as long

as I can get you out of that silk gown

and fifty layers of undergarments.”

3.

“Feste, sweet Feste, I’m such a fool for you,”

Orsino admits, “and I love it when you come

round here to fool around with me.”

“But, Orsie, there’s no greater foolishness

than fooling with a fool,” jokes Feste,

“though I concede I want to take advantage

of your folly—and take your ducal scepter.”

4.

“Malvolio, you’re so uptight,” Andrew says;

“what you need’s to relax and have a little fun.”

“But Andy, how’m I supposed to loosen up

when I’ve just been bashed by obnoxious

Toby and that wicked wench Maria?

What I need’s to get my revenge on those assholes!”

“The past is past, Mal, just let them go

and pound my eager ass instead.”

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

A Sledding Accident

Rage, that’s all I could feel,

Running with Jim Carrey

After a few drinks at happy hour.

It had been as awkward

As a prom date on Pluto.

After I got all dressed up

In my coarsely woven

Wool crop top and

Purple autumn rain boots,

He had the never to bring

His seal along, and as if

The third wheel weren’t bad enough,

The trail was a bumpy as a needle

Hitting a record with a jerk

During a fracking earthquake.

I was so mad it wasn’t citrus

I put in his hummus,

It was death by poison.

I would’ve got away with it too,

if it had snowed,

but it hadn’t,

so I just sat there on my sled

waiting for winter,

but the cops got there first.

Note: My results from a random-word poetry exercise I did with my students in class last night.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Poetry Writing: A Crash Course

Crap rhymes with sap,

avoid o’er, e’en, and hap;

Shakespeare counted on one hand’s fingers.

Beyond that you’re mostly just stringing

some words together, doing some lines*

(*or glasses, bottles, pills, injections, or whatever).

Telling’s no good, but showing’s real fine.

Roses are tired, so give them a rest;

we readers would rather you wouldn’t confess.

A verse is a stanza, but some poetry’s verse.

This advice won’t save you, but it won’t make you worse.

Never mind the wasteland; you’re living in it.

And that wheelbarrow poem don’t mean shit.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper