Today’s Mixtape is brought to you by the letter F…no, not for that. Get your mind out of the gutter. F for fun! Poetry can take itself way too seriously, and so can poets. That includes me, I must admit. Sometimes it’s a good thing to let go and be a little silly, even if your topic is not necessarily so. Read “Broken Promises” by David Kirby below:
I have met them in dark alleys, limping and onearmed;
I have seen them playing cards under a single lightbulb
and tried to join in, but they refused me rudely,
knowing I would only let them win.
I have seen them in the foyers of theaters,
coming back late from the interval
long after the others have taken their seats,
and in deserted shopping malls late at night,
peering at things they can never buy,
and I have found them wandering
in a wood where I too have wandered.
This morning I caught one;
small and stupid, too slow to get away,
it was only a promise I had made to myself once
and then forgot, but it screamed and kicked at me
and ran to join the others, who looked at me with reproach
in their long, sad faces.
When I drew near them, they scurried away,
even though they will sleep in my yard tonight.
I hate them for their ingratitude,
I who have kept countless promises,
as dead now as Shakespeare’s children.
“You bastards,” I scream,
“you have to love me—I gave you life!”
The idea of broken promises, even ones made to the self, is not necessarily amusing in its own right. But Kirby makes it so by giving all of these broken things mopey little personalities, and the ending (although truthful in the sense that we cannot break promises we do not make) lets us see the humor in the situation.
If you want to write:
Choose a subject that could easily get serious (like broken promises). Personify the subject and/or use lighthearted descriptions to tell us about it. End with a piece of dialogue for a challenge – and have fun!