Sorry to have left you in the lurch this past weekend with no Mixtape, but I was out (gasp!) enjoying myself at Riotfest in Chicago’s beautiful Humboldt Park. Punk/pop punk music – new school bands (Alkaline Trio, Rise Against, Dropkick Murphys, Frank Turner) and “old-school” punks like the Descendants, Elvis Costello, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Lots of beards. Lots of piercings. Lots of black. And two perfect days of weather – sunny and low 70s. I will have pictures soon.
So, now that you know about the weekend of rock, I will now explain the lobster part. I wrote last week about what a pleasure it was to attend a reading by Matt Guenette, author of American Busboy. The book is set in a large seafood restaurant where he worked, and I love his sense of humor and language play.
So take a second and go read Matt’s poem called “Clean” on Verse Daily. Go on.
How can you not like a poem whose first line invokes both an octopus and Vishnu? There is humor here – the managers as lifeguards, the customers sticking to tables and dropping lobsters – but there is also really beautiful language. My favorite line: “& when a busboy was cleaning a table/his hands should resemble a hummingbird’s/wings.” Wow. And the playfulness of spinning “the ketchup and shakers like pistols.” The customers are like superstitious kids who need these talismans to believe that everything is truly clean and right with the world.
If you want to write:
1. Set a poem in a place where you worked as a younger person. (If you are not still a younger person. Then this might be more difficult for you.) Try to remember both the “drags” and the playful parts of this employment. (For me, it would be mostly retail clothing sales. Although I did do a short stint under the yellow arches saying, “Would you like fries with that?”)
2. Write a poem where food figures prominently but is not the subject of the poem.