Friday, June 18, 2010

Parental Poetry

In another post, I joked (you might have missed it) that "Poem Addressing People Who Don’t Like Poetry But Are Giving It A Shot With This Poem" by Peter Davis was speaking to my parents. It begins, "I mean, you’ve made it this far into the first sentence, so you must be having some fun." I'm reminded of the end of this school year, when I helped Peter with a book release party here at Ball State for the release of his new book Poetry! Poetry! Poetry! That night, my parents got their first taste of contemporary poetry.

Sitting in the back corner of a room of professors and college students, my parents were happy because I was happy. As an only child, I have always been granted their full attention. When I played sports, they were in the bleachers, even for the excruciating four years I played Little League baseball. How fun could it have been to watch me hit .083? When I went through my First Aid Kit stage (this probably needs a post of explanation on its own), packing ones for fishing trips, basketball games, even picnics at the park, my parents supplied me with band aids, tweezers, and peroxide. In comparison, this poetry experience, I hoped, would have been one of the most enjoyable things I had ever "only-childed" them into doing.

The day after the reading, my good friend Ashley, who has never met my parents, asked me, "Were your parents at the reading last night?" She knew it, having picked out my dad's "happy but confused look," the one I generally display in most social situations. It's true my parents were smiling, were happy, because I was happy, as I mumbled through the introduction, shook as I videotaped this way cool night.

I often wonder, as I assume most super loved kids do, why are they doing this? Why are my parents sitting in the rain to watch me on the sideline of a football game, or why did they buy me a trick bike that I will always be too afraid to ride? As Peter's poem continues, I think the answer for my parents goes something like this, "How fun is this? It’s great! Hilarious!" That was a sentiment my dad shared after I asked him how he liked Peter's reading.

Sure, I think this poetry stuff is great, but my dad would rather be hunting, watching HBO, or mowing the yard, surely. No, he wanted to be there, wanted to buy a book, meet my professors and friends, and watch me try to do something he never had the chance to do (be a college dude!).

I'll leave you with this poem "Poem Addressing Teenagers Who Are New To Reading Poetry" by Peter Davis (not far from my worldview as a teenager) followed by my dad's reaction:

Seriously, some poetry fucking rocks, like this poem! You see what I mean? I mean, you might be thinking, seriously, dude, I didn't know poetry could be this fucking cool. But it is so fucking cool. It is so fucking cool, motherfuckers! It's better than a movie cause most movies suck. And it's better than TV because TV sucks! And fuck yeah, some poems suck, but this one doesn't. It kicks ass! Fucking A!

Dad's Reaction:
Ha. That is so right!


A.C. Ford said...

I love the Gobble "Happy but Confused" look and I think your folks seem like good folks. What's even more awesome than them being good folks is you being wise enough to be grateful for them.

Tyler G said...

Gratefulness is something I've struggled with for a long time. Like for awhile, I tried to play off all I had been blessed with. Now, I'm trying to accept it and be grateful. I think that's right.

That look is patented.

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