The Burn

You try to clench your teeth and steel your cheek,
You’ll brace your bones and fortify your feet,
But when the tempers spark and fighting starts,
There’s no defense against the punctuation mark.

Of course, you’ll shield yourself with clever words,
Riposting well, but nothing goes unheard.
Your wit’s deferred what since has left its mark:
There’s no defense against its punctuation mark,

And just as new brands have a phantom burn,
Alone and late at night you’ll toss and turn
And squirming, find that something found your heart
With no defense against a punctuation mark.

It’s singed its symbol that you still can feel,
Since burns are scars that only time can heal,
Although it leaves a hard and calloused part
That may fend off another punctuation mark

That shares its shape, but bear this well in mind:
A brand may never show a second time,
But it still burns, a permanent remark
That there’s no pain like punctuation marks.


~Michael Danger Caskey


The Actress Complains

You’ve said he’s undeserving and obtuse,
A social stick you never want to see,
He’s unreliable (save for abuse),
And always drains the room of energy;

Like how, as you explained to me before,
He shows up late for warm-up every time,
And when he does, he always looks so bored
Indifference which is a personal crime–

And how you caught him staring at your chest
(Not even through the corner of his eye)
And then you heard him mumbling “nice breasts,”
Oh what a wretched man–you could just die!

“I want nothing to do with him,” you shout,
But lately he’s been all you’ve talked about.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The One Time Laziness Is Acceptable

…is right now. Finals are finally over, and I’m currently on vacation. So, until I find the energy to write up something new, I’ll be posting old works fished up from the depths of time.
A poem, for those inclined to hear bitter old men:

The Muses Are Not Singing Anymore, or On Modern Poetry

The Muses are not singing anymore.
But those who listen close may find
An echo of forgotten lore
Left over from a better time,
Forgetting, when they look for more,
The Muses are not singing anymore.

These goddesses have stopped their song,
But this has not stopped mortals long:
These whispered echoes in the room
Have all been ripped to AutoTune,
And what was honey to the ears
Is now a blackened pitch to hear,
Like venom from a forking tongue
Which, seeping through the ears, becomes
A waxy, clumping, clotting ink:
Ambrosia for the dead to drink
And dream of immortality,
But formaldehyde to those who breathe.—
This is the very song we praise,
Forgetting more enlightened days,
When men still tried to find a rhyme
To join the song and dance divine,
Not giving in to draining age,
And bowing down to read a page,
Instead of bowing down to those
Who told the poet all he knows.
The Muses are not singing anymore.

And maybe this is why they stopped their score,
And why we sing in monotone:
The Muses who we once adored,
Once spurned, have left us all alone.
Whatever we now praise them for,
The Muses are not singing anymore.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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On Poetry

For the longest time I’ve thought that free verse was not real poetry. Now, I’m willing to accept that some damn good poems can be made using it (case in point: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Say what you will of his use of rhyme or maybe flow, but really, let’s not kid ourselves: he’s writing in free verse.). I’ve still never been a fan of writing in free verse, despite this. It just seems to me that it’s a breeding ground for every other would-be poet to write in this one form, convinced of their superiority and instant ability when they’ve only just begun writing (because, in all honesty, one does not simply walk into Mordor start writing masterpieces; poetry is one of the biggest trial-and-error processes around), and when all they’re really doing is writing chopped-up prose.

I was in a Creative Writing class in poetry once, and one time while peer reviewing someone else’s poem in front of the class, one of my critiques was that it sounded more like chopped up prose than a poem. I was cut off by the real-life example of Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D., who explained in the most matter-of-fact tone of voice that Prose Poetry was actually a legitimate form of poetry, and respected in its field. I thought he was being sarcastic, but no, he was dead serious. Here I thought saying that someone wrote what looks like a stream of consciousness broken into arbitrary lines in order to fit it into a different genre was a bad thing. Apparently it’s a compliment now. It’s almost like free verse isn’t a branch of poetry, but a form that’s people are expected to write, so that it has branches of its own. Call me a traditionalist, but there’s a reason that poetry is so closely related to meter and rhyming aesthetics, and there’s a reason why I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard someone say an accidental rhyme and follow it with “I’m a poet and don’t even know it!” Maybe I’m just an old man, snapping at younger kids about how they’re corrupting the world, and how things were so much better back in the old days, when men were men and a nickel could buy you groceries for a week. I’m only nineteen, though.

Anyway, a poem:

Prose Poetry

“Prose Poetry,” he says to me,
“I promise you it’s real.
It’s really unconventional
And has much more appeal.
Its meanings can be understood;
Its words are less surreal.

“For rhymes are cheap and overused,
And meter’s hard to write,
So when the language seems abused,
The poem must be right.
Before, it took some skill to write,
Now anybody might!

“And that’s what I call poetry!”
I laughed so hard I think I cried.

~Michael Danger Caskey
Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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