Exchange in Verse Between M. Lyon and M. Thomas

In Communication, Life as Lived, Poems on May 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm
Editor’s Note: For reasons passing understanding, one M. Lyon has decided that Mr. Thomas is a fit subject for a project in romanticization. To his great credit, he sent me a request for information in verse. I have posted his request and my response.
“M. Lyon‘s Project”
M. Lyon
Pt. I

I heard a legend of a man,
a man who was quite great.
He is the focal point of my master plan,
and the reason i’ve cleaned my academic slate.
I once heard he lived in a closet for a year;
only appearing at 4.
This mere fact made my purpose clear,
I must write fiction until I simply can write no more.
Yet there is a barrier in my path:
simple lack of facts.
I need to know some info,
on a thing about your high school days.
I’ve abandoned my pattern,
and probably my meter,
but who gives a crap,
I’m just trying to get some facts.
Did you ever toss a man in a river?
perhaps on his birthday?
In freezing cold Washington,
on a Thursday? Tuesday? Maybe never?
Who’s to say?
All I know is this:
A story is brewing,
about a man who graduated in linen.
The story will forever go incomplete,
if I cannot muster some details.
About your senior year of high school.

Note: This is my response to Mr. Lyon’s project.

“An Open Book”
M.S. Thomas

Not really in the mood
but you’ll think me quite rude
if I don’t make a reply
around me on the plane
folks eat, are entertained
no one’s writing save I

So I’ll take a look back
to days at the dog track
where I ended up by mistake
thought we could beat the odds
just silly teenage sods
there was no money to make

I know not if J.I.
has spun a pack of lies
concerning my personhood
Yes, I wrote poems for girls
who told me they were pearls
ah–but they weren’t any good

About a cold river,
+ the rest of his quiver
of myths and exaggerations
Well…if someone was shoved
it was done out of love
or of congratulations

So to upstate New York
in a trenchcoat–what a dork
but the world took pity
the life there was fine
but naught was on the line
should have gone to the city

I did two things quite well,
needing something to sell
I wrote brilliant excuses
‘bout ridiculous capers,
couldn’t finish my papers
I claimed aces, held dueces

My second great skill
is one I hold still
I fell for crazy ladies
locals, Russians, and Turks
they all drove me beserk
with a boatload of maybes

Four years in the dorms
and countless reforms
led to little of note
I left sans a sob
a plan or a job
and without my trenchcoat

~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~

Editor’s Note: We are not intending to make a habit on Sympathies of posting private e-mail communication, but in this case we can’t resist.  Here is M. Lyon’s response to my response to his project.  We will reproduce the poem, which we will use as an excuse for some general comments on meter and rhyme in poetry.

~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~
“M. Lyon‘s Project, II”

M. Lyon

Response in verse was fantastic,
Incredible more, considering location.
In magnitude drastic,
Oregon’s response was enthusiastic.
Wish you had heard J.I’s oration.
Romantic advice taken directly to thy heart.

I write frivolously, igniting amino acids,
All amounting to a considerable summation.
Good? Maybe; hopefully: a classic,
Yet my aims are not so bombastic.
Not all well in our nation,
Swine Flu! Kill it with some marital arts.

“Part about Local Girl” a bit spastic,
managing moments victim of inflation.
She was local, yet smart and sarcastic;
Her views on Hamiltonians* iconoclastic;
At least she provided momentary fixation,
But those girls were sour as stale tarts.

* M.T. and J.I. both attended Hamilton College in the state of New York.

  1. Mr. Anderson, thanks for dropping by Sympathies, and for the stanza.

  2. I’m not sure Mr. Anderson is classical, but he’s damn sure classic.

    Matt, I believe boatload is money.

  3. i might have gone with “eye fulls of maybes”
    from beautiful but crazy ladies
    with mistakes being generally repeated
    my first post on your site
    i’ll hope with great might
    that it doesn’t die and get deleted

  4. Thanks! Like anything halfway decent this started on a yellow pad. with a whole lot of crossing out. Draft was done in a hour, but then I got stuck. The second to last stanza read:

    My second great skill
    is one I hold still
    I fell for crazy ladies
    be they Russians or Turks
    they all drove me beserk
    with a whole lot of maybes

    and I added locals and changed “whole lot” to “boatload.” But am still hung up on the line–is “boatload” OK here?

  5. Is this the finest poem ever written? Most likely, no. Is this my favorite poem ever written? Emphatically yes. Bravo, sir. You have the gift.

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