the bad poetry method

When I’m stuck in writing or don’t know what to write in my notebook, writing short lines that are lyrical and/or angsty and vaguely like song lyrics or bad drippy poetry usually works. By “works” I mean that at the end of a page or two I feel unburdened and maybe a few tiny ideas have trickled in about what’s coming up in whatever I’m working on. And maybe I’m laughing at the ridiculous emo of it, but kindly. Sometimes I mix in the actual song lyrics I’m hearing if I’m listening to music, or phrases from overheard conversation.

Here’s a sample. The middle part is noodling over my next bit of nanonovel. And Leif Erikson is the name of a local trail.

what does she think
of me what do they think of me
a v of geese flying away
or maybe just to the next golf course
the wild cry is the same
we’re the same
wild playing candy crush
wild on the bus
wild eyed
yesterday, combing 24 hours
finding so little. Wasn’t I supposed to find more?
working on something alleviates this.
why are these dinner tables
so explosive?
Because these people wouldn’t, and don’t usually, eat together.
There are expectations.
Hey Mel. So this tutor will be kind of a big deal.
Unless she or he is a flake and you conceal it.
Someone who knows lots of professors.
Maybe a Quest editor.
Or another faculty brat, but an older, tenured one. A library rat. A lifeguard.
Burping into my Emergen-C like an aquarium.
Staedtler non-photo blue pencil from Blick’s.
near the Chinese Garden.
So fucking tired of this already chores
and where to stash the car and what
can we do with no exercise
I want to walk on Leif Erickson
maybe Sunday

It isn’t worth much, and yet it inched me forward. I think I like this method because it has just a little more breathing room than “the pen must not stop moving” freewrites. And it can switch mood on a dime, and whatever came before is left behind more completely because of the line break. It feels more emotional yet I feel in less danger of being carried away.

It’s something I do that I’ve never run across in a class or a book, and I guess I like that too.

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