How to Write heavy, deep, symbolic Poetry

by Jason Sanders

Reglar Wiglar #3, 1994

Nowadays people, having read the title, often come up to me on the street and exclaim; "Terry, how can I write heavy, deep, symbolic poetry?" I, of course, usually respond like the caring big star that I am, by motioning to my hefty Chilean bodyguards to "work these cheeses over," but sometimes the question, if put correctly (like in a big crack vile) intrigues me. The following is a list of pointers designed to get all of you nauseatingly vacant, whiny simpletons away from watching yourselves drool to writing cool poetry. It's a long and painful journey from being a bland, faceless entity to being a bland obnoxious poet, but hopefully these hints will help you and your ugly offspring succeed and endeavor.

Probably the most important thing you'll need in this struggle, aside from rich parents, is a neurotic, depressed, whiny attitude. Lose any hope for the future you may have foolishly possessed and wipe that infantile grin off your face. Life is frighteningly bleak, nightmarishly hellish, and annoyingly whiny in poetry, so your life had best start reflecting these things. Try this sample exercise...

A group of people is...

1) a lot of people
2) a group of people
3) a faceless gorgon, drowning in a pool of the world's guilty blood


Also, some imaginative role-playing often works well. Pretend every one is upside down and inside out and on fire, or that you're a big tree facing frost and nasty bothersome insects. Also, "a gaping wound full of the pus of a dead god" is usually considered a good sign, and can be looked upon as a promising step on your way to poetic stardom (or insanity, but hey, that's cool too).

Now try adopting as many silly personality traits as possible (of course some of you might want to start by adopting any personality traits--ha, ha). Start talking to yourself. Ask people if they would like to see your appendix scar. Make little speedboat noises on the subway. Also, repeated shoutings to passersby that you are the Badminton King! or that people are "out to get you" are quite desirable and will increase your reputation among the peasants and can at least help you make friends on the bus. The second step to writing poetry is the correct poetical appearance. Try wandering aimlessly about the streets with a "brooding, yet in a way painfully sensitive" look about your face. Also a change of wardrobe is especially helpful; every fool knows that all of your great poets were usually quite fashion conscious. The key word that should be flittering through your "brooding, yet in a way painfully sensitive" mind as you comb the bargain racks a Fashionation is "somber".

Okay, now the only nearly unnecessary step left is actually writing poetry. Write in "spurts of emotion," late a night while normal people are asleep and try to have your eyes glaze over in feverish thought, or an oxygen crazed stupor as our doctor friends might put it. If you can manage, have your pen "spurt forth raw human emotions and base feelings, like dark rivulets of blood" or Cheez Whiz. Use dark, graphic, somber words and phrases like "shallow graves," "blood," "murky dankness of a weeping abyss," "godwomb," decapitation," "bowling," etc.

The symbolism you use should be nearly indecipherable to any normal human and if you can't think of any cool symbols then take more heroin--I mean try harder. Try writing a poem about three really big fish, all wearing huge neon aprons with the words, "kiss the cook" on them. All of whom are riding a giant vacuum cleaner and who spend their off-time translating Better Homes & Gardens into Sanskrit, with the help of a one-armed blind man who periodically flogs himself with a rope of acorns while screaming "John 4:19". Then claim to reporters (or doctors) that it all represents our basic alienation and ennui in a hostile, uncaring world that possesses no hope of an afterlife or a good lay, with the big vacuum representing our will to power, while the fish represent the German's guilt over the Holocaust and the rope of acorns represents a big dog. If no one believes you then accuse them of being anal retentive and storm out in a huff, your long black coattails flowing behind you, all the while remembering to look brooding, yet in a way painfully sensitive. (By the way, to achieve this effect, think about how sad life is, or just pretend you're constipated).

After writing your poems be sure everyone knows about them. Tell everyone that you are a "poet." While in public, constantly bitch about things to prove to people how fucking sensitive you are, talk about the Goddard movie you just saw and how very Kafkaesque it was. Talk about rain forests or veal calves and baby seals or the new car daddy just bought you. Whine about how you don't think that America really is a democracy. Bitch about poverty. Bitch about your Catholic upbringing. Bitch about your rich parents some more.

These helpful tips will soon have you on the way to being a sensitive poet, and if you don't succeed then fuck off!


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