Friday, March 2, 2012

26 Poems For Your Perusal: Alpha Poetry

As I may have mentioned before, I'm working on compiling some of my writings for three separate e-books that I hope to put together this year. One will be a short fiction collection, one will be poetry, and another will be a collection of the "best" of my blog posts (if any even qualify as "best").

Back in my younger years, I used to write a lot of mostly silly love (and anti-love) songs and poems that I never ended up doing anything with – a good deal of which are really, really bad (more on this in the next day or so). But some of my newer stuff still seems workable, with some minor (and some major) editing.

One of the styles of poetry I've been doing the past few years is something I call "Alpha Poetry." It's a simple writing exercise that gets the creative juices flowing when I'm in a rut; and occasionally, actual decent poetry comes out of it.

The concept is simple: I go down the alphabet, one letter at a time, and compose a short (one stanza) poem in which the first line begins with that letter of the alphabet. I write an "A" poem, then a "B", a "C", and so on.

Often the poem is nothing more than a thought in verse form, and most of the time it doesn't even rhyme. That's okay – it doesn't have to. Capitalization is also much less important in these than it would normally be, especially for a hard-nosed grammarian like myself.

Occasionally the poem will end up being longer than four lines, but that's usually what each one ends up being. The poems are usually unrelated to each other, and can range from the absurd to the profound to the macabre to the "religious" (I hate that word, but you get my point). I never know what words will flow out until they do.

I will likely use a few of these Alpha Poetry "cycles" in my upcoming poetry collection, as they seem to me to be somewhat of a unique idea in poetry – a sort of flash-fiction poem, if you will. Here's one cycle that I dredged up. I hope you'll enjoy it....Let me know what you think.

a ghost told me
to tell you
to forget the past

buy me a postcard
send it to my house
if i don't answer
assume i don't care

can you tell the difference
between love and hate?
often the symptoms
go hand in hand

dreading your arrival
i lock the doors
shut out the lights
and hide
where i can't be found

eat your words
before they get cold
before the flies come in
before you remember
what you said

from a phone booth outside
i dial your number
knowing you're there
seeing you answer
but i cannot speak

for those who are bad
is easy to come by
because so much of it
is never used

half of what i feel
is reflected in
what i let you see
the other half never sees
the light of day

i can't explain the comings and goings
just knowing that you want to know
is all i need to know

just five seconds
that could change my life
depending on what i choose

keep her in your thoughts
and prayers
and on your mind
she may be gone
but you don't have to forget

little do they know
that they are doing us a favor
by not showing up
without them
we are better off

maybe there is some truth
in every lie
but what i said
was nothing worth repeating

no, that isn't right
but then again, what is?
it's a relative term
but the family's always feuding

on the first day
of every month
i look at your picture
and wonder why

physical beauty
was never one of his assets
though he did look better
with his eyes closed

queen of my heart
i crown you now
a useless offering
i know

right around the corner
they say i'll find it
or the next one
or the next one
sometimes i get tired
of walking

say it like you mean it
or don't say it at all
two words – "I'm sorry"
i want to hear you lie

this is the first time
i've looked at you
through rose-colored glasses
and yet i feel as though
i've read your face before

understanding everything
would take forever
limit yourself
to the things most difficult

victory is ours
but in a conflict
who really wins?

what's that song?
i can remember the melody
but the words escape me
it said something about love

x marks
where there should be checks
don't say no
we need your help

you brought me more than enough
of what i needed most
how did you know it was love?
thanks for your pity

don't let them get away
i'm coming back for one
the one with the saddest eyes

Now that I've given you an example of my Alpha Poetry, why not try it for yourself? Even if you don't usually write that much, this could be a good starting point, or maybe just a few minutes' diversion. Feel free to post your own Alpha Poetry in the comments box below. I'd love to read what you might write.

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