So Hoagland

9781555977184.pngThis afternoon was our monthly Living Poetry Book Club meeting and we discussed Tony Hoagland’s 2015 book Application for Release from the Dream. Unlike some of our recent selections, these poems mix humor and pathos in simple yet evocative language. Here’s my favorite stanza from A History of High Heels:

… because today is one of those days when I am starting to suspect
that sex was just a wild-goose chase
in which I honk-honk-honked away
three-quarters of my sweet, unconscious life.

I also noticed some Buddhist themes in reaction to the absurdity of life but I may be reading too much of myself into his poetry. So for today’s poem-a-day, I steal a bunch of his best lines. Enjoy!

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “So (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “So Cool,” “So Stupid,” “So Not What I Would’ve Done,” “So Sweet,” or so many other possibilities.

So Hoagland

I too have felt my life crushed
like an aluminum can
by a woman,
and the need to sink into literature
instead of flipping and flopping
around inside myself
like a poor armadillo or raccoon
that doesn’t know it’s been hit
by a car.

His metaphors communicate
deeper than water
because we’re both white males,
firmly ensconced in middle age,
trying to make sense
of social life
and misunderstandings,
and searching for the precise word
that hasn’t been discovered

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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