On January 18, 2011, Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac public radio spot featured a humorous poem by Jason Fried entitled “Daily I Fall in Love with Waitresses.” Several weeks later, poet Susan Thurston, who couldn’t resist the temptation, answered with her poem, “Daily I Fall in Love with Mechanics” (Feb. 8, 2011). The two poems can be found on the Writers Almanac web site at:
Of course, the gauntlet had been thrown with Fried’s poem, but Thurston’s response led to downright poetic anarchy. The group of local writers, the Wayward Poets, that I belong to and meet with weekly at Mead’s Corner: A Fair Trades Coffee House here in Wichita, Kansas, couldn’t resist joining in the fray. Soon love was declared for cowboys, mailmen, baristas, meter maids, and so on – you get the picture. I shared one of my poems, “Daily I Fall in Love with Poets,” at a read-around at the Kansas Authors Club 2012 convention in Salina, Kansas last weekend, and was encouraged to post it. So here it is, a bit of tongue-in-cheek poetry for the day:
DAILY I FALL IN LOVE WITH POETS
Daily I fall in love with poets,
with their ink-smudged notebooks, their names
stamped in gold leaf on the linen covers:
EDNA EMILY ELIZABETH SARA CHRISTINA,
female poets with pens in their hands.
I love how they make me trace their women’s words
through lines that flow
like the curves of their clinging smocks,
their conforming skirts, their cloaked shawls.
I love the ones as slender as their
first slim volume of poems,
and I love the ones with the fullness of form
of their collected works.
I love the femininity of their free verse
and the sensuousness of their sonnets,
their proper but passionate parsing,
their wanton ways with words.
In reading their printed poems
I can imagine their graceful hands gliding,
feel them inscribing their verse and rhymes
on my parchment skin in India ink.
Daily I fall in love with poets pictured
posing on the covers of chapbooks,
prim or purposeful, pouting or pert.
They know the secrets of prosody
and I want them.
They have husbands and children and lovers
but are always pictured alone,
like Edna posing beneath that Magnolia tree
her first year at Vassar.
Daily I fall in love with poets;
I pull out one of their books:
one standing upright on the shelf,
or one leaning, provocatively,
against its neighbors,
but in the end I am invariably left hungry
for another poem, and always, always,
I arrive at the colophon
all too soon.
– Roy Beckemeyer
(Inpired by Elliot Fried’s “Daily I Fall In Love With Waitresses,” and Susan Thurston’s “Daily I fall In Love With Mechanics,” and dedicated to Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sara Teasdale, and Christina Rossetti)