Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Poetry Day

funny World Poetry Day
In 10th grade I was in Honors English. I was in Honors English for two reasons. The first was that I had almost failed 9th grade english and various adults concluded that I was bored. The second reason was that my friend Bob, who spent 9th grade in Honors English, said it was full of hot chicks that were friendly and liked books.

Hot 15-year old girls that liked reading?  I told my guidance counselor that I was up for the challenge. Sign me up for 10th grade Honors English! That summer my dreams were filled with me reclining in the shade reading Emily Dickinson to a tear-streaked goddess while my hand fidaddled with her intellectual cootch.

By April I was again almost failing english. Turns out I wasn't bored, I was stupid. Eleventh grade would find me back in good old regular english with the hot chicks that liked to make fun of me. But before the inevitable demotion, we were assigned a poetry project for poetry month. Twenty pages of poems, rhyming not required and actually discouraged because it was considered too low brow.

March 21st, while eating lunch, Bob remembered that our poetry assignment was due next period. He began scribbling into his spiral notebook. Forty minutes later he had twenty pages of crap. I decided that getting a hall pass to get a notebook from my locker and then scribbling for 40 minutes was not how I wanted to spend my lunch. I decided to lose a letter grade and hand in the project a day late.

A week later Mrs. Uhrlich handed back our poetry projects. She held Bob's 20 pages high above his desk and ran her fingers along the edge that had been ripped from his spiral notebook. Little pieces of paper fell down on Bob like a last gasp spring snow. Then she said the words that still make me snigger.

"This is the worst poetry project in the anals of english history."  She said anals not annals. Shit, that year of suffering was suddenly worth it.

When she got to my desk she remarked that my poem was reminiscent of Ogden Nash. Sadly, even with an extra 24 hours I had only managed a few lines. She made sure to tell the class I was 19 and seven eights short of a completed project.

I got a C. Bob got an F. Here's the poem.

The foot sat upon the floor
Odor escaping from every pore.

That C still pisses off Bob. He also hated "the foot." He thought it should have been "a foot." When I closed my eyes and visualized my poem I liked to think that there was a disconnected foot on the floor.

Bob is a lawyer now. I got to be a contributing writer at National Lampoon for a very short time. Mrs. Urhlich went on to star in two short stories I wrote later in the school year, Gracine Urhlich, Space Cadet and Gracine Urhlich, Woman Marine. They both got Bs.

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