Monday, June 21, 2010

The hippo cycle

While preparing for my upcoming move, I discovered a box of 3.5-inch disks filled with writings from my high school and college years. I hope to perform some of the poetry at a future Kibbutz Coffeehouse, but for the moment I have to be content with posting the choicest bits right here. And what could be choicer than my hippo cycle? I still remember the night I started working on it: My parents told me dinner was ready, but I couldn't tear myself away from the computer. I miss that creative intensity and the sense of playfulness that, almost paradoxically, accompanied it. Finding these 15-year-old relics also reminded me of an interview Sasha Frere-Jones did several years back with Fiona Apple, in which she recalled something very similar:
FA: I used to write stories and stuff when I was in my room. I constantly think about this time. This makes me so sad in a certain way. I don’t know why I always reference this moment. I can remember sitting at my desk in my room, up at my mom’s house. And I remember my mom calling me for dinner over and over and over again, and me saying, “Wait, wait, wait,” because I was writing a story. I made up a story, and I was writing this twenty-page story. It was great, and I was finishing it up and I wasn’t going to leave until I was finished because I was really enjoying writing the story. I always remember that: I wasn’t going to go and eat dinner because I was finishing writing a story.

SFJ: Why is that sad?

FA: Because I wouldn’t do that now. Because I wouldn’t even start a story, let alone not go to dinner because I was finishing it.

SFJ: I think you’re being a little hard on yourself.

FA: That’s my job. Jesus.

Naturally, when I read that interview, it resonated deeply with me. It's not always clear how we go from creative dervishes to people who can't be bothered to start a story, but it's worth thinking about. Not so we can beat ourselves up, but so we can try to reclaim even a portion of what we had: that eagerness to make something new, to experiment, to play. And now, without further ado, the hippo cycle:
An Ode to Hippos Everywhere

The hippo's a majestic beast
In ev'ry shape and way,
Yet still there seems some ignorance
About its life and play.

The hippo's gray (we all know that),
And rather large and round.
Still, some of us (I won't name names)
Don't know where he is found.

The hippomus mammalius lives not in your backyard.
He dwells in rivers, swamps, and lakes,
And life is rather hard
For something so filled up with lard.

Indeed, proceed, hunt hippos!
(With camaras, not guns)
Don't let a hippo flatten you, however:
They weigh tons!

To conclude my lesson to
You readers mid-sized, large, and small,
I'll admit I don't know much
about the hippo-beast at all!

Hippo Limericks

There once lived a hippo from Dover,
Whose lifestyle seemed quite incomplete.
Legend says he aspired
To opera, was fired,
And ended up out on the street.

There once lived a hippo from Texas,
Who chased endlessly after her tail.
After years of hard work,
With a sigh and a smirk,
She succeeded, and then posted bail.

1 comment:

goreedgo said...

You were a teenage Ogden Nash!