Searching Old Boxes for Old Poems

Last night, I decided to rummage through all our boxes to try to track down a really old notebook of my poems. Since we’re working on the house, a large portion of all our possessions have remained in the boxes we packed them in, many years ago.

For the most part, we’ve done without. But whenever we decide that we really need to find something… it becomes a bit of a treasure hunt.

Tonight, I was looking for an old notebook that I had in high school, chock full of really, really terrible poems that I wrote. And that I forced my friends to read. And that, despite me never apologizing for that egregious act of vanity… have been kind enough to remain my friends.

As I started opening up boxes, I found tons of things from years gone by. Here is a collection of poems titled “red and green,” given out by Aimee during our time at the MFA Program at The Ohio State University.

And it came with a note!

The whole thing was bookended with some nice green and red paper (of course).

Poems of love and envy. I really should have grabbed a photo of all the writers involved (both students and faculty). One of these days, I should scan this whole thing…

One of Aimee’s poems.

Other finds: lots and lots of cassettes.

A graduation photo, featuring Mark, Juliet, and Aimee.

Me and Juliet!

Good lord, it’s hard to imagine that I was ever this thin.

Group photo of a workshop at OSU with Billy Collins, about two or three years before he became Poet Laureate

I didn’t take a lot of photographs in undergrad or grad school. Which may explain why most of the photos I have come from other people. And may also explain why I tend to hold on to tons of stuff – birthday cards from people, little mementos, useless little items.

Like this thing. It’s an ID badge for when I volunteered at a small publication while in undergrad. Why?

Detail shot of a photo with me (with short hair) and Shane (with long hair).

Get a hair cut, hippie!

And there, tucked underneath a lot of cassettes and zip drives… I found it!

My first notebook of poetry. With a huge, honkin Queensrÿche bumper sticker slapped across the front of it. Warning everyone within a 2 mile radius that everything inside is just going to blow your mind.

I flipped through the pages, and though some of it is faded… it’s still legible. Unfortunately.

I haven’t had the heart to actually read anything. The angst emanating from this thing is almost palpable. I found it, and that’s the important first step. Sometime, in the coming weeks, I need to pick out one stinker of a poem (out of this whole village of stinker poems), and read it in front of people at Bad Poetry Night.

Oh green Queensrÿche poetry notebook. It’s been so long since we’ve seen one another. I have gotten older, and you still… remain full of terrible, terrible poems.

And for those of you not familiar with Queensryche (I mean, beyond Silent Lucidity)… here’s a little taste. I was probably playing this whole album while writing a good number of the poems in this notebook:

Felix + Dzintra + Queensrÿche
Upcoming Speaking Events: 20×2 Chicago and Bad Poetry Night
What Once Was Lost…
The Jacket Arrives

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Look at those youngsters!

    Aw, Felix, don’t make too much fun of your young self and your young art. You wouldn’t be where you are now without that Queensryche green book of poems.

    juliet Reply

    • But you haven’t seen these poems yet up close!

      Actually, I did bring this notebook to share in Bill Roorbach’s class (my first ever creative non-fiction workshop). It was daunting to share it, especially with so many other writers I admired in the room.

      It was an exercise of Bill’s – bring in something embarrassing. And the lesson was that no matter what you were embarrassed by, someone else in the room identified with it. Folks brought in posters, huge stuffed animals – it was a great exercise (and a great bonding moment for the class).

      When I shared the notebook and passed it around, that was really tough. And I remember Kristina Emick said “Look at all this shit you got out of your system! Most people just keep producing the shit, but you got rid of it early!” It was a very kind thing to hear, and a nice way to look at it.

      Of course, all of this doesn’t change the fact that I have an acrostic poem in there that spells out “Now Is My Time to Die.”

      avoision Reply

Leave A Reply