Post-Election-Day Survival Kit

I’ve often struggled with writing list-poems. There’s an inherent challenge involved that I’ve never quite mastered: balancing the implied equality of items in a list with the need for progression in the argument of a poem.

Given this week’s theme from The Daily Post, I thought I’d dust off an old list-poem of mine. I had recently read Ander Monson’s collection Vacationland, and was particularly taken with his “list sonnets”: lists of items that told relationship stories. I decided to attempt a variation on that theme, the story of someone’s reaction to unfavorable election results (the 2014 midterms were fast approaching).

Post-Election-Day Survival Kit

  • maps, color-coded for inconvenience
  • wastebasket filled with bumper stickers, pins
  • Wi-Fi connection for the airing of grievances
  • half-empty Folgers and full-empty gin
  • shredded copies of the Washington Post
  • television off, blues records on
  • fresh gin and coffee, bacon and toast
  • for-sale sign to plant in the lawn
  • draft-dodger anthems from the Vietnam War
  • passport, suitcase, accent tapes, keys
  • GPS set to find to Lake Erie’s shore
  • plaster to puncture, stress-ball to squeeze
  • head on a pillow, ice on the brow
  • calendar turned to four years from now

Looking at it now, I’m a bit frustrated with its indecisive sense of rhythm — not even meter, just anything mellifluous — and the progression in the third quatrain seems off. But some of these lines still make me smile (“airing of grievances,” “full-empty gin”), so it’s not a total waste.

Perhaps come November, I’ll be inspired to write a sequel (though God, I hope not). Until then, I think I’m happy laying this one to rest.

via Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making

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