When I was in seventh grade, I had an English class where we had to compile a book of our own poetry, which is where you try to say something about stuff by using words that haven’t been employed since the penning of Beowulf and sentence structure that would confuse Yoda enough to have him impale you with his lightsaber in frustration. The best way to analogize poetry would beâ€¦modern art for words, by which I mean that just as in modern art you fling paint over some canvas and it represents something so profound that critics will cry from an overdose of hidden meaning and begin violently seizing, in poetry you fling words on a paper and attempt to induce seizures as well. For this reason, it is best not to read poetry while driving under the influence of a modern art critic.
Allow me to demonstrate via example. I will attempt to express my feelings about pregnancy by the use of a poetic gizmo known as phlegmatic pentameter.
Zygotic in its coursingsThe windy gizmo of Beowulfian flossingsAmniotic, diaper-ic, over the slithy tovesJabberwocky Jabberwocky, push push push. Ahoy.Phlegmatic pentameter, mazel tov. It’s a boy.A leaf slowly falls. Siezure!
What I mean to say is, when I was in seventh grade, since it was a Jewish school, we had to write the standard Jewish themed poetry about the meaning of Jewish holidays and Jewish rituals and such, and remodel poems we had read to Jewish themes. A Christmas poem to a Hanukkah poem, that sort of thing. Aside from that, one of the assignments was to write a poem based on another poem (this is how they taught us to plagiarize) called “Small things are Beautiful.” I don’t remember how the original went or who wrote it, but I remember how I rewrote it. Here’s the line I remember:
Small things are BeautifulZygotes and cheese.The drops that fall downMy little green peas.
My friend Eitan read it, and at the phrase, “Zygotes and cheese,” he looked at me and said the following, which I will never forget, “Zygotesâ€¦and cheese?” Then he started laughing at me for the next five minutes straight and had a seizure, or at least he would have if he was a professional modern critic. To this day I never succeeded in explaining to him that I was just thinking of small beautiful things, and I thought of a zygote. Then I just needed a word to rhyme with “peas,” and cheese fit the profile well enough.
And now, 13 years later, with my wife’s body changing shape like one of those shapeshifters on Star Trek, the former zygote is now using her womb as a punching bag. Every few hours she jerks in a weird way as if she’s doing some kind of previously undiscovered Michael Jackson dance move, which proves only one thing: My daughter will definitely become a famous modern choreographer, moving modern dance critics to the point of tears. And of course, seizures.