Monday, May 9, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #24

In which Your Humble Blogger posts a poem that needs a lot of work, but that imagines the Prince of the Damned as a lazy couch-loafer who scratches where the sun very literally doesn't shine, so really, how can you resist?

"A Less Sexy Satan"

Oh, some day, when we're sick of white-brite smiles
And tired of slick attempts at confidence,
He'll be there. But, instead of going miles
To orchestrate a lavish, Hellbound dance,
He'll sink into the couch and drop one claw
Well past the easy buttons of His pants
And scratch. And if we doubt what we just saw,
If we expect temptation or romance,
He'll set us straight. He'll start to pick his nose
Or belch a fiery one. And yet, we'll say
Something like that was needed. How He knows.
And He'll lean back and murmur, “What a day
You must've had, with all the buzz and hum
You humans make. Here, come in. Have a seat.
The TV's on. Do you like gin or rum?”
Who knew the damned's dark prince could be so sweet?
We'll sit and watch fast food commercials run—
He'll mention that new dipping sauce is bold—
Meanwhile, Hell's merry choir will have its fun
Seducing us to sleep. And we'll grow old.
Then, years down, when the chill is in our chests,
We can't be separated from our chairs,
We've long confused our lethargy for rest,
And we've abandoned all our driving cares—
We'll realize that something is amiss.
Out last desires have left us, like thin ships.
And as we whisper, “This is the abyss,”
His beating wings will still our parched blue lips

* * *

I almost didn't post this one, because looking at it now, I see it as a bit of a mess. (If I mention the idea of hellfire, can I call it a hot mess? Ha HA! Thank you, ladies and germs! Try the veal.) I had had the idea of writing about the forces of darkness appealing to humans not with promises of power or riches, but with the hope of what more people these days seem to truly want in their spare time instead: time to sit on their asses and do absolutely nothing. And I knew, with an idea like that, that I would try to start the poem off in a funnier place and then make it more severe, which in itself was a gamble, and it might not have worked. Plus, I think I stumbled into a conundrum: I wanted to describe Satan as not quite the sexy, alluring guy that so much fiction has personalized him as, but then, by providing people with what they want and being "sweet" about it... did he end up, in some way, a little sexy anyway? So there was plenty of difficulty with this poem as it was.

But then why, oh why, did I try to work all of that in using lines of iambic pentameter that follow an alternating rhyme scheme (abab, cdcd, efef, etc.)? Using iambic pentameter makes it harder to get the right words! Perhaps I am truly a masochist. Or perhaps I just wanted to rail against the laziness and indifference that seems to prevent a lot of art or other great things from happening. Perhaps a little from column A, a little from column B, yes?

You might be wondering why I'm posting this poem if I have so many problems with it. It's a follow-up to what I posted on Friday: On Saturday, Free Comic Book Day, a lot of people came out to Evil Squirrel Comics. Enough, it turns out, that Shawn is able to pay off some bills. So with a little bit of action, as opposed to the inaction on the couch that we all long for sometimes, good things can come.

(One last note on this poem: I intentionally left the period off of the last line. I had wanted that realization of what has gone wrong to seem to come suddenly -- and too late -- to the speaker. But I gotta tell you, I don't know if it works, and honestly, leaving off punctuation makes me feel like I'm having one of those dreams in which I'm standing in front of a class, giving a presentation, and out of the blue I realize that I forgot to put on pants. Yes, punctuation is that important to me.)


  1. I think it's a very strong piece. And of course Satan can't help but come off as, if not sexy, at least welcoming, which is, in its own way, pretty sexy. Set a spell, take yer shoes off!

    Nicely done, lady!

  2. What Rafael said :) .

    As someone who feels the pull of the couch all too keenly, I really appreciate this one.