Monday, July 18, 2011

Dirty Pool

Typically when I work on a poem I begin with a thought, a phrase, a general idea of the direction I want to explore.  Sometimes it's a song, a word, an influx that will stir the juices and inspire me.  That's all pre-writing though.  When I get ready to write the process can vary.  Sometimes I just sit down and start writing, in fact that's a big part of my process.  I feel that writing down a stream of your thoughts, unfiltered, is a great way to just get unique ideas down on paper.  This free-formed writing also assists in clearing the mind, which is an added benefit I thought I'd mention.  Other times though, I'll sit with a pad of paper and simply start brainwriting, jotting down anything that comes to mind regarding a subject.  I may peruse a dictionary or some other types of reference work to paint a clearer list of ideas or things I can work with.  Once I have a deep enough list I'll start by sorting it out in my mind, grabbing the best route that works for me and then begin to write.  Anyhow, like I mentioned the process changes all the time, so there is definitely something to the old strike while the iron's hot saying. In the case for Dirty Pool I did some brainstorming prior to writing the poem.  Here's one of the sheets I came up with.  

The quotes used come from a Stevie Ray Vaughn song, Dirty Pool, thought it fit in well with the overall piece.

Lane lines bob from the wake
Eight across, blocks empty
Nothing shallow about pretending

“True love is gone,
Played for a fool”
         In a game of dirty pool

Filters clogged with bugs and scum
Discolored and cloaked in film
None of this will matter once the winter comes

Jackknife, Swan dive
In the air, unaware
Of the whistles blow
Oblivious until the dart stroke did him in

Simple technique is all it takes
To pull a trick, to abate
One hand magic-double blind
Cut-spin-plop & stun
3 go down
To the power of 9
Wings clipped as the wedding spins around

Just like Stevie said:
“True love is gone,
Played for a fool”
In this game of dirty pool

Felt scratched
Cue the underground
Chalked and snookered
Buoys fade
Before the English banks again

Empty pockets
In the hole
Damned near drowning
Legs like glue
Only so much treading
A man can do

Playing for the two
But missing the one
Masse spins
Dishonesties won
  Pendulum strikes
Then follows through
Always behind the eight
If you never care enough to learn the rules

Always the hustler
Wet inside
As the easy way out
Becomes a friend to see
Just like Stevie said:
True love is gone,
Played for a fool,
In a game of dirty pool


  1. I could say cheats never win, but that would be untrue. As they do win and sometimes get away scot free and a dirty game it is. Interesting idea sheet too, I never jot anything down, I type maybe one word for an idea I had, just so I remember it, but that's it and than just spurt out some rhyming

  2. Pat, unfortunately cheaters seem to quite frequently prosper, which does stink, but yeah the dirty game is part of life and I guess we can either adapt or die or perhaps not adapt and get by, too heavy questions there, maybe I'll add an appendix, nah, this is good enough...yeah I do the old sit down and ramble type of thing a lot too, but others, like here, I like to storm the old brain a bit. I find the spontaneous works though provide more enjoyment in the long run though, it's almost as if some being within you has taken over and when you're done it's like you were Gregor Samsa for a while and can't remember a thing. Love stream writing it's a lot of why I started writing poetry in the first place. Glad you enjoyed the piece, thanks again

  3. This is really cool thanks for sharing the process I am not so organized. I tell myself stories quite a lot before bed because then I continue them in my sleep. I used to write all my terms papers and speeches for school that way, just think about it before bed. Come up with the material when sleeping, write is down. Mostly I just write in one big chaotic go and then I have to edit because I am dyslexic and no one would ever be able to read the original lol I love your poem the title the whole concept. I want to try this method though

  4. Mindlovemisery, Really glad you enjoyed this piece. I always love hearing other people's process as mine changes all the time. This is but one of the ways I come up with ideas. The method you describe is an excellent way to harvest and incubate ideas. I've read numerous books on creativity, many that deal with process within them and a few mention a style, a process such as what you described. I've been meaning to try it out but just never have, but the idea that you allow your subconscious free reign over your ideas, letting them mold the pieces into a mosaic or collage, all enabling a new vision is a wonderful thought to me. Glad to hear it works for you, I've read it had, but you're the first person I've interacted with describing a process similar to the idea I had read. Thanks so much for your feedback here, very insightful for me. thanks again