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Poetry
Magnetic Poetry

December 30th, 2013

My family visited the restaurant Gluten Free Yourself for brunch while on our December Vacation, driving to Santa Paula to Newport Beach as we visited family and friends. The cute bakery/restaurant has stripes of magnetic paint on the walls so its customers can create magnetic poetry while they eat.

Even little Gallant, only two-and-a-half, put some magnets together in a way that coincidentally had proper (although enigmatic) grammer.

our smooth peach pushing


My wife made a poem too.

lazy storm franticly
boiled across the sky


I made a poem to poke fun at the typical poems created by magnetic poetry kits.

my forest of garden beauty
is here from sweet music
moon girl has sad hair
dress in chocolate time

For rubbish it had a lot of thought put into it. The adjective-noun pairs start sensibly (garden beauty, sweet music) but become increasingly nonsensical (moon girl, sad hair, chocolate time). All the prepositions are completely inapproprate. The final phrase has meaning I am unsure about for the wrong reason—and not for the poetic ambiguity of multiple appropriate and sensible meanings but for the monkeys-and-typewriters reason of multiple nonsense options. (Does it say that there is an experiential gait of time called chocolate time, just as we describe the haste of double time or the unhurried pace of leisure time, and within that feeling of flow and progress it is time to get dressed? Or is it a declaration that we should pour chocolate sauce on ourselves promptly?)


Brunch lasted a while. My youngest son often eats slowly.

So I decided to make a second poem, a real poem, something that vied for the best magnetic poem the shop had seen in its three-and-a-half month existence.

Here is what I put together, including the implied capitalization and punctuation:

Delirious, I lick her honey hair and cry.
Drunk on a symphony of smell and need, my
rock is a sea of soaring, pounding sky.
Summer waxes through my boiling skin—but why?

Not great, but I was quite constrained. The word "my" should start the third line, but I could not make even two rhyming couplets without that fudge. (I hoped to find the word "swell" to end the first line instead of "cry". That would allow me to swap "need" and "smell", as well as foreshadow the ocean imagery.)

Unlike my rubbish poem, it had definite meaning to me. Why does infatuation, which clearly is as unstable and unpredictable as large waves crashing against a hot beach in summertime, also appear to young men as a foundational drive and a nearly physical need?