July 4th and Bad Poetry, etc.

My 39th attempt to get a good shot of the fireworks...with the flag of Morocco in the background.

Got my fill of a traditional American 4th of July, Philly-style with a delicious barbecue, courtesy of my cousin, and a surprise appearance by Boyz II Men on the parkway, who performed their all-time classics.

I hadn’t seen the fireworks there in years, so it was nice getting to see them once again. My favorite kinds are the ones that flower from the deep into ginormous dandelions and that disappear as pinpoints of blue or red fireflies.  Every time I see those I get the same reaction in my stomach as I did when I was a toddler, perched on my dad’s shoulders in the lot across our apartment to watch the fireworks. It always felt like they were coming at me from the darkness.  I used to flinch, even though I admired them.

Speaking of younger days, I found a poem that I wrote when I was about 13 or 14 that surprisingly won the Walt Whitman young poets’ award. I never gave it a name, so on the certificate it says, “1st place for ‘Untitled.'”  In retrospect I really should’ve been less lazy and just named it, at least a straighforward name like “Fireworks:”

over the lake
red       and      green
flowering into
cinderella’s ball gown –
shimmering connect-the-dots
and vibrant  e x p l o s i o n s
held her terrified
enraptured on a
father’s shoulder

oh for the world to be as
as this night in the old
parking lot
as jubilant as
these multihued   s t a r s
as safe as these strong shoulders

to be forever young
with a mind devouring beauty
possibility with
insatiable hunger
to be   her   once again
this tiny 5-year-old who saw
colors and wept from joy
and wondered at
the       miracles    of the sky
who knew nothing but to be
in awe    to be
safe        to be

Get a load of those line breaks!  I guess what was Cinderella’s ball gown then is a “ginormous dandelion” now. Metaphors are just like people, they change and become a bit more jaded. You can also totally tell I was going through my vampire phase with the line that goes “to be forever young…with insatiable hunger.” I guess it could be Walt Whitman-esque, with its ramblingness, patriotism, and profuse use of adjectives. Other than that, I’m glad my poetry has somewhat improved since then.

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