For the last three years, the final exam project for students in Mr. Siuda’s AP Literature class has been a rather extensive creative writing project. Each student is required to write eight original poems, with each poem representing a particular type of poem or poetic device, along with a one-page artist statement for each poem that takes the reader behind the scenes of the poem’s creation. Mr. Siuda assigns this project the first class day of the second semester, and there are all sorts of check-ins from January-June so that each of the poem has the chance to grow and evolve over the course of the semester.
The following are poems from three students. While their work began while still in school, much of it was completed during distance learning.
The Medium Rare Art
A patty, what a pretty thing
Brought up from its loving mother the cow
Circled to perfection with utmost precision.
Tsssssss, what a sound
Like one thousand wedding doves flying off into the spaghetti western sun of the grill.
One side of the patty lays flat along the surface, ablaze with the charcoal.
The First Flip
Perhaps it is the most important time in a burger’s young life,
Most would just say it’s a flip.
Tossed, so carelessly, so perfectly into the air.
How pretty a sight, like young love, blossoming from the awkward soil in which it thrives.
As the burger lands we are honored to see the scars of the grill left so lovingly behind,
Speaking, all of them, singing as if each mark is heaven’s cherub reading gospel to sinners.
The Second Flip
Or, as the French say, El Segundo flip.
We’re long into the ritual of Fourth of July grilling by now,
Sweat drips like life giving blood onto the apron,
“Kiss The Cook”
Goddamnit, I Just Might
Just when all seems to be fading into obscurity,
Behold came a pale horse,
And the rider’s name was Cheese,
And Pickles was close behind him.
They were given power over a fourth of the burger to satisfy with flavor and precision. (Revelations 6:8)
The Patriot’s Effect
Now that the burger has gotten good everyone wants in on the party,
Hello, onions! Bonjour, Ketchup! Go screw yourself, relish!
It’s a big fat Greece wedding on this burger and everyone’s invited.
Dig In You Filthy Animal
The first bite, the Rubber Soul of the burger experience, go on, tell me I’m wrong.
Now that ketchup is all comfortable, bam, crunch goes the onion,
It’s like a live studio audience cheering in your mouth like a Seinfeld episode in the 90’s
Heaven, Nirvana, Maksha, whatever you believe in you’re there, but something is wrong,
Something is missing
I want to leave this Earth.
It chains me down.
My shoes, the grass, the ground,
They are all the same to me.
I long to take off
And fly through the stars.
I could be anything
in the sky.
I could meet Orion,
Take a sip from the Little Dipper,
Swim through the Milky Way.
Galileo could see me waltzing through the cosmos,
Make me the newest constellation.
I could burn brighter than any shooting star,
I could outshine the moon,
If only I could leave the ground.
It tethers me, holds me back.
I want to break free from these Promethean binds
And start a circus in the sky.
I would use the clouds as my swings,
A trapeze artist tilting too far away to be touched by any worldly things.
I could entertain the world,
The lake lights would shout out my name,
If only I could leave the ground.
And as I look to the hourglass,
I see my sands falling, falling to the Earth.
But like those enclosed dunes,
I too shall
I was going to write
But then I spilled
Coffee on my shirt.
It was black, no cream.
I’m not mad.
By the time I oxy-cleaned it,
The poem was gone.
All that’s left
Is the memory.
Faded now, a pale yellow splotch
Is all that remains.