I've fallen behind. I had a lazy lazy weekend and didn't do much writing. It wasn't really lazy, actually. I planned my classes, recorded lectures, did a virtual poetry reading, wrote my column, cleaned my apartment... and played a ridiculous amount of Stardew Valley :) There WAS time for poetry, but my brain wanted to do other things.
Alas, here's the seed of a sonnet. I want to write something about cheerleaders and lionesses, comparing the two. Today I read "Olives" by Donald Hall and thought it was really... stupid. So I thought I'd write a kind of response to it.
Cheerleaders on the Savannah
It’s at thirteen they learn there’s strength
In numbers, in gathering together
Like a pride of lionesses in the lunchroom,
Eying up the weak to thin the herd.
Alone, a single girl is but a target—
All legs and skin and strawberry perfume.
Together, a threat of razor fingernails,
The roar of laughter, the hunger
Of the heart most dangerous of all.
It’s hard to be a girl, to keep your place
In the food chain, not quite the top,
But with your girlfriends, you know
You can fell beasts twice your size
Or more, like the high school coach,
Or the history teacher, or the quarterback.
We learn to do everything in unison:
Cheer, pursue, devour.
Together, we learn to lick each other’s wounds.
Oh man, what about something where the geriatric cheerleader responds to Hall? :) Another idea.
Anyway, I want to write something that humanizes the cliche of the mean cheerleaders who won't give the dorky guys a chance. I wasn't a cheerleader in high school (I went to a magnet school so we didn't have cheerleaders), but I hate the idea of the mean popular girls who are "bitches" because they don't give the awkward boys a chance. That trope pisses me off, and I want to interrogate it. In Hall's poem, the speaker is creepy, and then shifts into a creepy predator who exacts his revenge on the girls who wouldn't sleep with him by... sleeping with their daughters. Gross. I know Hall has written loads of better stuff. Why did poetry publish this poem in the first place? Ugh.