If you’ve never carried a poem in your pocket before, now is a good time to start.
April 26th is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. It’s pretty self-explanatory--you copy down a poem and carry it in your pocket all day. Simple, right?
I’ve asked people in and around the Piper Center (the headquarters for HFR) to share the poems they plan on carrying on PIYPD, and the reasoning behind their choice. So for the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the poems staff, interns, MFA students and general float-arounders hold close.
Today's poem comes from Tom McDermott, Piper House Communication Coordinator extraordinaire.
He says: “OK, so the last time we were asked to do this by a Piper intern I used "Verse For a Certain Dog" by Dorothy Parker because I had just got a new dog and the poem made me think of him. I still have the dog (Hank the beagle), but I should probably use a different poem. After giving it some thought I am going with "Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia" by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Why, you ask? Well, her reading at ASU back in September of 2007 was the my first event as a member of the Piper Center for Creative Writing staff. Actually, it was my first-ever poetry reading, so the least I can do is carry the poem in my pocket for a day.”
An excerpt from Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia by Aimee Nezhukumatathil:
You want something
to startle you? Try tapping the ball
of roots of a potted tomato plant
into your cupped hand one spring, only
to find a small back toad who kicks
and blinks his cold eye at you,
the sun, a gnat. Be afraid of the x-rays
for your teeth or lung. Pray for no
dark spots. You may have
coal lung. Be afraid of money spiders tiptoeing
across your face while you sleep on a sweet, fat couch.