Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 3: Microwave Popcorn


Microwave Popcorn

One bag holds a hundred kernels,
packed into a mostly unfurled
tri-fold bag.
Add heat and radiation,
build pressure.
The weakest burst,
press to one side,
The rest follow:
a few tentative cracks,
then rat-a-tat fires.
They pile on themselves,
fade from yellow to white.
A precious few linger,
cook and swell while
pops slow and spread,
till the last pieces
explode in gold—
or do not.


This poem displays on its surface the process of preparing a bag of popcorn in the microwave.  Under that surface, it plays with the idea of personal development, of those peaking too early or too late.  I resisted the temptation to overtly anthropomorphize, instead choosing to let the process represent life and development and growth without beating the idea into the ground.

Some of the formal techniques I worked into the poem: I avoided stanza structure to reflect the seeming haphazardness of the popping process.  I varied line lengths to represent further the irregular timing of pops in the bag (and/or the inconsistencies in how and when a person might burst into the person s/he will finally become), and used onomatopoeia for the dual purposes of layering in sound effects and using the word "onomatopoeia" in the commentary.  It is one of my eleven favorite words, and these opportunities demand fulfillment.

Subtlety in this kind of poem calls for more time than the poem-a-day pace affords, and I will be coming back to this one sometime down the road.

1 comment:

  1. "or do not" perfect
    and your paragraph 2 commentary had me giggling.