A Billy Collins Poem

I’m going to write a Billy Collins poem
I’m gong to write about
the poem I’m writting about
right now
What I’m doing
Where I’m sitting
Very self-aware, you know
Like “Budapest”
or “Tuesday, June 4, 1991”
or the best, “Workshop”
You know, Billy Collins-style
very conversational.

How does he pull it off
without sounding cute or pretentious?

Maybe it’s because
in the midst of the conversational style
he throws in a great image
or a devastating metaphor
to remind you
that he’s the real deal.

(A pause while I take a swig
from my vodka tonic
The vodka tonic I made
in a beer pint glass
2 shots of vodka,
1/4 of a lemon squeezed
then 1/8 of a lime
and tonic water.
Now back to the poem)

How did you like that clever digression
with the drink recipe?
Just the sort of thing Billy Collins would do.

I’m sitting on my front porch
in Denver, Colorado
It’s June 26, 2008
A beautiful early evening
like all Denver early summer evenings
I should say it’s 7:30pm
(notice my concern for detail)
This is my favorite time of day
Perfect temperature
perfect light
I sit out here everyday that I can
at this time
and write
or read poems
I watch my neighbors walking their dogs
and I have a drink, of course
It tastes so good after running.

Oh I forgot to tell you
Usually after work
I go up to the local park
and run 2 miles
it keeps the fat off
and lowers the stress
then I shower
and sit on the porch.

I should say something about the flowers
I love flowers
So I’ve planted a bunch in my front yard
And I have planter boxes hanging off the deck
or mini-deck
that is my front porch
half of the ones I plant die
I’m not a good gardener
But I’m learning and getting better
I like the amazing colors
and amazing shapes
They make me happy.

So I’m sitting on the front porch
on a beautiful Denver evening
drinking a vodka tonic
and writing a Billy Collins poem.

No devastating metaphor
simile or image
but dude
this is like
only my third poem
or something.

-Rob Roper

4 thoughts on “A Billy Collins Poem

  1. I love it–lots of fun. But I’d like even more concreteness… maybe a catalog of flowers’ names in that stanza, or, perhaps in the stanza about this, some of BC’s nifty images: as TS Eliot said, good poets imitate, great poets steal! In the running stanza, a better word than just “fat”, more concrete, expressive. Keep it going!

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