Pin Up Poet

I’m sorry but I’m going to talk about poetry. This probably means I am talking to myself but I don’t care.

I need to share a poem with you just to show that poetry can be entertaining and relevant, even funny when a master uses the form.

Billy Collins is just such a man. Almost singe handedly he’s managed to persuade many people to read a bit of verse in spite of themselves

People like me, who has been using his anthology ‘Sailing around the Room’ as company on long subway rides.

What strikes you about many of his poems is there complete lack of pretension. I never find myself reaching for a thesaurus in search of an obscure adverb or searching through Wikipedia for information on a long forgotten Norse god.

The world of Billy Collins is a world very much like my own and the language and situations he uses seem readily familiar. This is poetry for the people not academia.

Below I’ve posted one fine example of his work and advise you to check out more from this former Poet laureate of America.


The murkiness of the local garage is not so dense

that you cannot make out the calendar of pinup

drawings on the wall above a bench of tools.

Your ears are ringing with the sound of

the mechanic hammering on your exhaust pipe,

and as you look closer you notice that this month’s

is not the one pushing the lawn mower, wearing

a straw hat and very short blue shorts,

her shirt tied in a knot just below her breasts.

Nor is it the one in the admiral’s cap, bending

forward, resting her hands on a wharf piling,

glancing over the tiny anchors on her shoulders.

No, this is March, the month of great winds,

so appropriately it is the one walking her dog

along a city sidewalk on a very blustery day.

One hand is busy keeping her hat down on her head

and the other is grasping the little dog’s leash,

so of course there is no hand left to push down

her dress which is billowing up around her waist

exposing her long stockinged legs and yes the secret

apparatus of her garter belt. Needless to say,

in the confusion of wind and excited dog

the leash has wrapped itself around her ankles

several times giving her a rather bridled

and helpless appearance which is added to

by the impossibly high heels she is teetering on.

You would like to come to her rescue,

gather up the little dog in your arms,

untangle the leash, lead her to safety,

and receive her bottomless gratitude, but

the mechanic is calling you over to look

at something under your car. It seems that he has

run into a problem and the job is going

to cost more than he had said and take

much longer than he had thought.

Well, it can’t be helped, you hear yourself say

as you return to your place by the workbench,

knowing that as soon as the hammering resumes

you will slowly lift the bottom of the calendar

just enough to reveal a glimpse of what

the future holds in store: ah,

the red polka dot umbrella of April and her

upturned palm extended coyly into the rain.

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