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Medicinal Poetry

11/07/11 5:55AM

Kate Cipolla, a sophomore from Montpelier who is home schooled, won third place with this poem at a recent Young Writers Project Poetry Slam. She says she was inspired to write the poem late one night while rushing to meet a deadline for an assignment about Sylvia Plath. "My mother took in my frazzled state, and said there was no point working on Sylvia Plath that late, because ‘Sylvia Plath is bad for you when you're already tired.' I quit working on my homework, picked up a piece of paper and a pencil, and this was born."


You sound like my doctor

Saying Sylvia Plath is bad for me

That I should take two Shel Silverstein

And call you in the morning

I'd like to know where you got your degree

In medicinal poetry

You read me Dante by firelight in Italian

It's the only Italian you know

And you wouldn't know what you were saying

If you hadn't read the English translation a hundred times

Poetry is not the only way that you and I connect

But it is by far the best way that we know

I'd e-mail you Lewis Carroll

When I was feeling whimsical

And within two days

You would flawlessly recite Jabberwocky

And when you wanted to scare me

All it would take was opening up the mailbox

To find a handwritten copy of

The Pit and the Pendulum

To send me screaming

I didn't talk to you for three days after that

You didn't care

Neither did I, really

If I hadn't wanted to be scared

I wouldn't have opened it

Poetry is what you would quote at me

When I was sad and alone

And whenever you felt scared and lost

I would wrap you in verses like satin ribbons

We never wrote our own poetry

Your fingers would always fumble

On the keyboard of your laptop when you tried

And the pencil lead always breaks when I try

But here I am

Speaking words that do not belong to Shakespeare

But words that belong to me

The best part is

It doesn't matter if I don't do it right

You will never care

That I can't write poetry

You will never care

That I am not Emily Dickinson

Because you know even through a haze

Of sloppy metaphors and spelling errors

Exactly what it is I'm trying to say

I can't write a proper closing line

So I guess I'll just take the easy way out

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

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