Terrible Poem Breakdown: “After the Accident”

The Terrible Poem Breakdown series analyzes poems that are just not making it. We do this with the best intentions but pull no punches. Previous entries in our series can be found at the bottom of the post.

As always, the only rules are that the poems cannot be intentionally bad and the poet must be completely willing to submit to the analysis. I’m not qualified to judge poems for their formal qualities or even their poetic merit. I offer only the opinion of a willing reader and honest opinion provider.

Off we go!

After the Accident

Broken-down truck by pristine lake
Gas can fire, I settle in to wait
Hot noodles, cold beer, a canvas cover
Reading Madame Bovary, over and over
Thawed-out days, warmed up colors
Frozen nights white with stars

Where is this taking place? Wisconsin? But if we have yet another manipulator of the process (not that I mind so much), why not make it clearer? Go ahead and cheat, poets!

Or…is this a cheater after all? Maybe they’re pressing one of my other hot buttons? Italy? Not likely. Scotland? Maybe. Tibet?

Ooooh. Did I guess right? This would make sense! A canvas cover, a broken-down truck, settling into wait.

And Madame Bovary…just the kind of book you could buy in Mao’s China! Anti-bourgeois. When I was in China, not Mao’s China but pretty close, you could get Madame Bovary and Dickens. Also noodles and beer. And the nights were frozen and white with stars. Warmed-up colors?

I could criticize it. Cover/over, colors/stars…not sure what’s going on there. But who cares? It reminds me of Tibet, and that’s a good thing.

I’m giving this one a subtitle:

After the Accident
Going Off the Road on the Highest Road in the World

No, better yet:

After the Accident
for His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Now we’re all set! No more criticism. We will praise the Buddhist qualities of this Tibetan poem, which probably took place by a pristine loch in northern Scotland. Does not matter! I have amended it to suit my purposes! Readerly prerogative!

As always, my thanks to the bard who submitted this and agreed to withstand the critical onslaught. Good luck to all future poets!

Previous Broken-Down Terrible Poems:


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