Original of Speeches

I’ve performed “Original of Speeches” at two poetry slams so far and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

I figure it’s about time I let you in on the fun, too.

Here’s what you gotta do: spot the allusions.

An allusion is a reference to a well-known or sometimes obscure phrase or event or piece of literature. I built this poem as one long string of allusions, see how many you can identify.

Original of Speeches

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

but, what a flagrant falsification of thievery that is,

Could you still agree

Or would you be agrieved

If I stole a line and chimmed

That if writers write,

And dancers dance,

Then poets…poe?

No! You’d have me thrown out,

Head over heels,

Ass over teakettle.

Because I’ve crossed the line

And overstepped my bounds.

By assuming, I’ve made an ass out of you and me…ing

But to err is human, to forgive divinely forgetful.

So, let the Heir apparent patch together a delicious rhyme

’cause a stitch in time, will save mine!

Yes, I’ll make the best of times

And take my bullets from the bluesky

And use my phrase generator to rebuild this poem,

Because I have the technology

And I don’t have the time

To synergize and span the waterfront

Of original, wordly thought.

Besides, all art is stolen

And I’m like a thief in the night.

I would say that it was a dark and stormy night

Because I’m much too blasé to say

That the evening air hung

Like a wet, woolen blanket

Over abandoned park benches

And my muddy footprints

Made a trail to your backdoor.

Why should novel turns of phrase

Be the best thing since man

First divided loaves

Of leavened wheat flour

Into equally sized cross sections, anyway?

It’s just much too easy

To grab delicious fruits

From the branches that droop

Low to the ground

And avoid the gut wrenching,

Heart pounding

Climb to the top of literary genius

That would have you crying

A single, solitary tear

Of crystal glass.

Originality in art is like originality in love:

Extreme contortions can give you a hernia

And blind pursuit of everything new,

Could leave you blindfolded and bound up in 50 shades of zip ties in some creepy millionaire’s apartment…

But let me do an about face to save face.

Prepare to be dazzled by my rapier wit,

’cause my pen is mightier than the sword!

But I’m all thumbs

So how about you let me off this hook

And I’ll just cut to the chase

Away from the commonplace,

From this poem so automatic, so idiomatic,

Who would suppose that

Unpatented prose

Is my pride and joy?

But I’d trade the apple of my eye

For an eye that could see beyond

This winter of discontent.

There I go again.

Now, I know you’ve had it

With these monkey truckin’ clichés

On this Monday to Friday Stage

But let me stand on your shoulders, just one more time

Because many hands make light work

And how does light work?

And what does it have to do with hands?

Are flailing fingers,

The key to particle acceleration?

Do jazz hands generate enough heat to power a clap on, clap off neon bulb?

And I still haven’t settled

On the original of speeches,

But, since the clock is ticking

And time is of the essence,

I’ll close with a cliché that clinches it

The cream of the crop

The pièce de résistance

All’s well that ends well

Or so they say…


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