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,
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,
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
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…