Bad Poetry: Unfriendly Italian Barista

by Ranim Elborai

I’m a prose person.

When we had units on poetry during English class, I struggled to make sense of the material. Poetic meters baffled me; I had no idea what was going on in Ovid’s Metamorphoses; and the one thing I recall about Seamus Heaney was that, much to my delight, he used the word “fart” to describe the marshlands in this one poem we were assigned in tenth grade.

When I received a thoughtful gift from a friend who writes books for a living in the form of a volume of intense, fervent poems by Rilke, I was extremely flattered.

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “writer-guy thinks I’m an intellectual!” Yet The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke languished on my bedside table, neglected in favour of The Master and Margherita (see, I’m not that poorly-read!).

When Khalil Gibran or Rumi are quoted at me — and this seems to happen more often than I would like it to — I sit there, silent and potato-faced. Yes, I think to myself, I truly am impressed by your repository of knowledge, but must you intellectually one-up me like that in a social setting?

Of course no complementary stanza ever pops into my head, because I’m a philistine who doesn’t know any Rumi or Gibran.

I recognise that for many cultures poetry was and remains the premiere literary format. It is by no means a dead creative medium, but for the life of me I can’t grasp it.

That bothers me.

Yet today, as I sat there jotting down ideas, my thoughts were fragmented, and so where the phrases I put down. Not haiku per se, because that involves keeping an eye on poetic meter and a level of lyrical ingenuity completely beyond my aptitude as a writer.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to share my bad poetry with the world.

So here goes nothing. Feel free to laugh.


Unfriendly Italian Barista

Is it the language barrier?

All your other colleagues like me,

and you know I always be tipping!

Yet you only ever give me the

minimum number of wifi vouchers.


Have you got any bad poetry of your own? Then feel free to include it in the comments section!