kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman) wrote,

Ode to the F-word: an original poem for Poetry Friday

My poetry sisters and I decided to write "odes" in the month of May to post for the first Poetry Friday in June. Odes are an interesting thing: there are classical forms going way back to Pindar and Homer, and there are more modern ones that are a bit more loosey-goosey. The key thing is that an ode is a poem in praise of something in particular.

We decided to write them in praise of something humorous. Or humorous odes about regular stuff. Whichever, it was hard for me to get off the ground for the longest time last month, in large part because I was in mourning for my friend Kevin "Slatts" Slattery. I kept thinking how much I hate cancer, often including a choice swear-word in the mix.

That's when it occurred to me to write about that word. I think Kevin would have liked this one.

Ode to the F-word
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

So flexible are you, you can fold yourself
into at least five parts of speech and to fathoms
of meaning, fornication to frustration.

As noun, you denote both congress and, on
occasion, Congress, though usually as part
of a compound noun invoking the matriarchy.

You serve, too, to denote the slightest amount
of anything. I don’t give you, or perhaps I have
run out of you. Sometimes you are even in flight.

You become personified by adding an -er,
become a blunder with up, whatever with all.
Your flexion is phenomenal.

Verbwise, you fly free solo, both sex act
and damnation. You are impolite, in either case,
and usually unapologetic.

Sometimes you are directional - off or up, say -
others, a directive, paired with me, you,
her, them or some other pronoun variant.

Alternately adverb or adjective, you enhance
whatever you advance, making ridiculous
the sublime or simple, like “awesome” or “stupid”,

displaying derision with your vile vernacular
as when added in the midst of queries, such as
“are you _____ kidding me?”

verier than “very” when added to things like
tired or hungry or horny, that last one used
unironically by most native speakers.

You are used to praise nearly as often
as to condemn, and known by all, even
those who rarely speak you aloud.

Even my grandfather, pinnacle that he was,
displayed his proficiency after his stroke, when
a handful of words and no inhibitions remained:

“Fuck you, sonofabitch,” he’d say,
most often to his caretakers.
“I love you too,” they’d respond.

You can find the other odes here:

Andi wrote an ode to knitting. She's at A Wrung Sponge.
Tricia was the first of us to finish, and wrote an ode to toilets. Potties. Whatever you call them. She's at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
Laura wrote an ode to junk food, praising its additives and all. You can find her blog at her website.
Sara wrote an extremely diverting poem that I won't ID for you so you can enjoy figuring/finding it out yourself. She's at Read Write Believe.
Tanita wrote about her desire for adornment - a big deal to someone raised to eschew it. Her poem is at Fictions, Instead of Lies.
Liz wrote about her curly hair. You can find her at Liz in Ink.

Additional Poetry Friday posts can be found by clicking the link below:

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Tags: fireman, ode, original poems, poetry, poetry friday, poetry seven

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