Oct 31, 2010

Susan Mitchell, "Feeding the Ducks at the Howard Johnson Motel"



Susan Mitchell's poem contains both comedy and darkness. The water in today's pics strikes me as ominous, but my ducks seems entirely comic. I considered this caption: "If you want fish sticks for lunch, raise your butt."

But that seemed immature, or downright moronic, so I kept it to myself.

Feeding the Ducks at the Howard Johnson Motel by Susan Mitchell : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

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11 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Glad you couldn't resist.

Jean Spitzer said...

Sad, this poem. Ducks as comic relief.

Reading more of her poetry. Liked http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=179793

altadenahiker said...

Let me come back. I think I like this; I know I like the words.

I have been hungry so long I could
lift an empty glass to my mouth and savor the air

That's as good as two lines can get.

BANJO52 said...

Jean, Thanks! I really like that poem, maybe better than the one I posted. I sort of stopped looking after "ducks" because I'd just taken the pictures.

AH, what I think I recall of Mitchell--just a poem here, a poem there--is that she comes up with these zingers (in a good way) more often than most poets. I think I'll look into her more thoroughly.

I wonder if she's considered "confessional"--and/or the next step forward after Plath and Sexton (and even Olds?).

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I beg to differ

"Why does the orange
bedspread look hideous when duck feet, the same
color, are beautiful?"

BANJO52 said...

AH and all, for what it's worth, in addition to the gender humor of the first 5 or so lines (at male expense AGAIN), I think what won me over at least temporarily was and is the simile comparing ducks to icebergs.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I also like that title "Feeding the Ducks at the Howard Johnson Motel"

Reminds me of a family gathering that occurred in Myrtle Beach SC. A place where fiberglass crustaceans atop vans advertised all you can eat crab buffets. I didn't have a car so I would walk to the Krogers grocery store where, behind the market, on the edge of the parking lot, was a swamp/lake/pond. Covered in lilly pads I would throw bread crumbs in hoping to entice an alligator. I seek amusement in all the wrong things when I'm bored

BANJO52 said...

PA, I agree that title immediately got my attention. And I've remained fond of it.

Howard Johnson's and Myrtle Beach. I've been to HoJo's and to places LIKE Myrtle Beach. Americana gold! However, I DON'T recall a bedspread the color of duck's feet. Guess I've led a sheltered life.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Creepy ending. Does it mean she would reach in to the duck's chest and rip out its heart?
I kind of like the guy in this poem. He lives for himself. And she can't decide about that.

I like this poem.
I wish I didn't throw a ball like a child. "Each time I throw bread
I feel like a child,"

BANJO52 said...

Brenda, it is creepy. I read it the way you do, but I don't feel real confident about duck butchery or hard, shiny teeth. I think she's going for something more impressionistic than literal, but some of both.

Commentary on Mitchell at Poetry Foundation is interesting, by the way, and not too long.

Jean Spitzer said...

I thought she was talking about her hand bleeding when I read that "open heart".

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