Jim’s Poetry Corner Visits Skokie, Illinois

For any aspiring writers reading this, I can’t emphasize enough that you need to practice writing constantly. Stop reading my nonsense and start writing some of your own. Each one of these blog posts is writing practice for me. But sometimes I get my writing solicited by others rather than just inflicting it upon you readers. One such recent request came from scenic Skokie, Illinois for an exhibit at their public library.

The challenge was to choose a painting which will be displayed in the library and write a short story or poem about it. I chose this picture.

Why? I have absolutely no idea. But the story immediately formed in my mind, and I easily created a free verse poem. The tweaking and editing took much more time than the actual writing.

Click this link to get to the webpage where my poem is. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to my poem titled “Violin Practice.” Make sure to check out the Stones story above mine. Kind of wild, and it gave me chills at the end. Not sure why. Maybe it was chilly at the time. Anyway, if you’re too lazy to click the link and scroll, here’s the poem.

Violin Practice
By James Flanigan

I used to complain about practicing violin,
Back when I was just ten and first started playing.
The hard metal strings made my fingers hurt.
I once overheard my parents complaining, too,
Joking about how painful it was to listen.
But they don’t joke anymore.
Now they push me to enter competitions,
And it kind of hurts to hear them beg.
I’m not trying to be mean by refusing to compete,
But they don’t understand why I play the violin.
Winning a ribbon or medal means nothing.
If that was important to me,
I’d play soccer at the park district.
I’m actually a pretty fast runner,
And win or lose, everyone gets a trophy.
The violin is my voice.
School is hard, and you have to watch what you say.
You don’t want to be branded a weirdo
By students who pick on others,
In their efforts to blend in.
I’m already four-eyes.
I don’t want any more names.
So I express myself through music.
Very few may understand what I’m saying.
That’s okay. Most of the time I’m speaking to myself
When I pick up the bow and start to play.
I choose my music wisely,
With a message in every piece,
If people really want to hear it.
I tell myself that all will be better when I’m older.
I will be able to say what I want with words, not just music.
People will not care if I wear glasses, get good grades, or are cool.
But I know that’s not true.
There are way too many cruel people.
That’s why I play and practice,
So I will always have a voice.

I know what you’re thinking. Where are the jokes, right? As surprising as this may be, I’m not a joke-monkey and actually have short periods of lucidity when I can put some contemplative thoughts on paper.

There supposedly may be a reception at the Skokie Public Library with a public reading of the written submissions including my poem. I may or may not attend. It all depends on if I hear two very important words … refreshments served.

2 thoughts on “Jim’s Poetry Corner Visits Skokie, Illinois

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