It All Started as a Joke

A couple of years ago, my writer friend, Justin and I were hanging out and talking about how much we hated poetry. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love poetry, but mostly because I think it’s funny. So, we were hanging out, making fun of poets and started making up terrible poems about Whip-poor-wills. Before long, inevitably we asked ourselves, “wouldn’t this be an awesome/terrible coffee table book?”

A few weeks later, this turned up in my e-mail…

1. Bombs

The Whip-poor-will pooped on my shoulder
I turned around and kicked him in the boulders
The Whip-poor-will pecked me on the arm
I turned around and kicked him in the nards
The Whip-poor-will tried to gird my loins
I turned around and kicked him in the groin
How long will the Whip-poor-will torment me?
How long must I endure his song?
How many nad kicks will it take to stop him?
More than three.
That much I know.

I love this poem. Before long, I have a stack of 200 Whip-poor-will poems of varying quality (some dubious, all amazing) sitting on my desk. Where they got buried under piles of other projects, because I couldn’t get the time together to sit and work on the hundreds of drawings I wanted to do.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been taking a hard look at my work habits and my schedule. My need to get back to work regularly and do more than what was in my inbox then eat some cereal and take a nap. The last year or so has been such a dumpster fire, and part of the reason for that is that I haven’t been treating my work like a job at all. I’ve been treating it like a chore that needs to be done as quickly as possible. Which doesn’t leave much room for forward motion. 

Here’s my first public announcement of this project then. I’m making a book with my friend Justin Hunter of Whip-poor-will poems and illustrations. I’ve only scratched the surface of my part of the work, but they’ll start piling up before we know it, and I’m really excited about seeing all these drawings and poems collected in one place. Here’s one more for you before I go.

129. Sparrow

The Sparrows went to war against the Whip-poor-wills
The sparrows had the numbers
They wanted the swamp to themselves
The Whip-poor-wills were afraid
I know what you are thinking.
That Whip-poor-wills aren’t afraid of anything.
You are wrong.
They fear the sparrows.
A bird that can sacrifice millions of soldiers easily.
The Whip-poor-wills can kill day and night and still not
    dent their numbers.
They call the snapping turtles
They call the eels
For the whole animal kingdom hates the sparrow
Together they fight.
They snap, sting, chomp, and peck.
Still the sparrows come on
Why do they want the swampland so much?
Finally the king of the sparrows has a sit-down with the
    king of the Whip-poor-wills.
The king of the sparrows offers a deal for half the swamp.
The king of the Whip-poor-wills stabs the king of the
    sparrows in the neck.
War is treachery.
Without their king the sparrows leave the swamps.
The animals rejoice then go their separate ways.
They never speak of their collaboration.
They never speak of their victory over the sparrows.

I hope you had a good week and have something fun planned for the weekend. My goal for Monday is to have the color flats done for the American Artifacts cover that I’m working on. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend,
Jeffrey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *