Beautiful butterfly's dirty diaper overflowedand the fire truck came and cleaned it up
I could get another hour or two of sleep
if my evening emu eyes would shut
but an early bird on the wire twitters
an obnoxious worm-getting song
blasted bird isn't beautiful to me
my mind does its revolutions
are there any freelance cats
available for a hasty hire?
TSTmpj: It's a knockout first line -- do you wish to share how it came to you?
Mark Nenadov: For a loving parent, diaper changes exhibit a mysterious antithesis. Deep love of the child meets deep dislike of the task at hand, which of course crops up at the most inconvenient of times. Only love in its deepest, truest sense carries a parent along in those moments. Fleeting emotions won't. From that starting point I came up with "Beautiful baby's dirty diaper". I read that once and immediately saw that it fell flat, perhaps even hallow, cold, and distant. I needed something warmer and affectionate. At some point, I was looking at some wildlife photography I've done and found a butterfly picture. "Butterfly" suddenly struck me as being a perfect replacement for "baby". Almost anyone, let alone a wildlife enthusiast like me, loves a butterfly. And so, with that simple change the antithesis of the poem was enhanced, the alliteration was preserved, and the rhythm was improved via the harmony of "beautiful butterfly". Now, when I say that "butterfly" made the beginning more affectionate, you must also understand that when I say "Beautiful butterfly", I say it as one who will run around in mosquito ridden forests with a field guide trying to identify a new species playing hard-to-get. That's the sort of affection I'm conveying on the baby which is contrasted with the frustration which, later in the poem, carries this bird lover to call a bird "blasted". And, of course, there is the irony that I deal with the two interruptions to sleep so differently--I quickly forget the child's interruption and dismiss it quickly but I am bitter and scathing about the bird's interruption. This all came together in my mind to produce that line, which ties it all together right off the bat.
TSTmpj: Give us a Canadian inside lowdown on Leonard Cohen?
Mark Nenadov: There's two answers that jump into my mind for questions like this. First, I'm tempted to say: "Who's Leonard Cohen?" Given the context, that response would be an evasive answer akin to the time Al Capone was asked about a prominent Canadian gangster. He responded: "I don't even know what street Canada is on". The other answer I'm tempted to give might sound a bit like it came from a Wodehouse novel. "Oh, yes. He's a mighty fine chappy and quite the riot. My Aunt Agatha and him are like this". But neither of those answers would be really honest. I think Cohen is a mighty fine artist, a genius really--but I know precious little about him and probably have only listened to a small portion of his discography. There are a handful of his songs that I could just sit and listen over and over and over, but that's about where it ends. Sadly, I've never had the opportunity to jam with Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, or Garth Hudson either.
TSTmpj: What time of the day -- or night -- is your most creative time, and why do you think that is?
Mark Nenadov: It's the early morning for me. Contrary to what one might expect based on my poem, I'm generally a morning person. (If I wake naturally and I make it to 6 or 7 that is!) I tend to fade away a bit in the evening. Even on a slow day, the day is so full of sensory experiences, that by evening I am often overstimulated and not well positioned to sit back and write. There are a few random highly creative evenings here and there, but that's rare--and most of my writing from evenings ends up getting thrown away. While it is a highly individual choice and there is no "right time" to do things, there is undoubtedly something about the morning. I personally think that if you looked down the corridors of time and in one comprehensive survey reviewed history, you'd find a large portion of significant works of creativity, spirituality, contemplation, and intellectual exploration produced in the morning.
Mark Nenadov is a poet living in Essex, Ontario, Canada. See www.marknenadov.com for more info.