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Mr. Cliché

by Chris Sorrenti

I take the words and phrases of others
use them to my advantage
sometimes I feel guilty
though even Shakespeare
was known to do it as well
but what’s the harm?
if it’s going to help me say
what I have to say
you’ll have to forgive me
for my addiction of
turning old language into new
in fact
you can call me Mr. Cliché

There’s only so many words
in the English language
and only so many ways to use them
though at times it seems infinite
too often I find myself
at the crossroads of literature
either looking for something new to say
or another new way of saying it
I don’t like repeating myself

It’s nice to experiment
with other people’s styles
but in the long run
I’m most at home with my own
and please don’t talk to me
about words that rhyme
sometimes I think it best
not to have any rhyme at all
flow the more important factor
though it’s the message that counts
in the long run

© 1985
Inputted and revised © 2019

90 hits as of July 2019


Author's Note: In my earlier writings, I employed clichés almost too much, then with the help of writers’ workshops, learned that they are largely frowned upon as not being original. I still use them occasionally...at a minimum, when I feel that one really adds something to a piece. I’ve heard good arguments on both sides of the poetic spectrum as to their usage.

Posted on 04/11/2019
Copyright © 2019 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Glenn Currier on 04/13/19 at 05:18 PM

I sometimes wonder if I use or overuse hackneyed conventions in my writing. But I also like what you said: "...but in the long run / I’m most at home with my own [style]..." When I read the work of poets here and elsewhere and see the originality and creativity I sometimes compare myself and feel less-than these great minds and hearts. But ultimately the only thing I should be concerned about is whether my work is in MY voice. On the other hand, I figure I could also use some voice lessons. But unlike you, I have not had the patience or motivation to take the time and expend the energy for courses and workshops on writing. I am sure I am a lesser poet because of it, but then I learn from reading all of you wonderful poets here. Pathetic.org and Sorrenti and others are my workshops and teachers. Thanks for your poem and your lesson, my friend. Always enlightening.

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