Rhetorica Ad Herennium 

Currently, I'm busy reading this long treatise of Roman rhetoric, Rhetorica Ad Herennium, not written by Cicero despite several scholars thinking that for a couple of centuries. According to the editor of the particular edition I'm reading, this prescriptive set of rules on how to give speeches was written by a young student who was likely copying down what he heard his instructor was saying. So, rather than being something that carefully crafted with attention to style, this book is actually millennium old student class notes hurriedly put down (somehow) in clay. Imagine reading Chilton's Auto Guide for repairing a 1985 Toyota for its crackling wit and sparkling elegance of prose, then you have the idea.

Therefore, I have taken a break to participate in the Bouts Rames offered here. What's a Bout Rames you ask? I'm not one hundred percent sure myself, except to say that it like a poetry competition without the competition. Given a set of rhymes and a particular rhyme scheme, participants (which could be you!) are challenged write a poem. This is my entry:

I will not play Rick James' guitar,
Nor inhale his cigarrette's fume.
I will not drink at his crowded bar,
Or bother to touch that funky plume

Nested in his cowboy hat. "Ripe
Decorum" suggests a handy credo
to these pop temptations, a honeycomb tripe.
Still, James' music is the best beat torpedo.

Obviously, I'm not much of a poet, but when I do write poems, I sometimes like to write about American pop-culture. Partly thanks to Dave Chappelle, I've rediscovered my (admittedly odd) taste for Rick James; and thus I have expressed my current musical preferences in the above poem. Good Lord, I am such a nerd. Oh well, I needed the break from Latin rhetoric, but now the break is over. Book III, here I come.

02 April 2004
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