Carrie Murphy’s “Fat Daisies”

I remember having a professor in grad school that told me my poetry was nice, but needed more audacity—like, Dr. Dre kind of audacity.  I was pretty confounded by the statement at first.  You see, I was always someone that liked to write about really boring things that were important to me like sitting alone or driving alone or looking at sunrises.  He was right.  I did need audacity.  But I didn’t know how to be audacious.  Most music and poetry I’ve liked that’s had a bite to it either always had a touch of melodrama or were written by real bad asses (with a slightly cooler brand of melodrama) I felt I had no business trying to hang with aesthetically.

When I found some of Carrie Murphy’s poems on Word Riot, I thought to myself, “oh, that’s what he meant.”

Particularly when reading the poem “Fat Daisies” I realized this was an example of well tempered audacity.  Making social commentary work seems to depend on a careful use of tone.  You can’t be too loud, quiet, snarky, or polite, but also need to likely have some punch to your words somehow.  It’s a space that requires enough confidence to be convincing while not coming off cavalier.

It’s a tricky dance, but I think Murphy pulls it off.  The tone of “Fat Daisies” is gentle enough to make me want to hear Murphy out, and continues along more pensively than preachy:


I was going to say that this is how America is:

a chain of fat daisies. Daisies because we’re

ordinary, but we’re optimistic, you know?


But then I started thinking of blueberry blossoms

& the painted desert & the prairie thistle,

all these different roots digging down

into the network of gray Ethernet cables

& fracking & foibles & fairies,

all the things that should be etched,

but aren’t.


It’s the sort of classic American “aha” moment: we think things are this way, but they seem kind of more this way.  It’s been done, but a healthy stream of Americans examining America seems to be good for society—like cultural Flinstone’s chewables.  Read the rest here.


“Fat Daisies” was written by Carrie Murphy and was originally published on Word Riot.  Image courtesy of Word Riot.