Wednesday, April 14, 2010

National Poetry Month's National Poetry Month (and today is Edna St. Vincent Millay's birthday). I do like to celebrate the much maligned medium of poetry in small ways every year.

This time around, I was kindly referred by Marley Magaziner to an email poetry list run by Geraldine Doetzer. She does a poem a day in April and has featured some really great stuff this time around: Margaret Atwood being my favorite. If you want to get on the list, let me know and I'll pass your email along. There's not much of an April left, but Geraldine does this annually.

And then:

I haven't written a poem in quite some time. Some of the first words I wrote on paper were "poetry," as I sure was the case with a lot of writers. It's immediate, it's accessible, if you're not concerned about style you can simply play the "free-form" card. Since then, I have worked in every other medium I could find to avoid poetry. I was really really scared of it, but I did it anyway. It's called, in honor of that, "A Brave Act."


I’ve become afraid of poetry,
afraid to even start,
sure that I will be too confessional,

Too afraid of putting more words
(real words, not a quip)
into the http://pool.of.information
dot universe.

And I’m afraid of time, too,
when scrawling on the bus,
afraid of wet, sideways eyes
though I used to be so brave about this.

It has become so much easier to consume.
Even now, I scan the input for something to process.

This constant consumption
leads to swelling,
which leads to bursting.

Then. The incoherent mess
of the exploded content.
The mutual gaze of the abyss is
this immediate access to each other.

(A note here:
it’s even easier to regurgitate
than consume!
Dangerously deceptive indeed!)

Contact without
all the messiness of contact.

“You get out much?”
the bus driver asks me.
“It depends,” I say
but I do not finish the sentence:
“It depends on what I want people to think
what actually happens.”

I think of eyes reading this
and I am anxious.

I have done everything to avoid poetry
in every medium available to me;
yet I still dream of Ernest Dowson,
hunted down by the letter ‘v.’

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