Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not a Poet-

I am a not, nor have I ever been, a Poet.
That’s a lie.
All Poets lie.
We hide a thesaurus under the couch pillow-
We erase our browser history so you’ll never know
that we visited WikiPoetry dot com.
We run rhymes under our breath
when we think you’re not listening.

But there is no hiding who we really are.
There’s a paperback volume of Robert Frost
in the kitchen cabinet, behind the Wheat Chex,
and when you find it I’ll say
“I thought it was a book about the weather”,
and you’ll shake your head and drop it in the trash
and that’s ok, because I have another one
hidden in the back of my desk drawer at the office.

But there’s no use trying to hide who we are.
People know.
Yeah -they know.
They notice when I watch Jeopardy with them,
and when the returning champion
doesn’t know that T.S. Eliot’s magnum opus was
The Waste Land,
and I start jumping up and down on the couch
screaming “You fucking moron!”
-Yeah, people notice stuff like that.

I try to lie my way out-
“I’m just a geek”, I tell them,
“A nerd, a know-it-all, a literary snob.
- I’m one of the English Majors
Garrison Keilor is always going on about.”

"Sure", they say-
“Who was that woman you were
talking about last week,
the one with the funny initials?”
And before I can stop myself I reply
“You mean Hilda Doolittle?
H.D.? The Imagist poet
who wouldn’t fuck D.H. Lawrence?”
Well fuck.

Yeah, they always know.
People say it’s ok,
they say they don’t really care,
they say THEY don’t judge-
but then whenever I’m at a party
and I take anything out of my pocket,
even the smallest scrap of paper,
that looks vaguely as if it might be a poem-
everyone suddenly finds some other person
they need to talk to.

Yeah, they always know.

“You just need to accept who you are”,
one friend told me,
“Don’t over-think it, don’t fret”.

Don’t fret?

I’m a poet.
-telling me not to fret
is like telling a golden retriever
to ignore that squirrel.

I fret, therefor I am.

Where the fuck do you think
I get all my material?

So fine-
I am, and have always been, a Poet.
Happy now?
I hide a thesaurus under the couch pillow-
I erase my browser history so you’ll never know
that I visited WikiPoetry dot com this morning.
I run rhymes under my breath
when I think you’re not listening.
I might even write a poem
about this conversation-
“Don’t do that”, you say,
and I say “OK, I won’t”,
but I lie,
All poets lie.
And then I run to get a piece of paper.

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