yes… I am crying.
So I forgot to mention the part where I was waiting for the bus for an hour in the cold and when it finally freaking showed up, I realized I was going in the wrong direction. To top it all off, when I got on the bus a fight erupted between the bus driver and a man trying to get a woman in a wheelchair who was waiting at the next stop on the bus in the cold for several hours because it hadn’t shown up in that long and I was actually lucky. Because they were arguing they missed the following bus which had space and suddenly slurs and expletives were being thrown out by some crazy chick who wouldn’t stop shouting at the poor people who were stuck out in the cold after a long ass day. #munisucks /endrant
I went to the open mic. It was… ok. I only stayed for about an hour and then left to go watch TV with the friend I dragged along. Most of the poets we heard in that time were… strange.
Don’t get me wrong, I love strange and poets are a kooky bunch… But some of these guys just felt out of touch. Some tried too hard to conjure imagery, one had a need to be liked, another was just plain dull.
Granted I heard some fantastic stand-up style humor and a few witty observations… but I must say that I wasn’t the only guy there to nod off a bit and one of the performers(who wasn’t very great anyway) got off the stage and started checking his email while the next(much better) guy went.
The experience has made me realize 3 things:
1. Want to write better poetry.
2. The problem I had with poetry, is that it is too often inaccessible to those who aren’t poets themselves.
3. A lot of bad poets, like a lot of bad actors, perform masturbatory acts that mutilate the beauty of the work they could be doing.
I saw a lot of verbose bullshit that, instead of conjuring imagery that evoked anything, just made me scratch my head wondering if there was a reason to be saying anything at all. I heard people stroking themselves, thinking they were sounding intelligent, all the while offering nothing even remotely mentally stimulating.
Where are the seeds that sprouted into inspiration this young man’s mind oh so many years ago? Contemplating the transience of existence in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and the extended metaphor of life’s difficulties in “Mother to Son.”
What happened to clever limericks like Philip Larkin’s “This Be The Verse”?
The hookingly eloquent, intuitive nonsense like “Jabberwocky”?
Since everyone I listed is dead, I’m adding Sherman Alexie. “Fire as verb and noun” is amazing. If you’ve never read it, do it. The man has been published for a reason.
I’m issuing a challenge to artists, to really make art.
I used to write a lot of poetry. I don’t do it as much anymore. It’s possibly because I’m happier, possibly because I’m busier, and possibly because I’m too lazy to write poetry.
Poetry itself is a strange medium. You can say any number of things in any number of ways… and what exactly counts as poetry is really up to the person reading it. I find poetry in any well crafted bit of language that is intended to be art whether it’s a collage of newspaper clippings, a sonnet, an epic, or two quotes of a politician juxtaposed to show his morals decaying as his assets grow.
I love it.
There are two problems for me however:
The first problem is that the things that drive me to write it are few and far between these days. Not that I don’t find myself outraged at the state of the world or that I don’t love my girlfriend so much that my heart feels the need to express it in verse(because my love of women just gives me that high). I just don’t actually feel driven to say anything about it for the benefit of others.
Which actually leads to the second problem. I simply don’t know where the audience is.
Sure I could go find them, but re-adding poetry to my ever growing list of hobbies as something I care about being good at leads me to wonder if I should actually make a point of trying to publish. I when I do write poetry, I either care so much I want to world to see it, or I give up on caring doubting the world ever will. I just feel I ought to pick a different medium.
I’d love some comments on people’s thoughts about poetry.
I just wrote an entire post and deleted it. I could ctrl-z it back. But I’m doing this thing where I create something, destroy it, and subsequently create what will invariably be a clearer, cleaner, more concise version:
I wrote a letter to the love of my life a little while ago. I realized in writing to her, that she is my target audience. Hopefully, I will reach her. Hopefully, I will move her. Hopefully, next time she sees me, we’ll have glorious sex.
All of that however is not why I wrote it.
I, in the process of confessing my love and being vulnerable, began a shitty blog post half-way through writing to her. It was about how my last post, the first of this year somehow, was seen by less than 6 people in as many hours. It was sappy and honest and vulnerable and there is nothing wrong with that. I questioned myself and why I write and who I reach and if it’s worth writing if only 5 people read.. and then if only 1 person read. Hopefully, I would’ve reached a few people. Hopefully, I would have made them think. Hopefully, they would’ve liked it and read more.
All of that however is not why I wrote it.
The reason I sat down to write to my love and then concurrently and subsequently this post, is because I had something to say. That is the reason we write. Leave your insecurities at the door. Don’t write because you want to be heard. Write because you have something to say. The people who are meant to find it eventually will. If you’re going to keep doing this you have to believe that deep down or your desperation will make you suck. Stay true to yourself.
References: Emily Dickinson’s poems, Nick Drake’s songs, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau