Sometimes I find it hard to write in prose. There are moments beyond comprehension in which the perfect line is a fleeting butterfly idea rather than a tangible reality. At those times, I reach for my poet's pen. At those times, I cannot even think of writing "a story" because I have to capture a snapshot, a raw, bleeding, or rapturous moment in time. I cannot think of what surrounds that fleeting emotion, that image that won't leave my brain, that anger that flares. If I do, it will die. That is when I write poetry. That is what makes a poem potent--when you can feel that the poet was slapped by inspiration and lashed back with her pen.
That's why I keep a notepad in my car, text myself jolts of inspiration on my cell during a run. I might forget what it's like to voice something that, before, I couldn't even comprehend. It's been an emotionally difficult couple of weeks for me. It is, at times like this, when logical reasoning fails and all is feeling, that I can't keep from reading poetry, writing poetry and sharing poetry.
I hear so many people being flippant about poetry, reading and understanding it. When I teach poetry in my college classes, people groan. I can't understand that. Poetry is emotion in motion.
Poetry is silly, fun and vibrant. Poetry is politically charged and angry. Poetry is endearing and lovely. Poetry is bold and brazen. It is not always easy. It is not usually easy because it attempts to paint rather than tell. But the challenge to understand is half the fun.
I cannot help but be swept up by a good poem. I feel the same sexy stirring for a perfect stanza as I do for a perfect kiss. I want to thank all the poets who made me feel something in a way I didn't know was right until I read their words: Neruda, Angelou, Plath, Donne, Behn, Alexie, Olds, Tennyson, Cummings, Myers, William Carlos Williams, and so many others. Keep going, poets of the world. Not every poem will be gold, but the poem that hits its mark makes a lot of difference to a reader in need of connection. So, to close, a poem that is my own. A feeling I'm not sure of, a stirring of many emotions vying for attention. Enjoy, or don't. It's going to live, either way:
Plastic coating, in a bejeweled case
a text message Tool,
firing words like shrapnel,
fixated with fixing cogs
on smoothly running machines;
to be greased by honesty.
Honestly, when you pick
at the scabs
from the blood you drew,
on a love you knew,
do you feel you're
waging war against a pool
reflection of you?