Poetry & My Inner Mischief Demon (repost)

I recently read at a poetry event.  I read one piece which I wont post in full here as it is to be part of a poetry publication that prefers I not post it elsewhere. The poem was homage to Charles Bukowski and contained the line:
he wrote poems about darkened hallways
and the murder men do
making words like fuck and cunt
sound like religious incantations

After the reading (which was generally well received and resulted in the publication offer) another poet from the event approached me and rather rudely demanded I 'splain myself.

Now, generally I am quite capable and more than happy to 'splain myself.  But in this case the guy seemed angry in a way that was quite disproportionate to the trigger (my poem). Wanting to escape his hostility but unable to resist my inner mischief demon, I smiled and responded that I only discuss poetry with real poets.

I could feel his anger, hot on my neck as I walked away.

Since he struck me as the sort to go home and google me (in a who the hell does she think she is sort of way) I thought he may find me here, so I decided to write him an open letter:
Dear Mr. Angry At Something Else But Aiming It At Me,

you asked me if the language i use in my poem is necessary to the piece. you think you're being all literary sounding by saying "necessary to the piece".

of course those words are necessary.

i am a poet. i select and arrange each and every word with thoughtful care. those words are the muscle of that poem. they're holding it together by sheer force of will. they are holding the reader in place, with the shock and powerful magic that only words know.     you say its offensive.

i heard you read your poem; the one suggesting husbands should dominate and control their wives. oh, it was subtle, cleverly hidden between the folds of stereotypes and cliches and what passes for humor. you thought you were being so cute...

but then... you think cute is a compliment.

I find that sort of cute offensive.  

This is for you. or perhaps... for your wife:

because he couldn’t stop her flying
he pinned her to the earth
wings fluttered feathers frayed
breathless gasps whispered

don’t look up

because he couldn’t stop her singing
he drowned her in wet music
she woke each morning soaked in it
tracking it like evidence room to room

don’t look down

because he couldn’t stop her dreaming
he bludgeoned her with monochrome
harsh strokes of gray and black
she tried to adjust her eyes

don’t look away

because he couldn't stop her falling
she fell apart last night
her joints melted and pooled
dripping between the floorboards
like brightly colored wax

don’t look back

Views: 275

Comment by tr ig on September 10, 2012 at 9:03am

OMG is that your voice? Jeez that is powerful (I say in my expert poetry critics voice)!

As far as the wifebeater dude, hope he does google and finds this. 

Only discuss with REAL POETS... oooh!

Comment by Marlene Dunham on September 10, 2012 at 11:43am

Oh, how I would love to hear your whole poem.  Good luck with its publication.

Comment by anna1liese on September 10, 2012 at 12:54pm

I am caught in your beginning thoughts ... until ... I meet an anger I have known ... and then I read your closing poem ... and ... because it hits so close to home ... I ... can hardly breathe ...

Comment by Kim Gamble on September 10, 2012 at 5:35pm

If that's a reading I'm missing I'm buying a new computer ! This missing pug-in thing is crazy-making.
Good thing I can READ !
& I love this. "Don't look back ..." Chillsome.

Comment by lorianne on September 10, 2012 at 5:48pm

kim - i wish you could see/hear videos etc.   can you see them on youtube or anywhere else?  perhaps that will give me a clue as to how to fix it so you can see them here too

Comment by Kim Gamble on September 10, 2012 at 6:23pm

I can see some on youtube ~ I found one from the singer Rita had up that I could see. Not all. I can't see ads, so that's a plus, but I miss the ones on Our front page ~ badges ?
I think : never mind. Lots of people have tried, but no-one knows how to download Flash or install plug-ins when ( for whatever reason ) they disappeared. If I get desperate, I really will get a new computer, but thanks.

Comment by Anne Armand on September 11, 2012 at 7:21am

Is it amazing how rather small incidents can light our creative wicks and we both burn and bathe in the light or the 'heat of the moment'... Perhaps we have to go outside of our comfort zone to experience this. Excellent poem.

Comment by lorianne on September 11, 2012 at 5:58pm

jan - i am not sure i know what a 'real' poet is. my remark was simply designed to push a button with that particular individual & it seemed to work.

if someone ever does figure out what a real poet is i hope they clue me in.

Comment by Gary Justis on September 18, 2012 at 5:09am
You were ok saying that. He approached you aggressively. A fine piece.


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