suppose a life of acquiescence
makes its own chemical reaction
burning sulfur, acid,
oxidizing iron, the heart
that is not a stone
also subject to erosion
to want to obey
when the teacher says be yourself
who is that? a vessel
with fired-on satin-smooth glaze
or one of common clay that must chip and leak
all kinds of noise and emotion?
thought of crowding a few more in
golden days and the last available
space for something bright
(pushed out again by—
thought butterflies should
not to linger (oh zinnia aster
-oidish collision) but this
brain on going to seed
slight ladders that bring the fence
turned again and told yourself
to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers
we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts
alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content
Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
I sit and write; I offer up my heart
though dozen other tasks more pressing loom.
My critic has it easy for her part
(I see her shadow growing in the gloom)—
She’ll say, this stuff won’t stand to any scans
of meter, subject, beauty, or of rhyme.
You fool! You know that e’en your so-called fans
will just suppose you didn’t take the time
to polish, think or work to hone your craft.
She’ll say, my child, you’re nothing but a hack,
this taking up the challenge, simply daft.
(She knows just where my soul is holed and black.)
And so, dear editor, confirm this fear:
Send your love note; I will wait (cringing) here.
Yeah Write’s February poetry slam is all about sonnets. Need I say, I do not feel comfortable with this form?