She is not a poet. This is not a poem.

She leaves poems all over the place

like dirty socks.

Words worn for a minute and rolled off into a wad in the hall,

under the bed,

in an imaginary New York apartment with wood floors,

but this is just Phoenix

and the fucking heat will burn a hole in your soul

like the words you want the world to hear,

but instead just sit on an unread unfollowed unsubscribed blog

without anyone–not even your mother

ever laying eyes on them.

She

sits in her white suburb at the kitchen table scarred by the

careless hands of children, and she stares

at the wall thinking

about how to put these words into some sort of meal

that makes people devour them and sit back with full bellies

savoring the juiciness.

She is just making poems from a box, ordering takeout

phrases that just do not satisfy.

She

used to be part of family dinner and even though it wasn’t New York,

the poems didn’t matter anymore.  She was full.

And now, she is alone in a room full of people

and the words matter to no one else

but fill up the moment, the day, the life

for they are all

she

has

 

 

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Things No One Should Ever Say

I confess:
I want to be a poet
a writer
someone who writes poems
for a good part of her day
who attends workshops
who starts a writer’s group
who publishes
who is known in poetry circles
I confess:
I am not just doing this for me
I am doing it for you
for everyone
and not only that, but
I want you to like it
maybe even love it
quote it
memorize it
read it
at your grandmother’s funeral
I want it to soak into your skin
and bones, and melt into your
marrow so it is forever
part of me now part of you

Be a Poet, I Dare You

Sometimes it seems like a challenge—
Other days a threat, or a warning.
Maybe simple honesty stings unknowingly
like a threatened scorpion
Subtext: you’re no Sanchez, Lorde, Clifton, Cisneros.
You barely belong in this class.
No.  “You’ll never get in.  You’re a middle aged white woman,”
my mentor said.

Was that a dare you laid at my feet and told me not to cross?
Were you even aware of the shrine I built for your work upon
my own heart?  I gathered these droppings I laid
packaged them neatly to see if their spindly legs would hold
on plain white paper.  With my life story and letters
from people who have no clue, I risked it all
and didn’t get in—to the one who lets everyone in
even old white women.

Still, there is always a bud of hope
blooming under those pages in the trash.
A hope that one day you will read a piece and
it will mean something–
enough to get taped on the wall.

I am a Poet

Crawled out of my corner
No longer a prisoner in my own house
Un-blending from the shadows
Claw mark patterns, and red brick textures
Peeled from the coffee house wall
No need to bellow the truth
Tattooed on my breast since birth
Like an intricate badge, a hieroglyph message
Carved in the rings of ancient trees
Even when deciphered
Needed literal and serendipitous translation

Here I am
Here I write
A story no one has ever told
When the sun is rising and all of man
Silent as the morning after the big bang
I discover life teeming; not all around, but within
Suddenly aware of mathematical rhythms
Playing themselves into song
Singing and dancing out loud
What I was afraid to say all along

I
Am a poet
It is who I am
Who I have always been
Who I will always be
Whether or not the world knows
It is so

Speaking in Tongues

She sees the poets in the streets
Hegemonic voices penetrating  old walls
Oh, she may be a poetaster
Skipping ’round the outskirts of the throng
Planning to filibuster her initiation into the bloodless dusty stacks
They find her red flag brazen and her
White flag brash.  When she squeezes her way to the  podium
Creative writing workshop 101
Her child artist loses function of its neocortex
Yet consciousness prevails, her Phoenix spirit rising
Before them a grotesque vaudevillian puppet
They cock their paper mache heads as if to say
“Is she speaking in tongues?” And when they carve up her sectile limbs
She does not bleed, she bows to the interconnectedness of their feet
”I am but an extension of you”
Like dawn chasing the moon.

A Violent Act

It is every poet’s right
to commit violent acts
of terrorism on the page,
whether crimes of passion,
or result of oppressed rage. 

If she breaks that line
hatchet in hand
blows the poem apart
with an adverb that makes
her awkward critic un-
comfortable 

Well, accuse her then.
Try her for bad poetry.
Convict her of violent acts.
Sentence her to unknown status,
criticism, and mockery.  Strike her
lines with blood red. 

Every pause in the breath with
unconventional punctuation,
she stands tall at the edge
of a cliff and breaks
lines that others call violent
as they murder her right to expression.