Nathan. Older than dirt & starlight. CT.
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
i never really liked
until i found out
what it tastes like
when you sigh it
All the poets that you love listening to
love lying to you.
I’m not that egocentric to make you believe that I’m not one of them.
I lie all the time,
mostly up here.
See, I’ve been doing this for a little while
and I’m starting to understand things:
poetry is not about telling you the truth.
It’s about telling you the version of a story
that gets the most reaction,
the one that flows the best on the mic,
the one that has all the lines
that the audience is going to like.
See, maybe the truth
isn’t supposed to rhyme so well.
Maybe it doesn’t have to rise to a crescendo.
never sounded like sound bites
and name dropping.
I promised myself I wouldn’t write poems about poetry,
but I woke up at 3 AM the other morning
and started spitting out all these lies that I couldn’t roll off my tongue
and thought that maybe at this hour
I could write a poem about honesty
without having to choreograph the hook at the end.
I woke up at 3 AM
and I’m having trouble remembering how to spell the word “wouldn’t”.
Four years ago, I featured at a youth slam in Jersey City,
and tried to show some children how poetry is supposed to sound cool.
Jessica sat in the front row
thinking I could teach her about spoken word.
I lied to her, in metaphor, for a half hour
only to hear the silence of a fifth grade explosion;
Jessica explained it to her thirteen year old peers
how rough her father’s beard stubble felt when her was drinking
and how a foster family is just a fresh coat of paint over stucco
when you’ve been running against the wall.
She didn’t actually say all this.
Not like I can.
But I could hear the inhalation of truth
in between breaths of her poetry.
Her name is not really Jessica.
I don’t remember what it is.
But for a moment, I can make you care about her,
even if she’s not real.
Don’t ask me.
You wouldn’t know the difference anyway.
I don’t write poems about honesty.
I’ve written three poems this year to make me sound cute to girls,
but not one about the medication that I’m taking
because there are some things
that I don’t fucking talk about.
Why am I 33 years old and still trying to sound cute to girls?
A couple weeks ago,
two friends asked me how my roommate is doing.
I use the word “roommate”
instead of referring to her as the girl I’m afraid of falling in love with
because she is the most beautiful overturned school bus that I have ever seen
and I slow down sometimes to watch the trauma.
And because she knows me.
Like how she knows that I look in the mirror too much,
and I always eat the last peanut butter cup,
and I fuck girls with my poems,
and use the word “roommate” too loosely.
And the poet in me
should’ve told them she’s doing just fine,
but I hadn’t memorized all the lines yet.
My best friend is not doing fine,
and I can’t fix it.
The students in my class
like me because I say the word “bullshit” during my lectures
and let them out early.
They don’t see that fear has me losing focus on the bullet points
when I’m thinking about how many slit wrists I’ll return home to tonight.
My roommate’s not suicidal
But it sounds sexier than saying
that she closes her eyes sometimes
when she’s changing lanes.
Because it keeps me driving to work
instead of holding her all night and crying.
I need somebody to talk to
but poetry helps you meet people who want to fuck poets.
Who do you talk to when your best friend is biting off her cuticles,
while other girls are sharpening their nails?
I need to go to bed now.
I’m sorry I lied.
I’ll write the rest of this poem tomorrow,
when I can differentiate what’s none of your fucking business
and write poems with hooks that rhyme.
It doesn’t matter what you believe.
I’m tired of being the strong one all the time.
Chad Anderson, “Liars, All of Us” (via pigmenting)
Dear gods this is ancient. (& no, you had never expressed this opinion prior..)
I think I avoided this though because you were on to something.
This is not to say that I only write poetry because I am avoiding the daunting challenge of full length stories, but it is definitely possible that that’s why I turned to poetry. I honestly can’t rightly recall.
Poetry was how I kept writing in college. I ended high school pretty discouraged with my ability to write, & pretty convinced that I was going nowhere. I’m still not entirely sure. At that time though I didn’t have the stomach for criticism yet & was carrying a lot of negative feedback around in my brainspace. There was practically nothing in my head concerning poetry & everyone it seemed was writing it. It seemed a good place to turn.
I think it was a mistake too though. Short stories and novels took a lot of energy, energy I was willing at one point to give. Come poetry, I tasted that sweet pleasure of a thing finished in hours. I lost something when I turned to poetry. I honed my writing, I gathered a voice from my mumblings & I made it loud, but I lost focus & patience.
These days poems takes me nearly as long to complete as stories, as in I find I can barely write them. I can start, but not finish, as though the things I’ writing desire more than I’m offering them. I’m trying to turn back. I love narrative poems, I love poetry, how open ended you can leave things & how you can have so much in so little, but I’m turning back. I’m trying to think big, I’m trying to remember how to weave & to write again.
I still standby my support of handwriting. For me it means not losing anything. Drafts on a computer come out clean & I lose the ideas that I decide for whatever reason don’t belong, which means I don’t have them later when I need them. Writing on papers means having to type them up, which means having to edit at least once. That’s one step closer to done.
As to your first first edition…well…I can’t make any promises, except that when I have something, you’ll see it & you’ll do me the lovely favor of picking it to pieces because that’s what good friends are for.
The music at the coffee shop is on fucking par today;
The Ramones, The Cure, jam, jam, The Decemberists, The Dead.
The coffee isn’t burnt, but still tastes like ocean.
I only said like seven hipster things today. A new record.
The poetry I’m reading doesn’t suck for once.
I lost a notebook last week, but I’m almost done with another,
& have another one waiting, weighted by a recipe for gorp:
gorp being the nutty lifeblood of an adventurer,
the sort of stuff you pick from your teeth with sharp starlight.
The sun is setting, I’m waiting to read a book about Noon
& not even the coffee can wipe the taste of passion from my lips.
Oscar Wilde (via ceruleanmermaid13)
Giving Myself Up - Mark Strand from Darker