There was a girl who came up to me and asked:
How do you remember all that?
There were moments when the teachers would point to me and declare;
why can’t you do this for your tests?
And all I can tell my mother is
“because it’s not as fun.”
It’s like replaying a song over and over again
until the lyrics are stuck in your head,
like that damn song my sister kept singing
from my lap on the crowded New York City train.
We’ve all done it before,
but I’m certainly not turning mathematical equations into
some randomized hip hop verse,
because it just doesn’t work that way.
But what I can do is memorize a stanza of
rhythmic syllables, punctuated to mean something more
to me and maybe if I’m lucky
anyone else who plans on listening.
Some things are meant to be said and kept
in the veins that bring them to our heart
with every heartbeat in my chest.
And it doesn't’t matter how long it is,
whether is seven lines or seven pages,
I’ll memorize that shit because I won’t cut it
simply to make the story fit.
Because my mind will wrap around this poem
and be able to whisper them from any starting point.
It won’t matter because every poem makes my heartbeat
and every heartbeat is a crescendo of voices
crying out that poetry means something.
And if you don’t believe me
then you obviously haven’t seen other poets besides me.
Because we poets live off of this.
Our eyes are our notebooks
Hoarse voices the narrative ,
and sweat under spotlights that reminds us
we are all still human.
Everything we do can be traced to a page at some point
and for some of us,
it can be marked in our heads
like a personal file cabinet of all the poems we’ve written.
And though some of my poems are about as long as a droning teacher’s lecture
I still remember it.
A girl once asked me,
How do you memorize all of that?
And I told her,
it’s like a song.
The more I replayed it
the more I remembered.
And every poem is a song.
So instead of carrying a room full of papers everywhere I go
I can simply close my eyes
and read the poem behind my lids.