MY SICKNESS

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 15:50 -- tae3092

You write not what you want,but what flaws flower from corrosion You want to write about the universe,how the stars are really tiny pulsating ancestor heartswatching over us and instead what you get on the pageis that car crash on Fourth and Broadwaythe yelps of the girlfriend or widow,her long lamentation so sensuousin terrible harmony with sirens in the distance Poetry is a sickness, my sickness You want to write about Adoration,the glistening sweat on your honey's chestin which you've tasted the sun's caress,and instead what you getis a poem about the first of four timesyour mother and father split up Want to write about the perfection of God and end up with just another storyof a uniquely lonely childhood If I had a dime for every happy poem I wrote I'd be dead Want to write about the war, oppression, injustice,and look here, see, what got left behindwhen all the sand and dust clearedis the puke-green carpet in the Harbor Lights Salvation Army treatment centerA skinny Native girl no older than seventeenbraids the reddish hairof her little four- or five-year-old Down's Syndrome daughter Outside, no blinking starsNo holy kiss's approachOnly a vague antiseptic odor and Christian crest on the wall staring back at you I didn't say all this to that dude who sent me his poems from prison fool You want everyone to feel empoweredWant them to believe there is beauty locked in amberinside each of us, and you chip away at that shitone word at a timeYou stampede with verbs, nouns, and scalpel adjectivesMiddle-finger your literalist bossBlow grocery cash on library finesSprain your left knee loading pallets all day for Labor ReadyYou live in an attic for nine yearsYou go bankruptYou smoke too much Drink too muchAlienate family and friendsSay yes, poetry is a sickness, but fuck itDo it long enough, and I promise like an anti-superheroyour secret power will become loss Loss like only old people must know when the last red maple on the block goesand the drizzle turns to snow Maybe the best poem is always the one you shouldn't have written The ghazal that bled your index fingerOr caused your brother to reject your calls for a yearThe sonnet that made the woman you loved fearThat slam poem you're still paying forThe triolet that smiled to violate youthrough both ears But Poet, Sucker, FoolIt's your jobto find meaning in all this becauseyou are delusional enough to believethat, yes, poetry is a sickness,but somehow if you can just scrape together enough beauty and truth to recall, yes, that Broadway car crash was fucked up, but the way the rain fell to wash away the blood not ten minutes after the ambulance left was gorgeous Or how maybe your mother and father would sometimes scream, but also wrapped never-before-seen tropical fruit for one another every Xmas Eve How in the morning before opting out I watched that tiny Native girl fumbling to braid her own and her now-snoring mother's long black hair together in a single cornrow— If I can just always squiggle down like this: even half as much as what I'd otherwise need to forget maybe these scalesreally will one day tipto find each flaw that made us Magnificent

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community

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