[NOTE: I typically post my poetry only at my poetry blog, and I typically refrain from profanity on my professional blog here. However, I am posting my newest poem below because it is primarily continuing a few threads of thought I have been pursuing about poetry as well as about how we treat children. Hope you enjoy my risking a prose poem and posting it here.]
You know I dreamed about you
For twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for, for twenty-nine years
“Slow Show,” The National
To risk something real as a writer is to risk making a fool of oneself.
“Learning to Be Embarrassed on the Page,” Idra Novey
I am standing outside, smoking & wasting time. I know this is a dream because I would never smoke & I never waste time. But that isn’t true. I didn’t have that dream. This is the making shit up we call poetry. I knew this is how the poem will start & then I realized how the poem will end so I had to write the rest of it. I had to risk writing a prose poem even though I don’t write prose poetry.
This did happen.
I find “Let It Go” from Frozen on YouTube to play on my iPhone for my granddaughter who is not yet two years old. When she hears it & realizes what the song is, she grabs the phone, running&dancing through the livingroom&kitchen. She raises her arms & ballerinas on her toes, singing along that is mostly humming because she cannot really talk yet. Only words here&there. She knows “go” & she knows rhyme. She already loves music&words, she already loves poetry, she dances to poetry. Although she cannot yet talk or read.
I sit on the couch, watching her & crying. I cry during the drive to work the next morning thinking about her singing&dancing. I cry while writing this poem that includes her.
Tears are poetry.
The world is here to beat that out of her because we are self-loathing creatures who deserve hell if there is one. That isn’t true because we have manufactured hell right here&now in fact: To take this away from the youngest of us because we have abandoned it ourselves. We do not deserve these children yet we are allowed to bring them here&now in these times of sleeping&awake.
This happened as well.
I dreamed about the you who was not you. We were in Washington DC together with so many people from each of our lives & I came to your hotel to be with you but you were always doing something else. I woke up several times because of this dream about the you who was not you but I went back into it each time I fell asleep again. Each time you continued to avoid me & I felt sad&ridiculous for trying so hard to be near you.
Now: This is how the poem ends.
About the you who is you. The you in the space we call awake. The you with fingernails the color of the darkest red wine. You would do anything.
The you who is you would do anything.