I’m In the Dark Here

So what does it mean to be a poet?
If not to illuminate the darkness and alleviate the soul.
I have never claimed to be a poet, except for my journal
Who knows.
There’s no money in it, and poor folks know—
Poetry is a wasteful habit, like picking your nose
Peeling skin off your palm at least reveals fortunes.
I’m in the dark here!
Lost in the darkness of steel guns and war and disease—
In racism and classism and spite and poverty and spite
Obama dreams.
But alas!  I’ve come to this point.
When I know, that all that I’ve written is a lie
Lie after self-defeated lie, because I’ve survived
The marathon, or don’t you know that race, you ass-kisser!
Spit on you. On me.
If I had only known that there’s a space for me,
With food and grapes and fine red wine (and cheese)—
I’dda become a real poet a long, long time ago
I’dda hung my hat on that bed post and made sweet love
To you and me and to you too, cuz poets do that sort a thing
And I’d be saved, you know, from society
Tis an artist thing.
I’m in the dark here!
No prince charming, no lottery ticket, inheritance, fortune
Free gain, much pain, stress and then clarity
Death after death after death, another woman’s life, left alone
Here to scream, writher in pain, a labor pain as I give birth
I’m in the dark here!
And I want it to end, so forgive me Al, give me your gun
I can’t.  I can’t.  I wanna go—
And be that gal, that freedom gal,
The one who really knows the relationship between poetry
And protest.
The only way to heal is to write it down again.
If I only knew it was okay to be a poet.


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