Writing poetry is such a weirdass thing to do. And reading it to other people even more so. I'm always like WTF? Then I go to something like the Cliff Lynn/Rocky Jones production last night [would give a link but it's pretty much wholly facebooked] and I get it. It's everything ELSE other than creative pursuits (and playing and hanging out and food and love and, OK, healing too) that is a weirdass waste of time. Why do we do anything else?
I think it has something to do with coming to poetry pretty late in the game. I wrote a couple poems in college, but was known as a fiction writer/journalist. Then in 1995, I was home from work for a week taking painkillers and it reminded me of some feelings and I wrote a poem. Then there was a day in July or August, 2006 I think, and I was running on the C&O towpath and a poem came into my mind. It gave me something to think about while running, because I don't wear an iPod. Then that just kept happening. My poems are old-fashioned and I'm probably doing it wrong.
I'm so creepy and dull about poetry, I have no training or academic background, don't know what I'm talking about, as worth listening to as a right-winger saying "I know what I like!" I'm also slavishly, sometimes ickily devoted and promotional to people who run readings and do presses and such, because it can be so fucking hard and I want to just be a Big Fan and say how wonderful they are.
Having said all that, sometimes I'm on target in spite of myself, and I bought a book by Le Hinton last night, and if you don't do it too, you're doing it wrong.
They also let me read a poem in time for me to get back to DC and get the fishnets on in time for the fundraiser. And to dance to some DJs who were also doing it wrong in the best way possible.
Here's the poem, which happened because I was at the beauty shop yesterday and saw a sign that said "your hair can save the earth." They're filling oil booms with hair. And I was reading this at the same time; Oniony but sharp enough to have fooled several major news outlets, and therefore me, until I could get to where I could check it out.
Is it a myth that hair and nails
Grow on in the grave? These vain snips,
Dyed buttercup and crimson, may
The multitudinous seas incarnadine.
The engineers are looking for
A way to stop the bleeding. Been there.
Their defenses booms and concrete,
Like fighting fire with counter burns.
The seas, like us, contain multitudes,
We suck up the oil,
The fish suck up the oil,
The soil sucks up the oil,
And so it is that I suck
Up a blot of old Dick Cheney.
When I die, I'd prefer to be burned.