“This is Not a Poem”

Posted: 02/25/2014 in Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

If I just spoke… like… this…
Then maybe you’d think that I was reciting a poem
Maybe if I sped up my words just a little bit
Or if I slowed         it              down
Em-pha-si-zing each syll-a-ble
Maybe you would think that I had something intelligible to say
Maybe if I become righteously indignant about some cause that you have never heard about
Like the declining wolf population in Montana
Or how the prizes in Cracker Jack boxes just ain’t what they used to be
Or if I used some really complicated, nonsensical metaphor about dragons
That you’ll never understand
Then maybe out of pity, or passion, or confusion
You would snap for me

 But, as it is, this is not a poem

You see, because poetry is philosophy
Hand-scribed like Socrates
Played out like Odyssey
Or Shakespearean tragedy

Poetry is psychology
It’s the Rorschach test
Of the human condition

It’s Frost, Angelou, Yeats, Thoreau
And the “Nevermore” of Edgar Allen

Poetry is science
A hydrologic cycle
Cuz it flows out like water
Makes you shiver like ice
And surrounds you like vapor
Thick when you breathe it in

Poetry is religion
Calling God to God’s attention
Finding faith in frail conditions
In heartfelt cries for repentance
It’s the psalms of desperation
And salvation

Poetry is when truth
Makes love to imagination
And birth out to action

Poetry is a dragon
Yeah, that’s right! A dragon.
It spits fire out your throat
Sets you to flight
And it’s only purpose is to protect the greatest treasures of this world
Not of gold, but love, grace, and human dignity

Poetry is revolution
Breaking chains of institutions
From the quiet hums
To the “We shall overcome’s”
From the beat of a march
To the beatings of people

Poetry is the reflection of sacrifice
It’s the mirror of a martyr
And I am not dead yet

So until lifeless I lay
Over an open page or an open stage
I’ll continue to proclaim

This is not a poem

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