Oh, You’re a Poet

When I tell people that I write poems, or when it first comes out that I do, I usually flinch as I wait for their reaction to be along the lines of those haters of poetry in Ben Lerner’s “Hatred of Poetry.”

I expect that people will think of the high art of poetry and immediately think I’m some snooty, holier than thou type person. Like: Oh, you like pop music? You must be an idiot.

Couldn’t be further from the truth. I like pop music as much as any music fan. Store bought cookies are delicious, don’t joke. Nothing beats Mom’s homemade, basement jam session, pizzelles, but sometimes you just need an Oreo.

I don’t know where it comes from, but there is that sense that “the poet” is other than, is someone who views themselves as other than or someone who understands nuanced esoteric beauty that emerges from every poet’s work in a way other than.

There is an expectation that the poet is of the high art of all poetry and so anytime a poem or poet comes up, the poet should have very particular, poet feelings, and it is anticipated that said “poet” will have and express those particular feelings in verse or something.

I would / be grate/ful now / for chance / to drink / some water / with man/y thanks

Well, you’re a poet, so you get it.

Well, no. I don’t. I drank too much coffee this morning, my cat hates me and I’m pretty sure my existence is based on the fact that I believe I exist, which is to say that if I stop believing I exist I will, in fact, cease to exist—or else my cat is the reason I exist, in which case, I’m doomed.

As if everyone can quote every line of “Leaves of Grass.” As if quoting “Leaves of Grass” is the point of “Leaves of Grass!”

Just need to vent, I guess. Or I need to remind myself that what a poet is is not always what people expect a poet to be. I’m not defined by poetry, but I define, or un-define, myself through it—or else I express some partial definition of what I imagine to symbolize the construct of an image of a self in only one spacetime at a particular moment according to mostpeople’s unwinding watches.

Yeah, that makes sense.

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