Poetry

My definition of poetry, if I were pressed to provide one, would be deliberately vague. Actually, I don’t know if I could give one even if I tried. I consider song lyrics to be poems, and often as I’m composing a photograph (or editing it afterward) I think of it as a poem. Those pictures up there, for example, are a few I picked out of my photostream over at Flickr that seemed poetic to me.

I write a lot of poems, and I have made much more money selling poems than I have selling fiction. Even so, I always feel almost, halfway embarrassed about my poetry. I think because it doesn’t feel “intellectual” enough. That’s probably not the right word, and I’m worried now that I’ve insulted someone somewhere, but… it’s the best word I can think of for now.

My poems are accessible. No one has ever read one of my poems (that I know of LOL) and said ‘I don’t get it’. On one hand I feel like that’s a good thing, but on the other I’m always worried someone is going to be like “Dude, that’s not a poem, it’s not nearly obscure enough!” or  jump out of the proverbial bushes and point at me and be like “You call that thing you wrote a poem? It doesn’t even have any *insert something here* in it!”

It’s stupid, really. I know it is, but that doesn’t make it go away. Alas.

Now I’ve written and deleted the last bit of this post four times in the last hour. I need to get this blog entry finished and scheduled, but by choosing ‘Poetry’ as my topic I’ve picked something too broad and I’m having a hell of a time keeping this post focused. Therefore, in order to avoid rambling off onto a million other topics I’m going to share three poems I’ve written over the years. I’ve covered the spectrum here from super cheesy to (hopefully) less so LOL I hope you enjoy at least one of them 🙂

The Sepultress
(first published by NewMyths.com in December 2007)

Her silken song of wind and wave
Called unto those beyond the grave
“Awake!” she cried, “And come to play!”
“I’ve only ‘till the break of day.”

And to the shore the dead did come,
In groups of two and one by one
Once there they danced upon the sand
Whilst wicked waves served as the band.

A thousand corpses bobbed and swayed—
Cold bones ratt’ling a serenade
“Dance my children,” I heard her shriek
And terror made my knees go weak

From the shadows I watched their throes
While a foul stench assailed my nose.
With my shirt up over my face,
I loosed my guts, to my disgrace

Above the bluffs, I spent the night
Afraid I might just die of fright
And when the dawn at last did break
All of the dead began to quake.

The power drained from empty eyes
As sunlight reached across the skies
Touched, she writhed upon the beach
Yet further still the beams did reach.

They swept across her gory crew
Who fell; puppets with strings cut through
I stood, transfixed as the tide rose
And shivered in my filthy clothes.

I watched the corpses float to sea
And knew no one would believe me
If I to them, did run and tell
About the night I spent in hell.

Because the water swept away
All evidence of their soiree
I lack the courage to be bold –
This pen’s the only soul I’ve told.

 

Lovers
(first published by Star*Line Fall 2008)

Where river meets bank
We linger, yet again, with
Your fin in my paw

 

Fluffy
(first published by Daikaijuzine June 2010)

A lame name, perhaps, but I wasn’t feeling creative
that day when I found her, hiding under the porch
at MacPherson’s old place. The same deck I ducked under
when I saw the shuffling mob coming down the street.
I’d seen her, a shadow within the shadows, her eyes
so wide open her iris was the thinnest band of gold;
like the ring Jo had given me, before this all started,
the one I lost trying to pull away from the shambler
the week before. She hissed, and arched her back,
not at me, but at the dirty feet, some shoeless, some
stumps, that marched past us out there.
I reached, with fingers shaking like the last leaf clinging
to the trees, and ran my hand down her back,
praying it would hush her, and not make her louder.
She pressed against me, rubbing my palm with her greasy fur,
a low rumble, like gargled gravel, emanating from her throat.
Purring.
It had been so long since I’d heard it, or any sound
reminiscent of joy. For it to be now, while the battered
battalion of undead dragged themselves by, made tears
creep into my eyes. Silent tears, thank God.
Now, as the snow blankets the ground, she rests
spread across my lap, vibrating gently, warming
my legs and my heart. The only other thing,
within hundreds of miles, perhaps,
with a heartbeat.

 ~*~

This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter P. Tomorrow I’ll be answering some of the questions people asked me last month 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. I loved them all thank you!! The first one reminded me of Lilith ..
    Re: poetry – I know nothing .. but perhaps what I do know is that when one writes from the heart, the reader can tell and that is the connection! Too much intellectual stuff – in poetry in particular – sounds awfully blah!

    • Thank you Susan 🙂 I really enjoyed writing the first one. I did it when I was on vacation on the west coast. I’d write a verse, then wander off and be vacation-y and then I’d come back, mess around with another verse… it was a very relaxing way to get a first draft 🙂

  2. Ah ha, the old “what is poetry” debate! This debate may be as old as poetry itself. It becomes especially blurred when talking about things like prose poetry and poetic prose.

    Much of what you say about your own poetry sounds all too familiar. Making more money selling poetry than selling prose; I’m in that same boat. Feeling halfway embarrassed by one’s own poetry; I feel that way all the time. Instead of feeling that my poetry isn’t intellectual enough, I often feel that my poetry isn’t poetic enough.

    However, one thing I’ve learned over the past five years of fairly steady poetry sales to various venues is that poetry is often in the eye of the beholder. Poems that are rejected by one editor for not being poetic enough may be accepted with praise by another. I’ve been called a poetaster by some, a master poet by others.

    In terms of the accessibility of poetry, I am firmly in the camp that believes poetry should be understandable, not undecipherable. Poetry may be an artistic form of communication, but it’s still a form of communication. If your readers or listeners need a code-book to read your poetry, your doing something wrong. Of course, I’ve had a few readers claim that some of my poems aren’t overly accessible, but it happens.

    IMHO, one thing that confuses the issue of “what is poetry” is the sorry state of modern verse. Much of what is written today is a muddled mess, in part because many modern poets feel that poetry must be enjambed to the hilt and obscure as hell to be considered poetic. The beauty of language and form gets lost amid the broken flow and murky obscurity.

    BTW, I also consider song lyrics to be poetry. After all, lyric poetry has a long history. Many poems of the distant past were meant to be sung.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and commiserating Richard 🙂

      I totally agree with pretty much everything you said, I nodded along the whole time I was reading your reply.

      It’s kinda funny, isn’t it, how many poets are halfway embarassed by their poetry? I wonder what the cause is…

    • Thank you Jessica 🙂

      It’s a shame so many poets feel that way about their poetry 🙁

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