If I Were A Poet


I won’t call the day “unwritten”, that’s been said before. I won’t focus on won’ts and shouldn’ts and can’ts and am nots and too lates — too late. “What you think about expands,” and Our bodies manifest the pictures our minds send to them.” Sometimes, but what about the people who drop dead? Or the perpetually aroused who remain alone, untouched?

Stop arguing with the gurus, Ruth.

What do you want to say yes to?

My breath. Lungs filling slowly.

I poured black coffee into the mug I haven’t used since college.

I did this before my meditation.

I did this before I picked up the copy of The Iowa Review from 2000 with the glue coming undone and the pages popping out.

I did this before I got the urge to write.

And when I had the urge to write, it was to set entirely different words to paper, not this, not here.

Set words to paper? Write shit down.

See my photograph? I like the darkness inside the mug.

If I were a poet, would I call it “true black”? Would I call it “an abyss”? Would I find a way to mention “sharp bones” and “broken teeth” like real poets do? All the things I know and don’t know are right there, contained, inside the true black, inside that abyss, inside my sharp bones and teeth (please don’t let them break).

I like the light at the base of my thumb.

If I were a poet, would I call it “illumination”? Would I call it “lit from beyond”? Would I find a way to to bottle it like the thousands of fireflies being held captive by poets the planet over? How many jars would that take? Where would I put them all? In the back of the pantry, in the cupboards under every sink, in the smallest part of the space under the stairs?

But it’s just one spot of light, small as a solitary flame, you can see it there in the photo.

Shhhh, I think it might be enough to fill all the dark places for a very long time.


3 thoughts on “If I Were A Poet

  1. I find not only your words but your photographs to be poems.
    I don’t stop here often enough–bad season–but I actually feel a response each time I do–FEEL it.
    None of which is hyperbole.
    There are published poets I’m crazy about, and there are many others who never have an effect on me, or who seem striving or awkward or stale or –well there are too many ways to fail to bliss out one unhappy, uneducated, yet jumpy & hypercritical neurotic mess of a person. But I don’t relinquish my sense of having a well-honed sense of appreciation; recognizing little failures or great worth.
    It’s hard–the older I get the more frequently I find myself about to describe something with what I instantly realize is an absolutely fossilized cliche.–Thus the origin of cliches–
    I can’t possibly say a breath of fresh air although I viscerally experience the sensation: You are a swell of icy salt water. You lift me but shake my sense of where & what I am & where I’ll come down when I stop spinning.
    You’re actually knd of merciless & glorious–expressing so many of the doubts I feel but then brushing past them, leaping over them, or just using alchemy.

    S.G., Your note here is a poem in itself. Thank you for touching me with your kindness. I’m sorry to hear it’s a bad season. Will you please reach out to me if I can help? Yours, ~R

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