how to hush a poet in three easy steps
Walking through the fields under a bleeding sunset, I forget to hold my peace. Frankly, when there is extraordinary beauty flooding the top half of the world, I have to exclaim over it. I feel like that’s who I’m meant to be: a curator of the universe’s artifacts and a proclaimer of ordinary astonishments. And the sky was pink tonight. Oh, you saw it. It was out there for you. But I guess it was inside me because I spilled words and then I had to clean them up.
“It looks like horses ran through pink whipped cream.”
And you asked what I’d been reading, drinking, and smoking. Heh. I should learn to keep my mouth shut because everyone sees the sky their own way, I guess. I said I liked to give ordinary things unusual analogies, because it might make somebody look at the mundane again and see it with fresh eyes. “And you sound like a four-year-old,” you replied.
I don’t know how to be who I am around you- around any of you. I don’t fit in your world. I have been silent beneath the stars and said little in the rain. I’ve shut up about stories and I have tried to keep quiet under sunsets, but once the sun fades, the sky will never, ever look the same again. You get it once. That’s why I write, you know. Because clouds rain away and trees fall and buildings crumble and people die, but words stay alive. I write to save the sunsets and make people look twice. But you said the aim of poetry is to draw attention to the writer.
I always thought it made sense, poetry. Not the poetry itself (that can be complex), but the object of it. To shine beauty around the edges of ugly things and to give more facets to the beautiful, like cutting a rough gemstone. To grab people by the back of the head and shove them into new light saying, “Look at the world! Look at it!” But I guess it’s just some people who view art that way. Human creation ought to draw attention to an artist, yeah. But not a human one. Can I make you believe I write for the love of words and the God-written world?
The sun was fading away as we argued; above our heads cloud-scales lost their sheen like a great fish dying. Near the horizon, the sky glowed gold. And nobody was looking.