Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beatnik Rehab: How Do You Express Yourself?

I like poetry, but I don't like people who like poetry.  Do you know what I mean?  No offense.  I feel like poetry attracts some pretty eccentric characters, plus outsiders don't really understand poetry, so the game of rhyming gets an all-around bad rap (pun intended).  Maybe I'm a hypocrite, but I don't think I'm one of the crazies of poetry.  But I guess you can judge for yourself.  There's just a way about it that captures and expresses bits of my soul that nothing else seems to be able to accomplish in the same way.  There are other things besides this that I like to do, but they express a different parts of me.  What's something that you do that makes you just feel like you?  I'm really interested to know.

Some of my favorite poets are Elizabeth Bishop, Walt Whitman, Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Frost.  I also love quotes from poets (they know what's up): "Like a piece of ice on a hot stove, a poem must ride on its own melting" (Frost).  

I have recently caught some inspiration to write, which hasn't happened in a long while.  I had a specific sort of setting and imagery that I've been trying to portray in different ways (more specifically, the cityscape), and that's where this series comes from.  I write with the mentality that "[a] poem is a state of perfection at which a poet has arrived by whatever means" (Yvor Winters).  This is a piece of my perfection.  I'll only share two of the poems in this collection.  After that, you can decide whether or not I need to go to beatnik rehab.  

*Disclaimer: To those of you who immediately assume these are autobiographical (or even about YOU, how vain . . . ), know that I severely distort only fragments of reality; the rest I dream up.  

To a boy in the dark, deserted city

Part I

I find myself exhausting memories of you, 
blurring like long exposure distortions;
It feels good to forget, diffuse rather,
The false electricity you pulsed through my thoughts, like tire-splashing puddles and confused yellow lights and skate boarding hips on hands on crack after crack in the dark city where you never lived.
But don't worry; I still drink orange soda
when I pace past the cemetery and
forget how wonderful it never was.

Part IV

To my true love
who wears a button-up sky scraper and matching Metrolinks,
who dresses up at night with street lamps and tail lights
and wears Wet Pavement cologne by Ralph Lauren.
Whose voice is a low ebb and flow of a red-and-white ocean.
I tangle my fingers in the telephone wires
when we dance downtown with the traffic lights
'til the sun never comes up.

When I'm with him, I forget everything I ever remembered about past skylines.  


  1. Love this! I typically express myself and my emotions through music. I love fiddling around on the piano and my violin and whatever happens well...happens!

  2. for me its gotta be dancing... theres something about it that makes me release in a way that nothing else does. And if i go to long without dancing I kinda start craving it.

    1. Dancing! Yes, that's another one of mine. :)

  3. I actually just need being in nature. Some how that helps me find myself and what really matters to me. Great Poems!