Why Poetry?

The question that I face on a daily basis usually goes like this:

There’s nothing that I’d like to do at this moment, so how do I move forward?

In my experience, what usually comes next is the postulation and defense of my abilities without any actual demonstration, save a word or two on the subject.

That’s obviously unacceptable for a person as unproved as myself. Who cares if I’ve composed over 400 poems if they haven’t reached the people who matter, the difference makers?

Well, I do.

But, how do I know that this assault of poetry is even worth the space it takes up, let alone the praise of my peers for its originality?

Let’s just chalk it up to a gut feeling.

So at this point, I’ve reinforced my narcissism and afforded myself more time to concoct my linguistic nightmares. They can only get better as I move forward.

Looking back at my first pieces, my work was bulky and unfocused; sometimes a single poem would hold the contents and themes of four or five distinct pieces. This stemmed from the idea that in order to compete with other writers, I had to jam-pack my work and out-muscle their imagery.

When I jump back to the present, four years later, my definition of a poem has dramatically shifted, and is constantly morphing according to the experience I’ve gained within the craft. I see as much validity in a two-word poem as I do in a fifteen-page one.

Now that I understand my place in this big ol’ world of artful writers, all that’s left to do is WRITE.

But of course, I wouldn’t be an artist if I could just write away the hours of the day (wow, what a rhyme).

My writing represents 1% of my time; the other 99% is existential dross and backpedaling in the name of the art. How can I write worthwhile stuff if I haven’t put the sufficient thought into it?

Some of the pieces I flip into existence don’t seem to contain much thought, and in fact resemble thin veneers of this thing we call reality (or surrealism). Don’t worry, I’ve come up with a way to explain these.

No matter what the piece’s contents or length, as long as I enter that special little cave of my subconscious through the duration of its composition, I am satisfied with the words that ensue. Quality over quantity, baby.

All this justification of the craft of poetry really makes me want to jot one out for you, so that’s exactly what I’ll do. You see, you never know when a person will gain the inspiration to create the next great work of art. Honest!

So here it is, the poem to come out of January 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM Central DST:

What’s your deal with fish and chips?
I understand the relationship between protein and potatoes,
but that doesn’t explain the cutesy phrase
falling out of the mouths of millions of unsuspecting diners
at any point during a Friday afternoon in the developed world
(and perhaps in the developing world to a lesser extent).

I know this is a loaded question to ask a waiter,
especially one who just wants to take my order already.

Don’t worry, I’ll let you go soon enough.
Just please, pay attention to me
for at least fifteen seconds more.

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