Poetry For Yourself
Poetry has an odd position in the hierarchy of creative media. It’s too personal and intense to be an instrument of mass exposure. How many famous poets are there? Five? Ten? Who comes to mind? Mary Oliver. Of course.
So why do you write poetry? Asking that question is like asking “Why do you fall in love?” You just do…because the love is in you, wanting to get out. It’s a way of falling in love with yourself. Having created something beautiful, you sit back and think…”Oh..did I do that? Where did it come from? Did I channel it from some ethereal spirit?” Sometimes the poems we write seem to belong to independent spirits. They are alien and strange.
Ghost voices grow
like weaving spires in the corridor of the night.
Stalactites of moonlight,
they hum and fade
through the wake of other minds.
A sheet of star rain glinting light,
a mist of moon- heat lost from sight
these spectral hints emerge
from the night floor in the dark.
Silver waving plants recede forever
in a song of twinkling echoes.
Ghost voices, shadow worlds
arise and converse
while my sleep waits beyond the hills,
If I wrote that it would be evidence that I am certifiably nuts. It must be read carefully, like drinking a fabulous milkshake one mouthful at a time. Poetry can be a vessel for deadly serious topics, or it can offer room for comedy.
There’s shit on my shoes;
cat shit, dog shit, I hope that’s all shit.
Every step I take I risk stepping in shit:
Is this not life? There’s nothing wrong with shit.
We need it, like we need bugs
to nourish with its noxious stink the most natural growth.
This poo is for you, it says, as I wipe it off my shoe
with futile hope of avoiding my hands, then washing
again and again. How often in a day do I inwardly exclaim,
More than I would admit.
My mind is full of bricks, pies and purges.
Cats, dogs, owls, horses, all shit. People shit,
the cosmos excretes Dark Matter on these very shoes
which I try so hard to keep clean. Many are obsessed
with the minuscule taint of e.coli. Why should I bother to say
“Relax, we are exposed to e.coli and far worse
every day. We are sturdy,
knocking off shits and bugs heroic, undaunted
by the invisible stools of imagination?”. Instead I spread this blessing:
“You must be crazy in whatever way you want.”
Not every disease is preventable, nor is every affliction brought on board
by the shit on our shoes. When you stroke the cat, the dog, the horse
your hands investigate bacteria, resist infection.
After all, shit is the most common thing in the world.
I’ll be honest. “Shit” is one of the best poems I’ve ever written. I think. I always feel that way about my latest poem. It’s got rhythm and it makes people laugh. What’s better than that?
I know, I’m taking up a lot of space, and I think I’ve posed enough questions. No matter how personal a matter is poetry, its importance is immense. It is filled with our most private introspection. If others read it, so much the better. I didn’t write these things to live in the dark. Some day they may find an audience. Meanwhile, I offer them for the pleasure of a small number of readers who may enjoy them.
A Midwesterner by birth, Arthur Rosch migrated to the West Coast just in time to be a hippie but discovered that he was more connected to the Beatnik generation. He harkened back to an Old School world of jazz, poetry, painting and photography. In the Eighties he received Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders. The timing was not good. His life was falling apart as he struggled with addiction and depression. He experienced the reality of the streets for more than a decade. Putting himself back together was the defining experience of his life. It wasn’t easy. It did, however, nurture his literary soul. He has a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv.
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