Poetic License: Poem to Myself
Poem to myself, watching myself trying to write a poem about myself watching myself trying to write a poem without myself watching myself…
Why don’t you start
By getting out of your own way,
By not stumbling over every foot.
Cut out the word play
And come on out to real play!
Stop ironing out every irony.
Stop posing paradoxes like full professors,
Eliminate the alliteration
And forget or fill in the ambiguities.
Stop looking, yes, stop looking
At literate, lyrical you
Trying to sing of love and loss.
(Eliminate the alliteration.)
Stop looking at yourself
Hunched over the keyboard
Like Glen Gould at the piano
Mumbling the Goldberg Variations.
Cut out the learned similes
And look for yourself
Under that pile of poet’s tricks
Where your real poetry lies.
Look, keep looking for the poet within
And rip reality from you
Like skin off an alligator,
Peel off those layers of pretension
And peel off those layers of allusion
And plunge deeper and deeper
Through epiphany and revelation,
Plummeting and plummeting
Into the lean raw poet within you
Waiting to emerge from the bubble of artifice
And let him burst and let him sing
With his own voice and ring
With his own lower case truth
To shout: This is who I am!
This is what I know!
This is what I see!
This is myself,
Not myself watching myself
trying to write a poem about myself,