Wednesday, July 27, 2011

poem of the day 07.27.11

i’d rather my words coming
out of your mouth

the editor of my book
is also my friend of twenty years

i don’t know how this works out
in terms of the editor/writer relationship

but we seem to do well with it

the editor is also a poet
and he reads poems from time to time

he does the dirty work
of poetry that i’m too frightened to do

he emails me and tells me
that he’s been closing some of his readings
with one of my poems

he says it kills every time

people love the poem
and it generally leads to a few books sales

i thank him for this

he has more guts than i do

i tell him that i feel bad being in new york
that i’m not there to push the book myself
even though i can hardly face an audience

i tell him that i feel bad for being
a nobody in new york

my editor friends tells me
that if i were back there he’d work me like a dog

that i’d be doing so many readings

i can only hope that he’s joking
because there isn’t enough alcohol in the world

at the last one in brookyn i got drunk and angry
but everyone else seemed to be having a good time

a few people bought books
and wanted me to sign them

i was happy that it was over

it’s something about getting up there
in front of all of those people
to read the poems that i’ve pounded out alone

it breeds contempt in me
a sharp hatred that cuts at my being

reading takes me out of my element
the one man out of the one room
the idea that i’ve worked so hard to maintain

it puts me under hot lights
warbling like a clown-suited auctioneer
fully aware of the futile madness of what i do

and i can’t seem to stop spiraling
until i’ve exhausted the world

after doing readings
i end up hating myself for a week

i think of getting out of the poetry game

just sitting on the couch drinking beer
and driving my wife mad

waiting on the end of days

i want to tell my editor friend
that i’d rather hear my words
coming out of his mouth

i want to tell him that my words
are safer spilling from his jaw rather than mine

because when i speak my words
it’s a little like committing a murder

when i’m done
i have leave those poems on the stage

those little sheets of paper
covered in my sweat and blood

knifed through the heart

useless to me and my cause

as i draw chalk lines around them
then unspool the yellow tape.

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