Sunday, June 09, 2013

Poetry Is....

Alien Periscope
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown, Davis

What the heck is this poetry stuff, anyway?
Not everything a poet writes is poetry.
Poetry doesn’t have to be written by poets.
Not all poetry rhymes.

     The corrugated metal garden shed
     behind her house has patches of rust.
     Fist-sized jagged holes pierce the sides
     like some sharp thing tried to gouge
     a way to look in— or out.

Not everything written in separate lines is poetry.
Poetry doesn’t even have to look like poetry.
Not all poetry has to be written down.
Some poetry sounds like song.

     She won’t force open the misaligned hasp
     —won’t force the complaining, frozen hinges
     —my (otherwise brave) daughter
     (with the fertile imagination and near-phobic
     fear of spiders) is terrified to go inside.
     Zombies might be locked in there.

Poetry can be spoken, like a psalm.
Some poetry can not be spoken at all;
it must be viewed on the page:
remember Wurm im Apfel?

     Certainly, as inhospitable and ugly
     a building as this has its secrets.
     Torn webs, devastated corners: ideal
     shelter for nests and partial footprints.
     She hears things moving around inside.

Not all serious writing is poetry.
Not all poetry is serious.
Writing poetry changes the writer.
Sometimes reading poetry changes the reader.
Poetry is a message to be passed down through ages.

     She leans close to hear the faint
     scratching sounds and nearly
     tumbles backwards when a bird flies
     out from one of the holes.  She can just
     see in, through a dusty shaft of sunlight,
     to the nest being woven of beach grass
     and leaves.

Poetry is a rant to be delivered once to an audience.
Some poetry is so complicated, it can barely
be understood.
Analyzing poetry is like dissecting a cat
to find the purr.
Sometimes poetry is, well, you know. . . . .