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Page 36

And yet, having learned language,
we have learned to be hurt by language.
(The scream wants to be heard.)
Having learned to write, we have learned
to hurt and be hurt with and by words
on a page, even gentle words, like "Dear
John" (worse than "Greetings" from our
rulers). Politicians rob us "for our
children and our children's children."
(Our children having children? The fruits
of political child abuse?)

And poets can befuddle us, anger us, bore us,
inflame us, make us weep. Even the blandest
begin to think writing a dangerous activity
when, reading the reviewers and learning that
their metric rhymes are fascist in form,
their sentimentality is deadly, their poetry
a plague and, more simply, they have somehow
broken the rules of a culture by being there
(plain to see on the page) and communicating.

You, poet, can be ridiculed, feel that your poems
are being held away from you and smirked at,
as in school, kids snatched your new cap
and kept it beyond your reach.

Grotesque little things, these poems
in the hands of sneerers. You can feel betrayed,
as when the one assumed to return your love
tells you you've always been a fool;
it was NEVER good. So you feel the badness
of your poetry being shoved in your face.
You can't push it away, because you've
entrusted it to others, who now have
the power to use your own words against you
(in a court of taste).

Or you write, are published and...silence.
Did anyone notice? Was anyone between
the two mirrors to halt the otherwise endless
echoes? "It's only the wind in the trees."

In your head, yelling full blast, you put "SCREAM!"
and "FUCK!" on the page; they lie there,
silent. No one opens the book. An entire forest
crashes on this page. No one is here to hear.

Note: Stanza 1: The words "Dear John" hurt because they begin "Dear John" letters, indicating letters where the girl tells her guy in the foxhole that she's just married someone else. Letters from the draft board ordering you to report to duty used to begin with "Greetings". Rejection letters from editors begin with...ah, too painful to recall!

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