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I had someone tell me-
You cannot make a living off of poetry.
And I considered that
For a moment.
For a moment so fleeting
That I didn’t have time to feel my heart beating-
And I decided
Because of this fool from my father’s side
Was going to be something.
I was going to be something outside of crunching numbers,
Drifting through life without pausing to talk to you.
That I was going to weave words like Whitman
Be as melodic as Beethoven
While making impacts like Lincoln
And if I can move you with this movement
I hope that there is something, somewhere
I hope that you will be flooded with stanzas
That you may never see
But that are tragic all the same.
And if we must witness raging riots,
Starving mothers crying
Then so be it.
I will talk about these things
Get up here and spit about these things
Because they should not be happening.
I hope that your throat tightens
And your eyes widen
And your senses heighten
And that you will get goosebumps on your skin.
Because I need to find others who feel like this
But are too shy to snap at their favourite verses.
I need people like
Who are enraptured because we want change,
So we might as well start at a closer range
With words that lavish veins
And though we may never speak them on a stage
We are saying them anyway.
And we’ll just burn the midnight oil
And character foils that spoil who they should be
Who we should be.
I’d just like to mention
That we are quiet
But we are here
And we are going to be
So you should listen to the silent ones
Who throw back glasses
Of things not felt by the masses,
you remember those guys from back in 9th grade
Who laughed at that girl
Because every day
Before lunch she prayed?
I think that they were all afraid
Because the words swag and
Will not get them respect
And that girl
Is going to be something.
Do you remember
And piercing names
Sending young men off to die out of shame?
I swear that I am going to make something
out of the tragic remains of their stories.
I swear to be the population’s pumping blood
I swear to God that I’ll make up
For everyone who was brought up
That they couldn’t live for poetry,
Letting rhyme and swelling organs
Be the source of
And when death comes
The dirt-smeared faces
Of every contrived afternoon
They picked up and pickled in jars
Will slice themselves open in front of them
Let their lifeblood pour out and coat them
And if I am not mistaken
That is living for something.
I swear I’ll save the ones who were told
They couldn’t feed hungry children
Their own flesh
Until the gauges of their ribcages
Feeding them spoonfuls of hope and
Lathering their bodies; emaciated
In hyacinth soap
That is living for something.
I want to be
The sinking in a mother’s stomach
When she gets that phone call at 4 AM
I want to be
The stinging on her cheek
As he slams the door and leaves
I just want to be
Living for something
And call me naïve
But I can feel
The stirring beneath
The gaze from the man in the car next to me
Or the rhythm hardening the bones
Of the boy with the pumping earphones
Loping along the side of the road.
I swear I will be
The unity of every tragedy
The unease of peace beneath
The interstate bridge
And all of you who want to be-
You should all join me.
And we’ll tear open and probe inside every heart
Sway with every building when it falls apart
Tremble with every bomb when the wars all start
We will be something besides statistics on a flow chart
And we will snap at all of our favourite parts.