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Poetry is for the People This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I always thought that to write poetry

I had to be some kind of dreamy naturalist,
A person whose words

Flowed out like rivers
Smoothing over the rocks in their wakes,

Spilled like flowers over balconies,
Hanging in the dazzling night sky.

Poetry seemed so unreachable to me,
Like no matter how high I stretched my hand

It would always be floating
One arm-length above me,

Not quite mocking me but just barely
Beyond my comprehension.

I didn’t know I could write about what I believed.
That, in poetry, the lines would be short enough

For people to listen to me,
In this rapidly-paced era.

That poetry would allow me to project
The Rolodex of my mind, to let the public

Page through my everyday sounds and images--
Of the dirt underneath the bayou where

The one-legged man with the “Need Food” sign
Stands and begs in the rain,

Of the decrepit gas station where the boy
Waits for a mother who will never come,

Of the glances of the little girl, who walks alone
With fear in her eyes and books in her hands.

Poetry is not the layer of shine painted
Deceivingly over a blistering world;

It is the truth and grime
Underneath the mask of glamour.



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