According to Bukowski, it’s a crime
to bore readers,
a devil-worshipping offense
to spurt words
burning the eyes.
Incriminated at seventeen, I think
as the rusty bars slam down,
knocking the pen from my hand.
You say I have shamed myself
into this prison box,
though you were the one
who taught me such a penalty exists.
Now guilt locks me up
with my creations night & twilight,
my pockmarked imagery,
these metaphors groaning
with deformed bodies, alliteration
stuttering all over the place
like a lisping child.
I want to smash your talent to bits
but in truth you inspire me,
your reality keeps me from insanity,
your reality keeps me from
indulging in schoolwork
and trying to impress all the time.
Your intriguing words
hook and drag me into the dirt
head first: I lose all the arithmetic
and chemistry I thought came first.
this guy knows something I don’t,
the first time I drowned in your work.
Now I don’t have to hide,
I don’t have to lie.
My choppy sentences are for me
because five years is long enough,
though someday they might glow,
your darkness brings me light.
One day, I hope I can be beautiful
so my lines can be too.
But then again, you taught me
you don’t have to look too gorgeous
to write beautifully.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the April 2016 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.