I Was a Reluctant Poet

My first lines
Burst forth
Unbidden
And oddly patterned.
I shunned learning
The craft.
All the poets I knew
Seemed pretentious
Intentionally overcomplicating
What seemed to me to be
The heart of simplicity.
For me it was
Music
With my pen
As the only instrument.

I hid my voice
My true voice
In mismatched journals
Random tablets
Sheets of available paper
All tangled up
In the bed of my heart.
Those were the books
That held my secrets and dreams
My pain and desire
Jagged lines
In rhythmic stanzas
The melodies buried in the deepest cells
Of my soul.

And in my darkest times
I would read and re-read
And discover
Who I really was
And who I am
Now.
Who I am now
Who I am
In this moment.
And yet I was still reluctant
To call myself
A poet.

But every poet must
If she is able
Make a pilgrimage
Of some sort.
Because that is how we live
Worshipping the universe
The source
The bubbling seeping spring
The mouth
Of our inspiration.
And so I lurched
Into the City Lights bookstore
On the urine scented streets
Of San Francisco.

There is no bathroom there
Just books.
No romance section
But lots of romantic ideas.
I bought some
Since I am still a believer
In the written word on paper
No battery required
Just a direct plug
Into the humming throbbing grid
Of humanness
The scent of soft and solid pulp
My sweet perfume.

I picked up a copy
Of Ferlinghetti’s book
Poetry as
Insurgent Art

at the check out counter
on impulse.

At night
In bed
I read this line from it:

Poetry is worth nothing
And therefore priceless

Yes. Yes!
I said to myself.
I must write a blog about this!
In the morning
I sat up in bed to write a blog
And this poem
Came out
Instead.

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5 Responses to I Was a Reluctant Poet

  1. Donna in Delaware October 22, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    It’s beautiful. Reminds me of the ’60’s in San Francisco. It is soulful, what you write, straight from the heart and your surroundings. I’ll nominate you any day, to be our National Poet! Sometimes words and poems say too much! This is just “write” (pun intended). Have a beautiful day!

  2. John K. October 22, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing Maria. I wish I had all the old notebooks of years past, to look back on, to help me understand — “who I am.”

    When reading this section:

    “And who I am
    Now.
    Who I am now
    Who I am”

    I couldn’t help but think of Bruce’s lyrical repetition of words and phrases. Not a bad connection to make, I think.

    Good stuff!

    John K.

  3. James Early October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Absolutely fabulous. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your poetic soul.

  4. Barbara October 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Wonderful. Thank you.

  5. maria (farm country kitchen) October 23, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Thank you all for your positive responses. It’s hard to put myself out there like this so your support means a great deal! My only regret in life is that I never learned any instrument well enough to put my poetry to music….so again, thank you!

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