A little poetry shade

God, I hate poetry.

Except when it’s by a friend, and I know the journey she went through to get that pain on paper, naked and brave and exposed. Little black marks, huddling within vast white margins, releasing their meaning in cadence.

But everything else, ish.

Ish is an exclamation from my childhood in Minnesota, where I learned to hate poems. Except the ones I memorized. I liked those. Who doesn’t want a host of daffodils?

But really, it’s just not my thing.

Unless it’s set to music. Like the piece our choir sang. I still don’t understand why if the paths were worn really about the same, how did he know which one was less traveled? But I like the way I felt confused and unsure, even after studying it. And I stood at the end of the song, heart paused as the conductor held his hands up, letting the note ring.

It’s just that I don’t get poetry.

Unless it’s in French. Then it’s totally worth my time. Because French is mysterious. And it sounds nice, like a brook. Like an old smoker with a giggle.

But all that other poetry, it’s just out.

Except when it surprises me, or when it’s not called poetry and it makes me laugh, or think, or feel something unexpected.

Otherwise I can’t stand it.

Unless it’s mine.

~dedicated without his permission to Joel Chapman




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