Writing Verse

by Poetry

why did it work on you?

never even mentioned it
when you smiled, laughed
at cruel humour –
                touched your fingers
to my arm
became concerned at
the coldness there.

not being a poet
I never called myself a poet
& when you asked
what you had to do
for me to write
a verse or two
about your eyes
the world fell apart

staggered through the crowd
pushing smoky demons away
to see them reform in my fingers
                to the bathroom hidden
beneath the stage

forced cursed fingers
into my throat
and vomited
mad affections

do I stink of poetry now? is it ingrained in my skin? is it that obvious?
does my shirt reek? does my suit jacket scream?
do my frayed boot hum & my hair give me away?
have gnarled, bone-bent fingers learned to sing & does my tongue make my body rancid?
are my eyes now the eyes of endless nights in pursuit of nothing?
does my skin smell of whatever poets smell of?

I think I believe that poetry isn’t necessarily a form but is, instead, a kind of judgement. Poems may strive for poetry, but few achieve it. I don’t think I’ve ever written poetry, though I have written a thousand poems. I think that’s why I’m not, and most likely never will be, a poet. Or, perhaps, I’m one of those who have fallen for the sheer bloody romanticism of poetry; in the absence of an immediate god, I have made poetry into my g-d. In the absence of anything above us but the sky and the exploding gas and all the warped time of the universe, I have turned my prayers inwards and around; never reaching up, but always plunging into the body – always rifling through the purses and pockets of those around me.

I am certainly not qualified to tell you, or anyone, what poetry is or isn’t; what poems are and what poems are not – I’m barely qualified to explain it to myself. Still, I find it difficult to believe that anyone else feels this motion in their breast; this seasickness when the waves of poetry rise above my head. I’m afraid I’m going to drown in it soon. Take one last great breath of poetry before I let my head sink into the bitter waters.

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modern poetry
Carey Poet


after years I understood that I
am not the great hero of my
own poems; all failures &
cruelties are mine & belong
to me – all weaknesses of the world
are the weaknesses I own