Excellent article — timely questions.
Poetry is a Verb! working theory:
1. All human beings possess creative abilities whether or not explored and utilized in their daily existence.
2. We define the Artist or Creative as anyone who practices or performs any of the creative arts; as one using the skill of creative expression in an artistic method.
3. The judgement of others in regard to the output and quality of creative work is arbitrary; based on individual and cultural bias, the historical time-period in which one lives, and an individuals background and belief systems.
4. Thus, no one (including the creative individual themselves) can accurately judge the artist or the work and its overall contribution to humanity.
Imagine the Past as a body
dressed sharp in black tux
arms open – stance solid
ready for the dance
Imagine the Present as a body
dressed elegant in red silk
arms open – face smiling
ready for the dance
Imagine the Poem as music
a slow rhythm
a four count – with husky undertones
of the ancient Mississippi blues
playing as they dance
Imagine the Past Present Poem
as the dance of life
drifting in time
toward the future
Only in the backwoods of Carolina
in the Year of Our Lord, 1982
would the marriage of a 23 year old man
and a 15 year old girl
make sense. And
Without a pregnancy, to boot!
No need for a shotgun
except we loved before we knew
what love cost,
the price exacted
as that first great flame of crush
burns low, embers left
You were my person of first things:
First trip to the mall
First dinner in a steakhouse
First trip to a movie theater
to watch romance
its union through Richard
and Debra in An Officer and A Gentleman.
All with you. Before then
I walked through gardens, picked peaches.
Motorcycle gangs and Jack Daniels drinking —
straight from the bottle — rape violence poverty
the three demons of daily existence.
You could save me
but it would take years to understand
the depth of that damage,
more years to know no one
could save me from myself.
I hated me years before you
with that cold-sterile hatred.
My promise of kindness
like that day I gave you
a shoulder rub, like
our first Christmas shopping
the mall in Charlotte, the night
I sat in the new pink nightgown
beside the Christmas tree and you
said I was beautiful. Then
I wished I could use your eyes
not those dirty broken lenses I owned.
And I wish the children knew now
How much we loved back then —
air to lungs, pulse through blood —
before they became the only us that endures.