GRAPHIC NOISE

Poetry is a voice

speaking the truth

the voice knows

 

and singing within

itself without reservations,

it is the unpredictable,

 

the rattler in the barrow pit,

the oncoming headlights’ blinding

glare, a priest smudging flag-draped

 

coffins, that ferry ride across

the Styx, sticky pitch in the lounge

chair, blind dates, redundant days

 

of clouds and rain, boats

and planes. It exists in all

the animals I’ve loved and killed,

 

tolerated and hated. Poetry is

more rhythm than sense, more jazz

than fear—but let’s be clear: poetry

 

holds death at bay, then slips

it the tongue, refuses to fold its

hands and pray, it goes to its knees

 

for an earful or mouthful

of sacred prophesy, prefers

form over content that dictates

 

the importance of form, permits

one to lick chocolate syrup from

their fingers and lips. Like Lucifer,

 

 

poetry stands its ground, speaks

its mind, is determined to be

what it wants or needs, it does

 

what it says, sometimes, and lies

about the rest if it sounds or feels

like breaking glass or the rules—

 

because it’s always ready to steal

the blues, it’s a selfish stain, graphic noise,

a song that refuses to play along. Poetry

 

doesn’t get the credit it deserves,

it’s been starved, slapped around,

and told how to behave since mouths

 

formed words and symbols were carved,

scribbled down. Its been cornered and

gagged, forced to pose and confess, still

 

it’s managed to survive, expose,

and revolt (I guess). The poem

lives in the gut, the throat, the ink

 

and blood on the page, it cries

out, tries to reach what it cannot

save—that dank pleasure of sexy rage.

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