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"This is why I don't write poetry."

by Jason Wardell


I.

Poetry was efficient.
Poetry served its purpose
and promptly committed suicide.



II.

Every day for seven months,
Poetry drove past my house.
It parked down the street
and slammed its doors
loud enough to wake me up.
It always had trouble starting
and it would always backfire
just as it passed my window.
After a while, I began to expect
Poetry coming to wake me up
and I was alert before the doors
slammed.



III.

I had already been lacking sleep when she knocked at my door. "It's time," she whispered. I stood up and held the door open just long enough to raise one middle finger. I went back, buried myself under a stack of blankets, and tried to forget she was even there. And sometimes it worked. Sometimes she would leave. It's not that I disliked having her around; she just seemed to knock at the least convenient times. I figured that's just how she did things.

In retrospect, Poetry put up with a lot. I never paid her much attention, I always downplayed her significance, I even became embarrassed around her. I never put a lot of faith in her, even when she tried to put faith in me. And despite my best attempts to relegate her to the least of my priorities, she would always come around for me when I needed her the most. Perhaps that's why I was so surprised when she left for good. Perhaps even poetry can only take so much.



IV.

[self-editing]



V.

A boy sat by a lake
and threw stones
as far as he could.
In time, he ran out.



VI.

Suppose he only had three stones.
Suppose he sat at the ocean.

03/18/2005

Author's Note: Updated some time in 2007. Gendering and capitalizing proper nouns and such. I think it makes it better. Updated again, December 2009. Grammar and phrasing clean-up. At this point I am willing to admit that I have written three good things. Published April 2010 in Metrosphere, Metropolitan State College of Denver's art and literary journal.

Posted on 03/18/2005
Copyright © 2022 Jason Wardell

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Rachelle Howe on 03/19/05 at 08:55 PM

i think this is unlike anything i've ever read from you. it has a loon quality that you know i love. madness, madness, my friend, and still, the lines come. :) talk soon. keep it goin'.

Posted by Bradd Howard on 05/05/05 at 10:05 PM

I love this! personification of poetry is natural. It is that pest or that lover that we have all dealt with on occasion. Thanks for your words and keep up the good work... Bradd

Posted by Lauren Singer on 12/13/05 at 09:18 PM

wow, this is incredible, and extremely relatable, we all have these love/hate relationships with our vices. the ending of this piece took my breath away.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 04/08/06 at 04:27 PM

This was such a pleasent read! I loved how you gave "poetry" human characteristics- very creative; like nothing I've read. Excellent!

Posted by Paganini Jones on 11/10/07 at 09:26 AM

I am surprised to find I have not commented o this before for it has been in my favourites since I first read it. I too delight in this personification of the urge to write poeetry. I recognise the way it calls at the most inconvenient moments. In my case it has been known to yank me out of bed in frustration and shout at me until I did as it demanded...

Posted by Kris Mara on 05/26/09 at 07:41 PM

love how you anthropomorphized poetry to describe how I think most of us who write feel, but never actually articulate…and you’ve articulated it to the letter here. I’m glad I hunted around to find this gem.

Posted by Paganini Jones on 11/04/09 at 09:34 PM

This is... excellent. Too small a word but all I have. I had to log into pathetic just so I could mark this as favourite and leave this comment.

Posted by Phil P Robson on 11/05/09 at 08:43 PM

Wow, this is fantastic. Makes me think of the fact that I went through 5 years without writing a single poem. Original and captivating

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 11/05/09 at 10:30 PM

...jason, yea, yea, you got poetry nailed down, love your 'dancing' partner, never does she say eXactly what we're trying to say...i mean we gotta use words...so restricting nahahahahahaha, a great write jason, garth hill will love this, sounds like his writing, i'm gonna tell him about this one.

Posted by Olivia Martin on 01/08/10 at 03:25 PM

You know I was just about to leave the site for the day when I stumbled upon this piece. Awesome! I love the "lack of control" you express here -- ahh the plight of the poet bound to the written world. Wonderfully written!

Posted by Jolie Jordan on 06/15/12 at 06:34 AM

I came across this in random member favorites and I'm really glad I did. It's fantastic.

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