Two weeks until I move up to San Francisco, and my room is full of boxes. Small polygons of beige carpet are the only
spaces for navigation. All else is congested, like an interminable pile up on the 405 freeway.
I'm leaving. Again.
Today I read something that stung like a hornet.
The piece was posted on an online journal which will remain nameless. The content pretty much reflected the following theme: "I hate poetry."
I wondered why these words bothered me so, and then I realized that I had sent this individual a poem once after reading his blog, asking him to check out Broke Kitty. He never responded, and I wondered why. Generally speaking, I'm not one to send random emails to people. Sharing poetry and writing and art to me is the ultimate act of sharing. It is revealing a snipit of raw emotion and truth. It is exposure.
In any case, the anti-poetry tirade fueled a sort of anti-blog tirade within me. This may seem ironic, considering this zine morphs into a blog from time to time, but I ultimately began to think: I would take the words of Rilke over this guy's self-stroking crap any day. A million and one blog pages by this shmuck couldn't even come close to the feelings generated by one of Rilke's poems. To me, poetry is powerful. Poetry is music. Poetry is life.
It is true that poetry can be cheesy as hell, but so can life. So can people. So can almost anything. Another angle to consider is that poetry breaks silences, intermitently. Poetry allows one to breathe. Poetry is expression. Poetry is survival.
A former gang member wrote a book about how poetry is what people need to live again. Not killing, not death, not warfare-- but simple words, simple beauty. This is something he learned after multiple years of life on the streets. In his case, poetry is more than just bourgeois pretention and luxury. Poetry, when real, comes from the heart.
Unfortunately, poetry is sometimes boxed and stereotyped, much like ethnic identity or any other category, even by people that seemingly uphold ideas of liberalism and freedom. Would freedom exist without poetry? One need only look to lands clouded with silence to find that poetry is the antithesis of containment. In the end, poetry is something to love, something that moves beyond boxes.
KLC, all boxed up in Los Angeles, 1/10/2002