I Stopped Writing Poetry

11/2010

I stopped writing poetry
because I had a day job and night job
and both left little time for socializing,
so I sacrificed poetry in order to
go to late night movies, to travel,
veg out in front of a TV because
I didn’t want to feel – I was over it –
and poetry made me feel.

I stopped writing poetry because I fell in love
And everything I wrote was clichéd, Hallmark
Versions of serious poetry, and
If I couldn’t write serious poetry, then
why write poetry at all?

I stopped writing poetry when the
Scribbled verses I clutched in my lined paper
Were savagely stricken with black ink
By a “real” poet who told me I was no poet;
He circled only two words in those four verses
And said, “Here, you may have a poem.”

I stopped writing poetry when
Every poem I wrote fell into a
Been-there, done-that
Category. No originality,
The “real” poet told me. You’re
Too late. Find something new.
Writing about a Latino identity is so
Nineteen-eighties. Perhaps if I’d been
In my twenties, or thirties then, and
Not still in elementary school,
Well, maybe then I would’ve kept writing poetry.

I stopped writing poetry when I started
Writing prose, because I was a good writer,
but a bad poet. I had stories to tell and
Those took more white space than a poem did,
though I never really stopped writing poems.
Nestled in my prose, were poems,
But not poems of a “real” poet, so I stopped writing
Deliberate poems

Except when I hurt
Or when the hurdle of emotions become
Too much to write in prose.
When I have to seek the better evil of
Writing or paying someone for my sanity.
Then I write poems.

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