Why I Write Poetry
Why I Write Poetry
After Major Jackson
Because words and rhythm are medicine
covered by God’s Socialist Health Care Plan for Humanity.
Because nursery rhymes were mother’s milk to me,
Dr. Seuss a taste-treat after school
and Psalms were served on Sundays.
Because another drone just killed someone’s sweet child.
Because…Naomi Shihab Nye.
Because I want to be more Buddhist
and I am better at being one with the world
when writing alone in my lovely office
than when I am out in the world with narcissists
who text while driving.
Because structure spurs surprise
and there are forms I can follow
that restrict, and so, release me as I write.
Because I don’t aspire to be rich.
Because it’s good cardio.
Because the sky laughs at borders.
Because it takes up to eight million gallons of water
for each fracking site,
(over one million as I type) and that water is rendered
while out west people were charged for collecting
rainwater and using it in their gardens
and I am not making this up.
Because I don’t have to do all the work myself
and often it’s better when I step out of the way.
Because my grandmother would float a single peony
in a bowl on her table,
and my mother would float a single peony in a bowl on her table,
and the peonies in my garden have just unfurled
and are flaunting themselves.
Because I was ten when I found my mother’s vodka
hidden in the kitchen, fourteen when she died, and
eighteen when I first spoke about her drinking
Because sea otters know how to play and never worry
about self-esteem or taxes.
Because it is my presence to this swivel chair, this messy
desk, this breeze, huge fly, ice cream truck tinkling by, this ordinary time, this now
Because Jesus taught in metaphors.
I mean parables—
I mean metaphors.
Because the Japanese have the word, hanami
which is the act of gathering for the sole purpose
of admiring cherry blossoms.
Because…Angelou, Basho, Bass, Crozier, Eliot, Frost,
Hafiz, Heaney, Harjo, Neruda, O’Donohue, Piercy,
Schneider, Shakespeare, Yeats and Emily.
Because I never massaged my father’s feet
until he was bedridden and unable to use them.
Because sugar, salt and fat do not appear together
naturally in any food
and someone created Snickers.
Because my husband and I have two sons who
serve humanity in healing capacities:
one researching the brain,
and the other busking on street corners
with his accordion.
Because it is breath itself imbued with
inspiration, imagination, illumination, intonation,
invocation, invitation, validation, lubrication,
emancipation, recognition, resurrection and
can be experimental, traditional, metrical, lyrical,
sensorial, spiritual, satirical, historical, hysterical,
political, mystical, musical, whimsical and
as I mentioned earlier, medicinal, thus covered by
God’s Socialist Health Care Plan for Humanity.
Because someday Bruce Springsteen might want
to collaborate on a song
and I need to be ready.