after the Slam Poet Jon Sands
(who taught me ‘how to skank’ aka how to write poems)
if my life were a poem it would be called This is Not About Me.
it would be a heroic couplet, unrhymed,
in someone else’s notepad.
each time my mind would sit still, your body would applaud.
there would not be a dark place in my
soul that is only brightened by someone else’s
pablo neruda would read my words;
when you fail to pay attention to
whatever you are trying to read or pay attention to,
me or pablo neruda would slip underneath your skin
and paint pictures of poets
in neutral colors
(grey and blue would be not be permitted)
fun would be an escalator transferring my throat both ways.
i would not need stitches
(if my life were a poem, i would have enough stitches already).
i would write a line that would make someone else stop reading.
someone else would have introduced me to great poets like jon sands,
patrick rossal and kevin devaney
a lot earlier on, before they were poets,
when they were just great, and could have
been someone else’s uncle or
nephew or dad;
they would not yet have learned how to skank
for my amusement, or for someone
the letter S that fills each page of my notepad from 2010
would not stand for the days that i was Silent,
for some Song i didn’t sing,
but for the Secrets that burned against the walls of my throat
and for the Skank who never found them.
if my life were a poem,
i would be a chula sauce in someone else’s
burrito; i would drown myself to spare
a stranger’s tongue.
my secrets would be a dance named after
everything i do in my kitchen:
a discolored refrigerator-
the graveyard of cows,
fear and loathing of the
(it is altogether possible i would not own a kitchen
if my life were a poem).
and if i saw one more picknicker in Wonderland Park lugging
his tupper ware to a plot of grass that was not his,
i would not need to prove or diss or disprove anything.
my mind would shrivel up as i squint at the sun.
my body would become
a concentration camp if or when
you speak to me again.
the letter S in my journal would stand for
Someplace where there are no billboards,
where the smiles of strangers don’t
belong to strangers at all, they belong to you,
before you became someone else’s bill-board or
burrito or chula sauce, or just someone else’s.
the letter S in my notepad would stand for
Someone else’s esophagas, for the
stars in arkansas that look like
ink from a pen that refuses to dry,
for the smile of a stranger in texas or for
some part of the sky that is Some place always orange
and a bill-board that always asks me how long
until i believe in eternity again
and why don’t i trust myself anymore when
i go to a bar and neil young starts bending the guitar
like a car can bend around a telephone pole
and there isn’t a seat in the house
that doesn’t look like the rubber clown
suit who has swallowed his own blubbery
nose or tongue.
if my life were a poem,
the letter S in my journal would stop apologizing;
it would speak to spare someone else’s esophagus,
it would stand for all the syllables
in Tomorrow, it would stand for your silent applause,
it would stand for something,
it would start tomorrow.
it would be Some place not a poem,
Some place where to learn to skank does
not mean to learn to swallow.