Naked in Dreams
Poetry is just too damned embarrassingly personal,
airing your own dirty laundry in public,
or writing unpleasant truths about your friends,
praying they won’t see themselves in the poem,
hoping they will see themselves in the poem,
trusting they won’t kill the messenger.
Reading a poem aloud is like
coming out of the closet to your parents,
like standing red-faced in the bathroom
with your pants around your ankles,
like loudly breaking wind in the middle
of your onstage plie’.
Poetry doesn’t always smell like roses.
The audience stares with blank gazes,
yelling, “Take it off. Take it all off.”
looking for their money’s worth,
wanting to see the poet’s naked soul,
even when they know that souls are invisible,
even when the poet thought
he had it lit in flashing neon.
Poets will continue to be caught and embarrassed
putting their hands down unbuttoned blouses,
sneaking back in their windows late at night,
slipping the magazines under the mattresses,
trading quick kisses with other men’s wives,
walking naked in dreams while others are dressed.
But, poets go on with their singing—
eccentrics in their own home towns—
with stains on their shirtfronts
and their flies unzipped,
wishing their voices carried better,
wishing for the silver tongues of gods,
reading poems with pebbles still in their mouths.