“Is a poet a poet if nobody’s snapping? Is she a poet if she doesn’t write for you? Is she a poet if she only writes for her? Is she only artist when someone else says that she is?”
By Button Poetry
Transcript provided by YouTube:
I’ve gotten into the routine of spending most nights
willing my poetry to be…
to be loud, to be boisterous,
to enter a stage unapologetically,
or even my room,
or even my mouth,
or even my tongue,
as if to say I apologize to every poem I write
for not being a good enough writer to give it the soul it needs.
But it’s unoriginal, pointless, heard it all before.
My notebook is just another,
another drenched in soot from my own forest fires.
Like can’t you just be worthy of compliment?
Why must you fill yourself with compliments to call yourself worth,
to call yourself poetry?
Is a poet a poet if nobody’s snapping?
Is she a poet if she doesn’t write for you?
Is she a poet if she only writes for her?
Is she only artist when someone else says that she is?
Is she just…
just a young and open mouth?
just busy hands.
Since when did my piece become too millennial for your consumption?
When did it become too loud for listening?
Was it all too personal, too tearstain and teeth mark?
How many metaphors does it take to buy your sympathy?
Are all the gut-wrenching details nothing but currency?
Do you care at all for the poems that breathe here?
Do you care at all for the poets that breathe here?
What’s your perfect poem recipe?
What makes it taste good?
Do you need a little more pep, a little less sob story?
What makes a poem consumable?
Are you only entertained by the poems that can fit into your own mouth
when a poet gets her heart through her throat
to regurgitate the moment she broke?
If nobody in the audience makes a sound,
did she say anything at all?
When a poem breaks, do you blink?
When a poem snaps, do you blink?
How many times does she have to rewrite her trauma
to make it easier for you to swallow?
But it was just too sad, right,
too not… too not not what you like, to not them,
to not what they like.
It’s just a poem.
It’s just another pain poem.
It’s just another rape poem.
It’s just another race poem.
It’s just a poem.
It’s just another not good poem.
But I want to make my poems good, right?
I’ll make them good.
I’ll rewrite and rewrite and rewrite
and rewrite until it’s good.
But what can make my poem good?
It can’t be me.
It can’t be mine.
So when will my poetry not be too much?
Or when will my poetry be enough?
When will it be exactly what you want to hear?
Or when will my poetry just be for me?
If I write a poem and others hear it,
is it still mine?
Is it still art?
Is it still good?
Is it still poetry?
(cheers and applause)
This post was previously published on YouTube.
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video