Sunday, July 24, 2011

i used to be a poet

I used to be a poet.

I used to know how to do this. didn’t even need to walk up to the mic.

rocked that shit from my seat, off stage, from the doorway, on the train, wherever.

now I question everything.

I think too much.

I used to be a poet.

too much of a poet to be self-conscious. validation irrelevant. compliments unnecessary. I knew what I said was the truth so I ain’t need anyone to agree. things were simpler when I was younger.

I went on tour because I felt it. I didn’t market anything, I just showed up.

now flyers and list servs and.

I used to be a poet. with the fury and the love, the tenderness was implied. the love amplified.

now I feel intellectual, almost theoretical,

been in this so long, the memories of where I been take over. the future. the supposed to, the what ifs take over my mind, demand attention.

insecurities center stage. shaking and tears near. tears in me.

unclear. why am I saying this again? are you hearing me this time? I’ve said this so long, been performing this poem so long, it’s who I am now.

but that’s not who I am.

it takes so much to perform. it never used to take this much. it was just what I did.

it was all so simple. I didn’t think about it.

I don’t want to think. I just want to make art. without thinking and wondering and making sense of and figuring out and strategizing.

I just want to rock shows. that’s all. shows. late shows, early shows, sweaty, dark shows, outdoor shows, freestyle poems in the middle of dance parties, rhyme with djs, let the beatbox move me to move me to move you. that’s all I want.

all this “I should do it like this…or that.” I can’t.

shit is oppressing me.

I want to rock the poem about my father and leave it on the stage.

I don’t want to carry it anymore.

my mother leaving.

my father leaving.

my whole family leaving. is fine.


naw, son, for real, I’m good.

I just want to write about it, dance about it, rock shows about it and leave it on the stage. I don’t need to carry that.

carrying that is what feels heavy on my back, has me doubting my own gift.

and I’m gifted. I don’t have time to doubt my own gift, only time to feel it, be it, give it.

I’m wasting time with these insecurities.

they trying to take over. I feel them creeping. they hungry for my smile. want to eat my peace of mind.

I won’t feed them.

I won’t set the table and make a plate for them with my thoughts, my wringing hands, my doubting the love of everyone loving me.

insecurities creeping everywhere overrunning the garden of my life with plants I never planted. whose fuckin seeds are these? I don’t want this shit.

I used to be a poet.

I used to do it so pure my voice cried words onto the mic.

it was so pure. too pure for there to be room for all the pain of what if and I should and I’m done with it. I’m done with what if and I should.

I want to rock pure like that. step up to the mic with the words trembling from my chest,

freshly memorized,

soul still shaking in my chest and holding me up tall to share this fire.

love rocking me steady.

that’s why I love poetry. when the poetry is raw and roots are tumbling out of your mouth.

that’s what I love.

when I was a poet, I was a poet.

if I am poet, then I will be a poet. without all the bullshit.

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