There Must Be Space For Poetry

Feather of the poet
Feather of the poet

There is someting that happens when I stand reading the latest analysis about this year's election. I start to see the satire that has become our great political system. As I try to digest and analyze the information and cold calculation of information pouring in, I pause. So in thralled in the media focus, I'm realizing it's on the lives of 20 individuals that want to lead my country and yet something remains missing. As I ponder the implications and meanings of the rise of a right-wing candidate that garners attention for his brash and anti-politically correct ways, saying whatever comes to his mind with no thought or filter. Alternatively, the thought leader on the left tries to battle a contender that speaks a message of fairness and economic equality.

I consider all these things and cannot help but think that there must be time for poetry.

There has to be a space where the arts once more invoke the fire of generations. Our sole concentration should not just be articulated policy and carefully derived calculations that keep the spinning government in motion, but rather we must find a breath to enjoy the arts. We must revel in the ways that beauty can be personified. But lest you believe that I am all hot air, this desire for fiery passion is set in a stark reality.

I turn on the television and see the crisis of black-bodied Americans. I see the violence unleashed on culture, community and soul. I see that violence upon a community cannot last and that the constant parade of dead and dying. I lament at the potential effect this has on a person's soul. I am no psychologist, but I know the wreckage and weight to the psyche is there.

As I watch these moments unfold around me, while I stand bearing witness to a community rising up to respond for their own survival, I cannot help but pause and think there must be space for poetry, for our next Harlem Renaissance, capturing the awakening consciousness of a community as it screams out for change. There are surely dreams deferred and souls tormented in the heat of oppression.

Again, you may wonder at my call, that I may be too full of an odd idealism. But I ask you this: where is the grand telling of the narratives that construct the passionate struggles of our lives? The stories are there. The vivid highs and lows of hard lives that strive for a disjointed and troubled dream. Where are the words that would immortalize the life of a community in action and deed? The voices cannot be silent in this time of need. Who will record the awakening of this giant, this movement that must bridge the past passions and sacrifices to the present pulse? This is all too monumental to be ignored. It dwarfs all other issues. Who will shine a beacon for the dreams of a better future? We do not live in a hopeless time. We must celebrate and bolster each other.

It is in the struggle that the soul is tested. Yet, as a realist, in these days I truly do wonder: Is there place for the poetry? In a world of reductive strategy condensing down our moments to sound bites and disappearing screen shots that make appeals to the lowest common dominator, is it all possible? Have we shrunk the once complex catalogue of collected thought of human experience and boiling it down to an unrecognizable self? Will we trust in poetry to protect the cultural soul in times of upheaval? Will it hold words to page and ear? Do we put faith in its ability to capture what is complex and intangible? Can it find a way to access the most sincere piece of our humanity? Do we even know what that is in these times?

However, I wonder in a world of quick images and sound bite TV, with multiple screens each calling for our attention, will we find space for poetry? Will we allow ourselves that sacred and reflective space? The mantra "If it bleeds, it leads" propels the energized chaos of the 24-hour news cycle, and this pattern impacts our own thought process. We try to feel and find words to express what is moving in whirring minds. The latest celebrity feud is breaking viral news. Where checking out and perpetuating the inane becomes the stuff of regularity. How do we find eloquent ways to immortalize our outrage as those close to us become trapped and captured? How do we find ways to dig into the hearts and souls of those whose minds we must sway to protect the well-being of those who are being crushed in the wake of draconian laws, mindsets and actions?

The arts have the ability to awaken the sleeping minds of the masses. The arts embolden the will of the faithful and bolsters the strength of the weary warrior. The arts allow access to parts of us that have been hidden away, lost in a careless moment. It is the piece of us that was unable to connect to the sound bite, the 146 characters, the disappeared snap words that construct our current reality; it is that sense of discontent with manufactured reality. We must find a way to connect to our poetry, because without it we will feel unfulfilled, left with no release from this fabrication.

The beauty of poetry is that it breaks us free from this moment, and it helps us remember how to feel and why we fight. It connects to the part of us that is begging to see clearly and to hear more than the constant white noise.Let this be a call to the poets to write, write, and write and for the people to read, read, read -- to remember the last time the written word caused you to weep -- the last time that words reminded you to dream. I compel you, poets: please continue to use your gift.

Use your voice, to hold the hope, feelings, sorrow and promise of a better tomorrow on your ink stained sheets. In a society that has in many ways become so hollow, we must pause to breath and read. he story of our time cannot be told in a mere screen; it is something to be felt and heard in the force of written and spoken word. Scribble down the feelings of those people on more than just than just their flesh, transform their struggles into those lessons and moments fit for all time. The power of your words will capture a truth that must never be forgotten. Feed the soul, lest the mind and body suffer.

Dangerous Liaison: The work of a rentboy

You found salvation in his skin
his careful touch lead to find yourself again

Moments that's held me frozen in emotional purgatory
Wondering if the hellish reality of memories
But a gentle caress of a cheek
A sustained stare into the eye
That reaches the part of you that you thought had died

A hand to touch a lip to taste
A moment to make you remember that life begins again

As passion rises and flesh collides
Reasons fade and only the lived life survives
Questing for you to feel
Demanding that you know
That's in this intimate time
That your body can heal

That you can know what it means feel without flinching
Falling back to that memory you banished away
But with him you're pulled back from the abyss
Tempted towards the fire
Finding the hungry that called to you flame

And after a night of learning to rediscover your bliss
Learning to let go of the some of the burden you bore
That sex isn't need to anything more than an expression of desire and need

You fell back into seductive sleep
Wrapped in the arms of others
A face that resembles all the lovers of before
And yet none of them were

A sleep that spoke of sweet surrender you once held dear
In the morning he's slipped away money taken for a job you paid
The rentboy had made his way away
Helping once again to help the broken spirit begin to mend

-in dedication to those affected by the raid on rentboy.com