Whatever You Choose

Decide if a poem is a question
or a declaration, a meditation
or an outcry. If it’s a question, try to answer it.
Like, “Where were you last night?’
Let your poem create the disguise:
You wandered weak and weary
through the tulgey wood
between the woods and frozen lake,
the darkest evening of the year.

If your poem’s a declaration,
make sure you shout it
amidst an action scene,
such as, “Liar!”
she kicks the fleshy
part of your leg.
“Liar!” she slaps you firmly.
“Liar!” spit flies upwards, bubbles
slide down your chin.

If your poem’s a meditation,
be sure to go zen.
Contemplate the fulfillment
of this unfurling frond,
make your wordlessness
a magic wand.
Heal the world with calm.
You don’t wipe the spittle,
you let it slide, penance’s ride.
Don’t stop her scissor punching your chest.
You won’t comfort her tonight,
but will her to continue her best.

If your poem’s an outcry,
turn up the heat. Don’t stop till
someone hears you,
and then someone else repeats.
And make sure the message is clearer
with each shout.
“I trusted you!” “I trusted you!”
You both let words out.
She put trust’s bit in
your mouth, and you slobbered
for twenty years.
“I trusted you,” both thought.
To guide me, passionately.
To groom me. Board me.
Own me.

We trusted each other.
We handed over our reins.
Whatever you chose,
just don’t let your ‘poem’ play
any more mind games.

Late Night Poets

This poem will air March 3rd, 2021

“Honoring Lawrence Ferlinghetti” Episode

1230 am to 230 am ET


Tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“Decide if a poem is a question or a declaration,
a meditation or an outcry.”

“I never wanted to be a poet; it chose me, I didn’t choose it; one becomes a poet almost against one’s will, certainly against one’s better judgement. I wanted to be a painter, but from the age of 10 these damn poems kept coming. Perhaps one of these days they will leave me alone and I can get back to painting.”

-Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Artwork: Lawerence Ferlinghetti “Before the Revolution” 1979

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