“What poets should do,” by Dorothea Lasky

Dottie

Poets should get back to saying crazy shit
All of the time
I am sick of academics or businesspeople telling poets
What we should do
A poet is a scientist
To favor poetry
Or science
In that both relate to Buddhism
However, both are things that melt
A purple haze or dawn
What sunken in
Always a shifting mood,
But it’s true, I love you guys and gals
Of the wood and word
Let’s say whatever it is we please
We don’t have to defend anything
It is our God-given right to declaim
No, let me start again
It is our universal law to speak
Not an actuary to measure how thin
The arguments of our verse
To say we make a treatise in language, no
No we go on living and living and living on
That’s beautiful, and poems are, too
Poems and shells
These little nothings I pick them up
All the livelong day
They are the signposts of comfort possible
To smooth the jagged edges
Of this worried traveler
That’s what poems should do
And that’s what poets actually do
Damn light
Always going on in my face
I just want a poem to speak of
So I go on and on
Into the night
And the townspeople, they say to you
That they may have seen
A monster
But no no I was only the dawn

 

Dorothea Lasky is the author of Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE (from Wave Books), as well as nine chapbooks, including Matter: A Picturebook and Poetry is Not a Project. She is a graduate of the MFA program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in St. Louis in 1978, she currently lives in New York City.

 



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