the dangers of trying to force out a dangerous poem

9 May

i must confess that a boo in the dark scares me.
it’s dangerous.
words scare me too but far less and only when i know what someone is saying.
there are also the occasions when i mess up what someone is saying,
misconstrue it, misinterpret it, connect dots that don’t exist, get paranoid and
ultimately feel that same sort of boo sensation….danger.

Here’s my dilemma or i should say, one of my many dilemmas.
i heard that in order for a poem to be an effective one,
it has to surpise the reader, jar them, knock them off center, be dangerous.
But i’ve never read a poem that felt dangerous.
i’ve met people who seemed dangerous and they may have been poets,
but i could never be sure because poets don’t wear a name tag on their shirt that says ”poet.”
and even if they did and i were walking down a dark alley late at night,
a poet and an old handicapped granny holding a stack of coupons
could probably cause me a dangerous boo of similar proportions.

maybe i just haven’t read the right boo kind of poem yet?
or maybe poems would be better off not trying to be so dangerous?

but i’m human and so i fell for this poems have to be dangerous gimmick.
you see, i had this great poem written down the other day.
it was real honest and sincere and from things i had felt and seen.
it was about gymnastics,
about vultures vying for tops of trees,
a best seat in the house scenario
dibs on first pounce road kill.

then i got the gumption to make it sound more shocking,
add fangs and blood and what not,
throw in some sharper turns and surprises,
make it dangerous
and well,
i ruined the whole damn thing.
it didn’t sound anything remotely like me, but it was too late to go back,
the previous version was nowhere to be found.

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3 Responses to “the dangers of trying to force out a dangerous poem”

  1. Millie Ho May 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    Wow, you’ve really captured something here, Steve. I guess an analogy would be a person sharpening a knife. Once you sharpen the knife beyond that point where it could cut the fastest and most effectively, the knife cannot be used. Maybe the knife is too thin. Maybe it’s too brittle now, weakened from over-sharpening.

    I have urges to over-sharpen things all the time. Then I think about something I heard somewhere sometime, about how the anticipation of danger is often more dangerous than the actual danger itself. Fear makes everything seem worse than it actually is.

    I’m working on some short story ideas, and I keep running into problems when I try to overwork them. So now I’m just going to lay it on low, focus more on innuendo than blatant suggestion. Hopefully that works, for writing and for poetry.

    • Steve Myers May 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

      The Night of the Long Knives in Reich Land musta been filled with lots a danger.

      Maybe a poetry reading would do it in these peaceful times with hair and fangs not mattering, only what people did with the words we fed them, words about ourselves, spellbounding some danger.

    • Steve Myers May 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

      or is it spellbinding? my tenses made me tense.

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