Dear Poetry, I wish you would just tell me what you want. Let’s stop fooling ourselves; this was never a healthy relationship. I’m a coward. I want to be dominated. I don’t want to take responsibility for the expression of my desires. I am a danger to myself and others. I will eventually do you harm in my efforts to provoke a fight out of you. I will play every form of philanderer, backstabber and cheat, every simplistic rendition in the discourse of every identity group I can’t even begin to define, yet will conveniently allow to define me. I have no essence, no initiative and no creativity. I am awaiting your instruction. I am awaiting your surrender.
Dear Poetry, I honestly don’t get you sometimes. I see how you strut around making everyone seem so smart and sexy. Do that for me so I can leave the house in the morning. Just be seen with me in public. I don’t care about your feelings. You don’t have to love me, just let people suspect that you might. Look at me the way the famous poet looked at me in that moment when he mistook me for Barack Obama, that moment before he admitted his mistake and I took his look of recognition, the brightening of his ancient eyes, for delight in seeing once again a face he could only remember as belonging to his favorite student. In that moment I saw my name in the index of his biography with so many page numbers listed behind it. Imagine his disappointment. Imagine mine. Do me a solid. Would it be so hard for you to let people see you laughing at some intimate nothing I’ve shared?
Dear Poetry, you’ll have to forgive me. I grew up in a culture of insecurity. Insecurity gets a bad rap when it is actually the only tenable position for any floating soul desiring presence or claiming (knock, knock) physical being. How can we be secure in anything other than our delusions? Forgive me. Some would call such a thing faith. I heard from my high school sweetheart recently. Right, who hasn’t heard from their high school sweetheart? Facebook seemingly folds time and space. It adds the truth of shared experience by people whose existence we had forgotten to the time-warped distortions of our own memory. Their memories are at once corroborating and contradictory. Whereas truth was once a memory I had allowed to grow into the shape of my fondness, truth is become a woman I had once fantasized about now offering to pray for me, and to send me literature from her church, and doing so without irony. I mean, what does she want from me? Is she really that secure in her desire or is she just goading me into a fight like she used to?
Dear Poetry, please don’t tell anyone about this conversation. I’m very particular about my image. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of me. It would drive me bananas to think of people walking around making false assumptions about me. Sometimes I can see the decisions a stranger is making about me patently worked out across their face. Their calculations grow more complex the longer I stare at them. I wish I could write a poem that would stare at the reader. Pow! Right in the eye, and say, hah, I’m not what you think I am! You’ll never figure me out, though I really wish you would try. Help me, dear poetry. You’re my only hope. Amen.