Why I Do


Someone said wow
All your poems seem to be about
And I felt a bit of shock
And pout
And I wanted to cry
I wanted to scream bad breath
To grace them with intestinal reminders of
(Yes) death
Intestinal death-fumes
Like air-shrooms of what happens
In my head
When I need to get it out

(Like getting cabbage out of sauerkraut)

I hated what they said about my poems
About death
Even though it was true
It made me turn red
But instead of getting wild with emotional poo-storms
Or swarms of bees and wasps
Sending stinging quips between my lips
I stopped and thought
Took a pause
Held back my claws
Because (yes) they were right

But I could still argue the flaws in their perception
And so, I said
Death is something
From which there is no exception
Death gives meaning to life
Death is the beautiful knife
That cuts a piece of eternity for you to eat
To experience
To survive
To never complete
Death helps make meaning
Of the strange journey of being alive

And my poem is the cage
For its terror
Its stink
Its outrage
So that I (and you) can get back
To life

What else would I write about?
A beehive? (death)
Desire? (death)
What I’m afraid of? (death)
Love? (death)
Food? (death)
Happiness? (death)
Sadness? (death)
Etc? (death)

It all leads the same way
Away from (and back to) me
It really is about life
Not mortality
It’s not even really about me
It’s about “we”
Or maybe “oui”
Or maybe “wheee!”

Don’t you get it?
Death makes sense of life if you let it
And a poem makes life better

What is it?
A poem is a way to take
A scabby and disgusting booger of a day
And make it into something else
A way to make use of
Something you would otherwise lose
Or leave with the rusty cans on a shelf
Collecting dust
Or getting wet
Outside of your awareness
Busted, plain
Out in the rain
Like a wheelbarrow with a brown stain
And waiting sadly for spring
To feign youth
To become the big lie
Of being exactly the right way
To tell the truth

A poem is a way
To jump on the bed
Until you break the springs
Or quantum leap to heaven

Or to eat seven cakes
Seven icings
Without throwing up
Without standing on the scale
Until it breaks from the weight

A way to turn fate into inevitability
Or paupery into potpourri
Or ink into imaginable words

A way to catch butterflies
Heal caterpillars
Embrace live birds into a pie
Only to see them emerge
And fly into a magic kingdom
Of forever

A way to come together
Across time
To not die
To live beyond breath
Into the spaces we all occupy
Beyond our tiny boxes
Of sublime, absurd little clocks
A poem absorbs the tedium and shocks

A poem is a key
That unlocks us
And others

A poem is almost a crime
Of lovers breaking immutable laws
Breathing beyond the eternal pause
Reaching back
To those who remain
To those who still believe
In Santa Claus

Do you begin to get it?
A poem is a comfort if you let it be
A keen
A salve to pain

A poem is defiance
A big fuck-you, middle finger homage to whatever
(To death?)

A poem is a form of breath
It is a form of life we share
A place to go if we dare
To find our eternal
Meaningful selves
Where we are

That is why I write what I do
For myself
For all of us
For some of us

For you

By Julie Flanders
Photo Credit Lacie Slezak

About octoberprojectmusic

Julie Flanders Marina Belica Emil Adler
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