Life before poetry was dull I used to labour over words and grammar in sentences and prose Bounded by structure Strictured by critics
And no strange men ever slid into my DMs then Like they do now Especially the married ones who pretend they’re not Boy poets are so bad Byronesque Basic They think everything is an invitation They think everything you write is about them
Life before poetry was so very dull I never saw the words ‘ink’ and ‘skin’ and ‘heart’ written so many times by so many people so earnestly on typewriters and with fountain pens I never saw such yearning for the spurned Or for toxic lovers to return As I do among poets
And I never once wrote about fucking back then And how good it feels Or how much everything else hurts How much life stings As I singe selfhood into skin With these words
Poetry is the key that’s unlocked me And my popularity Life before poetry was dull
I wear a concrete t-shirt On the inside Your leaden neglect Weighs heavy My moods are not feathers Nor are they candy The corners of my heart turn down My rage is coddled by shame Bottled in my torso Sealed tightly with cork Apply love to my heart With electric paddles Shock awake the joy Please
Spoken word video version of my poem heart head gut. For auto-captions please turn them on in the YouTube settings above. If you’d like to read the text version of this poem, please click on this link.