Maybe I Wasn’t Trying To Write A Poem, Okay?!

The snow goes
As the snow does
(Does doesn’t rhyme)
The snow does, that is to say, the female counterparts to snow bucks
Make footprints all along the way
While I get up and resume
(Resume doesn’t rhyme)
Resume, that is to say, create a list of my work history and credentials
So I may travel ‘cross the globe
In hopes of finding a great job
(Job doesn’t rhyme)
Job, that is to say, a person with unyielding patience in the face of suffering
Who could last an entire summer
Bearing trials without number
(Number doesn’t rhyme)
Number, that is to say, more desensitized to pain
Feelings growing in his head
Unafraid to take the lead
Lead, that is to say, the chemical element with 82 protons in its nucleus
Paint from off his old lawn mower
The effort turning him rank as a sewer
(Sewer doesn’t rhyme)
Sewer, that is to say, seamstress, that is to say, actually a person of any gender who decides they want to take up sewing because it’s a relaxing and productive hobby, and who are you to impose your gender stereotypes on entire words?!
(Whoa, settle down there, Ogden Nash)
No, you settle down, parenthesister! You’re not even real! You’re just a gimmick I’m using to very poorly hide the fact that I have nothing significant to say!
(I’d say that hurts, but then, you are just putting these words in my mouth, so…)
Exactly, so why don’t you stop judging me!
(Oh please, tell me you’re not doing another ‘I write poems for me, not for you’ poem. You did that, like, five posts ago, and it was already hackneyed then.)
I am not! And it was not! Was it? Ah, I don’t care about your opinion…wait, crap…
(Are you just sending your poem through ever-deeper levels of deconstruction meat grinders to cover up your complete lack of confidence in your own artistic ability?)
(Calling attention to any recognizable pattern or habit or cliché you rely on, trying to forestall criticism by criticizing yourself first?)
Shut up.
(That’s pretty chickenshit, man.)
Well, now you’re doing it too.
(Point. But we all know it’s just you talking with yourself here. The dialogue conceit’s just an attempt to make the whole thing come across less self-indulgent. Which, by the way, isn’t working. And  yes, I know I just did it again. Old habits.)
So what now?
(Well, you could do what you always do when a poem starts to make you feel uncomfortable: tack a too-hastily-applied punch line on to the end. Turn the whole thing into the literary equivalent of a fart joke. You’re already setting it up, I can tell. You just want to reassure everyone that this was all just part of your creative persona, that these internal monologues only last for a couple minutes at a time, pretend that you won’t spend hours obsessing over whether or not to put the accent marks in résumé.)
That has been bugging me.
(Just let it go. Nobody who matters cares.)
So what’s the other alternative?
(You can stick it out. Talk through your doubts and self-loathing. Work out your personal demons and accept that it’s okay to let your guard down. It’s okay to let people see you broken and scared. It’s okay to admit that you need help.)
Yeah…I could do that.
(Yes, you could.)

(So? What’s it gonna be?)


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