If I did write poetry as a profession, I suppose I’d have to stand up in front of a great number of people, book in hand, and sweat out my anxiety to present my work forward. My natural (and dearly held) shyness would have to be overthrown, with a sword, complete with bloodshed. The words I write would not be allowed to stay anchored on a page (or a screen). I’d have to make them go public.
If I did write poetry as a profession, I’d also have to pretend to feel animosity toward the following things:
Rhyming words and alliteration
(not an exhaustive list)
I love all of the above, so although I might not utilize each of those items on a daily basis, I still want the opportunity to keep them close by. I think there’s a shelving unit at Ikea ( called “Glimkkö”, or “Schlurzzhaftufta”) to hold the things that are not seen as very refined, but that we need to know still exist on at least a weekly basis.
…and I guess I’d have to be solicitous, and gregarious. I’d have to be bolder than I am now. We’re no longer allowed to be quiet with our tongues but loud with words. I now have to network. I have to have a presence.
It might be enough for say, William Carlos Williams. After he wrote:
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
(This Is Just To Say, WCW)
He’d have to immediately think of what box it needed to be fit into, where to send it out, what committee he should alert to its presence. It would not be enough to simply
taste the plum
cold and sweet
in his mouth
It wouldn’t be enough now. His words might not be allowed to be so pure, so clear, like a glass marble, like a solid cube of blue ice, like a patch of dandelions, their yellow butter heads begging you to mash them up on the inside of your wrist like you did when you were a kid.
(It is, though. Of course it is.)