Monday, March 7, 2011

This is not a poem

I recently did an interview with a journalist in which he asked me all sorts of questions about my writing and me as a "writer" that I found rather uncomfortable. I kept feeling duplicitous as I responded to his questions because I struggle with the idea of being identified as a writer. In fact, I struggle with being identified as anything not biological as it seems incomplete. And of course I get that biological descriptors are also incomplete but it makes me less uncomfortable to be known as an average height, dark skinned twenty-seven year old for example, than it does to be identified as a writer, or a poet:

This is not a poem.
This is a map of neural pathways
trampled in my brain,
A string of molecular ranting
that seeks immortality.
These are the contents of my mind
set loose from somatic confines.

The critics, aghast, bay for blood.
There are rules to be followed
Non-conformity is adulteration.
I will never be included among
the literary greats
Like Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Yeats.
I will never be studied or quoted
My technique is raw
My ideas undeveloped.

But these are my words
and I choose to serve them
Freshly ground from the Seed.
This is not a poem.
It's not even "chopped up prose"
Has no intro, conclusion or body... or soul.
It is ink on cellulose,
These are pixels on a screen.
It is the nudity of my mind exposed.

I'm not even trying to pretend that I can rhyme.
It takes far too much time and I am not inclined
to demand this of my mind.
Indeed, I'm not obliged.

I don't believe in the death of poetry.
I believe in its persistence
through adaptation, evolution,
Revolution, slow and steady.
Leave it alone. Let it be.
Iambic pentameter schmentameter!
Who sets the parameters
for the expression of thought?
It is what it is.
This is not a poem.
And I am not a poet.

© Sandisile Tshuma MMVI