A letter to myself (or maybe the poems I can never understand)

You are not reading the poem.

You are analysing it,

You are trying to defeat it.

You are forcing meaning out of the words and phrases

You are asking the poem to surrender to you.

It will not.


Are you answering the call of the girl who wants to know the poem?

Or retorting to the insecurity looming behind you, always,

Until every poem is a test you must pass –

A stanza, you must paraphrase and spit back to the poet?

Searching for understanding so hard that it eludes,

That which is simple is convoluted into a metaphor before your eyes,

And already metaphorical poems?

That’s an inevitable defeat awaiting you in pretty words.


You are a poet who doesn’t understand poetry.

What an irony,

And you hate the truth behind it.


This is not a dance between you and the poem,

It is not even a battle between you and the voice that calls you stupid,

It’s your fear of being stupid.


You are stupid, sweetie, we all are.

You are a teenager in a sheltered home, with the eyes of a child,

And the heart of a naive idealist,

And the mind of a well intentioned flee.


You are stupid.


You are stupid in trying to prove yourself each time.


The poem is not a battle to be won,

It is a thought to be deciphered,

An opinion to be heard.


And poems will be kind to you,

If you surrender to them,

If you say, I want to know what you are trying to say, and I know I may not understand, and it scares me, it fucking scares me that this is another place I will let myself down, but maybe, dear poem, you can undress for me, and I will feel the gentle curves of ideas, in a way that is mesmerized and vulnerable, knowing that you have been had before and you will be had again, and you will never completely be mine for knowing or understanding, but the tone of you is too sweet to ignore, it sounds like it was meant for my ears alone,

The poet is a magician I envy but I choose to admire,

I will try again, dear poem,

To love you the best way I can,

And if I can’t that is okay, maybe later,

Maybe never.

But I will still treat you the best I can,

As something to be cherished,

If not fully understood.


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