Sunday, September 20, 2009

What Do You Believe?

An exercise in my Poet's Companion book led to this, in my opinion, quite funny poem. The overall intent was to create an "authoritative" voice. The instructions were simple enough, they asked you to list six things you seriously believe in, then three silly or outrageous beliefs (which from the instructions, I wasn't clear whether these three silly or outrageous beliefs were things I had to seriously believe in or if they had to be silly or outrageous in general). Anyway, then you had to make another list of rules for yourself, four having to do with how you conduct yourself as a person and two having to do with you as a writer. Then another list with two statements of disbelief and three statements of things you would never do.

Coming up with things I seriously believed in was difficult until I had to brainstorm things I didn't believe in. I suddenly realized how many things I believed in and it made me feel good because sometimes I feel as though I'm always losing faith in things. The other day I admitted to a friend of mine that I don't believe in anything; it makes trying to create or write more difficult, empty and meaningless. I enjoyed the exercise for reminding me of the things I appreciate most, things that make me -- me.



BECAUSE MY YOUTH IS NO EXCUSE, I BELIEVE

in simplicity like hardness pushed up against softness, double

D-cups, black shorts and peep toe heels on five-foot ten

inch sable women; I believe in being one of the prettiest girls

in the nightclub, unsmiling for no apparent reason, vodka

and energy drink stinging the pink flesh of the throat,

laughing at jokes made by guys who buy me these drinks;

I believe in oxtail bones I can suck the gravy out of; I

believe in fucking strangers, giving them all my pinking

anger and leaving it to roost on their clammy flesh; I believe

in love at first sight the original instinct; I believe in

ex-boyfriends being imaginary, something I dreamed up

because I was lonely but have since outgrown; I believe in

subject areas where conscience is the prime matter at hand;

I believe in reading everything by Nikki Giovanni, making my

own phrases as memorable as "then i awoke and dug/ that if i

had natural/ dreams of being a natural/ woman doing what a

woman/ does when she's natural/ i would have a revolution;" I

believe in watching romantic comedies for a cry, waiting for the

aha! moment when the leads realize their love budding like fruit;

I believe in appearing as intelligent as possible without being

snooty, speaking only when my two cents is required; I believe in

day time talk shows with guests whose lives make normal people's

appear less reckless; I believe in many gods representing colors and

the elements of the periodic table; I believe in damn good music,

manipulated word sounds and melodies making out the language

of soul; I believe in taking time to be alone, walking aimless through

my neighborhood until I can think of nothing but the brilliant green skin

of the iguanas crossing in front of me; I believe in practicing cynicism

only when it's funny or when I'm telling my friends the truth; I believe in

cussing in the home tongue where feelings are as raw as they are

ugly; I believe in me like I believe in the possibility of glass breaking; I

believe in forgiveness I don't have to get on my knees.



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