So much of the time my pants are down
when I read a poem. There are so many
books of poetry in my bathroom, so many
lines to separate, so many words to join.
Sometimes there’s an image I love, an idea
that binds me to it like a motion I repeat
until my mind is clear, and as I grow older
I find that I need to spend more time here.
When my pants are down and I read I’m free,
and what were once plain words become
beautiful words. Poetry can be so horrible
when you’re sitting at a table practicing
perfect posture: I don’t care if “each day
we go about our business” and “the best
minds of my generation” can get fucked.
What did they ever do for me? If you give me
a poem and I don’t like you I will read it
standing up, my back against the wall;
I’ll pretend I’m waiting in line in a place
where there is no line. When I really want
to like a poem I pull down my pants. Then
I pull them up and write my own until you
are ready to pull yours down again, on a gray
and cloudy morning when the grass is damp
and birds have stopped falling from the sky.
Photograph by Jose Padua