I’m sorry ma’am, but if you plan on sleeping from take off to touch down you’re in the wrong seat, because as soon as it’s safe to use portable electronics, it’s gonna be PIPITY PIPITY POW right here next to you. Which is to say you’ll be startled awake by the machine-gun like sounds of wild, emphatic typing rising above the whine of the jet engines and the low growl of my torturously inspired mumbling.
You see, I’m not just a passenger; I’m a poet. And while they may be able to buckle me into this tiny seat, they won’t be able to contain my inspiration. No, ma’am. I’ll be knocking out beautiful poetry this whole goddamn flight.
What will it be about? Anything. There are no limits to my subject material. I’ll write a poem about flowers. I’ll write a poem about dragons. I’ll write a poem about a flower that fights a dragon and you’ll be all smug and think, Well obviously the dragon would win. But don’t get too comfortable with that mindset because, like a stealth bomber ravaging your brainscape with heartfelt language, here I come out of the blue with all these poetic details explaining why the flower winning is not only plausible but necessary.
That’s not the end, though. No way. Just when I have you willing to believe in a floral victory, that’s when the flower will take off its mask to reveal that it’s actually been a dragon all along, and its need to disguise itself is a statement about how everyone feels insecure sometimes, and also about the mask industry, because, damn, masks are crazy these days, am I right?
Sounds epic, huh? Long? Rambling? Probably 100 lines minimum, right? Wrong. I’ll shove all that into something as compact as a haiku. Because efficiency is beautiful. You know which great American poet taught me that? Henry Ford. He wrote poems so crazy they came out as cars.
That’s not to say I just write haikus. No, I’ll write within any poetic structure. And I’ll write about any poetic structure. I’ll write a sonnet about limericks and a limerick about villanelles. I’ll write two sets of heroic couplets about two sets of heroic couplets that are themselves a heroic couple, because they have super powers and they’re in a romantic relationship.
But if it’s a haiku, it’s going to be about dragons fighting flowers that are dragons in disguise. That much you can be sure of.
Pop quiz: “Just breaking lines, blowing minds.” Is this A, a saying that I live by; B, what’s printed on the flagship coffee mug of my line of “Inspirational Cups for Inspired Poets” (available on Etsy); or C, what I’ll be doing until the tray tables go up and the electronics power down?
The answer is E, all of the above.
What was option D? You’ll never know. That’s a lesson about writing poetry: sometimes it’s best to leave things unsaid.
Here’s another saying I live by: “Write fierce enough verse to put you in a hearse.” And by the way, you’re not driving that hearse; you’re in the back of the hearse, i.e. you’re a dead person. Because I’m writing verse so fierce that it could kill you, figuratively speaking. Not like its ferocity would make you consider a job as a hearse driver or something. Or, at least, that’s not my intention, but who knows? Maybe it will. You can never be sure how poetry will affect someone. With that being said, I try to avoid hearse-driving imagery in my work, because it seems like a pretty grim career, and I don’t want to be held legally responsible if thing’s don’t work out.
So close your eyes and turn on your noise cancelling headphones if you want, but it won’t help. Because you can block out sound but you can’t block out my creativity. And I mean that to be forty-percent a statement about how moving it can be to watch an artist work and sixty-percent a warning that I throw elbows when I get creative.