I CAN’T/WON’T WRITE LIKE A WHITE MALE POET

By Usha Akella

poetry corner

Hold up the onion skin of your poetry
to the light,
You are nothing,
A drum roll,
With no procession.

What is your flag?
But a terrain of demons,
A McDonald poetry,
Your epic is not long,
Birthed through size zero thighs,
Your gluten free poetry.
You try hard to be real,
Toilet poetry of confessions,
Platitudes masquerading as wisdom,
Wheezing voice with no bass,
Oh! take off your mask!
Your invented sorrow!
Poetry of constipation,
Forced breath,
Haemorrhaging lines,
Seething bloodless,
Devoid of sap.

Where I come from,
We are burned,
And write with a thousand hands,
We are oiled,
Scarred,
Scathed,
And speak with a tongue 100 centuries long,
You were in diapers when I surpassed
Freud’s puerile conjuring of the mind’s architecture.

No, I am not pressing the feet of history,
I watch over history with a 1000 hoods,
I live with a pantheon of Gods,
I dare to render the one into many,
We churn oceans,
Drink immortality,
Hold poison in our throats,
Ride lions as our steeds,
We are not protected in the belly
of some large fish cowering in safety,
We are the waters that hold the fish,
We carry bloodied axes and raze demons,
Hold the world on our amphibian backs.

We come like the breeze over your borders,
Exchange your God for our Gods,

You’ve punctured the world with your wounds,
Punctuated the stories of the latitudes,
We are the pus oozing from them,
My poetry does not come down the
slides of Schlitterbahn, squeaking clean
with mint breath.

Go find Whitman’s pen,
Lincoln’s hat,
Visit Mary Oliver in the woods,
Go next door,
Visit Paz and Neruda,
Leave your cities,
Set your country on fire,
Lament like Dawish,
Mourn like Ammichai,
Be imprisoned like Hikmet,
Get shot like that young black boy,
Move out of your cities,
Cross the Atlantic,
Burn your MFA degrees,
Torch the wholesale voice of your poems,
Allow poetry to come in,
Don’t go Dutch in a restaurant,
Share space,
Don’t tell me to go home,
Own your garbage,
Stop marketing,
Know your neighbours,
Don’t make your charity tax deductible,
Dismantle the industry of poetry,
Stop stealing,
Don’t write ghazals (you can’t),
Or Haikus (you can’t),
Stop trivializing everything with ‘OK’ and ‘Great!’
Write a poem,
Not in your favorite place,
Not in your B&N hardbound journal,
Not with your Schaeffer pen,
Don’t organize your binders,
or use gel pens or post its,
The world is burning with the torch you lit,
Write your poems
on a funeral pyre,
On the ticket stubs of history like me,
Open borders that matter,

Then,
I’ll write a poem like you.

Usha AkellaThe Word Masala Award-winning poet Usha Akella is the founder of The Poetry Caravan in Austin TX and Greenburg, NY. She has read at reputed organizations as the Omega Institute, NY and Rothko chapel, Houston. Her work is included in the Harper Collins Anthology of poets edited by Sudeep Sen and other anthologies. http://www.skylarkpublications.co.uk/ushaakella.html

 

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