Last week I went to poetry camp. “Poetry camp?” you say. “I had no idea you wrote poetry.” Well, then I’m sorry to say you are not psychic. I have to be honest with you, I’m disappointed in your lack of clairvoyance. I’ve been waiting and waiting for you to ask about my poems. And waiting.
Easy now, don’t beat yourself up too badly. It’s not just you who has failed to channel my unspoken literary hopes and dreams. You’ll be shocked to discover that over the many years I’ve been writing poems and not telling people about it, no one has asked about the poetry I’ve kept secret from them. No one! In fact, to be allowed into this camp I had to TELL THE ORGANIZERS I WANTED TO GO. In words. And then I had to show them poems I’d written, which they READ. It confounded me, it alarmed me, but I decided to just trust the process and it paid off.
(This was going to be a picture of me and the fabulous poet D. A. Powell in which I’m smiling as if I’m posing with Ghandi. Because I sort of felt like I was. Doug Powell is pretty spectacular. Sadly, due to technical difficulties, I can’t get that picture onto this blog. So instead I’ve included a photo of a book of his poems which he signed for me, personally. Pretend that it says what it says and then also that he and I are BFFs. Okay? Just pretend.)
Did you know about this? About how you have to ask for the things you want? I mean, sure, you probably knew about having to ask for the salt at the dinner table or a latte at the coffee shop – but the bigger things? Did you know about asking for them?
Ask for what you want. That’s a thing I learned at poetry camp. I learned other things too – like about poetry – but a person can’t absorb everything at once. For now we’ll focus on this. Ask for what you want. It’s not cheating, it doesn’t make you any less deserving, and if you get what you want after asking for it it will be no less a gift.
I’ll start: I would like to be to be a semi-famous poet. (Not super-famous. I don’t want to be the kind of poet that has to wear sunglasses to go shopping and fend off the paparazzi when I go on family vacations.) I would like for bits of my soul to glimmer out of my poems and flash off bits of my readers’ souls. Like a poetry-based, soul-disco-ball-lit, community room/dance hall. That’s what I want my poems to be. I would like to earn large-ish amounts of money from the sales of action figures based on the characters from the blockbuster movie based on my poems, so that I can massage you all for free. I will schedule no more than two massages per day and work on each of you till you are done. Maybe an hour, maybe three hours, maybe five. Five on your birthday, for sure. I will massage you till your body says it’s ready to move on. Plus horses. I’d also like horses.
Okay, now you. What do you want?