AP – “Is a Poet a Poet if Nobody’s Snapping?”

I’ve gotten into the routine
of spending most nights willing my poetry to be… to be loud, to be boisterous, to enter a stage unapologetically, or even my room, or even my mouth, or even my tongue, as if to say I apologize
to every poem I write for not being a good enough writer
to give it the soul it needs. But it’s unoriginal, pointless,
heard it all before. My notebook is just another, another drenched in soot
from my own forest fires. Like can’t you just
be worthy of compliment? Why must you fill yourself
with compliments to call yourself worth, to call yourself poetry? Is a poet a poet if nobody’s snapping? Is she a poet
if she doesn’t write for you? Is she a poet if she only writes for her? Is she only artist
when someone else says that she is? Is she just… just a young and open mouth? just busy hands. Since when did my piece become
too millennial for your consumption? When did it become too loud for listening? Was it all too personal,
too tearstain and teeth mark? How many metaphors does it take
to buy your sympathy? Are all the gut-wrenching details
nothing but currency? Do you care at all
for the poems that breathe here? Do you care at all for the poets
that breathe here? What’s your perfect poem recipe? What makes it taste good? Do you need a little more pep,
a little less sob story? What makes a poem consumable? Are you only entertained by the poems
that can fit into your own mouth when a poet gets her heart
through her throat to regurgitate the moment she broke? If nobody in the audience makes a sound, did she say anything at all? When a poem breaks, do you blink? When a poem snaps, do you blink? How many times does she have
to rewrite her trauma to make it easier for you to swallow? But it was just too sad, right, too not… too not
not what you like, to not them, to not what they like. It’s just a poem. It’s just another pain poem. It’s just another rape poem. It’s just another race poem. It’s just a poem. It’s just another not good poem. But I want to make my poems good, right? I’ll make them good. I’ll rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until it’s good. But what can make my poem good? It can’t be me. It can’t be mine. So when will my poetry not be too much? Or when will my poetry be enough? When will it be exactly
what you want to hear? Or when will my poetry just be for me? If I write a poem and others hear it, is it still mine? Is it still art? Is it still good? Is it still poetry? (cheers and applause)

35 thoughts on “AP – “Is a Poet a Poet if Nobody’s Snapping?”

  1. You can't hear me, but I'm snapping the shit out of my fingers. That was amazing

  2. Been feeling this so much lately but didn't have the words to pen my own poem about it. Even other poets express my feelings through poetry better than me lol

  3. This is it. This is what I feel.
    Man people who say writing is easy just don’t know. Writing is extremely vulnerable. It takes courage to pick up the pen and tell your truth, and when people say your writing is good, it takes courage to believe them. And if no one compliments you it feels like you did something wrong.

  4. To every poet out there who has ever felt like this please know THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH and YOU ARE WORTHY.

  5. “How many times does she have to re-write her trauma to make it easier for you to swallow?” ✨ YASS. this. 😭♥️

  6. wrote my first poem today, i don’t know where to put it so i’ll put it here

    the killing stick

    a man places the killing stick,
    lights it, tightening his lips
    he desperately sucks in, a dire
    attempt to win again against
    himself- or maybe everything
    surrounding him he is
    conflicted, is breathing worth
    the sting of oxygen?
    this man is high off dying
    no difference between falling and flying
    to him he’s lying to his other side
    oblivious to the obvious or in denial
    he wants to ride the killing stick
    like it’s the last day of his life
    and he doesn’t mind.
    he left his mind far behind
    since the time he decided that he’s
    tired of trying to find
    another kind of light in life
    so then he lights another one
    and burns, sacrificing time
    he puffs his guts and
    wishes up at the
    far high forbidden sky
    and he rides the killing stick
    like it’s the last day of his life.

  7. Yes! I always feel lke poetry slams were made only for the motivational/"woke" poems that make everyone scream – i hate that

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