Day 9 – Private

I am not private,
I am not closed off.

I am ashamed of nothing
and I hold nothing back

if you ask.
But I will not volunteer it.

Everybody volunteers everything.

I don’t like the risk
of where things shouted into space
might end up,

which is most likely nowhere
anyway.

And I don’t want you to think
there’s nothing left
to ask.

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Ask A Poet #1 -Wedding Gig Blues

Got a burning question that can only be answered in a snarky rhyme? Ask a poet!

“Dear Char,

I had to shoot a shitty wedding where I was supposed to get $150 because they “didn’t have any money.” And I felt bad. Well, the bride had horrid tan lines and they said their I Do’s in their house… that was filthy, covered with roaches, and piles and piles of clothes everywhere. Did I mention there were about 30 people in the small-ass house? Needless to say, they paid me half of that, and keep harassing me for the photos even though it’s going to take hours to edit them lines. What do you say?”

– Gilbert in Virginia

Well, Gil…

A bartender’s job is to shoot the shit,
a photographer’s job is not;
but if they coughed up half the dough for the gig
you owe them the shit that you shot.

I get that they’re cheap and their place was packed-
a sardine can of squalid-
but under the roaches and laundry stacks
they’re grateful you did them a solid.

But don’t go too crazy removing those lines,
after all, you’re a busy man!
It’s not your fault if the bride’s outshined
by a heavy dose of tan.

And next time write up a contract
to help you settle the score-
and to keep your sanity intact,
no more weddings in Jersey Shore!

 

Comment below with your burning questions to be answered next week!

Year 2: Day 123 – Permission

Don’t ask me if they’re any good,
the words you pressed into my hand-
I can’t give you permission.

I can tell you if your package is presentable,
and in what manner it was received-
but will you still give lopsided gifts
with crooked bows
if I tell you they are?

A magazine can tell you if you’re lucrative,
and it might sing like heaven to hear it
or sting like hell-
but will you still work for free if they tell you
you’re not worth a cent?

Have you not earned the right to speak
by being alive and having something to say?
And if I tell you to write because I think you should
would you write what I wanted to hear?

You must give yourself permission
because the rest of the universe already has-

What flower hasn’t died for you to stand there wavering,
waiting for permission to timidly assert
that in some worlds it was red
and some worlds grey?

What English teacher has not at his core
some desire to give more than paper permission,
to raise up more than nervous doormats
vying for praise?

What injustice hasn’t gone on long enough
before you finally stand up
and call it what it is?

No one gives us permission for that-
you must permit yourself to be.
Only then will you have the courage
to keep on speaking
when the world won’t hear.

Day 271 – “Tell Me About Yourself”

don’t ask me who I am, am
I that obtuse to you, you
can ask me, sure, and I, I
won’t ever lie to you

but

with every breath I take, I take
some liberty with what’s true, what’s true
is that it’s hard to tell, tell
me what am I to you

’cause

if you want to know, know
it’s dangerous to ask, ask
me anything you please- please
don’t think that’s what I am

for

you’d learn so much more, more
than I’d tell if you’d watch, watch
just what I do instead, instead
of asking pointless questions

Day 75 – I Will Ask You Again

But not for a long time, don’t worry-
I will ask you again.

We will not speak of it,
ever gently let it rest,
forever let it rest, if you wish
but I’ll be asking you again,
I know.

When the answer smolders
and threatens to erupt,
and no time before-
when your face becomes a beacon
for what you cannot suppress,
but no sooner-
when the response is leaping,
begging to be heard-
then I will ask you,

and then never again.