Saturday, November 17, 2007

Only You Can Tell Me That...

Is what my teacher said, when someone asked if the poems
about his father were true.
You should also be assured then, that Beowulf and Grendal
never really fought but worked out their differences peacefully
over a chicken and mashed potato dinner in Heorot.

I don't know who said and I've been told hundreds of times
that maybe William Carlos Williams said, "poetry
is the best words in the best order"
Which doesn't imply that those words are
necessarily true.
But I may have never heard this quote before
and made it up myself.

Does it really matter if a writer's words are true?
Is that really something you should be looking at in
a poem?
Does it change the poem, whether or not it's true?
Don't you still want to cross the country in a
Truck you bought for $400 even if "On the Road"
is different than Kerouac's biography. Maybe what's
important to any poem is not how it was created
by yer humble narrator, but what it does to you.

After all this I can say
my stuff is all true,
Every last word of it.
I should know
because I'm the one
who made it all up.

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