Order a Poem
Doctor’s run into this problem all the time. Someone ask “What you do for a living?” and the response is “Doctor”, and the poor doctor now must wade through a litany of ailments that are ridiculous to attempt to diagnose. A doctor, I recently meant, said he now tells people he is a Mortician, because no one ever ask a Mortician for advice. What are they going to say, “when I die, what embalming fluid will you use? Generic or name brand?
So as a writer, in my case a poet, when someone knows they ask me to recite something or make up a poem on the spot. Recently I was wearing my I’m a Poet Dr. Pepper, at the grocery store and was asked by the bag boy to “prove it”. What did he want me? Break out in a Two Chainz rap? Drop a sonnet? It left me wondering if he had a friend who was a garbage man that came to his home does he say, “Could you grab the thrash for me?”
But recently someone I truly care about asked for a poem. I have been asked by friends, family, lovers, and I have always blown them off. Ignored lovers who have said both “Have you written about me?” and “Don’t write about me?” Refused my mother when she asked me to write about her life. Her life appears on and off in my writing anyhow. Well my life, as I remember her in it. This request was different. Perhaps because it was so smoothly communicated to me in the illumination of dashboard lights and wafting a scent of patron shots. Perhaps because I had already written over 15 poems either inspired by or directly about him. Perhaps because there is still more to say. Perhaps because earlier that day someone had told us that if I loved him, I should have learned “his” language by now. Perhaps because he asked me to make him cry, and I’ve seen him cry before, but I always knew it was for him, not because he realized the damage he caused. Yet, when I wrote it, I could only sympathize with him.
He grew up making friends family to survive a tragedy he rarely acknowledges. He saw his friends slipping into a hopeless tomorrows, and fixed his path. He finds optimism in everything, even when it simply is not there. He has cared for a sick friend and given her laughter when the nights were filled with tears and sadness. He loves when he cannot say it, but struggles to show it anyhow.
I guess that earns another poem. So he got it.
I hope this does not become a habit.