How to Read Right

Of all the screams I hear
from souls trapped in Life on Earth,
the saddest is this:

That the written word does not conform to my expectations.

The cry propagates because
it is not possible to observe the collision
of one’s expectations with words;
it looks instead like obnoxious weeds
about the feet and face,
twisting flesh like troll hands.

Things look wrong, in plain language,
and the subject’s mind will mint magic coins to make it stop–
it hurts to have the words battering to get in,
to get in and—-what?
Change the curtains?
Make a mess and then leave?
Upset the cupboards looking for knives?

Yes, the fear is that once the words are in,
the weasels and bears and spiders will come after.

But wait! It is not the pain of the words banging to get in;
it is the pain of trapped words,
swollen to the point of bursting,
ill-matched beliefs that strangle and maim and trap and—-
you see the cost?

The fear of what will tag along isn’t phobic;
it’s the cold job of setting one’s own fate
contrary to what’s believed,
that makes these souls belittle the hard work of
smart and empathetic-to-the-point-of-loving-hateful-things writers.

I would like to get away with sticking my fingers in my ears
and hollering back: “La-la-la-la-la,” but:
It is worth a little work
to write a poem
about why you hate poems.

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