This is not the love poem I planned to write.
I began with the best of intentions.
But last night, we thought we’d catch the evening news
to see if anything important had happened,
and every station was showing Youtube clips
of inconsequential garbage that didn’t matter a bit.
And then, this morning, the lead headline on CNN read,
Fewer homeless, a Bush legacy!
I cannot write your love poem.
I make no apologies for the anger in my poems.
You can call me paranoid,
or a conspiracy nut,
or cranky, bitchy or depressing,
or anything you want,
it matters not,
because someone has to tell the truth!
I was not given this gift of wordcraft
to speak of love, inner peace and thankfulness…
There are others who can give you that.
For me, there is no choice
but to steel my back for the lashes of labels
used intimidate the political poet.
Those with the power of wealth and weapons
know they hold no contest to a poem.
Lies, no matter how they are disguised
cannot compete with the inherent truth of poetry,
because poetry cannot manifest in deceit;
the words of a poet cannot be spun or twisted
without crumbling into garbled nonsense.
And while power brokers
fire journalists who refuse to regurgitate their fabrications,
buy out the newspapers,
bankrupt independent book publishers,
bury incriminating manuscripts,
silence liberal radio stations,
cancel intelligent TV programming,
and clog the internet with bullshit,
they can never disembowel the words of a poet.
No amount of damage control
will scrub away the residue of the poet’s words, once heard.
You will repeat them in your mind
and pass them along,
as humankind has done
ever since vowels and consonants
first combined into language,
and stories were shared from person to person,
repeated as chants around fires,
passed from generation to generation.
Even before paint on stone,
before paper and printing presses,
and digital communication…
the words of the poet prevailed.
Even torture cannot shove the words of a poem
back down the throat of the poet
Neither bribe nor coercion can silence the aha! of an audience.
So poets are exiled, executed and imprisoned,
yet still their words endure.
I am a political poet.
I am not fair and balanced.
I serve only the truth
and beg only for you to listen.
And there you have it,
my love poem.