The dilemma of a poet uncomfortable with poetry (a poem)

Trying to find poetry in print is often a frustrating exercise for me. There is plenty of it out there; the hard part is finding poems that I can connect with. I was looking at books in the poetry section of Third Place Books this afternoon; this poem followed not long after.

What am I to do with poetry
when I open the book
and the words on the page
do not connect with me?

Long, dull descriptions
of walks in the woods
the details of nature
the drudgery of household detention

leave me struggling to stay awake
while other poets irritate me
with displays of precociousness
or words for their own sake

Poets of the canon long revered
may deserve their reputations
but to me, that clever turn of phrase
comes across as affectation

or archaic convention
without much relevance these days
I have to wonder if the person responsible
for poetry’s invention

had any sort of inkling
about what it might become
or what it is about poems
that brings them forth while drinking

That doesn’t answer my question
or tell me how to navigate
this art form that keeps me at a distance
despite my best intention

Although it gives me a means of expression
and, sometimes, a sense of place
I admit to being mystified by its hold on me
the extent to which it seduces me

takes me to places I’ve never been
I may never stop searching for one of my own
amidst truth, hope, and honesty
even as I lose my place again and again

In the end, I want to make that connection
that fixes itself in memory
leaves its traces upon lips
and folds at the upper corners of the page

So I let the words come forth
in ways that make sense to me
and hope that they make sense
for whatever my words are worth

(22 December 2016)

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