Musicians get their own post later, but I speak for most composers in chiefly asking that the listener don headphones or use monitors with fidelity to appreciate the fullness of the composer’s ambition…desktop speakers just aren’t going to give you the experience we wanted you to have, I’m sorry.
Still, I speak for poets first. That is what I am before all else: a poet. Even in my music I reach for that kind of provocative meaningfulness, but such is the highest wish of my words. Before anything or anyone else would brazenly, presumptively step forward to openly hot-poker-brand my forehead, or stitch a letter onto the chest of my Sunday-stroll shirt, I am a poet simply because I desire to be, singularly, above and because of my history, my heartbreak, and my lackluster humanity. That is why I choose words and wisdom and whimsy and wild redemption. It is the reason I write: an earthen, muddied-to-the-core belief in my absolute best value as to the surely certain brilliancy beyond all I’m too here-and-now-blinded or otherwise surface-jaded to comprehend. My words are all hammer on a haredened shell, and all quilted cotton on the frozen alpine tundra. What I have to say—on each heart-imbued and forethought line and beneath the color-anxious tip of emotively animated pen—matters. It matters to me. My heart owns it, disowns it, sings its glory, laments its sorrow, stands outside of it with a lit match and stands inside of it with a hundred pales of ready water—all at once. It doesn’t have to matter to anyone else to be real or worthy, to be life-defining, the shining in a sunrise or the eclipsing of only-hope moon. But I want it to. That’s the nuanced, if-not-today-I’ll-see-you-in-the-mirror-ten-years-from-now power of poetry. It’s indescribable. It’s bottomless. It’s unusual, both tethered and tentacled. It’s endless and shifting and nebulous. It’s in-your-face and blatantly honest and heart-excavating and caressingly tender or, because it’s not what the universe has for you in the moment, at present incomprehensible. Doesn’t matter; its beauty owes nothing nothing. A poet’s voice speaks into timelessness and, yet, is as vanishing as a waft of campfire smoke on the wile of wooded wind. It’s meaningless and on-your-back-like-a-stack-of-Easter-Island-stones substantial—simultaneously. I say all this to say what every poet hoarsely echoes from the back of their word-choked throats: “Read me!”
Read me with a genuine desire to see me. Read me with an authentic desire to find yourself. Read me so that you don’t have to live me. Or read me to know that it’s possible to love me, love yourself, love the reasons you’ve lived your thus-far life, or live a life you haven’t yet. But read me as you would want to be read, or even as you want to read me despite the way I’ve written myself. There, everything is fizzing with pop-rock, carbonated potentiality. Everything is dark or beautiful or frightening or encouraging or new or gratingly old. One thing’s for sure: I write for a reason and you read for a reason. And that needs to matter deeply to each of us, for reasons unique to us, secretly and hiddenly momentous. Or for reasons we share, maybe even to the point of hand-clasped, dancing, open-eyed celebration. Or for reasons we’ll take to the grave. Or for reasons that march us to an immortality of heart, where no tombstone has the courage or audacity to eulogize us.
Whatever the intersection, whatever the gravity, whatever the grace or forgiveness or fantasy or philosophy or bitterness or rampage of sadness—read me as if, in writing for myself, I wrote for only you. And you will find me behind the blinding whiteness of page. And yourself, perhaps…simply because my words and I, searchingly, wanted that for you, too.
Poetry: Cloven Clover