Lifeline This Week

Sat May 30 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic
Sun May 31 @05:00 - 08:00AM
Koinos Church
Fri Jun 05 @02:30 - 04:30AM
Mobile Clinic
Sat Jun 06 @05:30 -
LifeLine Community Dinner
Sat Jun 06 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

Listening to Poets

As I leaned against the doorframe,
standing behind a room full of words,
I couldn't help but listen to language
unheard by any ear.
Each poet as they stood -
the way they stood,
how tightly they gripped the podium,
how often they shifted their feet,
how comfortable they were
with what was coming out of their own mouth.

Some poets pour out whatever words
have been standing in line in their head,
the vocabulary of immediacy.
Some sift through their lexicon,
washing words through the silt of verbage
and looking for the gold.
Some rhyme - most poorly;
some not.
Some drive alliteration like a team of horses,
with the poem as a stage coach,
and someone needs to yell "Dakota!" to stop them.
Some poems sound like essays.
This is what struck me most
the first time I came to the Collingwood.

Reading is as much of an art as writing.
In both, I claim the title of consumer more than creator.
I perpetrate poetry,
knowing it's more like graffiti than masterpiece.
I'm ok with this. After all, I've gotten better.
And you get better when you read the good stuff,
when you keep writing,
when you read your own stuff aloud
and hear the words spinning out,
how graceful or self-conscious they are.
What just sounds right and what doesn't.

Last night, I heard artists and hooligans,
dancers and stumblers.
Really, this is the way it is every Tuesday night.
We all come with our words,
our hearts and minds and souls,
on scraps of stained paper, or in binders, or chapbooks.
We read ourselves, less for acclaim,
more simply to be heard.
And even when stumbled over, sometimes these words break your heart.

Because, in the end, while we might stand in doorways
- or sit in chairs -
and be critics, it's about expression.
And because reading, like writing, is an art
which needs practiced
and practiced again,
when we listen to someone's words,
give them the space to be heard,
we sometimes discover their words are ours.

No matter how they're said.