One of my favorite poets
published her third book today.
— Best-selling New York Times Poet
those are words you don’t hear often.
Her first paid poetry was a best-selling book.
and I can only wonder
Am I missing a gene? Who takes a bunch of
sends it to an agent
gets a contract
and has a best seller???
I freely admit my jealousy
that someone can write
at Panera Bread — where the 19 cents a month my poetry earns
cannot even buy a coffee—
But at the same time, I’ve bought every book.
Because while I taught and trained
Sit down, shut up, don’t make a mess
I admire those who stand up,
Who won’t be quiet
Who accept life in all of its messiness
and refuse to waste time
Cleaning it up.
The audacity I will never have
to assume, to think
that my work deserves readers.
Jealousy is not pretty, but it
spurs art, right?
Audacity, it’s genetic right?
Because otherwise it would be brainwashing
to believe that all attention is positive
while some of us just avoid it at all costs.
While we trudge on day after day
someone will trip on a rock
and suddenly there is a dance sensation
viral YouTube, TikToks, and all
including self-branded Nikes.
Then I look at my phone.
Is it audacity?
Or just the new availability of platforms
and the expectation that everyone deserves to be heard
that comes from participation trophies?