I’m pretty sure sincerity is underrated.
As a poet, my goal is not to recreate or represent exactitude, or invoke soaring feelings. I understand my role as that most basic human communication–raising my arm toward the line of the horizon, extending a finger, and releasing a gasp.
I am here to wonder well, and in my wondering, scoot over, shrug my shoulder, and offer space for those nearby to sidle up alongside my body and sight–along my trembling flesh–a glimpse of the world they would not have known without me.
I believe this.
In order to do this, I must be willing to see; to point; to gasp; to tremble. It is a sacred task. And everything throbs against it–within, my heart flops at the risk, unwilling to be caught; reeled in on someone’s line; afraid, equally, of being captured and eaten or being released as too small and undesired.
And outside the throbbing takes form in the ironic–for me, it’s the dark humor of Faulkner and Flannery rather than the hipster thrill of irony lite, tattooed across the skin as if the body did not matter.
I prefer to laugh in hell; to be ravished with excoriating desire–I laugh when I fall down. I cannot risk asking to be comforted.
And this is my greatest nemesis to being a poet. Where I am afraid to quake in front of holiness; ashamed to open myself to the wonder that drives the ex-stasis of laughter in hell, this is where I rob myself of being someone’s sightline.
As a person, there are times it hurts too much to cry. As a poet, the gift of brief clarity; of awe, allows me to be more person–more whole–calling me past irony, to breathe and to wonder–whether in tears or in laughter.