(for Ursula, who said, “This sounds like a poem”)

For a long time I shut my
poetself tightly in a closet
crammed full of miscellaneous
words and stray lines,

and over the years it got
quite crowded in there,
just me and all that verbiage.
And now and then I’d unlock

the door, peek out at the
Real Poets poeting their
hearts out, boldly, unafraid,
flinging stanzas and sonnets,

chapbooks and publications
into the world. And though
they never did anything
to actively discourage me,

neither did they invite me
to poetic coffee chats or
share a draft or ask to see
one of mine.

I can’t recall the day when
I decided to use the key,
burst out of the closet,
poems in hand, ready to

fling them at unsuspecting
folks, but when I did, I
remembered that as a child,
I’d scribbled in notebooks,

filling one and offering it to
a friend as a gift, then going
on to the next and the next—
unafraid of whether

Real Writers thought my
pieces were good enough,
just poeting and storying
my own heart out.

So now I Poet in public
and urge others to do
the same, not worrying
whether pieces are met

with cheers or ignored—
a daily practice like
meditation or yoga or
putting on a favorite

pair of shoes, lacing
them up and heading
out for a walk, paper
and pen in a pocket,

ready to capture
an image as it floats
by, setting down a
line if one comes,

grateful for the gift.

Artist: Jennifer Bruce

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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