Author’s note: Every now and then I get these attacks⎯call it a loss of faith⎯in poetry; it feels pointless and sad and I wonder if my dedication to this art has not been a kind of Ponzi scam. So I always go back to basics. Forget the high-minded theories, why do I, Chris Jansen, need poetry. I think the answer is that there may be no ultimate answers. The wages of love may be less than one needs to live on, but no matter what, it IS important that we pay close attention as we fall through space and record what it was like.
Why Do I Need Poetry Anyway
Because the roof is still held down with tenpenny nails.
Because that very long knife that sleeps in the kitchen block.
Because we take hands and say the prayer.
Because there are whole cemeteries with headstones just for pets.
(They have boxes for mice, rats, turtles, collies, even
Because she touches your arm when she talks to you.
Because you noticed.
Because televangelists can heal the deaf with a word of knowledge
from the Lord.
Because of you.
Wasn’t it always you?
Of course it was.
Because holding blackberries always stains your fingers.
Because you slipped.
Because you fell.
Because it left a cool bruise.
Because it still hurts.
Because after coming home from a great movie, my mom would say
don’t turn on the TV.
Because Goodwill has a toy aisle.
Because we’re so fucked.
Because it’s a long way home.
Because hell if I know, maybe
because the Sufis say a man or woman
needs a soul
and a soul needs wings to fly to God.
Chris Jansen has been a nursing home janitor, a paramedic, an IT guy, and, up until recently, he says he’s been a very dedicated heroin addict. He currently lives in Athens, Georgia, where he teaches boxing and cares for a disinterested guinea pig named Poozybear. He has a degree in molecular biology from the University of Georgia.
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