what’s in it for me?

08/26/2022 0 By BuddyCushman

I’m thinking about the poetry thing – being a poet, channeling poetry – and how it connects with this sort of fun question which popped into my head in the recliner real early in the morning: What’s in it for me?

I don’t remember in what context, if any, that question showed up, but it spoke in a way that had me jotting it down on one of the always-around steno pads. What’s in it for me? Another way to ask, a different take – Do I get something out of writing poems? Publishing poems? Sharing poems at the Thursday open mic if my name’s picked? Is there a scramble after self-esteem? Self-worth? Minor fame? Impressing girls? Or, and this “feels” more poetic, is there a calling, or – wait, better poetry word – a yearning to translate the world via engaging imagery and provocative musings, ink flowing from the pen? On to what was a blank page. Does it make me more worthy? As a person, a human, a self-described writer, perhaps a Bodhisattva? Having taken vows to save the planet. Day after day after day. Is the planet saved with my poems?

It makes me wonder. Is there something, or some thing, in it for me? Am I offered authority to describe myself as an alchemist? A magician? A changeling? A very cool cat out there on the cutting edge? Is there a lineage thing with the likes of William Carlos Williams, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, Blake, Ginsberg, Walt Whitman even? Are they my ancestors? Do I get ancestors by rhyming a few words and talking about longing instead of just wanting? Is there shared DNA? Fairy dust?

And when poetry lingers outside the realm of language? Where words don’t matter?

What’s in it for me?