One of the biggest mistakes a reader can make in understanding a work of literature is to mistake the “I” of the novel, poem, or short story for the author. When I write a poem, short story, or novel — unless it is explicitly clear that the work is autobiographical — the “I” of the work is a character I created for the work. Let me show you the difference. The first poem is autoiographical. The second is not.
I have a Master’s and a Ph.D.
But I live life autistically.
I was a para in a B.S.C. …
My 9-year-old son, Dylan, is a huge fan of The Beatles. He listens to their music every day. He has tried to play The Beatles’s songs on the piano and the guitar. He draws The Beatles. It’s not impossible that, had he been a teenager in 1964, he would have been a screaming fan.
Indeed, one of the things that fascinates Dylan is the very existence of screaming fans who would (or might) chase The Beatles, as they caricatured in A Hard Day’s Night. It utterly fascinates him, because he’s never seen anything like that before. He’s never seen anyone…
You say you love my soul — you keep that love,
This bodiless love — do not love me like
A brother, father, cousin, uncle, friend.
I tire of these friendships. A gray shrike
Gives mice less pain when he impales them on
The woody thorns than you do when you turn
Down my proposals and advances. Hawks
Can see less clearly than I can your stern
Core deep below your smiling ice — you smile
At my desire and will not see the fire,
The underlying pain, the love I feel
That comes with each of my half-joking pleas…
A is for Apple — it tastes really good
B is for Ball — and they bounce, as they should
C is for Cat — they meow every day
D is for Dog — they sit still and they stay
E is for Egg — they’re from hens, don’t you know?
F is for Food — if I eat I will grow
G is for Good — that is how I will be
H is for Hand — I will raise so you’ll see
I is for Inch — see how tall I have grown?
J is for Jump —…
And here I was under the false impression that if you loved a woman and let her know you loved her, treated a woman well, let her know she was wanted and valued, did what you could to build her self-esteem, told her she was beautiful and sexy and desirable, did things that bought things for her, thought of her all the time, treated her as your best friend (because she was), supported her, was always there for her, knew her as well as (or better than) she knew herself, was interested in what she did, enjoyed being with her…
Great Muse of mine who sings of the love that is
Light, sun, Apollo’s kiss on the cheek as you
Pluck sirens’ feathers from their bodies —
Sirens whose songs cannot tempt me from you.
Plucked sirens lie around on the ground, a few
Sharp notes untie themselves from their beaks, unwind
Wild wails unbeautiful and heartless —
Others are tempted, but never me, love.
Great Anna, always sing of your love for me —
Kill sirens dead — why pluck so they live to try
Temptations once again? …