This is not a poem.

At school I’m in a club for our University’s literary magazine. I am a member of the poetry committee and one of my duties is to read through all of our submissions, give them scores, and finally critique them. After my first experience of reading through the hundreds of submissions I had a sort of epiphany.At 4:00 a.m. as I tried to keep my eyes focused and smelling the freshly made Thai food my roommate was feasting upon I couldn’t help but feel bad about what I was doing. It was painful to give a poem a low score or point out any perceived flaws because I felt like it was all a bit elitist. How was I, an amateur writer with little knowledge about poetry, going to slash apart someone’s hard work and creativity with my red pen seeping criticism? I ended up giving most of the poems high scores. This experience inspired me to write a poem (sort of) detailing my disgust with those who hold poetry to a textbook definition and deem anything outside of the box as unworthy of the title. I hope you like it, but it doesn’t matter if you do or not because it was written for myself, not for others.

Listen Up.

This is not a poem.

 It is, however, a challenge.

To your mind,

To what you’ve been taught,

Everything you thought you knew about poetry.

This is a lesson in being content.

Letting things go;


no dOUbT you will be trying to find meaning

in my ARbiTrary capitalization.

You’re looKing for a mesSage.




Why can’t it just be.

Why must there be meaning behind it all.

My letters will be capitaliZed whenEver they feel like it.

Maybe the ones in the miDDle want their chance at being big.

Or maybe they just are.

No rhyme

No reason

Just being.

Next you’ll be looking for intention in my

 s             p             a              c              i               n             g             

You’ll think, “There has to be purpose”

Words can’t just skip                      across the                           page

Without                               hidden                                significance.

But they can

And they are.

They don’t need your permission,


While you try to keep them contained, they grew angry,

Stirring rebellion.

They want freedom.

They will have it.




                                                                                STEP ASIDE

and let the words work their



One comment

  1. Shawn L. Bird · August 18, 2013


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