The Difference Between

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.

~ Audre Lorde

Somehow, I always expect
my life
to turn out like a story.
A great novel, with beginning, middle, and end.
Characters enter and are made useful.
It’s supposed to make sense.

But it’s really more like a poem.
A work of art.
My own sketch book, tracing the contours of Being.
Evocative, but not necessarily
complete.

The clean, order I expect,
is, in its own way, the stuff of imagination.
Only in my head.

The characters are like a collage.
A jumble of torn edges,
glued together,
as I sift through images,
like a sieve.

Meaning
happens
when I notice the details.

Pay attention!

Our lives need not be reduced
to someone else’s story of us.

Or even my own,
that lonely line I tell myself
when I can’t find no meaning in my grief and fear.

Perfect grammar,
complete sentences,
and proper paragraphs,
never saved no lives.

Trade your prose
for poetry.
Reach out with your own torn edges,
so that any children
who travel your sidewalks
might live.

©2016 Chris Paige. All rights reserved.

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