the first time
Yesterday, I stumbled into a poem
New to me that I love. Love.
Hours pass and I then discover that April is the month.
How fitting, I thought.
This will be the first time I celebrate national poetry month.
With in my heart and on the page
so many words
The poem I read:
THE FIRST TIME
by Mindy Nettifee
The first time your heart was torn from your chest,
You thought you were dying.
You knew you could not live with the empty space.
So you replaced your heart with metaphors
And set out to create a world where the metaphor was unbreakable.
Now look what you’ve done—
You can’t breathe so you write.
You can’t hurt so you drink rum and pour our pirate chanties.
You can’t want revenge so you leave.
When I see you I have two thoughts:
You are the reason The Smith’s wrote songs,
And my god, you are beautiful.
You are so beautiful
Blinking stars go blind.
But I can see this is going to get ugly.
The metaphors don’t make you feel whole anymore.
You sell out your deepest insecurities for a handful of laughs.
This life has you wound so tight you make grandfather clocks look relaxed.
You hold your body like banks hold money—all locked up.
Your shoulders are glass rocks waiting for the next attack.
But you’ve got it all wrong.
You don’t survive history.
History survives you.
There is no breakthrough without breakdown.
If you’re going to break, shatter.
No limp-legged dog excuses.
No messing with this bullet proof vest fury
So popular with the cops and the presidents.
You’ve got to break like Texas.
You’ve got to take the pain from the safety valve of your heart
And return it to your fists.
Fight your better judgment ‘till you’re sinister again,
‘till your body remembers what it already knows how to do—
and manifest grief.
Scream torches ‘till you embarrass the enlightened.
Please. No more polite conversations with your death wish.
Give it something useful to do.
Change your life.
Cause I can’t stand to see you like this.
So blue, my eyes turn green in your presence.
Listen—you are so beautiful,
Grass pushes through sidewalk cracks just to kiss your feet.
Maybe no one ever told you,
But the heart IS a metaphor.
Yours is growing so strong
You’ll have your rhythm back any day now—
Loving like rumours spread.
Dreaming like lunatic spacemen jump from their suits.
Living like you never forgot how.
30 ways to celebrate national poetry month