I really wanted to be a poet. About the time that I graduated from college, after I had spent countless hours in writing workshops carefully crafting both my skills and my persona. I had all of these thoughts that could only find expression through very specific blank verse. I described love and loss and worlds that only someone in their twenties could possibly experience. These were my salad days, back when I ate a steady diet of frozen pizza and Hungry Man TV Dinners.
I didn't need to rhyme. All that convention was what I learned in school. It was what I was throwing off to prove just how expressive I could be. And I suppose it could be said that at this point in my life I was showing off. I was a bit of a tortured artist. At least that's how I thought of myself. A good deal of what I put myself through was in the service of creating that image of The Poet. For me, being a novelist or short story writer didn't have nearly the appeal of being known for those endlessly quotable lines. It also served my fondness for brevity. I've never been much of a long-form kind of guy.
The other thing I discovered, more upon reflection, was that poetry was for me very connected to that other great passion in my life: jokes. So many of my "best works" are a ramble toward what at times was an inevitable punch line. These days when I find myself composing a holiday ode or a birthday rhyme, I find it easier to think in terms of that funny bit at the end.
Back in the dark old days, the endings weren't generally as amusing. Instead I took it upon myself to shine a light on the misery and pain experienced by a post-adolescent white kid from suburban Colorado. I like to believe for that particular demographic that I was the voice of my generation. In some parallel dimension, I'm sure that I probably was published more than just the once in the literary magazine that paid off in souvenir copies of that literary magazine. Maybe I even became the rock and roll lyricist that I always imagined myself to be.
Instead you're stuck here in the now with me. No paragraph breaks, and the occasional lilting phrase. I may not be a poet, but I was apparently born to blog.