i’m the City’s Poet
chosen to laud us
to declaim us, to name us
exhort us, inflame us
actually, people often ask me
what does a laureate do?
it is not, i assure you
a position designed
to discover just how
bitchy, back-stabbing and vain
poets can really be, for
how little money.
nor is it meant
to test the layman’s
disdain for the wordsmith
and suspicion that poets
are all elitist snobs.
i begin with a poem
in five languages, some of which
i cannot speak, but which symbolise
who we are, looking out, and our history
of stumbling on one anothers’ tongues.
when i hang a dreamcatcher
in City Hall, with table and book
inviting the public to write
the poetry of our lives, it will reveal
truths bright and dark:
how near stands the courthouse
how helpless a feeling, a loved one’s life
weighed and measured, how empty
a public hall must sound, without them;
how far some of us come, and how little
it takes to move from despair to faint hope
pick up our courage, build a life;
yet how many ways impossible it can be
to say, i love you too, in the quiet, when i know
mine is that open hand that still
must let you go.