Am I supposed to be able to read a poem aloud

to an audience

to anyone?

is that what makes me a good poet?

Am I supposed to let the words fill my voice

with all the feeling they hold?

Am I supposed to do that to myself?

Am I supposed to let my throat explode from the sheer


from the emotion

from the feeling

and the memories

and the metaphors

and the secret


buried meaning in every single fucking line?

Am I supposed to 

perform when all I want to do

is convey

and relate

and astound?

Because I can’t.

My voice will always be

one tip-toe step above a whisper

and these words will always be secrets

that were never meant to be shared

but were too violent to contain.

So I will be

a bad poet.

I will lend you my voice through ink

and you can decide

how loud it will be.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little bit peculiarly inadequate because of all the movies, shows, events, etc I’ve seen that showcased a poet who read their own work vigorously and absolutely filled with all of this amazing energy and emotion.
And, sincerely, I don’t think I’d be capable of that.

So here is a performance poem I wrote in ten minutes while trying to sleep about performing poems and my stupid little concerns with being a writer.
If anyone wants to do a reading of this, I'd love to hear some!


  • Hr
    Amazing! I love this :)

    Also, I think that a good poet should be able to let words speak for themselves as well. I've heard lots of people say that T.S. Eliot couldn't read his own poems (I don't necessarily agree, but some respected literature professors seem to think so), but that does not mean that his poems aren't great pieces of art. Also, I doubt that anyone in this age has heard Shakespeare recite his sonnets and nobody seems to mind ;)

    So don't let anyone make you feel inadequate about your art, because, obviously, you have an amazing way with words <3
    Feb 02, 2012
    by barush
  • Thadbunny
    This is pretty awesome! This happens to me as well when I read something I wrote to a friend or in a reading. There always exists two versions of it for me. How I want it to sound in my head and then how I actually read it. They are usually very different.
    Feb 02, 2012
  • Fullsizerender
    I think performance poetry is sort of its own genre. Some poems are meant to be read in a whisper in a quiet room and some are meant to be shouted from the rooftops. It doesn't make one better than another, just makes them different. And difference is beautiful <3
    Feb 02, 2012
  • Tumblr_ntntvdjrar1qe8f1ko2_1280
    wowowowow! Thank you, so much, everyone for your great response! I certainly never expected this kind of reaction.

    I agree that certain poems are meant for an audience and certain poems are meant for darkened corners of rooms and for whispered voices.
    However, I'd have to say that I think most of this stemmed just from seeing all of the great poets I admire and love do this kind of thing. "Read us a poem, Mister Blahblah". It kind of haunted me that I wouldn't be able to do that.
    Not that anyone asks anymore.
    Or maybe I've just seen that glorified on film.

    Either way, thank you a milllllion times! <3
    Feb 02, 2012
  • Todd
    I think that to read this out loud would be to not deliver the message - perhaps a video of you holding up cards with the words?
    Feb 02, 2012
  • Tumblr_ntntvdjrar1qe8f1ko2_1280
    @ Todd: Oh yes. That's a very intriguing notion I'd not even consider. Hmm hmmmm. We shall see!
    Feb 02, 2012
  • P1000033
    Do the words on cards, Subterranean Homesick Phen!
    Feb 02, 2012
    by Day Glo
  • Emilyprint002
    Feb 02, 2012
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