I was in the middle of posting my long out-of-print 2002 poetry chapbook on Wattpad, when I decided to take a break and post this poem here as well.
I wrote this piece ten years ago when I was intensely involved in the spoken word scene. Looking back on it now, it seems almost like a creed for our little collective of outsider artists back then (never mind a pretty accurate representation of what it felt like to be coming into our own in that moment of time).
Some other interesting facts about “We Are Poets”: It’s easily the most popular poem I’ve ever penned. It’s been covered by multiple poets/spoken word artists in multiple cities and has even ended up as someone’s deviant art signature. I have recorded a performance of this poem in the studio, but for whatever reason it never got finished and has since gone missing. The piece itself was first published in August 2002 in the now long out-of-print chapbook the sound of one girl screaming (which you’ll soon be able to read for free here) and also appears in Some Words Spoken.
We Are Poets
We are poets at the end of the medium.
We are masters of verse in a time of media masturbation.
We are the last analog voices in the great digital void.
We are the rebels –
we march with language, not rocks or guns.
We dream in “color by deluxe” yet are comfortable
deconstructing Hollywood icons
and runway model beauty tips.
We are bored with anorexia.
We are beyond bipolar manic anything.
We are the screamers, the sinners, and the dreamers
who won’t go quietly, quietly into the rat race
without a fight.
We see the light
and know that it is neither shining from heaven
nor from the end of a long tunnel.
We thrive in the darkness,
not afraid to close our eyes and just feel,
just be for a moment.
We are interested in more than the what and where,
we want to know the why for too.
We are the artists.
We are the mad scientists.
We don’t fear what we don’t know,
we only fear what we can’t try.
We may be open to interpretation
but our art is concrete
our attitudes were born in the struggle
(in the years from birth to here).
We may be subject to change
but only by our own heads and hands and wills.
We see through popular culture
as if it were an overhead transparency.
We are not marketable
in any of the traditional, accepted ways
nor would we ever want to be.
We don’t believe everything we see on CNN
or read in the Toronto Star.
We are the revolution.
We are the cause and the effect.
We are the next big bang, baby.
We are the antidote to the corporate mentality
and the capitalist scandals.
We are both the good time drug,
and the shoulder to break down forever upon.
We are the listeners and the philosophers,
we are the underemployed intellectuals.
We’re jammed somewhere between X and Y
stuck trying to create a new alphabet.
We still read books.
We are the painters with cameras, and brushes,
and things we find on the street.
We are the last analog voices subverting the digital beat.
We are poets in the last gasp of the word.
We are not afraid to ride this rush, this emotion, this devotion
right to our graves… and beyond.
We can not be defined by MTV labels
or prime time stereotypes.
We will be remembered for what we are not
and we are spastically happy about that.
We are the voices challenging you to hit mute,
challenging you to shut up and listen.
We are poets at the end of a medium
not willing to lay down and play dead just quite yet.
We are poets.
Amen and art bless.
© 2002 Monica S. Kuebler