Last weekend I was at the Green River Festival, enduring the hot sun for the sake of some awesome live music. I’ve been going to the festival for years and it’s the main way I either discover or develop a deeper appreciation for all kinds of musical artists. This year, my favorites were: for dancing, Red Baraat and Bela’s Bartok; for lyrical melodiousness, Milk Carton Kids and Sean Rowe; and for downright amazing stage presence and powerful singing, Valerie June and Steve Earle.
I’ve been in quite a dry spell (or blocked place, for a different metaphor… I’m not sure which I like worse) with creative writing—but while listening to Steve Earle, two poem ideas came to me and I typed them into my phone to work on later, and when I got home I made this found poem using the festival program and an article from Rock and Ice titled "The Unnatural Way to Climb."
So Deep It Seems Simple
You can take one thing for granted:
you're going to be candid.
This could bring back memories
of staring down the crux
having fallen off the last move
which figuratively refers to scrambling
and literally means out of balance.
The key is to remember
this is not a natural way to write
and for anyone transitioning
from velvet glove to split fingertip,
year after year has the effect
of narrowing vision, carrying you
from Tennessee to Baghdad,
wondering how this primal response
can cause the most irritating
and easily avoided failures.
There's no audience, but
on a wildly overhanging wall
most of us learn to hold back.
For no good reason
we want to approximate
the unnatural way
to put a smile on a face.
The most important performance skill
is cranking out brilliant comparisons.