Don’t Tell Me

Don’t Tell Me, By Brian37 (AKA Brian James Rational Poet on FB/META and @brianrrs37 on Twitter)

I held my words in silence
Afraid of criticism, scorn
And especially ridicule

Then at the bar, that night
I had been scribbling
On a napkin when

The man in the black hat
Asked me what I was doing
I told him I was writing down

Ideas for a poem
He asked me to read it
I refused out of fear

It wouldn’t please him
But his coaxing
Was not worth resisting

So I read him
The raw words
I had scribbled down

On the napkin
And just like that
We were kin

He invited me in
To a poetry group
That met once a month

I was petrified at first
When I showed up
How could I stand up

In front of them
I felt like an amateur
I wouldn’t get far

This was not the case
My trepidation
Was misplaced

Of me they did embrace
I was relieved and overjoyed
I had finally found a place

Where I could sound my voice
Where I was welcome
Where spoken had no choice

If you showed
You knew you would read
What you wrote in front of you

And everyone wanted you
To read more and more
It was feast to be adored

But outside that gathering
Incessant blathering
Of blowhards

Who know nothing
Of depth of emotion
Imagery and art and poetry

The haters misery
They’d call me a loser
And tell me constantly

Everything I wrote sucked
Better off in the landfill
My words, they’d try to kill

Even to this day
I have those who try to say
Give it up, you schmuck, you suck

To them I’d look in the eye
Without compunction
I don’t give a flying fuck!

What you think
You ignorant twit
I write quite well

Without you nitwit
So don’t you tell me
I should quit!

A long time ago, before I joined that poetry club, I kept my poetry a secret because I feared judgment. But a guy named Sam Hurst, I met at a bar, and he coaxed me into reading a raw poem I was writing. And he told me I should join a local poetry group.

I was scared shitless to say the least. I feared being laughed out of the group. But no, they embraced me, and that is when I knew my words were worthy.

Now mind you. I can still look back on some of my work and think “That did suck”. BUT I don’t think because I lay a dud here or there, that I should quit. No! I look at my poetry a lot like a high speed camera photographer takes pictures. It isn’t the volume that matters, but the fact you do it so much you it is impossible not to take that one picture everyone loves.

To my fellow poets. NEVER STOP, and never be afraid to lay a dud. Never assume because one person doesn’t comment on your work, means other people cannot like anything you do.

I have a very simple rule to ALL poets. JUST DO, don’t worry about “critics” or “haters” or assholes. Just do it, you wills strike gold with people. YOU WILL. You may not get rich doing it, but “GOLD” to me is making someone else connect with you, or feel empathy with you, or get joy with you, or feel pain with you. It only takes one poem to do that. So keep writing. FUCK THE HATERS!

7 responses to “Don’t Tell Me”

  1. This piece speaks volumes to me, Brian. I’ve felt as you did many, many times – I begin a poem and then can’t make it ‘good enough’. That’s good enough for others to read and appreciate. I can’t tell you how many poems I’ve scrapped before they’ve even reached their end. I’m so pleased you’ve found your confidence to write regardless of those ignorant people who will criticise and be unappreciative of your talented words. It’s wonderful that you’ve found a writing group that appreciates your work. I admire you as a poet. Your words always touch me and are worthy of their place in this world. Never doubt that. Keep writing, my friend x


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