WHAT IT'S LIKE (OR CAN BE LIKE) TO BE A POET
I was all day in San Francisco yesterday, moving from one meeting or session to another that involved me having to sign off on mucho legalese documents. And whilst in the elevator with the hubby in my lawyer's building downtown, we ended up sharing it with another lawyer. The hubby re-introduced us to each other, reminding me (since he knows moi memory is a sieve) that we'd met once before. The lawyer said, "Oh yes. I've read your poetry." Now. A wise poet -- and I like to think on matters like this I'm unlike moiself and am actually wise -- never expects to float through the world and bump into strangers who've read her poems. Never. So, to the lawyer's statement, I replied as I often do when I'm stumped. With humor. To wit, I replied, "I'm sorry" and we all laughed briefly as the lawyer (diplomatically if nothing else) paid a compliment to my poems (a compliment I realized was a compliment but didn't actually hear in its specifics because I was hearing instead the buzz of bemusement at being confronted this way). And because on matters like these I am wise, I've been reflecting on the incident. And, first, I am of course grateful to have had the incident -- because it's pretty rare when, as I've blatantly implied, poets meet a total or near-total stranger who's read their poems. And because I'm wise, I'm grateful. Then, being the perverse creature that Moi am, I become irritated. I'm irritated that I have to be grateful for moments like these. Because of course it hearkens the larger issue of how little poetry plays in many people's everyday lives ... such as that a poet can feel grateful for such incidents as yesterday's. Then I get irritated even more that I don't possess the grace to simply feel, Thank you, and then move on without being irritated. Then I get irritated at being reminded yet again of how I often am graceless. Then I get irritated at being irritated over what was an undeniably positive moment. And, now I'm sitting here berating myself -- mentally screaming at moiself, Don't you dare get irritated that the incident occurred, that someone actually read and liked your poems! Don't you dare! Sometimes, it's so ... so ... well, there's no other way to put it: so bloody irritating to be a poet!