I Don't Understand Poets

by W. Scott Bowlin

The way they lay out their words in blocky formation

that seems to give impact to certain phrases

Stanzas, they say, and I don't understand

how shifting a word to the beginning of a new

sentence changes it

But it does you see, and there is something

to it that is subtle and in your face at the same


I haven't read many of them, these poets

that they speak of — Whitman and his Leaves

Of Grass, Mary Oliver and her wild life,

I've never read Thoreau on purpose

but I have read Bukowski and his search for

The Word the Line the Way

and Darryl Price because he's here


They cheat you see, with their iambic pentameter

and sestina and free verse and haiku

They find small ideas here

in this beautiful world of

ours and strip them down

leaving off the flowing sentences

and the finely crafted scenes that transition

and somehow it still seems right and threatens

to make you smile or, sometimes,