I normally don’t like what is often called prose poetry. I admit that I don’t really get it. For me poetry (aside from the requirements of beauty, excellence and a sense of reaching for something true) has always been in the line. But this poem feels like a poem to me, despite it’s complete lack of any form that to me resembles poetry.
It was the poem of the day one day last week on the email list from the American Academy of Poets. I liked it, but I felt a need to experiment. Even though I wasn’t going to show it to anyone else, I thought if I relined it I would be able to read it better, and it would do something for my OCD-ish need for structure. So I copied it and made the lines end where I felt was appropriate. Funny thing is, although I cannot explain why, seeing it on the page in neat lines ruined it for me. I didn’t like how it looked, or how it sounded when I read it. So I let Mr. Schomburg have his way and I red it on the screen in paragraph form just how he wrote it.
Is it a poem? Is it flash fiction? I cannot express to you why, except to say that it is all metaphor, and it punches me right in the gut… so I want to say it is a poem after all.
Forgive me Zachary S. But hey, at least you know that you have my attention, right?
by Zachary Schomburg
I am given a pony for my birthday, but it is the wrong kind of pony. It is the kind of pony that won’t listen. It is testy. When I ask it to go left, it goes right. When I ask it to run, it sleeps on its side in the tall grass. So when I ask it to jump us over the river into the field I have never before been, I have every reason to believe it will fail, that we will be swept down the river to our deaths. It is a fate for which I am prepared. The blame of our death will rest with the testy pony, and with that, I will be remembered with reverence, and the pony will be remembered with great anger. But with me on its back, the testy pony rears and approaches the river with unfettered bravery. Its leap is glorious. It clears the river with ease, not even getting its pony hooves wet. And then there we are on the other side of the river, the sun going down, the pony circling, looking for something to eat in the dirt. Real trust is to do so in the face of clear doubt, and to trust is to love. This is my failure, and for that I cannot be forgiven.