I am no aesthete

I am no aesthete
these pitiless streets and sagging alleys
weave ennui instead of song
the air here is a different colour
even the rose who sees herself
in the filthy puddles from yesterday’s rain
thinks she was born a dirty sepia

oh I have sat across the room
and admired the strong jaw of your feral words
the stubble on the face of your poems
as if they had overslept
too harrowed by the insincerity of the long night
their long fingers shredding old sensibilities
brown nails scraping away the wet earth to find a lost path

but I am tethered to this obsolescent air
scavenging for metaphors in ripe refuse
yesterday as we walked I picked up
a mango seed sucked dry
as if someone had consumed the sun
and thrown away its wan core
you laughed and showed me the sky
a plump cloud with one yellow stain on its cheek

I make do, my grey unwashed sun
shines dark on things I don’t want to see
the rose falls apart in the angry rain
and we walk through the unseen
making poems that rise with bloodshot eyes
reeking of discarded wine
holding their heads on the torn sheets of my notebook

I am no aesthete
but sometimes I have seen my sobbing poems
tender eyed, faking smiles
as they wake up next to yours.


46 thoughts on “I am no aesthete

    1. Thanks Lynn.. there is great poetry that comes from terrible experiences..war, hunger, racism… beautiful defining poems. However, poetry stems from the unexceptional ugliness as well… where there is no passion to find words for disenchantment… and yet one must write about it as it is…

      Liked by 2 people

        1. True, though sometimes life is just plain hard, a function of circumstance, economics or geography or just the way things are… When there’s nothing to tickle the muse or uplift the soul… just drudgery…how does one write about the ordinary in a way that is scintillating?


  1. I don’t often use the phrase “I wish I had written this”, but this poem contains more than a handful of lines I wish I had written. The personification of poetry is soul-striking, such beauty and longing…


  2. An aria of two voices (eroticized as love) is both conversation without and evaluation within: what is this poetry, what is his poetry, which is mine … St. Paul called it discernment, the ability to sort the spirits. Not easy to do in our world, when no one really knows what poetry is any more … I dated a poet once and there always seemed to be a competition over who what the “real” poet. She turned out far more successful than I in the world of publishing poetry, but I am confident I have been fundamentally burned and buffed to a dark emerald gleam by the voices, for better or verse … anyway, the broken city is a great location for this meeting. And there’s an important distinction to words polished as art and words burnished for truth.


    1. Thanks Brendan… art and truth, you rightly point out…they say one is the same as the other, but so often it is impossible to find the words and so we fill the spaces with gilt and gems… sparkling masks for the weariness that has gone mute.


  3. Since Clouds are one of my favourite things, clearly this has to be my favourite lines

    “you laughed and showed me the sky
    a plump cloud with one yellow stain on its cheek”

    Have a good Sunday

    much love…


    1. Thanks Beverly… I think of it as reality.. it is what it is and the world is unequal and sometimes unfair. Hope always exists..but I think it takes different forms. 🙂


  4. I absolutely love this..❤️ such a strong poem! “I am no aesthete but sometimes I have seen my sobbing poems tender eyed, faking smiles as they wake up next to yours.” I wish I had written this!!❤️


  5. Cardinal rule: Don’t compare. Comparisons are judgements looking for “better or less than”. That said, you are unique and thus your poetry stems from that uniqueness. Fluid imagery and precise language with a powerful desire to share, all of which is obvious here. Some will understand, while others will scratch and shake their heads. That is their issue. Have you read Rilke yet? If not, I recommend that you do, again. Poetry is whatever the poet chooses it to be. A rose still remains a rose, no matter how muddied the reflection.




    1. I have the book now, waiting to read it! Thanks so much. You’re right about one thing, one has to write to one’s own truth, however communicating it in a way that it can be understood is another matter altogether! Maybe that should not be the poet’s problem.. but this poet sure worries about it! Appreciate your support so much!


      1. I’ve been writing poetry for over thirty years. But, as an individual, there are only so many truths I can actually write about. Which means I’ve written more than once about them. Each poem reaches out to all, but is not received by everyone. The only part I can control is the choice to write at all. The rest is up to the Universe. Once written, it truly is out of my hands. We do the best that we can, and that is enough, for any individual. I’m not making light of your concerns. Just trying to say, I’ve been there and know how you feel, and even what you would prefer. That doesn’t change anything, because what is really important is that we continue to practice how we do, what we do.


        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is invaluable advice, even more because it comes from your personal experience. Shall try and remember it at all times, especially when it gets really difficult to write. Thanks so much Elizabeth. Across the miles!


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