see– i don’t trust poets with clean hands

“poetry–” i say
with a heavy exclamation mark
“has no value in itself”,

& poets?

just think of the statues in the parks,
ivy winding ’round copper rusted cheeks,
rapt eyes twisted skyward, frill-sleeved,
quill in meditative folded,

manicured & languid hands,
i prefer my poets dirty, dangling
with disordered clothes on helicopter skids,
rubbing outcast’s shoulders &

ask the lady at the supermarket check out
“what ya thinking about poetry?”,

she looks at me while pulling
butter, milk, a whole grain bread
over the scanner, bags under her eyes,
“you’re paying with your card?”

“it doesn’t feed me”

& in the car, i shovel words (dang, they’re
everyWhere– ) on the backseat, overSized,
reduNDant, underPaid&lightWeight, puFFed
panting in the driver seat, &

blurred, between frozen fish,
cashew nuts and fennel tea, see Burns,
rOLling raPtured eyes and somewhere
in the spinning is a butterfly– i

———–GotiT, smile

————-& let it fly for her,
—–leaving yellow pollen
————all across the concrete


smiles..had a bit fun with this one…it’s OpenLinkNight at dVerse again where poets from all over the world fly in..on helicopter skids and brooms and such…smiles..doors open at 3pm EST..

89 responses to “see– i don’t trust poets with clean hands

  1. I do not only distrust those with clean hands but the ones walking about with a dictionary of Latin and Greek word origins in tow…another delightful poem.

  2. i prefer my poets dirty, dangling
    with disordered clothes on helicopter skids,
    rubbing outcast’s shoulders…ha, me too…smiles…love that you capture a bit of the magic for her in the butterfly and send it back to her…haha and love they are scattered all over your car as well…those pesky words…getting everywhere…i like the interaction with her as well…some will never understand…smiles…and i remember a statue in the park…

    • “poetry–” i say
      with a heavy exclamation mark
      “has no value in itself”,

      & poets?

      Thanks, for sharing your poem “see– i don’t trust poets with clean hands” as you play with words…I too like the interaction between you and the cashier…[a visual treat!]

      deedee 🙂

  3. lots of neat descriptions here. Love the shoveling the words, very cool, I definitely feel you on that one. The idea about the dirty hands, that’s very cool, never thought about that, but yeah, fits poetry perfectly, the supermarket and the listing of food to mix in their makes one think as an analogy of all the different types of poetry and nice flow with the shaped verse and cap usage at the end. Great write Claudia. Thanks

  4. Poetry’s useless.
    Poetry’s superfluous
    words without purpose;
    poetry isn’t a car,
    a gun, or a field of wheat.
    Poetry takes place
    in the poet’s locked room.

    Poetry doesn’t go anywhere
    though it sometimes seems
    to sidestep. Poetry’s just
    another word for treason,
    the head of reason
    spitted on a spontoon.

    [Except when it comes to yours, Claudia. I love the way the whole thing starts to disintegrate as we come to the end. Choice!]

  5. Title=awesome
    Poetry has no intrinsic value=”oh, that’s good”
    Clothes on helicopter skids=How do you come up with this stuff C?

    This is as fun as scraping frozen words off the windshield and making a snowcone.

  6. Claudia, I love this line:

    manicured & languid hands,
    i prefer my poets dirty, dangling

    We, as poets, need to experience life in order to write about it.
    Thank you for this fresh experience, and the line breaks are unique to you.
    Very interesting and fun.
    Here is to getting dirty…..Tracy

  7. Poetry can be a beginning or can be the ending. It takes great pains to come up with words which may do well at the beginning to set the trend. Readers are often tested on their knowledge which can present a challenge. I see it that way. You have a knack for getting the correct words for one to think about. Nicely Claudia!


  8. This was fun, Claudia. Somehow I think most check-out people don’t think much about poetry….nor do most people in general. I would like to be surprised about this and find myself wrong. Thinking about poets…ya, I think it is good to have ‘dirty hands,’ as that means someone really digs INTO something, explores it, plays with it, finds out what it is all about! No, doesn’t pay the bills, but pays its dues in joy!

  9. haha fun all around today is found. But ewwww for my ocd that would not do. Have to wash my hands, don’t want any germs doing hand stands haha

  10. Great capture, Claudia. I wrote three poems on words and poetry…a lot on my mind….enjoyed the words scattered all over your car 🙂

  11. This is so fun, Claudia – ‘in the car, i shovel words (dang, they’re
    everyWhere– ) on the backseat’ I have nightmares about my husband cleaning out my car and throwing away all those words on bits of scrap and receipts and bank deposits slips! Wonderful! K

  12. Well, I for one love the way words scatter in your car and in your brain, the way you come up with funny combinations like the bags under her eyes, and you defend dirty handed poets everywhere. There’s a big smile on my face after reading this one. It’s so you Claudia, so creative.

  13. Great fun in your words today – and I know what you mean; I think that to write poetry that is meaningful, you have to live a bit. That’s what is always so inspiring in your poems, Claudia, they are grounded in real life – usually your life.

  14. Claudia, this is wonderful. Love the “p0oets dirty” line. Reminds me of something I wrote recently where I said I liked the saints who roll in the mud 😉

    Give me the holy stained with earth; give me the artist soaked in ink.

  15. I love the movement of the words, Claudia… and:

    i prefer my poets dirty, dangling
    with disordered clothes on helicopter skids,
    rubbing outcast’s shoulders

  16. when i was a freshman in college, and took journalism 101, we had to write about the statues on Commonwealth Ave. (Boston) and I realized how much we sometimes don’t really see the statues in the park.

  17. love the shovelling of words indiscriminately onto the back seat, the cool inventiveness of format & language from there to the end (except, what end is there ever for a poet who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty? 😉 )
    great title & poem

  18. This reminds me of the motto of my soon to be defunct site “Life’s Too Short to Read Poetry with a Capital P.” Wonderful, fun read.

  19. Poets are mad people who try to change this world with their hearts 🙂 They always get messy in the process 🙂 As for poetry? A famous greek poet once said : “Poetry is the on going of a shiny bicycle…” And me too, ” i prefer my poets dirty” 🙂

  20. Generally, the only people I trust with clean hands are the ones preparing my food or doctoring to the ill. Life is way messy; engage in it.

    I prefer the poets who aren’t drunk though.

  21. great read…love the dirty dangling poets, rubbing shoulders with outcasts… just loved all the images, shoveling words over and over…oh I can see that… very fun poem. 🙂

  22. Oh, I love this one…. Finding poetry in all the places in life it really lives…. Not old textbooks and staid professors…. The reality of our days makes the best poem.

  23. …i prefer my poets dirty — i like that… and who would want a clean cut in a piece? i see poetry not in perfection but rather a continuous flow of passion t’wards learning & knowing… it isn’t the details we are trying to perfect but most importantly the emotions & amount of self we put in every poem we write… smiles…

  24. Poetry “doesn’t feed me”?!? Maybe it doesn’t pay for groceries, but it certainly feeds us in other ways, if we have the patience to read it. Or write it, for that matter!

    Fortunately I have ridden elephants in an indoor mall, inside a circus tent, and in a race on Hollywood Boulevard, and once wrestled a calf to submission in a rodeo. And there was that private nude interview with the porn star. So my hands are not clean.

    Hope you’ll keep on digging in and shoveling these wonderful words!

  25. hehe i’ve been gardening so i have dirty hands but the words won’t come at the moment. like the way your poetry is woven with your life =)

  26. I love what happens when you shovel words!

    I’ve stopped getting your feeds (dverse, too) so I’m going to unsubscribe and resubscribe.. So challenged it seems with the Internet and don’t know if it’s the new computer or the IP. Arrrgh.

  27. I like a dirty poet myself, but back to your meaning. Yes, a poet’s voice must rise up from the ash of life, like a mechanic must know what grease tastes like. How can you write about broken ribs if a donkey has never kicked you in the heart. Excellent presentation as well.

  28. Love this, Claudiai! Getting down and dirty with life is the way tto go, for sure! Park statuary and life is and should be, to a degree, filled with pigeon poo, and this is what the good poet writes about…Xanadu had its day. Onward!

  29. How can one write of life, if one has not lived?

    How can one write of perfection, as no Peep is perfect? We try to be, claim to be, but our dirt always shows through.

  30. Fun to read too. 🙂 But you want to be careful – let those words loose like that, they could end up anywhere!

  31. My favourite part:

    part she looks at me while pulling
    butter, milk, a whole grain bread
    over the scanner, bags under her eyes,
    “you’re paying with your card?”

    “it doesn’t feed me”

    Made me giggle, thank you.

  32. Very charming! I don’t think there are so many statutes of poets–but some – and probably more in Europe. We are more likely to have a general, I’m afraid.

    The yellow pollen is so palpable here, and I love the words stuffed in with the packages, the cashews and fennel tea. It’s very sweet and very fun and uplifting too. Thanks. k.

  33. Yes, Claudia, there are words everywhere. I especially love the supermarket scene. I wonder what would happen if I asked someone here that question 😉


  34. Hey Claudia, I’ve got Ferlinghetti on Skype and he wants to know if you’re down for some hip hop or gang-en style or whatever the latest thing to hit the boards is … he’s that ripped about your poem, and he’s up to his armpits in mud…He’s flickering on the screen so I expect he’s going to fade soon but he’s leaving me with this…”Poetry can be heard at manholes, echoing up Dante’s fire escape.” I finally realized that he is the poet you sometimes remind me of … truly.

  35. Ha! Love the tumble of this Claudia.. and yes, have to agree

    i prefer my poets dirty, dangling
    with disordered clothes on helicopter skids,

    … and drinking fennel tea 🙂

  36. I just did a visual check of my hands – they’re rather clean; what does that say about me as a poet?

    This was a fun read. I enjoyed the visuals, both those presented through your word and those presented with your words.

  37. Oh, this is fun, and serious at the same time. “it doesn’t feed me”–sad, how many people feel that about poetry…hands too clean right now, gotta go digging.
    Love the specificity of the groceries and the freedom of the pollen. Thank you.