Readers Wonder: Ezekiel Grabau

Readers Wonder: Ezekiel Grabau

In our “Readers Wonder” series, Bethany students sit down with our Inkwell contributors to talk about the writing process and the pieces that appear in our issues. 

In this installment, Brooke and Paige talk to Ezekiel Grabau about his piece: “Ars Poetica with Whiskey or Ode to Obsessions or My Girlfriend Asked What I Was Thinking” which was published in our Spring 2019 issue.

Ars Poetica with Whiskey or Ode to Obsessions or My Girlfriend Asked What I Was Thinking

by Ezekiel H. Grabau

Is poetry a metaphor for life or is life a poetry for metaphor? 
I mean 
is life a metaphor for poetry or maybe 
metaphor is the life of poetry? 
Pretend I wrote something wise for old time’s sake 
imagine that I bent the words to bear my burdens like boughs 
words are like henpecked husbands that way 
always being bothered about how 
late they were out or how 
much they worked or how 
their day was dear or why 
are you so sad sometimes or why 
can’t things just be simple for once or I 
understand why can’t you understand 
or do you love me? 
It would be no surprise if words started drinking whiskey 
or watching porn when no one was looking 
or wandered into the woods and fell asleep beneath the boughs 
of pine and woke up twenty years bygone antediluvian and hoary. 
Words are so misunderstood 
like the quiet person in the corner who sits 
silent while someone explains how this poem is about addiction 
clearly, all the while knowing deep down exactly 
what she thinks I meant. 
Words are like old metaphors which no one really understands 
except for the one still insisting on the theme of addiction 
clearly, we keep them around like the same old souvenirs 
of a historical site or a road trip we barely remember 
but means something 
clearly, otherwise 
why keep them? 
Maybe my life 
I mean 
Maybe my metaphors don’t make sense to you 
which wouldn’t surprise me much since 
I still don’t fully understand how 
to bend the words to say what I mean or if 
antediluvian is as outdated and awkward 
as assuming the gender of the silent student or if 
hoary is as tired and tried 
as a drunk sitting on a high stool denying his addiction or if 
they are hardy like flexible yet unbreakable boughs or if 
I am just spinning in circles 
looking for three words to a simple personal question 
and burdening three hundred more 
which clearly mean as much to you as they do to me 
why keep them? 
Why give them my secrets, my burdens, my effort 
if they do not have the weight to bend your mind?

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