Poem: i’m not so sure

6 inklings - saturday

Listen to: “Scare Away the Dark” by Passenger

I need to mention this before I start this poem that this style of poetry (that I am about to share) is inspired off of Sarah Kay, founder of Project V.O.I.C.E and a spoken word poet since she was fourteen (who kind of reminds me of my childhood best friend from Perth).


I have always been both skeptical and inspired by poets who perform their work for an audience: skeptical ’cause of the stigma and stereotypes given to such poets, and inspired because of their uneffaced and unapologetic passion for what they do and feel. And, because of these two attitudes towards spoken poetry, I have never – and probably will never – take part in a poetry slam. (Plus, the word ‘slam’ makes it even more intimidating.) But here is my take (’cause these words have been anxiously eager to burst from me) on a spoken word poem in written form:

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can’t think of anything else to do. – W.H. Auden

I’m not sure.
I’m not sure whether I’m okay
with this “lookdown” situation
where we no longer talk to one another
but at

talk at pieces of wire and
and reflections
and it transmits a message to another
bulk of wires and screens
where a friend (hopefully) reads
and talks at their own back.

I’m not sure that conversation is private.
I’m not so sure whether we even care.

I’m not so sure whether we’re living in the present anymore

when the words we read
on the screen
come from seconds, minutes, days

and the words that are spoken to us
in the present
from a person right in front of us
falls on deaf ears
“sorry? what did you say?”
and they have to repeat
twice over

i’m not so sure about the Word
when the written word has delays
and the spoken word more so.

I’m not sure if we see anymore.
Do our eyes even see the present or the past?
That a concert is not enjoyed
in the moment that it is there
but recorded
so that we can “enjoy” the
(not so live)
celebration later.

I’m not so sure about posterity.
That we hoard so many megabytes, gigabytes, tetrabytes –
but they ironically lack memories.
Where is our memory now?

I’m not so sure about words.
I’m not so sure about additional meanings to words,
such that a sentence like
“not enough space on the cloud”
is no longer poetically beautiful –
and then
what is poetry anymore?

I’m not so sure about flash fiction –
like isn’t the Flash the second most useless superhero since Aquaman?
– or Vine –
or that anything in fact has to be
for anything to be given any attention these days.

what are they – where are they
these days?

I’m not so sure about replacing long drawn out appreciation and reflection
with efficiency.

I’m not so sure I appreciate efficiency.
I’m not so sure I like the idea of paved grass,
reclaimed land over coral reefs
and buying the air from the sky.
I’m not even certain we humans own any of these things
or that we deserve to claim something our own
because we give it a name.

Did it not exist before we noticed its existence?
Did we?

And I’m not so sure whether I’m deserving
I’m not so sure if I’m deserving of criticising these things we do
if I’m just another static sound
and the noise around us is even more distraction from the now.

I’m not so sure if I’m deserving peace
I’m not so sure if I’m deserving quiet reflection
if time belongs to me anymore
if I can claim it back
if my name is even mine
if my hours are used wisely
if these words will stretch across a sea of other voices hitting brick wall after brick –
if I’m deserving of this space to write this
uncertain poem down,
i’m not so sure.

– cumuloq ❤


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