So You Think You Can Poet-Dance

Are you like me, they ask
middle class white and outspoken
did you grow up with a front
and a back yard
did you bag leaves in the fall
just for the fun of it
did your mother bring you out
a steaming mug of hot coco
did you smile for the camera

did you frown a lot in high school
even though you had
what most would call a very good life

do you wear your linguistic hair like me
do we read the same poets
we have to know the same people
you and I

are you alphabet friendly
do you bite
do you bleed
are you open minded
are you close minded
we need you to be both
if you want to travel in our circle

are you good with a bow and arrow
do you know how to make up terms
and force other people to live by them
do you know how to look down on
everyone who isn’t us

are you willing to go the extra mile
will you tell us what you find
so that we don’t have to go that far?

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (2018, Indolent Books) and editor of the forthcoming anthology What Keeps us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma. In 2016 he founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and Prison/confinement. He resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. He has never believed in anything as strongly as he does the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life. Read other articles by James.