Grand Theft

I considered abandoning the prompt for Day 13 of NaPoWriMo. “Today, I challenge you to write a non-apology for the things you’ve stolen.” This springs from the alleged T.S. Elliot quotation “Today, I challenge you to write a non-apology for the things you’ve stolen.” Which, to be clear, he did not say exactly.

One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

Eliot, T.S., “Philip Massinger,” The Sacred Wood, New York: Bartleby.com, 2000.

So today’s poem is not about misappropriation or the sly pillaging of the office stationery cupboard. I have played fast and loose with the prompt, given that I was reared by a very pious and principled mother. Close friends can attest that I have not passed a driving test in three different countries. I gave up in the attempt to drive a car as a kindness to motorists.

Grand Theft
 
Why stop with gobstoppers?
Why not go for the whole gob?
If your life feels like an off Broadway flop
and you really, really hate your job,
but…you can see it there, all sparkling,
like the River Jordon, not diamonds...
Suddenly, it seems possible to be starring,
not just some extra. You just need good timing.
One lucky break. Take it. Then make your escape.
 
This is your life after all. The shiny
new one, where no one knows your make
or model. Where you can exchange large for tiny.
You cross that bridge to the Promised Land.
A vehicle is just a means. The end,
however, is the life where you have free hand,
some divergences that others may not comprehend.
That happens when you become a star.
 
You sack your agent.
You drive your life like it’s a stolen car.
You abandon entertainment. Instead,
you take up high octane amazement.
 
Copyright © Bee Smith, 2020. All rights reserved.

Featured images is a Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

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