Don’t care if you like me.
Poets don’t need to be liked.
Heard is enough, if you you want to help out,
but liked is more than we need.
As people, yes, we want to be liked.
But as much as we channel
people, people we are not,
sometimes being liked is extra,
not critical as long as we are
heard. Sometimes we don’t even
channel people. We speak for stones
and bricks and guns and maybe now and then
a tree or two. Maybe a bird, and we’re in this
for the evocative song or report from the barrel
and not for being liked. It’s easier, you see,
if they think we’re angry or sad or messed up behind
their dislike of us when truth be told
we’re easily as happy as hell to be mentioned
or noticed instead of liked. We leave liking
to the politicians. We leave it to those
we speak of: the wronged and saddened,
the oppressed and dead and all the broken.
Like them if you want to like anyone
as we are the ones who should step beyond
the categories if we want to be true
to the calling. For me at least
I don’t care it you like me. I don’t care
for your liking. How shallow were my poems
if you even have an inkling of comfort from them?
How much did I miss
if you like me
for having written them?