Have you ever wondered What happens to all the poems people write?The poems they neverlet anyone else read?Perhaps they are Too private and personalPerhaps they are just not good enough.Perhaps the prospect of such a heartfeltexpression being seen as clumsyshallow sillypretentious saccharineunoriginal sentimentaltrite boringoverwrought obscure stupidpointless or simply embarrassingis enough to give any aspiringpoet good reason to hide their work frompublic view.forever.Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.Burnt shredded flushed awayOccasionally they are folded Into little squaresAnd wedged under the corner of An unstable piece of furniture(So actually quite useful)Others are hidden behind a loose brickor drainpipe or sealed into the back of an old alarm clockor put between the pages of AN OBSCURE BOOKthat is unlikely to ever be opened.someone might find them one day, BUT PROBABLY NOTThe truth is that unread poetry Will almost always be just that. DOOMED to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia.wellAlmost always.On rare occasions,Some especially insistentpieces of writing will escapeinto a backyard or a lanewaybe blown along a roadside embankmentand finally cometo rest in a shopping centerparking lotas so many things doIt is here that something quite Remarkabletakes placetwo or more pieces of poetry drift toward each otherthrough a strange force of attractionunknown to scienceand ever so slowlycling togetherto form a tiny, shapeless ball.Left undisturbed,this ball graduallybecomes larger and rounder as otherfree versesconfessions secrets stray musings wishes and unsentlove lettersattach themselvesone by one.Such a ball creeps through the streetsLike a tumbleweed for months even yearsIf it comes out only at night it has a goodChance of surviving traffic and childrenand through a slow rolling motionAVOIDS SNAILS(its number one predator)At a certain size, it instinctivelyshelters from bad weather, unnoticedbut otherwise roams the streetssearching for scraps of forgottenthought and feeling.Given time and luckthe poetry ball becomes large HUGE ENORMOUS:A vast accumulation of papery bitsThat ultimately take to the air, levitating byThe sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.It floats gentlyabove suburban rooftops when everybody is asleepinspiring lonely dogsto bark in the middle of the night.Sadlya big ball of papernot matter how large and buoyant, is still a fragile thing.Sooner or LATERit will be surprised bya suddengust of windBeaten by driving rainand REDUCEDin a matter of minutesto a billionsoggy shreds.One morningeveryone will wake upto find a pulpy messcovering front lawnsclogging up guttersand plastering carwindscreens.Traffic will be delayedchildren delightedadults baffledunable to figure outwhere it all came fromStranger stillWill be the Discovery that Every lump of Wet paperContains variousfaded words pressed into accidentalverse.Barely visiblebut undeniably presentTo each reader they will whisper something different something joyfulsomething sadtruthful absurdhilarious profound and perfectNo one will be able to explain the Strange feeling of weightlessnessor the private smilethat remainsLong after the street sweepers have come and gone.
Shaun Tan