If You Want to Be a Poet

“If you want to be a Poet” was my attempt at a sort of poetic ethical will. It appears in the book Look Ma! No Hands!
You can be a person who writes poetry,
or you can become a poet.

Be wide open to life.
Be loyal to your loves.
Be courageous.
Be bluntly honest when it counts.
Accept your truth even if it hurts.

Find yourself, but fight for the best of that person.
Learn to listen carefully.
Cultivate a great sense of humor.
Watch what good speakers do.

Be down to earth, but keep day dreaming.
Pay attention to patterns.
Be selectively apathetic, but care about people.

Put the value into your values. Only fight for justice.
Find commonality. Help others find unity.
See the good in everyone. Find a community.
Recognize your tribe,
but recognize not everyone is your tribe.

Pursue peace. Learn many languages.
Entertain new philosophies.
Learn from all history.
Travel often and hike long distances.
Seek spirituality. Seek new experiences both real and imagined.

Use your inner toolbox. Let your soul lead.
Let your heart guide. Let your mind expand.
Look for symbolism. Look for meaning in everything.

Be a hopeless romantic. Overdose on positive music.
Don’t forget to laugh. Don’t be afraid to cry.

Study your heroes, and your heroes’ heroes!
Learn from all mistakes, both yours and others’.
Be idealistic, not realistic.

Know that fear is often a lie, but know your limits.
Respect life and find humanity.
Be aware of your temporary existence.
You only control your art, not other people.
Find and trust your team, even when they fall short.

Money is not the reward in this game.
Think in puns and multiple meanings.
Your inner child is your identity.
Hug freely and kiss your life.
Run with the flow, no, fly!

If you make it, and even before, give, give, give back!

D.L. Lang
D.L. Lang
D.L. Lang of Vallejo, CA is the author of nine poetry collections, including 2016's Poet Loiterer which Kirkus Reviews described as containing "Free-spirited ideals couched in fairly infectious rhymes." She enjoys performing her poems at open mics and entering them in county fairs.