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I’m a Renaissance man…

I wrote this poem at the beginning of last year to read at the first Open Mic I instituted at the high school where I taught. I wanted to write something that the students would like, that contained poetic elements, and that was accessible to them. It went over really well, and I’ve even read it at local open mics in Long Beach. It’s a bit “spoken wordy,” but has a lot of sentimental value and remains one of my favorite poems I’ve written. It is published on a site run by students at my alma mater, California State University, Long Beach.

Renaissance Man

Daniel Romo 

I’m a Renaissance man.
A modern day beatnik who finds
Romance in grey skies
And bewilderment
In why the suicide rate
Stays so high
In Seattle.
Who shuns laptops
And text messaging,
Preferring to write
With wooden pencils
They keep me closer to
Product of an early 90’s
Northwest revolution
Dressed in apathy
Bathed in flannel.
I’ve not watched Vh-1 in years
And changed the channel long ago
Only to become obsessed
With reality TV,
Watching top, anorexic, wannabe models
Flaunt their sexuality,
And fallen hip-hop heroes
Diminished to the depths
Of actually
Their groupies.
Who YouTubes
“Kimbo Slice” and “backyard fights”
And Googles
“Saul Williams” and “Open Mic readings”
Transforming proper nouns to verbs
Through the superficiality,
And vicarious reality—
It is written and spoken word
That keeps me honest.
For I decode
Keenly folded dreams
Written in shorthand
On the second floor of bookstores
And bucking the system
That comes with
Being a male poet.
My proud pectorals protruding,
To the fact
My manhood’s intact,
And I’m sensitive enough
To feel.
I reject coffee houses
And commercialism,
Yet wonder if it’s a contradiction
To be a devoted
Target consumer.
It’s no coincidence
I’m slow to dispel the rumor—
I find flaws in rainbows
Keeping quiet
Letting Mother Nature know
I can keep a secret.
In a perfect world,
There’d be no secrets.
There’d be no secrets,
No stereotypes
Book burning
High gas prices
American Idol
Dog fighting
Eating disorders
Rosie O’ Donnell
And WAR.
Isn’t that what artists
Strive for?
And while I’m on the subject,
I’ll add cutting funding for the arts
In high schools to the list,
Because billions of dollars spent
On space exploration
Fueled by egos and speculation

I’m a Renaissance man.
A modern day beatnik
Who simply wants to
One step closer,
To a more forgiving world…


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

4 responses »

  1. my favorite part of this poem:

    “They keep me closer to
    Product of an early 90’s
    Northwest revolution
    Dressed in apathy
    Bathed in flannel.”

    …just because I kind of remember those days!

  2. Much thanks.

  3. An excellent paean to… well, just about everything important. 🙂 Keeping Mother Nature’s secrets stood out especially; nicely done!


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