I write poetry because it is much more honest than prose. To write prose I have to put on pants (ugh), squeeze into a bunch of way-too-tight opinions, load my arms with a bunch of dry, dusty Facts, and stand before you all saying “Yes, it is I, Mrs Political Blogger Lady. I am not made of galaxies of white light mosquito angels. I am not at all brimming with the tears of ancient grandmothers pouring down my flesh into an endless river of unanswerable sorrow. Ignore the arrows in my body where cruel men have shot me, which I have learned to use as magic wands. Pay no attention to that sauropod behind the curtain. Here is a list of facts and opinions about Jeff Bezos.”

And then you all show up in the comments saying, “Yes, we too are not even remotely anything like colossal supernova titans wielding swords of holy chaos. We are microscopic finites who either agree or disagree with you, not gods with antlers made of the elements of the universes that we have devoured. We did not just put fake Groucho Marx glasses on the face of the Eternal Unnameable; these are our normal everyday nose and glasses.”

How can we meet like that? Like a lecturer talking to an audience and saying “Here’s a Powerpoint presentation about moth balls,” without ever once stopping to say “Isn’t it weird how I’m up here with a microphone and none of you have microphones? And what will it be like when we die, anyway? I’m going to come over there and kiss each one of you on the mouth.” It’s so much easier to meet each other

down here,
when we break it down line-by-line
into a word sculpture that licks your pineal gland.

Here we can be truthful with one another.
Here I can turn my eyeballs into tentacles,
and you can turn your eyeballs into tentacles,
and we can intertwine them on this line
and intertwine our souls on this line
and live ten thousand lifetimes together on this line
and watch it all turn to smoke here on this line.

Here we do not need to pretend
that your name is Mr So-And-So
and you have a cat and a mortgage,
or that your name is Ms Whateverhead
and you like pineapple but not honeydew.
Here we do not need to pretend
that my name is “Caitlin”
(or “Caitlyn” or “Kaitlin” or “Putin-Nazi-Assadist-misandrist”
or however you spell it),
and that I have something you yourself lack.

Here we can peel off our boundary lines like bananas,
let loose the butterfly bats in our bellies
and the cackling kundalini coiled around our spines,
and form a single cloud of floating eyeballs and secret fears,
of Easter eggs under bushes and salamanders under rocks,
of prismatic platypuses and didgeridoo dingos,
of basement doors our grandfathers forbade us go near,
of attic hatches our grandmothers taught us to open,
and we can look at each other and giggle
like children hiding in the clothes rack,
and I can show you my oozing wounds,
and you can show me yours,
and we can stare with rounded mouths
as streams of rainbow dragonflies pour forth from them,
and we can press our hearts together
and keep pressing until it hurts
and keep pressing until it feels good
and keep pressing until it feels like the only thing ever,
and we can merge together
right here
right now
and be honest with each other
for once.












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32 responses to “My Poetry Is More Honest Than My Prose”

  1. I would like to thank you all for your comments on my posting Book/Author reviews. So No more of those from me here. I will keep my comments to the issue at hand. I especially liked the gal who was short and sweet: Get your own site……Thanks all!

  2. Let’s see, my written paragraph translates into a single word, single line stanza…Is this A.I. hard at work? Sometimes on Word Press I will spend an hour or two composing a carefully written piece only to see it turned into gobblydegook when I hit Publish. See my post on Slavery for an example of this. Alaskamanspeaks.org@wordpress.com An aside here: I have yet to be able to learn how to underline a word on this computer. When I go to underline it just pushes the word over___________ like this any help appreciated! Ms. Caitlin, I will send you some funny money when I am able, limited income, and so much need out there. I wrote to J. Mega-bucks Bezos: “How about a contribution to some local food banks,Huh!” As If that would ever happen. I am amazed and proud of us lesser beings willingness to donate, and volunteer to good causes, while the rich prefer their names on useless things, and then use their so-called donations for tax write offs, which means they have actually contributed Nothing, Zero, Zilch, because their write off means that honest taxpayers have to make that write off up—the government does not run on write offs, but real money. (Mostly borrowed, with the debt laden on our children) Is this a great world or what? (It is, but only if you are Rich)

  3. Not the Illiad by Homer, but a fun, tickle to read. Caitlin, I want to buy your book Woke, a field guide, but it is shown on the Big monster Amazon, where I will never ever venture with my little dollars. I promised to always shop 99.9 % locally even tho I live in a small town, and I have kept that promise. Every time Mr. Big B. puts another Billion in his bank somewhere out there are ten million working men/women who made it possible for him to bank that billion missing $100. bucks from their paychecks…..I read in today’s paper that Mr. B. just fucked over 50% of his suppliers, many of them small businesses that will go bankrupt because of his dirty dealing. If I order the book from my local bookstore they will just get it from him, so I can live without it, unless there is someplace honest to get it…Thanks, for filing in the details below this note. Saves a precious moment….Have a nice day and glad to have been introduced to you…..

    1. Robert Bushman Avatar
      Robert Bushman

      George, you can bypass Amazon and find lots of mom and pop bookstores through Bookfinder.com. –Highly recommended.

      1. s.Mr. Bushman, thank you for that info. I wondered if anyone read the comments. I am new to Ms. Johnstone’s site, so it is nice to know there are alert readers…..P.S. I do not waste much time on hate, but I do hate that Big A and their slave warehouses…..

        1. Robert Bushman Avatar
          Robert Bushman

          I’m with you there, George.

          PS Most of the booksellers listed by Bookfinder are aggregators, who show books being offered by small retailers. You only see them when you drill down into a particular offering. I can often find the book I’m after, used but in acceptable condition, for $3-4, including shipping. It’s amazing. (–but Caitlin’s book is still holding a strong price.)

          1. Mr. Bushman, thanks for the extra advice. I enjoy it when I receive intelligent reply’s from folks who have not forgotten how to think clearly. I write blogs, and am so disappointed in how many sites are just fluff and nonsense. People do not seem at all concerned with local, state, country or world events. For example: March 15th The Climate Kids Are Coming! Nation Magazine 3/25/19 issue. On 3/15 tens of thousands of high-school and middle school students in more than 30 countries plan to skip school to demand that politicians treat the global climate crisis as an emergency……Would it not be nice for millions of adults joined in on this? I am trying to talk my lady into us making signs and parading in front of our city hall in Homer, Alaska. It would probably be a lot better if all of our pockets were filled with gold, as that seems to be the only language politicians understand these days. I think these kids actions are our last best hope. Since we adults are responsible for the mess the least we can do is support our children to the hilt…..You have my e-mail or does this go through Caitlin’s site? My E-mail is: george_4997@hotmail.com…Your thoughts are welcome. Enjoy the day….

          2. Mr. Bushman, I decided to keep our little hometown bookstore in business and order it through them, they ordered it from the site you mentioned. So thank you again for the helpful advice….Hope you are well….

  4. Caitlin’s poems weave precious dreams for all of us. If these dreams die, we will die with their loss.

  5. Katydid, you are some kinda poet! Wow! After reading your poem, I can only say – Please kiss me again, and keep on kissing me until I can’t stand it, and keep on doing it anyway…..forever……

  6. If this emotional/spiritual/poetic stuff is so rich, important, essentual to one’s soul and ensures real communication, Johnstone should do more to reach out to all the centrists, neoliberals, Blairites~Clintonites who are also open to it. Things like ‘we’re all very connected to the universe/space/nature/planet/past/future, we’re all very important, we’ve all got feelings’, ‘female=good, and I’m so female’ are widely appreciated across political boundaries, so that would provide her with a much larger audience and fan base and, presumably, produce great and valuable results for humanity (not that *I* can see what those results might be, but that is to be expected). Since she considers that the facts and opinions that connect her to the anti-establishment people here are far less important compared to the cosmic New Age stuff that connects her to numerous centrists and neoliberals, it may even make sense for her to keep quiet about her unorthodox political views so as not to alienate all the Blairites~Clintonites who might othewise not be reached by that message of hers which is *truly* necessary and important, namely that we are all ‘galaxies of white light mosquito angels’. Just a suggestion.

    1. Hello. Only one 2-part sincere question: 1-Have you ever attempted to reach a certifiable sociopath? (You know them by both their words and actions. History is loaded with them. None that i know of have ever been rehabilitated except by force or their personal death) And, 2-If so, have you ever succeeded? i’ve been trying for decades, and it’s obvious Caitlin has too. If you haven’t tried, best of luck my friend.

    2. Foundling – You really think the assholes you mentioned are reachable by any version of the truth? You need to go off by yourself somewhere, and really think about what you are saying. Are you speaking about those a-hole’s accessability from within their ranks? You need to get a lot of distance from those undesirables you mentioned, or you will sound more and more like one of them.

  7. What can I say? Sock it to ’em, girl. I want to hug you…
    Jim M.

  8. Yeah … but your political insights, carefully and logically expressed, have the power to open eyes, clarify concepts, shed lies, link effects to causes, and facilitate meaningful action. Sometimes the best way to love is to light a path and then respectfully step aside.

    btw, while reading your prose-turned-poetry piece I heard the dim outlines of a stanza way back in my mind and eventually recognized it as from Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” —
    When I look out my window
    Many sights to see
    And when I look in my window
    So many different people to be
    That it’s strange
    So strange

  9. Good questions. Mind if I think about them a while? In the meantime, do keep it coming.

  10. Off comment , (or 1st amend rights) From the D and R so called Demockracy (Facist u.$.a Russian bot)… Propaganda ? I am now President of The United Snakes of Amerika. NO BLOOD FOR OIL.!

  11. There once was a smart, and funny, and sweet girl named Caitlin who came from an imaginary world Down Under. She arranged her life so that she could dream of a future at variance with the common expectation. She filled her imaginary world with chattering keystrokes and mellifluous wordcraft. She dreamed of Lilliputians in sparkling garments made of fairy dust, dancing to flute music under the stars. There was no authority in Caitlin’s imaginary world. There were no rules, no consequences. There was only being…in just the right way. There was no purpose for work, or money. The needs of every Lilliputian were met by the mystical source that provides those things. There were no standards by which success and failure were measured. Why? Every child and elderly Lilliputians was loved and cared for. There was no sickness, no pain, no hunger, no fear. Lilliputians protected each other from the only threat to their world–sadness. Guns did not exist in Caitlin’s imaginary world because there was no evil or crime. Because all Lilliputians were the same and equal in every way there was no jealously, no resentment, no arrogance, no sympathy, no guilt, no aggression, no need for justice. There was also no need for logic, or reason, or acquisition of knowledge, or integrity…for every Lilliputian already knew the truth about everything important. If only it could be….

    1. Wise and experienced boy Charlie, on the other hand, knows that leftists are murderous, Jews are evil, whereas capitalists and right-wingers are the epitome of virtue and benevolence. Give me a break. For all of her mystical digressions, Johnstone is far more in touch with reality than you are.

      1. I know the debilitating effect of psychological manipulation and cognitive dissonance. I know the danger of ideological intransigence. I know the degenerative and destructive effect of group think. I know people who speak like you–who always have the answers for how ‘everyone’ should live. I know evil and mindless aggression. I know hatred and unjust war. I know exploitation of the vulnerable and the weak, by the ruthless and the powerful. I know ignorant racists. You don’t know me or my concept of truth. My truth is based on direct experience–what I have seen, what I have touched, the death I have held in my arms. My reality is not what I hope for, but what I know. So, what do you know–about anything?

        1. Those are pretty expensive water filters your linking to. Do you have a vested interest?

          1. Rowan, what links and water filters are you referring to? C

  12. A Poem Might Be a Dog

    Heard a sound, stopped, let suds settle
    popping in the sink. Might be the lost poem,
    I thought, saying her old yip at the door.

    Or a halo of mosquitoes. Or a neighbor
    with more zucchini,. Or the perfectly
    painfully honest obituary.

    But maybe that lost dark poem, promising
    to lay on your headstone, swearing on a stack
    of dead rabbits, to keep the scent.

    A poem might be a dog,
    the one to remind you
    where you buried the bones.

  13. As that scoundrel Billy Boy Clinton claimed: “I feel your pain.” Unlike Bill, i’m attempting to be sincere in what i write to you Caitlin. For myself, as a composer, and unlike the written word, with music it’s not necessary (unless overly anal) to dissect the nuances of the composer, or her/his sincerity, as with words. However, i’ve come to trust yours over most creative scriveners. Whereas music is directly perceived, language, particularly today’s writing, isn’t. Too many middlemen/middlewomen. It’s tricky, sneaky, laden with traps, like finding oneself in a labyrinth with no escape. Only ‘nature’, aka, Reality, such as gazing at cumulus clouds, or listening silently in a forest that is always listening to you, for example, compares to music for me. Generally, the written word is an intrusion obscuring Reality. Though at times, like your writing, the passion cuts through the 26 squiggles. Wordsworth: “Our meddling intellect misshapes the beauteous forms of things–we murder to dissect.” And, yes, i enjoy your poetry because it flirts with direct perception. Thank you.

    1. There is no ‘intrusion’ in your words. Just a symphony of sublime sentiment.

  14. Your prose tricked me
    into putting up with your poetry.
    So now I’m all
    embarrassed, and wanna
    run away. But the
    bang and the sizzle and the thumps and the groans,
    make me stay


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