Poem of the Week: I Have a Problem
When I read the first line of Greg Santos' poem, "I Have a Problem," I'm reminded of the last line in Ada Limón's poem "The Last Thing," "I will / never getting over making everything / such a big deal." I love those moments, when one writer's words unintentionally evoke another's and stir us. And while subtlety and detail often make for the most powerful poetry, there's something so exuberant and full in a line like, "All I care about is everything." Sometimes you need that kind of opening.
Santos is a Canadian poet of Cambodian descent, raised by Spanish and Portuguese immigrants as his adoptive parents. He shared in an interview that as his work has progressed, he has tried to inhabit and explore his identity further: "As I continued to develop my writing and voice, the themes that I became more interested in exploring were my family’s mythologies, being a person of colour, an adoptee, and a parent....My hope is that my experiences resonate with others and maybe someone else will be inspired to share their story."
"I Have a Problem" resonates with Santos' assertion that he is trying to address the self more in his work, reading as a sort of personal affirmation: full of declarative statements, yet ones that are open enough (even including a question) to fold in the listener. Check it out below!
I Have a Problem
All I care about is everything. I like to lie down and look up at the stars, even when there are none. I am almost nothing but thoughts and water.
I find mirrors unbearably off-putting. My children find them droll. Do you feel that too? My left hand feels like a cataclysmic storm.
I will never tire of looking at my wife. Her smile is like a constant sonar beep in the depths of my chest. I hear rain even when it’s sunny out.
Have you ever squinted at the ocean so the sky and the water blend until you don’t know where one ends and the other begins? I’m doing that right now with you.
- Greg Santos