Tinashe Tafirenyika holds two
National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) in Spoken Word Poetry in Zimbabwe (2017, 2018) and is the first woman and youngest person to receive one. She also has a Bulawayo Arts Award (BAA) for her poetry.
I recently came across a tweet that read “dating a poet is an extreme sport.” Naturally, I retweeted it to my 42 followers and took a screenshot to upload to my WhatsApp status after blocking family members and potential lovers because I need them to believe that I am a well-adjusted adult. I then decided to write this article because I obviously know a lot about dating and love and men. I also have the god-like capacity to speak on behalf of all poets of all races and genders through all the generalisations contained in this piece. Like all enlightened writers, I understand the value of telling people what they need to cement stereotypes and confirm all pre-existing biases (smiling emoji).
I took Spanish once. For all of two weeks. This was in January last year when I also believed I possessed the discipline required to bring out my abs. Anyway, if you are to date a poet, be prepared for an existential crisis every three to four working days. Besides mood swings and general gloom, these crises are characterised by 3 a.m. calls consisting of questions such as, but not limited to, “If the earth will end in a ball of fire then what is the point?” “What is reality? How do know it’s not all just in our heads? How do you know I am real? Am I real??” “Is the internet evil?” “Is love real or was Rick right about it being a set of chemicals compelling us to breed?” “I want a puppy.”
I have run out of Spanish. Part of being boo-ed up with a poet is making excuses for their appearance, usually to strangers. For example:
“I know she wears her eye-liner crooked…. and purple, but once you get to know her…”
“She doesn’t believe in bras. It’s a feminist thing. You wouldn’t get it.”
“OK, though that T-shirt looks really old and worn out and you can barely make out the print on it, it is a collectable. He is practically wearing an antique. Against consumerism, you know?”
“Shoes are unnatural if you think about it.”
Poets fancy themselves film-makers or at the very least, film critics. Poet-bae will definitely take you to see some weird Oscar-nominated movie. I am not talking about the Best Picture nominees, you will watch weird stuff nominated in the most random categories. The type of movies that premier on Blu Ray and never see the inside of a movie house. You will also watch these weird foreign language movies with inaccurate subtitles that are donor-funded and contain an annoyingly obvious underlying message sponsored by one embassy or another. Brace yourself for black and white movies from the 1940’s, whether you like it or not you will know the name “Bogart”. If you are lucky, you will be introduced to the Chris Nolan Batman. If you are unlucky, they will make you watch the Tim Burton one. If they make you watch the Lego one, just go down on one knee and marry them because you, dear friend, have found The One.
From these three well-constructed points, I am sure you can appreciate that poets are dope people and they deserve love too. So, to quote a meme that was my profile picture for the longest time, “Support local art, date a poet”. Actually, what the meme really says is “….date an artist” but that is way too broad and I cannot guarantee that musicians and painters can offer you the same levels of excitement and romance. All the best to you in your relational endeavours, poet(ry) lover.