I have been a poet since I was in middle school(grades 7 and 8). I remember in high school actively shoving my pain to higher than it was so that I could write more. I remember my Spanish teacher being very concerned and I was sent to the guidance counselor because of it.
When I graduated, I tried college for awhile. And there I met a poet. A published literary writer who was also a poet. And he thought my work was shit, until I told him which pieces had been published. But his sheer derision…I let him get to me. This writer whose talent had cast him adrift until he found himself teaching creative writing at a junior college. I suppose now, I can see the bitterness. To have a multiple books in print and to have this be the result. Now, I get where he was coming from. Then, it crushed my desire to create.
And I focused my energies elsewhere. Having tried and been told that I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. And I lost my poetic voice. I wanted to write but nothing would come. I’d silenced the part of me that needed to be torn out and shown. I’d sacrificed who I was for what I wanted. The true me only peaking out when I gave in to abandon.
Even through my bleakness. Through my heartache in which there was nothing but endless pain. Even then I could not write. It was like it was too much. I’d stopped feeling(emphasis) for so long that I just couldn’t. But my subconscious was working. And it was Tearing down barriers. Until, at last, I decided to tear down the last walls. Between what I felt and the top self that was floating above this deep well, disconnected from any way of communicating what I felt because I wasn’t feeling it. Because I was hiding from my feelings.
This isn’t when I started writing. This is when I broke down. When my emotions raged through me. When I was lost and looking for any way out. When I was howling in pain and the only thing that alleviated my pain was inflicting that pain on others. And slowly, after years, I got better. Not healthy. Just clear enough that I could write. And I started writing and it was just for me. I didn’t do anything to advertise. I just wrote and wrote and wrote.
But I didn’t know what I wanted. Knowing what you want is essential. Because hope is a finite thing. You can run out. You can spread it too thin. Spread yourself out, hoping for some kind of epiphany. But that’s not how this works.
You want things but poetry wants things too. And in the end, you serve your art. It’s the only way I’ve found to be. It becomes who you are. And everything else is in service to that. Except people.
People are startling wonderful stars dancing together…and drifting apart.
When you give up pieces of yourself and they spin away, you watch as they are gone, but the poet…
The poet sees the connection and the unbearable sadness of loss and the love and the pain and the beauty. And the poet drags you up. It says write this. In this moment, you are this frozen minute of pain and connection. Reach out to them. Cut your bleeding heart from your chest and show it still beating out its pain.
And be free. And wake. And hope.