Saturday, August 27, 2011

A poetic experiment......

Now I know why I've never written poetry.

It hurts, similar to bleeding all over the screen as you write. (I used to write on actual paper, but those days are gone for the most part. Now, I have to bleed horizontally as I type.) 

And you can't hide when you write poetry.

Some time during this past year, I decided that I was going to write in a way that more accurately echoes my real personality, which can be pretty funny, if I do say so myself. The thing that makes that even....well, that I don't LOOK like a person who has a wicked sense of humor. Students used to tell me, when they finally realized it was safe to do so, that I scared them silly when they first walked into my classroom.

I've had men tell me that I scared them at first, but I won't go into detail on that. And most of them never made it past the "at first" part at all. They never experienced having a highly provocative or ironic statement come out of a perfectly straight, rather dour looking face. (I do have a lot of fun with that, I admit.)

So, when I know you well enough to unleash my inner comedian, I'm told it can be quite a shock, whether it is in person or via my keyboard. In any case, I decided to allow that little guy out more often, and from the feedback I've gotten, you all are enjoying it as much as I do.  As we get older, we care less about what others think of us anyway.

And then I made the statement last week that I was going to attempt to write poetry as my August "thing I've never done before."

Wish I hadn't done that.

I thought I could just keep going on that track of entertaining you as I simply expressed myself in a genre that is new to me. wrong.

Julia Cameron, one of the premiere writing gurus around, believes that "the work" is out there, floating around in the ether, and it channels on down to one of us creative types for its birth. We are merely the vehicles through which a poem, or a novel, or an essay, or some other piece of work will be given voice. (By the way, she says if we don't answer the knock when it comes, that piece of work wanders off to find another more willing artist or that it dies......not to put too much pressure on us or anything.)

So, here I was earlier this week, fingers on the keyboard hoping to put my cute spin on some topic in the form of poetry, like I foolishly told all of you that I would.

I sat. I thought. I checked my Facebook page. I put on different music. I even tried silence, which drives me crazy when I'm working. And what came was......nothing. I did write a line or two from my head, but what I'm realizing is that poetry doesn't come from the intellect. It comes from the heart, from the gut, from that place inside that we hide from others and sometimes even from ourselves. So the line sat there, staring at me from the screen where I had abandoned it, the cursor blinking, blinking........blinking..... at me.

I realized I was going to have to evacuate my head and dig into my soul, tapping into my emotional base, a place that I haven't needed to go in quite a while to do the work I have been doing. Interesting. Disturbing......

I took my hands away from the keyboard. I waited. I could feel something rise in me, and it took self control not to tamp it down, down there where it wouldn't need to be tended or even acknowledged.

Well, the work showed up, and there is no humor in it, as you will see. At all. I even tried again today, thinking I could fool the universe into letting me write something comical in free verse. Nope. It was just more of the same.

I started typing, not having any idea what was going to splash across the screen. When I was done, I read what was there, amazed. Laid bare by a knife masquerading as words. And according to Julia, the words came through me, not from me. But I'm not sure I accept that concept any longer, not after this experience. This work is personal, ripping the facade away and exposing the author like a book with its dustcover removed for all to see. It couldn't have come from anyone BUT me....could it?

So, I guess I can't put this off any longer. Be kind, and I promise that next month I'll do something that doesn't involve tapping into my psyche at all. And I hope Julia and "the work" are both happy now, happy that a voice was found.

Because it sure ruined MY day.

They say that we live what we were taught,
old habits dying hard,
     if they ever die at all.
A gentle touch or a glance that slices deep,
     both speak volumes to the heart
And echo through the soul,
     pulling us back to all we should have left behind.

Is that why loneliness snuggles up so easily next to me,
     the wayward friend that keeps returning home?


Dawn chased away my dream,
The one where we could be together.
The one where we could love.
It poured out between us, like sun drops
     flowing across water.
My reverie chased away the loneliness,
the unfilled void that devours me....
     unless I'm dreaming
     of you.

Where the heck did THAT come from?  I think I'll go crawl under the covers now.


  1. It is very beautiful and you are a brave woman who is inspiring us a lot!

  2. Thank you, Brenda.....I appreciate your kind words! This was a humbling experience....and not one I will tackle again any time soon.