I Return to Poetry

When the show is over,
The lights are turned off,
And the crowds have gone home,

When the stage has been swept,
And the lighters are put away,
I return to poetry.

I return my words to notebooks,
My voice to the sunrise,
My hands to the flowers.

I do not cry, or stir, or smile.
I let the pedestal fall,
And stand in the ruins.

I look at the rubble,
Wipe the dust from my face,
And return to poetry.


Beautiful New Thing

The day that I met you, I was only sixteen years old. Full of nerves and wonder, of coffee and uncertainty. You were also only sixteen years old. Full of excitement and knowing. A beautiful new thing.

I met you only two days after writing my first poem. I did not know then that you would inspire so many more. When you shook my hand, you did not know then that the same hand would hold mine less than two months later.

The day I met you, I was only sixteen years old. And what is a sixteen year old girl if not an anxious thing ready to hear what the world has to say?

The day we ended, I was only seventeen years old. My voice shaking as my lips form the shape of a lie. Your face calm and stable. Your eyes green and shallow.

That morning, I caught you looking at me in the amusement park. I did not know then that the upcoming hours would inspire many more poems. I try as hard as I can to not construct you into a metaphor. To leave as you are. Raw and open, not structured into what I think you could be.

The day we ended, I was only seventeen years old. And what is a seventeen year old girl if not an exploding thing ready to burst into the sky? Or to crumble under the weight of the world?

The day we changed, I was only eighteen years old. You were sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen. I had prayed for a sign. Something to show me that my inability to get you out of my head was not for nothing. And there you were, again a beautiful new thing.

The day we changed, I was only eighteen years old. And what is an eighteen year old girl if not a doubtful thing, unsure of what will happen next?


Lately

Lately I’ve been thinking that this might be the end of the world.

I’ve heard it so much I can’t ignore it anymore. My mind can only pretend for so long before it starts letting in other people’s imagined fears and calling them my own.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to get in a car and drive until I reached the end of whatever line I’m not allowed to cross. Maybe I would discover the cliff where we drop off in an ocean of stars, a galaxy of water where we all sound the same.

Lately I’ve been thinking that we all look the same when we’re afraid. I’ve also been thinking that we look the same when we’re happy, but it seems like we’re not feeling that all that much anymore.

Lately I’ve been thinking that we’re all very much the same. We all want to feel the pull of love and the push of acceptance. We all want the same things. I guess we all just have very different ways of getting there.

Lately I’ve been thinking that if this really is the end of the world, at least we’re all in it together.


Zi

His long tail waves the air away,
And paws that beg the spring to stay,
My dog can dance through darkest days.

The deep green grass beneath him grows,
His golden hair in soft wind blows,
This world, my dog, the earthly flow.

 

 

 

Something

Something about the trees,
How they flicker in the wind like ballerinas,
Reminds me of music.
The rhythm and rhyme the world has.

Something about the grass,
How it waves like smiling children as I walk past,
Reminds me of joy.
The peaceful happiness of sunlight.

Something about the clouds,
How they hang overhead with a looming presence,
Reminds me of change.
The differences that come with each new season.

 

 

I Don't Write for You

"I hate poetry," my younger self says.
She says it’s boring, that it doesn’t make any sense.
Says it’s too much, and says she doesn’t want anything to do with it.
She wonders why she doesn’t like it, wonders why it’s frustrating.

"Iambic pentameter," teachers say, while spouting off names of famous poets.
The assignment is to research them and write a poem in their style.
Copy their rhythm, their rhyme, and their spirit.
Turn ourselves outside in to match their inside out.

I didn’t like this. I wanted to write my own things.
Find my own rhythm and rhyme, and not steal someone else’s spirit.
I wanted to look into myself and discover what needed to be said.
But instead I was stuck writing three stanzas of pretended vulnerability.

So now I write for my younger self.
I write the poems she wanted to read- ones with no end point and no boundaries.
I write for her so she can say what needed to be said,
And I write for the free spirit that is somewhere inside me.

I write poetry because I have to, and I write poetry because I need to.
I have my own way of doing this, and you don’t need to like it.
I write the poetry my younger self wanted to write but was told it was too much like prose
Too much of a narrative and had too few descriptions

But I am not them. I am not Wordsworth, and I am not Shakespeare.
I am not Browning, and I am certainly not Neruda.
I am me. I can only be me.
I can only write my own thoughts and speak my own truth.

So I don’t write for you. I don’t write for your rules or your boundaries.
I don’t write for your restrictions or your guidelines.
I write because I have to, and I write because I need to.
I write because that’s how I breathe. I write so I can live.