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.