I used to write. A LOT. It started as angst-filled love poems, incredibly sappy, heartbroken and, in the words of one woman...trite. We won't get into that story. Needless to say, she was probably right, but I will never forget that statement or how it still cuts to the core. Eventually my writing evolved into works I was actually proud of. But what my writing has ALWAYS been is cathartic. When I write I feel like I'm taking a little piece of my soul and pinning it down to the paper, like one would pin a butterfly down in a specimen collection (oooh...now wouldn't THAT be a great idea for a poem!). Because of this, not only is my writing cathartic and very personal to me, but its also scary! Its one thing to write some academic string of words and be told its trite. Its another to put your soul and emotions out there and be called trite!
Anyhow, I used to write. And I used to perform. I would read at open mics and perform at SLAMs. I loved it. There was something exhilerating about putting it all out there. It was kindof like the academic, spoken-word variation, of stripping. I was bearing it all, standing there naked, asking for applause, but knowing the audience could just as easily boo me. There is a great song called "Breathe" by Anna Nalick that says this so perfectly: "If I get it all down on paper, its no longer / Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to / And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd /Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud /And I know that you'll use them, however you want to"
For whatever reason, except on rare occasion, I haven't been writing for quite some time. In fact, its almost as if I haven't felt like I've been able to write. I could go into a long psycho-analysis here about why, and maybe I will in some other post... But as a teaser it involves a husband and learning to shut off emotions so things just don't hurt so bad. One can't just turn off pain, though. When you shut off one emotion you shut off them all. I think my emotions, which used to be so raw, so out there, so on my sleeve, have been dampered a bit, and with that, a bit of my spirit had faded too.
But anyhow - that is neither here nor there. What is important is that I want to write again. I want the words to spill from me like they used to. Right now, for whatever reasons, they won't. But I figure with some gentle nudging, a little poking and prodding, I can coax some of those words (and some of those emotions) out of hiding and onto paper.
Tonight I wrote this. Is it phenomenol? No. Is it even great? No. But its a start, and I'm happy about that. I chose to write in my favorite of all poetry forms - the pantoum, which consists of 10 repeated lines. This isn't a very strict pantoum, as you can see most of the lines are not strict repeats. The poem didn't turn out at all how I intended. I started it, imagining I was going to write a poem about the vast love that can be expressed in silences. Instead, well...instead I got a poem about endings. Hope you enjoy, and wish me luck as I try to persuade the words to flow from me as they once did...
Nothing – A Pantoum
He stares at me, saying nothing, yet
saying everything in his silent
There is everything in his silence,
and there is nothing.
Between his words
I see truth.
And there is nothing but
a quiet declaration of resignation.
I see truth,
a chasm between us.
He quietly declares his resignation.
His defeat and loss fill
the chasm between us
with velvety blackness.
Defeated and lost,
In the velvety blackness,
he stares at me, and there is nothing.