I had to write poetry when I was in high school. I didn’t know what I was doing — where to start or how long the poem should be. I only knew that I had to write what I’ve always called a ‘recipe’ poem. “Thou shalt write a lyric style poem of at least 14 lines which can rhyme or not and which must have one example of: onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, simile and metaphor.” Is it any wonder that I did not think of myself as a poet?
And yet several years ago, after attending a wonderful workshop about teaching poetry, I felt myself drawn to that form to express something which was very important to me. As I always told my students, when you write poetry, it does not matter if those who read it understand what you are trying to say. It does not matter if they like your poem or not. What matters is that you write that which is meaningful to you in a way which is meaningful to you. Poetry, I reminded my students, allowed them to hide in plain sight.
I’ve written over 30 poems since my first foray into that form. As I’ve learned more and more about myself and about how I’m choosing to live now, these poems have reflected my inner journey. Here is what I’ve come to know NOW.
In the calm pale space between sleeping and waking a chasm filled with a painful cacophony of strident sounds demands acknowledgement: the sound track to memories and stories that clutter up my soul and render judgement: I am boring, drab and uninteresting — ignorable. I am inconvenient and annoying — useless. Nothing more than a messy demanding bother deserving nothing but humiliation and scorn.
I fight waking to the feeling that my life is empty — without purpose or merit, that my punishment for existence is to be ever afraid and alone.
This has been my struggle unvoiced and unexamined — Until now.
Now, I choose to jettison that — to break free of the restrictions and confinements my mind has created; to break free of the non-gray gray gouache which has, for far too long, covered over the beauty that is me — MY TRUE SELF.
I AM the law-giver of my own life!
I AM limitless curiosity: exploring potential and possibility!
I AM amazing! I AM beautiful! I AM wonder-ful!