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I walk through
on blueblack, crisp evenings
heart beating in mouth
pores exhaling steam
I feel the world
I am unpeeled–:
I am winded
like the tree
that pines himself
just to feel
what it is to
that is not
I cut my dead body open
Everyone looks at what remains
I open to page 87
of Revolutionary Road
barely graze the text
my steel-plated heart
“Being alone has nothing to do with
how many people are around.”
I press the novel into my left thigh
it cuts into my tissue
it reveals my scars
but I feel nothing
I never do
I repeat myself, book closed,
trying to find my footing
“Has nothing to do with how many people are around.”
I palm back my hair
as tears stain my cheeks
once again I learn—
I feel too much
and 18-year-olds lack
like the rest of the world
I think of myself at 18
wanting desperately to be a virgin again
we always want
I guess that’s just how it goes
I cry as I explain what Yates means
I cry as I warn them this can happen to them too
I cry alone at the front of my classroom.
Instead of killing herself, she bought flowers.
It was through writing poetry that I came to know my own voice and really appreciate literature. The poetic diction of Pablo Neruda, Ada Límon, Walt Whitman, Frank O’Hara and many more enabled me to see how such simple things could be expressed in such vividly, breathtaking ways. I believe that students should be given the opportunity to view inventiveness at its finest through closely studying acclaimed authors. Modeling will significantly help to inspire students to find a voice of their own.
I have been told before that when words are so powerful that they invoke a catharsis of emotions over a person, it is only then when worthy and impressive writing has occurred. The first time I cried when reading a creative piece was when I read Stanley Kunitz’s “Touch Me.” As his fluid voice somberly reads, “Darling, do you remember / the man you married? Touch me, / remind me who I am,” my heart opens to his honesty and desire even in his eighties. My body yields to the words he writes because of the power they behold. His diction moves the marrow in my bones and made me want to cry for the pain and longing the persona felt. Just by reading his words in various poems he has written I was immediately inspired to write in a way that made others feel beauty and pain all at once, like his poetry did for me.
For me, poetry is the notion that different deep emotions come out of writing. One piece may do this for one person and not for another. The point to be taken is that there is at least one author in a sea of books that can make words come so alive for an individual. It is seeing these words collaborated so perfectly together and feeling their allure all together that makes writing a significant process. It is not the continuous task of drafting, editing, redrafting, peer editing, etc.—it is crafting a piece of work that the writer himself is so proud of. It is about that piece making music on the paper and speaking so deeply to the writer’s underlying beliefs.
Writing is something that has become a part of me. In time its roots expand deeper and deeper into the core of me. I have been a writer ever since I was able to comprehend language and compose sentences. Transforming my thoughts and feelings into poetic jargon had come naturally to me even at a young age. When my grandfather died I told my father at the age of 12, “Dad, how beautiful—Pop is the earth. And the earth is the plants, and the trees, and the hummingbirds. He’s everywhere.” My mind does not think in a lateral way, nor is the movement of my comprehension literal—I think metacognitively, in iambic pentameter, through form, and with compositional risks. This way of life has built a way of thinking for myself that is unique and helps me to write the deepest parts of me on paper.
My main philosophy of writing is that it is indeed a process, and never is it final. This is something my high school students would tell you incessantly if given the chance to speak with them. The process of revision is so important to me because I can track and reflect on the growth of work from its starting point, to where it currently is.
As a person who loves poetry, the rhythm, the forms, the figurative language, the writers (the list goes on), more than my life it has become clear that writing for publication and my own desire is all-important for me to live a fulfilling life. Poetry makes me realize that words are all I need; and the less I need, the better I feel.
your hands were cold
my palms moist
the few seconds we touched
lasted winter, spring, summer, fall in my mind &
i couldn’t choose
where to focus my attention
each part of you
equally as fascinating
as the last
your asymmetrical hipbones
& brimmed lips
reminded me of iconography
your body breathes balance
it unpeels me
each vein, bone & pore
my indecisive eyes
i want to take you in
one solid gulp
i want you in my mouth
i want you draped
like thousands of grapes on a vine
i want to feel your weight
not being able to decide
which part of you
i want most
At my high school, we are taught by men and gothic towers.
Not here though. Here–I am on the Delaware River, muddled in the mineral-soaked banks in the palms of Pennsylvania. Here, I am taught by Anna. There is something about the youthfulness of her eight-year-old face that looks into mine. She asks me to tell her the whole truth. And I know she’s serious because her little hands grab mine and our pinkies lock. She bites her top lip and her honeyed eyes narrow. Her right ankle hooks behind her left–she’s nervous, and with her head tilted to the side, boxed by blonde curls, she asks, “Miss Lauren, when will mommy stop missing daddy?”
Our feet are sinking into the banks, as I hold Anna’s hand, as my heart goes out with the tide.
I think about her question for a long time. The sun starts to dip behind the glowing gold and crimson trees on Bull’s Island. Anna’s hair, seconds before sparkling, now just looks ashy blonde. She’s patient. Her head is tilted towards mine–she’s good at waiting.
Her father has been dead for two and a half years.
She talks about him like he still walks this earth. Like if we turned around, made our way over the rocks on the bank of the river, crossed the foot bridge, and busted through the door he’d pick her up and swing her around– his beard full and dark, his glasses fogged from the cold coming in, his belly full with beer…
I pick Anna up and place her on my left hip. She fits nicely there. Her arms hug my shoulders, and her feet dangle off my torso. “Well, beauty… it’s hard to not miss someone when they have a home inside here.” I close my eyes as if to show her the people we miss feel like they are a part of us.
She places her hand on my heart and repeats, “Here.” She smiles.
I think of her mother.
Reasons For Sadness
- The belief that as time goes on I love less, and care less
- Heartbreak makes me not want a man
- I want to feel healthier, and run more
- I feel like my most prized possessions should be words that I have never spoken … but it’s hard for me to keep certain things private because I can’t trust the advice I give myself
- I feel distanced from normal human emotions
- Impatience – anger
- Learn to separate emotions from purpose—example: I will always be a good English teacher, and where I teach is what matters least
- Learn to relax – you do not constantly have to be doing something, you are a ball of anxiety and YOU NEED TO CHILL, BITCH
- Work on making my writing more fluid and less abstract
- Don’t make room for people in my life who aren’t willing to do as much as I am for them
3 Reasons Why I’m Thankful
- My students value writing so much that when they take it seriously they have the power to bring me to tears
- Rilke’s poem “Death.” Especially the lines, “O shooting star / that fell into my eyes and through my body–: / not to forget you. To endure.”
- My time spent in solitude