Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Poem Saga

Sometimes I like to go back and revisit what I've written in the past and share them with you, dear readers. I send out this one tonight in dedication to what I am becoming, and the past that I am starting to learn never lies dormant.

I have left this piece almost entirely how it was when I wrote it last year for a creative writing class. It's one of my favorites because for me, writing is about moving on. When I can write about something, I am leaving it behind.

I didn't leave this one entirely behind, though that is a story for a different entry. Until then, enjoy a little piece of how I crafted words just under a year ago. I dedicate this to those who inspired it, and to the artist I was, and the one I am becoming

The Last Poem (Or My First Experience With Mortification)

It was the last official poem I wrote- in rereading it later, I realized that it was so awful, I would need to seek professional help before writing a poem again, especially if I wanted to call it such. Oh, there have been song lyrics since, and cute messages in cards, but nothing that I would ever try to pass off as actual poetry. As a matter of fact, I have worked hard to keep my written talents as far from being associated with poetry as I possibly can. Because I am afraid that if anyone hears these two in conjunction, they will find it.
Because that last poem, that last awful expression of prose and my soul, is also the first time I was published.
At the time when I wrote it, I had just broken the heart of the first boy to ever care for me (with the exception of my father and my best friend, but that was a much different kind of thing). I was suffering from the melancholy and regret that comes from knowing that you’ve wounded a friend, a confidant, and an all over sweet soul. The guilt wasn’t so bad, most of the time, but it came spinning in with the scent of Macintosh Apples, the kind of smell they bottle up and sell as pillow sprays and car fresheners at Yankee Candle. The aroma sent me back to the first time we spent together, in the mall, smelling those candles and laughing, and despite my deep commitment to the idea of moving on, that he was the wrong guy, they always took me right back to his arms.
So I sat down and threw my feelings into verses, desperately trying to capture the emotions spinning around within my heart. And in what I believed to be a logical move, I submitted my work to a poetry contest, where the top three winners won monetary prizes, and the top 100 were published in a coffee table book.
The poem, I should warn you, is long gone. I read over it again, later that week, and knew with complete certainty that it was absolute dribble, and dumped it from my computer hard drive right then and there. My attempt to express myself was much less a doorway to my soul as it was a ridiculous replica of some of the great poets, only lacking the symbolism, life experience, and skill that they possessed. I vowed at that moment to leave the poetry world on the curb- it was a place I clearly didn’t belong.
But the people at the website, for some reason, felt otherwise. Maybe it was a dry season- maybe only 100 people actually submitted. Maybe one of the judges had already made the link between apples and lost love, and my submission brought him back to a time when he too was young. Or maybe they figured that I was young enough to want to buy anything that had my name inside, as the coffee table book was offered to me at a discounted, and yet still ridiculous price, but whatever the case was, they chose my poem to embody one of it’s pages. They sent me a letter proclaiming the good news.
“Congratulations!” it exclaimed. “Your poem has been selected!”
I thought I might die.
Here I was, an aspiring writer, being published for the worst thing I had ever created. The broken heartedness I had so carefully been trying to depict was now mine. I wondered how I would ever survive such tragedy that had befallen me. It was enough to push me into other hobbies, to try to draw the pen from my hand exclusively.
Oh, time has passed, and now I am back on the writing front. But I am mortified to think that maybe someone purchased this book, that maybe it is sitting on a coffee table somewhere, with the page next to mine dog-eared where the owner’s own work was published. Someone may have read this thing that I have created, this beast that is not only reminiscent of the first time I knowingly crushed a spirit, but of the writer who I so badly wanted to be. It’s enough to make me consider a penname, in reality, because I am afraid that one day I will write something truly poetic and profound, and someone will pick it up, and see it through tainted eyes.
“Isn’t this that girl who wrote the poem about the scent of apples wafting through the wind?” they will ask.
Perhaps it is a right of passage, a young writer’s mistake.
Or perhaps it is just proof that the pen is a powerful tool.
And maybe, just maybe, it is an understanding in my soul that some things can't be taken back, no matter how hard you try. That sometimes, once the words are out there, there is no making right what you've wronged.
Either way, it’s a carefully woven tale, one filled with irony, and tragedy, and deeper meaning.
How truly poetic.

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