“Moonlight Writers,” was a name I gave to my friends that are fellow poets and writers. I wrote this poem in appreciation of them. The first poet I ever really knew was Shel Silverstein. I had a very rough first two years in school (due to some not great teachers), who wanted to ‘hold me back,’ because I was small and didn’t have the best hand eye coordination. My mom knew I was too smart. She did not believe that holding me back would make me a ‘superstar,’ (as one teacher defined it) because I would be ‘bigger in size, have more developed hand eye coordination. She recognized I would be ‘bored.’ She valued my intellect over my ability to be popular or ‘a great athlete.’ She always read to my sister and myself. It was always books a tad over our reading level. She had read us Shel Silverstein poems, and I loved them so much. I will never forget coming home on the last day of first grade (a year of listening to a teacher talk openly about me right behind me) I came home to find a hardcover book of Shel Silverstein poems. My mom had inscribed a beautiful note in the cover of the book. To this day, it reminds me that she truly saw me. She knew how to speak my language before I ever really new how poetry would become a primary language for me. When I wrote this poem, several of my friends and I were coming out of very challenging places in our lives. We would get together and read poetry and drink Irish coffee. It sort of began a period where, I think, we all started to move forward in our lives. We supported each other’s writing and it helped us continue to create, which gave us all joy and optimism. Writers are readers. We are inspired by other writers. We often work alone, typing in the early morning hours or late at night. We jot down words we love on our hands or quickly grab a napkin to write an image we love down to use it later. We hear poetry in other people’s words. My dear writer friends will say, ‘that sounds like a poem,’ when I say something they hear as poetic. We often do the work in a solitary manner, in rooms by ourselves, but writing also happens in observation of the world around, in a strange curiosity about feelings, shapes, textures, others. I wrote this poem thinking about all the writers I’ve read and have known throughout my life and it’s sort of a ‘love letter to them,’ in that, I thought about what I, as a reader, love to experience in the writer’s (real friends or ones that I simply have come to know as a ‘friend’ through their work). So this poem is to all writers out there. It’s an acknowledgement that while we do the act of writing alone frequently, we are a ‘tribe’ a ‘community,’ because we come together in spirit through our love of the written word. Every time we read a piece of writing we connect with, we connect with another writer’s spirit. I just think that is an amazing thing. So, to all the ‘moonlight writers,’ (whether you do by moonlight or not), thank you. Just as we share the beauty that is the moon every night, we share the beauty that is the word with each other. Thank you for speaking my language and helping me make sense of this crazy world we live in.
To The Moonlight Writers
When I first open a poem, I seek the soul.
I am looking for a spell before my eyes,
a soft breeze whispered in my ear during a soul-refreshing nap,
a secret in myself that you somehow have overheard.
I want to know where you’ll take me the next time it rains,
and to places where you fall asleep repeating the words
thank you… thank you….
There will be no sugar needed, you will take me to great German forests
and we together will find the house of Hansel and Gretel.
We will go to vast states like Nebraska where there’s room to grow in,
places the aliens never overtake in the movies.
If they knew about the fireflies,
and running barefoot in dew sweated grass,
those aliens might leave Manhattan alone.
I would want to find my fingerprints all over the pages and
let the sound of wind chimes remind me what movement feels like.
I want to know the temperature of the water when you swim naked
and feel you warming as you spend the rest of the night alone writing.
I want to hear all the “I miss you’s’ you whisper when you think you’re alone,
hear how you pray, and thank that which has created you.
I want to see you one way and read your beautiful thoughts
knowing I’ll never see you in the same way again. I want
to know who you’ve taught to say “I love you.”
I want to be the condensation on the bottle as you share a bottle of bubbles with someone who has bedroom eyes for you.
Then, I want to think of young love when your glasses clink in unison for the next week.
I want to know about how reckless you get when love leaves you,
how you hurt yourself just to prove you can. I want to taste
the cigarettes you don’t want and the wine that chases them down.
I want inside your dreams where you’re screaming at love so loud
you can destroy yourself. You don’t need a shitty person or emotion to help you.
I want to be there when your best friend takes your hand or holds back your hair,
as you are too intoxicated to take care of yourself. I want to be there
when you realize standing still in time isn’t love,
when you think about how long your father wore your mother’s ring,
when you sleep all day with a joint next to the bed
because your heart is too sore to move. I want to be there
when you wear the same pair of clothes for a whole week,
and when suddenly, a new set appears
helping you feel like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers
to be put on display in the next chapter of poems in your life.