“The Friend”

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I’ve written many poems and pieces on the blog about why I love the poem. How I’ve considered it a ‘great friend,’ and something of a ‘saving grace,’ in my world. It remains my favorite kind of writing to engage in. I love other forms of other writing, but there just is something truly unique and cathartic that works for me, on a level like nothing else, that is ‘a poem.’ As I celebrated my ‘solar return’ the other day, this blog also celebrated its ‘solar return.’ It was on my 39th birthday that I announced I was going to try to ‘put years and years of writing out into the world. It’s been a wonderful experience. If I see one person read and liked a poem I’ve posted, it makes my day. I’ve always been a writer who has primarily written for myself. It was a private act that I needed to do. I was strongly encouraged at that time to ‘share’ some of the stuff I’ve done. In the past few months, I’ve been ‘supposed to be working on a non-fiction project.’ I admit, I’ve not been as diligent with it as I was with poetry. There have been periods before where I might not be writing as much, but since I started ‘thinking like a poet,’ the world comes to me in poetry. I am always full of it. I consume words that I see or hear. In every interaction, there’s that word or sentence that ‘jumps out,’ and screams, ‘I belong in a poem somewhere!’ The world becomes ‘veiled’ in images that belong in poems. If I am not actively able to write at the time, I am viciously collecting. When you ‘think like a poet,’ you must always have some sort of basket because the words, the images, the sounds, the textures are going to come. If there is no paper, my hand will do, a napkin, etc. I was home this weekend for my birthday and we were talking about ‘minimalism.’ I noted, ‘Sometimes I think I’m kind of a minimalist.’ My sister noted, “I agree with that except you have all this paper. When we moved you, it was like all paper that you were holding onto.’ Those bags, to me, are my baskets. They’re journals, poems I wrote on a typewriter years ago, poems that I had to get out of myself, scribbled on paper. They are my prize possessions. They’ve always traveled with me and always will. So for the ‘solar return,’ of this blog, I chose a poem today about my relationship with the poem. Cheers, to the best friend I often don’t acknowledge enough.

The Friend

Each poem comes uncertain of who they will be.
Every poem comes with the intent of setting something free.
Sometimes they ask me to close my eyes,
walk along the edge of a cliff, with just my senses.
There is no security for idolatry of myself-
desecration and dissipation are threats every time,
but we all have that friend. The one friend…
that commands laughter and sets joy on fire
in parts of us we’ve deemed dormant.
The one who can behead our believes,
write epigraphs to our insecurities,
and slaughter images we create in the mirrors.
There is a love unseen, unheard, often unsaid
between this friend and me,
the dependency, the need,
I have come to have for our relationship.
I love how vulnerable I have to be,
how disciplined I have become,
how I’ve learned to float on words and language.
I learned that from “The Poem”, who you’d really never know
was such a commanding presence in the room.
For, my friend, who brings me such joy,
is often the quietest person in the room,
but in silence is how flames dance best,
and I’m always drawn to the best dancer on the floor,
It’s never the one in the center of the room.
It’s the one off to the right,
by the punchbowl, sometimes not even in the room.
Talent needs not to flaunt what it knows,
and so it’s in quiet we hunt, we cry,
we drink, we die, we are reborn, and reshaped again.
By “The Poem,” my only friend,
who fears nowhere emotion may take us.

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