I want to say that this final one is the very first poem I ever wrote, but that wouldn’t be exactly true. My Eighth Grade English teacher gave me Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems as a gift because she thought I’d like it, and I did. At the time, I was also reading a lot of Francesca Lia Block and listening to The Dresden Dolls and Rasputina almost exclusively, and thinking, “I could do that,” so it’s not hard to imagine the kinds of things I was writing. Especially because they’re all still on the Internet somewhere.
While all of those attempts to feel out my angst and budding sexuality and need to express myself were–and I say this without any sarcasm–fantastic for my self-esteem and state of mind, few to none were mine. I adopted the personas I imagined for my favorite creators and tried to tell the stories I thought I was supposed to through them. Much of this was due to me viewing poetry as a quaint side project for the whirlwind talents of the fiction writer I was born to be, but most of it was that I was fourteen and had no idea what I wanted or what was wanted from me.
Until one day in a CTYI class the summer after I got the book, I decided to tell the story I’d come up with during our free writing session as a poem. No thought went into at the time; it just seemed the best way to do things. Now, not to say that I didn’t have some very supportive people cheering on a weird little kid who wrote a lot before this, but I’d never surprised anyone with my writing before. Nobody in the class, myself included, saw the poem coming, and when it came time to share it I was confused by how well my peers responded to it.
All of this has been building to what is a small collection of words, but words that mean all kinds of something to me: they’re the words that made me realize that I wanted to write poetry.
Valhalla Your boat-burning was the most beautiful I had ever seen. When we laid you down to rest you looked so peaceful that we felt guilty for disturbing you. We kissed you goodbye, set the fire, and pushed the boat away. The only thing to break the spell was you screaming.
So, I guess that’s it: Poetry Month is over. I hope you all found some new things to read and write and love that won’t be left for April alone.