Poetry is not my strong point

It has been a while since my last post and there are many excuses I could share, but none would do me any favors.  So I will tell you what I HAVE been doing:  writing poetry, a LOT of poetry.

Now, fiction is definitely my form of choice and absolutely my stronger medium, but I have always written poetry.  Every since I was seven and wanted so badly to grow up and be a singer, I have written terrible, horrifying lyrics and poems.  In the eighth grade we had to write a few poems for class so I was reading a lot of poetry and picking up books from the public library.  One of those books was a collection focused towards young adults and suggested that aspiring poets keep a journal of all of their poetry.  So I began a poetry journal.

Since I was 13 years old, I have filled four composition books full of crap and the occasional not-so-crap poems, (along with two notebooks of “songs” a friend and I wrote together in middle school).  I’m working on my fifth and I am now 23 years old.  Ten years later and I’m a fiction writer who has all of this random poetry floating around up my sleeve.  In the last three years I have not written nearly as much poetry as the years previously and I believe that is because I have been focusing more seriously on my fiction as a product of going to school for writing.

Writing poetry has always been something that I have taken less seriously because for me it has always been about getting my emotions out.  My poetry is very egocentric and the majority of it is feeling ripped directly from my chest.  Every once in a while I will take on characters and write something, but take a peek into my poetry journals and you will learn very much about Tara at many points in her teenage years.

Once I started going to school for writing, oh, about four years ago now, I learned to appreciate really good poetry.  And I learned what really good poetry actually was.  I came to the realization that the drivel I had written for all of my teenage life was complete trash.  So my poetry writing slowed down and I focused on the writing that I felt I was truly good at:  fiction.

Now when I pen a poem, I judge myself very harshly and my writing process is immensely different from when I first began.  As a teenager, I would break out my journal every time I had an idea and start letting stuff appear on paper.  I have meticulously named and dated everything and kept a table of contents at the front of every journal so I could reference previous works because I am organized after a fashion.  Now I rarely break out my journal to write something into it unless it has gone through several drafts.

My poetry has evolved into a different monster than what it used to be.  Rather than puking emotion, it is more controlled and systematic.  I still very much use my poems as an inner outlet that isn’t through another character’s lens, but I have very much developed a character of myself.  The voice behind the poems is still me, but I have changed much and like I said, I actually edit things now.  I will randomly get a few lines of an idea, or an emotion I describe perfectly to myself in my head, often while I am driving, and punch it into the notes in my phone.  Once I find some time, I revisit the lines and either write more or combine them with another few lines floating around in my notes.  Once I have something that I think is near complete, I break out my notebook that I jot down things too long to write on my phone.  I prefer handwriting to anything typed above all else so I write it all out by hand, edit and change words as I go, add more in, take some out, rearrange verses.

Art is supposed to make you feel something.  My poetry is meant for me and perhaps a select few people that I write things for.  I don’t really write for an audience other than myself, mostly because my poetry is still about me trying to figure out and put a name to emotions.  But I’ve been working on a lot of this last month and am vain enough that I feel alright posting a bit of it here today. Forgive me for not being able to read it aloud to you, as poetry is meant to be enjoyed.

This poem is something I wrote for someone who was and is still very dear to me, one of my absolute closest friends.

Part II:  The Return

To everyone, it’s complicated, strange.
To us, it is the only thing simple in our entire lives,
The easiest to describe,
The only part that we can put words to.

In the darkness we find each other
Because the shadows are where we belong.
We don’t need light to see one another;
Our gazes reach places that can’t be described in color.

If you breathe in, I breathe out:
The two of us make one machine,
One intellect, one mimic of a soul.

Others will come between us
So we have evolved to survive at half capacity,
But the silver chain that binds us,
It drags us, pulls us back to each other.
No matter the distance between
Or the time that has passed.

Our existence is one blasphemous non tradition after another;
Twins in separate bodies, born too far apart in time for acceptance.
Yet we found one another in the blackness
And instead of pulling each other out, we have stayed.

We have our ebon castle
Crawling with vines and thorns.
A single throne to overlook it all
For we are both King of this land.

And when one leaves, the other awaits their return;
For inevitability is the link that has us bound.
Willing victims in a world where all we have always had is each other.
How we see us is the only thing that truly matters.