light

light

 

It’s the middle of the night

And I’m here trying to shake the darkness away

Trying to feel more or feel less –

Depending on the moment

Trying to keep my darkness at bay

 

Then, you ask me if I’ll face your darkness too.

 

You need someone to stay alive with you – just til the sun rises –

To pray you’ll see the darkness turn to day

How can I pray for you when I find it hard to pray for me?

You honor me with your trust,

But you frighten me with your pain

 

Numbness isn’t contagious but pain is.

 

I’m huddled in the corner trying to fight

Trying to fix what I feel

Counting the seconds to the end of the night

Entertaining lies I’d never believe

If the blinds were split by morning light

 

I’ve never felt so self-centered in my life.

 

You need me,

And you want me

So I reach back –

You touch my darkness with your darkness,

And I touch your darkness with my light

 

Here you are, reminding me that I am human.

 

Your darkness is deeper;

Mine is shallow

You have been ripped apart;

I rip my own heart apart

And hide the pieces so no one can help me put them back together

 

Don’t tell me this but I’m beginning to suspect some part of me likes being sad.

 

My darkness is some unrecognizable shade of gray

Sometimes I am numb,

And sometimes I feel nothing so deep I hyperventilate,

And I’m not saying those things are okay

But I still have light to spare

 

I am human and you are human and our pain is what we have in common.

 

Even in the worst times,

I have light to share

So I tuck my darkness away, and I pull out my spare bits of light

And I know this isn’t the time to ask questions

This is the time to wrap you up in the light and tuck you into safety

 

I’ll stay here until you tell me to go and even then I’ll stay a little while longer.

Creative Block

This weekend has brought me my first creative block since I started writing poetry again.

The last few weeks I found myself waking up early because there were lines bouncing around in my head, or pulling over to the side of the road to jot something down on paper. My journals and my notes app are full of single lines that I’ll fit into a poem or right a poem around. Most of the poems I’ve been writing have been mostly automatic and fully emotional, although I’m learning the importance of going back and editing them a few days later. Time brings clarity.

If you’ve read any of my poems you can tell I’m not a big fan of cutesy rhyming or just rhyming for the hell of it. If I am going to rhyme it’s going to be for a reason. But I do want to challenge myself with more rhymes. I’m having fun with form and technique, too. What happens if I rhyme here but not here? What happens inside the reader if I make every stanza 3 lines except for this one? Poetry is fun became of all the subtle choices I get to make that can change the tone of the poem and what it means to someone else.

For the past couple weeks, I’d been finding it easy to write out the entirety of every poem I wrote in 10 minutes or so, as long as I had some starting point, feeling I wanted to encapsulate, or line I knew I wanted to start or end the poem.

Then, nothing. Inspiration dried up. I swear, this weekend, I wrote 20+ poems that are worthless and nothing and make you feel nothing except for maybe discomfort and the same 3 things over and over.

But I kept writing. And as much as I want to, I didn’t rip the last 20 pages out of my notebook. One thing I’ve learned over the years is NEVER throw out your writing. Keep it, even if it’s embarrassing. You might come back later and think “This is brilliant!” You might come back later and find a few key phrases or paragraphs to pull out and use for something better. You might come back later and find that it is still terrible, too. But then you can see how far your writing has come.

My biggest block with poetry is a lack of inspiration. In prose, my biggest block is time and avoidance and just refusing to sit down and actually write. When writing fiction, I don’t need to feel every word. So much of it is plot and dialogue, and the emotion is hidden in chapters on chapters on chapters. I don’t want my prose to be ALL emotion, because life isn’t all emotion. So much of life is finding our way to the things that make us feel.

My poetry is my feelings. It is an emotional experience to write it and, I hope, an emotional experience to read it, as well. Poetry and prose are different ballgames. Poetry has been a form of therapy for me, whereas prose tends to drain me, and even though I love it, it is work. My prose is direct and to the point (because Stephen King taught me) but in my poetry I can say whatever silly, overly romantic, overly adverb-y, overly dramatic thing I want.

I am learning more about myself through these poems. I’m also starting to suspect that I’m using poetry as a way to avoid writing fiction (my truest love). But I’ve decided that is okay. I’m giving myself grace this month to write whatever I please, as long as I’m writing. I’ll get back to a stricter writing schedule in October.

Also, this morning I wrote some poems that didn’t suck. Hopefully I’ll post some of them over the next few days. So here’s hoping the creative block is coming to an end.

Much love,

Carrie Sue

9.14.18

i’ve been getting up early

looking for God in the morning mist

when the world is emptier, easier

 

I thought He’d hear my prayers more clearly

than at 3 am when they’re more cries than prayers

 

raspy whispers chasing the moon toward its setting

 

 

i’ve been getting up earlier than is easy

trying to decipher the messages You left for me

disconnecting Your voice from my desires

 

i heard it’s easier now than at 3 am

when my prayers are too desperate for any answer to be enough

 

the sun chasing me toward my rising

you were never mine to turn into a poem

you were never mine to turn into a poem

 

i’m sorry for all the poems i wrote you

i see now they were never mine to write

 

every single word was true,

but none of it was mine to say

 

i wish you’d told me sooner

i wish i’d known from the first day,

 

that you’d never write a poem for me

i wish you’d told me right away

 

but i think maybe it’s fine

i’ve checked and i’m okay – besides

 

no matter what you should’ve could’ve would’ve said

i would’ve written them anyway

 

aware

aware

 

when you knew me you knew me as well as anyone did

 

i barely knew myself then

i was a stranger to myself when

i wasn’t aware of what i was going through

 

this year i met myself

this year i saw inside

and i want to tell you

 

i’m so far from what we thought

so much harsher and so much brighter

so much heavier and so much lighter

 

a year? you ask

what can change in a year

i knew you then so i know you now

 

a year ago I might’ve agreed, but now I know

a lot can happen in a year

a lot can grow and a lot can change and a lot of things have gone up in flames

 

this year i became aware of myself

this year i became new

i am aware of what i’m going through