A Poem I Like #6


A Poem I Like #6

"Writing #1" by Jacqueline Woodson

It's easier to make up stories than it is to write them down. When I
speak, the words come pouring out of me. The story wakes up and walks
all over the room. Sits in a chair, crosses one leg over the other, says
Let me introduce myself. Then just starts going on and on, But as a I
bend over my composition notebook, only my name comes quickly. Each
letter neatly printed between the pale blue lines, Then white space and
air and me wondering. How do I spell introduce? Trying again and again
until there is nothing but pink bits of eraser and a hole now where a
story should be.

~ ~ ~

This poem is profound for me because it speaks a truth that is both hers
and my own. I would hard pressed if asked to explain what distinguishes
this poem from prose. There are no literary devices that jump out at my,
there is no rhythm that grabs my attention, but the truth here...it
feels poetic.


We live stories. Stories form the fabric of our realities and they are
the conduits and carriers of value in our lives. This is apparent after
some thought. For one, we often define ourselves and understand
ourselves through past experiences. We understand our relationships
through shared experiences. We sketch our dreams with desired
experiences. All of these are stories. Every experience is simply a
story in which we play a part and we are not human without these.
Stories convey value because they tie certain truths to objects and to
ideas. There is a world of emotion separating an heirloom engagement
ring that evokes fond memories and the jewelry your ex-wife threw at you
to announce your divorce, even as these objects might be identical in
every way discernable way.

If we accept that stories are the lifeblood of life itself, it is
effortless to see how stories form the backbone of poetry for every poem
is an endeavour to capture and convey some of the vibrance life and
feeling. When I discovered the centrality of stories in poetry I was
stunned. Sitting in the midst of a lull season from writing I
immediately wondered if perhaps my distance from poetry was the result
of my clumsiness with story. The other day I sat in the kitchen with my
mother and my sister and my sister shared a memory that rocked this
notion. She shared a memory of childhood Harith and is incessant
retelling of adventures never before witnessed. She reminded me of how I
would construct vivid world made more imagination than truth. She
reminded me that I have always been a storyteller. Whatever I'm
searching for I might already have it. .......

every poem--much like any story--has a message.

It is this truth that has stayed my pen on many a night. It is not clear
to me why I write or what I wish to tell. Some days my mind know whilst
my heart is numb to it. Other days my heart feels something that my mind
has yet to wrap around. I worry, even now, that to write without the two
in alignment is to wander dangerously close to performance for ego sake.
There are layers to this, I know. There is nuance here that evades my
words \]
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