Thursday, January 23, 2014

Writing is like breathing for me. . .

“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, and then into more tangible action.”  - Audre Lorde in her essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury”

A few days ago, as I had a conversation with a few friends over brunch in a dining hall, when asked about my affinity for writing, I openly said “It’s like breathing for me.” And it really is.
In my Women’s Literature focused English class today, after reading some of Audre Lorde’s work, (specifically her poem “A Litany for Survival”) we had to answer the question “What are a poet’s biggest fears?”

Here are the last two stanzas of said poem:
“And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive”

My professor asked the class “Who here is a poet?” I cordially raised my hand. She asked me directly, “Then what are a poet’s biggest fears?”  I answered, “Never having their poetry be read or understood.” She nodded her head in agreement and added to the list “Dying without their words being heard or never living on without them.” The last part of the earlier stanza in “A Litany for Survival” which I have highlighted reflects the fears of a poet, or of Audre Lorde herself.
Discussing this in class just motivated me to introduce some of my poems to this blog so that they can get out and into the world. Here are a few I’ll share with you for now: (more will be coming later)
Complete “I Am Poem”, 2013-2014:

I am what comes from fantasy
but made into reality.

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

I am the epitome of difference and diversity
in the face of adversity.   

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

I am an anomaly,
an enigma
working to fight the stigma.

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

I am a hybrid.
A duality, multiplicity
the symmetry
between polar opposites
the product of composites
the two extremes
with their distinct esteems. 

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

I am what’s feminine and masculine
the spirit of both held within
the essence of passion
the emphasis of action
immense affection
purity and imperfection
intense sensuality
the purpose of ambition.

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.    .   .

I am sensitivity
morphed into creativity.
and deference
and a natural guardian.
A protector  
and provider
and a warm and avid writer.

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .  .

I am what’s hot and cold
bleeding silver and gold
A realist,
A feminist
A lover and a fighter,
A dreamer and survivor
the heart of the fire
sheer desire

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

I am a massive mystery
with a dismal history
limitless opportunity
my very own legacy
thriving for infinity
living for divinity.

I am the shade of gray, a constant contradiction.   .   .

“Where I’m From” Poem, 2013:

I am from the City of Roses
‘dena love close to my heart
I am from a broken home
‘til restored, part by part.

I am from ying and yang,
that kind of thang
A mixture of all flavors.
I am from hopes and dreams
promised by our savior.

I am from solitude
raw and rude
as its own disparity  
but uprooted from the ground
and turned around
into solidarity.

I am from a miracle
Tried and true
Yet given as such a struggle
And I’ve seen plenty of magic with my own two eyes
even as a muggle.

“I Am a Phoenix” 2012:

Like bark off of a tree,
            I am torn.
Like the vintage bind of a book,
            I am worn.

Like shreds of thin paper,
            I have been ripped.
Of all my hope,
              I have been stripped.

In the pool of pity,
            I have been dipped.
Like a bird without wings,
            I have been clipped.

But like a phoenix,
              I rise from the ashes.
I resurrect,
            even when my past flashes

Like a dove,
            I’m an advocate for purity.
I haven’t been forsaken,
            I still have my dignity.

What I’ve experienced was quite dramatic
I’ve been through incidents that were traumatic

But despite all of those conflicts and their impact
I have the strength to remain intact.

“Fragmented”  2012:

I feel fragmented when my flaws are visible
I feel as if I’ll fall apart; abysmal
I hide from them as if the dark
can make them go away.   .   .
For they are what I cannot control
This imperfect flesh that makes me whole
and when I lack the strength to be sure
I feel low, in danger, and insecure

I just want to be beautiful;
To stand tall and let my aura show
But after being broken and lashed at so,
it’s difficult to let the world know

That I’m a sensitive individual
just as the news when critical
and hard to take, to understand
to digest in one’s diaphragm

I feel fragmented when my flaws are visible
When criticized, divisible
Piece by piece, I’m taken apart
Abstract like Picasso’s art

But maybe one day I’ll have the sense
I’ll achieve the calm confidence
That gravitates towards good array
And finally see the light of day. 

 “Chrysalis” 2013:

A metaphor at infancy
roaming as a caterpi
crawling, clawing at the leaves
sleeping, keeping in the trees

One day you’ll reach a ravish moon
you’ll lie latent, above lagoon                                              
forestalling time opportune
to bundle up in your cocoon.   

Until a natural catalyst
moves to emerge a chrysalis;
transforming in a dewy mist
enduring metamorphosis.

Blooming into what is light and sly
            a carefree, brilliant butterfly
or otherwise, what’s drab and goth:
            a dreaded, loathed, and mottled moth.

To clutter once and long migrate
and cease the spirit of the day
or masterfully imitate
what dwells in which the shadows play.

But, fortunately, either way,
to enjoy the privilege of flight
and graze the vastness of the skies.
How cruel it must be to abide
such wonders with the swiftest fate. 

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