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My New Project: "Ellis Peace 2.0"

So I have been talking to a few people about starting a poetry group [with an LGBT focus]. It’s finally the time to get back to my roots and I am super excited. I am hoping that people get a chance to bring their stories together and in a collective effort we can inspire each other. Because that’s what poetry is about.

But before I go any further about the group, I want to share a little about my background doing poetry because this is meaningful to me.

Writing has always been my outlet to let out what’s going inside when I had no one to talk to. From writing, I developed this tremendous interest in poetry. The ability to express deep emotions in very conservative language was very fascinating. I used poetry to express thoughts that at times, only I could understand. If I wrote it, I can go back and read it and understand very clearly what I meant. In a sense, it was code writing. It was my privacy.

But the therapeutical aspect of poetry for me has transitioned from the damning relationship I had with my father to discovering my sexuality and dealing with it in school and finally, just finding a place in this world, in writing about topics on religion, politics, you name it. I just used poetry to open my eyes to the things that I am thinking about. Sometimes, it’s only after I write something that I really realize what I am thinking about.

I became a part of a poetry group called Ellis Peace when I was 12 years, just after starting high school… about 10 years ago. Everyone in the group was much older than me. Most of them were retired and they found this amazing group where everyone wrote poems for personal reasons, for books they were publishing, the local newspaper and so forth. I was learning but I found a place where I got to do what I love. I was never judged. These people were mature and experienced. They had seen the ins and outs of life. I remember how this helped me to cope. Writing poetry helped me out of depression and reading my poems, helped me to fight my anxiety. Sadly, the group slowed down after many years after the host had a stroke. She was in stable condition for some time but she managed to host a final group a few months before I migrated here.

I still have a lot of those poems that I wrote when I was 13 or 14 years old, I shared some below.

The virtue of discomfort

Life has worn happiness
It has worn greatness
It has worn delicacy
It has worn joviality

It has worn Charm,
It has been calm
It has been unpredictable
And yes it has been incredible.

But most of all, in all its lust,
It has worn disgust,
It has worn fright
It has been a seemingly an unending fight

Life had been the quintessence of dispassion,
It carries a heavy bag of decision
It weighs heavily on disappointments
And falls short on privileges

But when the day ends,
I ponder on sunrise,
When Sadness appears,
I ponder upon Happiness

For I know the reason why,
Why sometimes laughter and sometimes whimper travels by,
We were given birth
To face what life is worth,

It is not a Cosmo of just merriment
But also of experiment,
For life would be nonsense
If it was simple in all its essence.

Amazingly, this was one of my very first poems, re-reading it brings back so many memories. I remember reading this poem and being asked why I wrote it. I didn’t have a full answer. But now I know exactly what it meant. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Life was a mess, LOL. It’s sort of still is, LOL but this was around the time that I began to learn about my sexuality. I was still dealing my father’s abuse but I was beginning to realize that I was in even bigger trouble. I felt terrible.

I remember how scared I was about writing poems about my father. Back to the ‘code’ idea. But I did write a few and the poem below was a reminder to myself that I was worth something. I have struggled with my self-esteem, but it’s amazing this is how I was able to use poetry to bring so many things to meaning. Today, these poems mean more to me than they did back then.

You are…

Here today and gone tomorrow…
There is an end to everyday

But you are not bound to seas and lakes
But you are bound to the abundance of existence

You are not fingers or toes
Or eyes or nose
But you are an infinite powerful soul

You are a sailor,
Who travels deep seas
You are a soul
That faces a great unknown

You are powerful
You are an everlasting conscious being
You are an answer without a question asked
You are a story with no end

But back to the whole idea of this post, I am really hoping to do what I have been doing for so many years. I want to get back to writing serious poems while working with others. Poetry can be a private thing but it can also be a community effort. I think that we become ourselves once we share who we really are with the world. While we may not only focus on poetry but writing and other expressions, I hope to make this a family thing. That is how successful poetry become life, we bring our stories into it.

So, I am super excited about this. I have been working really hard on getting it started and I can’t wait for it to be.


3 Replies to “My New Project: "Ellis Peace 2.0"”

  1. RaiC says:

    I am glad that you decided to move forward with this! Poetry is so therapeutic and special. It’s really one of those ways to express ourselves without judgment and to use our creativity/imagination. Some people just have a way with words and they translate their experiences into something so amazing. I wrote poetry growing up.. it was a great release for me but as I got older and busier, I found myself just saying the things that were on my mind.. good or bad lol Poetry brings people together and it’s amazing when people share it all. It creates a community.. it uplifts and empowers. It gives people a platform to connect and to voice their opinions.

    Thanks for sharing those poems.. at such a young age you were able to convey such a powerful message. Im glad youre working on this too.. good luck and keep us updated. Make sure to share your poems with us!

  2. Kevin A. says:

    Thanks for sharing this. That’s one thing I guess, I didn’t know about you. I just wish you would share some of your poetry, LOL. It’s all good stuff.

    Hey, I also find myself unable to write even when I try to because of time constraint. But writing is my key coping skill, so at this point, I write poetry when I am feeling down. Those are the days when I grab my poetry book, listen to James Blunt and watch as my deepest thoughts come to life.

    Getting together with folks who enjoy and live for poetry, especially people who have been through similar struggles, is very motivating… that’s exactly why I want to get a group going.

  3. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    This is super cool. Thanks for sharing!
    My favorite lines are:

    ‘You are a sailor,
    Who travels deep seas
    You are a soul
    That faces a great unknown”

    So powerful.

    By the way, random sidebar conversation, but I finished season 5 of RuPaul’s drag race. Hahahahaha. Not sure if you have seen that season yet, I know you like Courtney Act on 6 (I will start that soon!)

    The shade these girls throw is unbelievable. I’m gonna write a post on drag race just for you Kevin…


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