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.
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.