"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
-- ee cummings
I've always had a strange relationship with poetry. It was middle school internet-exploration that initially sparked my interest in poems; "To the Virgins" caught my attention and stuck with me -- mostly because of *sex* but also because even then I was rolling my 8th grade eyes at the (weak) lengths horny men would go to in attempts to get some. It is beautifully written though, and basically the inspiration for modern classics such as this Drake masterpiece. I embarrassed myself in front of my high school freshman year english teacher I had a hopeless crush on during the poetry section of the year. (Oh, god, it was awful...But it was fun.) More recently, I've put myself on stage during open mic poetry nights and read work by other authors (I've read this because it's held a spot on my desktop for over a year and yes I found it on Tumblr, but whatever, I like it a lot. It's very Gryffindor and I can get behind that), though I've never read one of my own because I definitely do not feel as close to writing poetry as I do to reading it.
I could read and analyze beautiful lines of poetic art endlessly, but writing it is not an area I feel comfortable in, yet. My phone is full of works in progress, my notebook margins are black with illegibly scribbled lines, even this blog holds private drafts of poems started up to three or four years ago. Sharing work is a crucial part of being a writer, but poetry feels different, ultimately far more personal and, because it can be so free form, I don't have an outline to follow -- which means my writing stands totally on its own, bare to judgement. Which is SCARY. (Criticism is not my jam. I'm working on it. It's a life long process, I'm sure.)
The first time I came to poetry night here, it was almost religious. I ordered the legendary Honey and Lavender Latte for the first time, the room was practically standing room only, and a girl with enormous talent got up and read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem that has always touched me ever since a boy I liked in high school mentioned it in passing and I looked it up to further get a sense of him and happened to find a part of myself there, too. Currently, sitting at a well-worn wooden table waiting for another wave of talented peers to take the stage in front of me, I'm writing this in lieu of finishing the massive final paper due tomorrow for my African American Lit class. This is all relevant, though, because Third Girl from the Left is about three generations of women and their relationships to art; one character, Tamara, specifically says at one point: "I thought about what pictures could do. What they could do if you weren't afraid." Replace "pictures" with "words" and wow! What an applicable contribution to this topic!
Being afraid and doing it anyway, whatever it is, is hugely important. Art wields incredible power and the world is better for having more of it. I'm beyond grateful to have this time every week to celebrate artistic expression in an immediate and personal way; every night should be poetry night! Every month should be poetry month! It'd be crazy awesome if anyone that has taken the time to read this hot mess would take another extra minute share one of their favorite poems. Like, I'm begging you. I live for that stuff.