Festival for Poetry shared my poem, “June 04, 2020 in Buffalo, NY,” on their site! Have a look and tell me what you think, won’t you? Of course, you can also read it here.
I had to write it after watching the protests over the summer. I wanted to scream at my screen and, well, writing is how I scream. And laugh and cry … you know how it is. After I wrote it, I almost didn’t share it. I have a thing about sharing the personal stuff.
Isn’t All Writing Personal?
Yes, I know all writing is personal to an extent. But poetry is raw. It’s feelings and thoughts that reveal bits and pieces of truth. Not always the whole truth or an eternal truth, but even a momentary truth is still true, isn’t it?
The rage you feel? Perhaps it isn’t really “you.” Perhaps you wouldn’t actually act on it. But, in that moment, your rage isreal. And there is a truth in that emotion, if you’re willing to sort through the ephemeral to find it.
Anyhow, I’m grateful that Festival for Poetry shared my poem on their site. I’m also grateful to the lovely bloggers who’ve liked it. I do feel a bit exposed but it’s in a pure way rather than an insecure way, and I’m choosing to sit in my happy about it.
I originally shared it here for free. Please send me a message if you read it before and have read it now that it’s officially released. I love feedback!
I consider it to be darkly psychological pandemic fiction. The story is set in our current times, and yet it functions as an overarching metaphor for my struggles with mental health. I wrote about this in the Dedication page within the story.
The Drive … even the title is a double entendre, although not risqué. The commentary I’ve heard most regarding someone’s struggles with depression and/or other mental health conditions is generally focused on the individual’s will power. That is, their drive.
I tried to explain to someone once that their loved one wanted to do x, y, and z. It wasn’t a matter of wanting or willingness. It was a matter of being physically unable to comply with one’s Will.
I wasn’t able to communicate the message effectively that time, I’m afraid. It’s chaffed at me ever since. Eventually, the seed for this story was born, as I set about trying to see things from the perspective a person who hasn’t seriously struggled with their mental health. What situation could possibly convey some semblance of the struggle?
If you give it a chance, please let me know. This is a deeply personal topic for me, and I’m sure for others. Disclaimer: this is only what I think and feel based on my experiences. In no way do I claim to speak for anybody but myself, nor am I suggesting that this story is representative—some experiential standard—of what mental health struggles are like for anyone else.
Most of you have curb appeal
You’re lawns, and well maintained
Foundation plantings lend design
Your annuals well arranged
In synchrony you always bloom
Within your narrow beds
Competing down the walkways and then
Judging who grew best
Some are more traditional
English boxwood, roses red
Hedges trimmed in knots or rows
And the home displayed instead
Some of you are cottage gardens growing as you please
And some are simply wildflowers strewn wildly by the breeze
Still others are those hothouse orchids
Fussy and in charge
Erratic if most beautiful
Their lives both long and large
I, however, am a bonsai
Growing slowly in a bowl
Just as fussy as an orchid
Just as showy as a rose
My efforts go into my roots
My visage often bare
With awkward looking bits of me
Sticking out from here or there
Place me in an ideal spot
And leave me there to grow
Return and tend me as I need
Then off again you go
But do not doubt my qualities
Or overlook my cares
I'll grow alone, in little space
And catch you unawares
For I’ll outlast the other plants
I’ll outgrow every bowl
And when finally I bloom, at last,
You’ll tremble in your soul
I actually started writing this years ago. It used to make me feel full of myself. Not anymore. We’re all whatever we are. We can all feel however we feel. Plus, I do love bonsai. I almost took it up as a hobby, but … guess what? It’s hard. Really hard. Those little plants have very specific needs. And I’m not in a place to devote myself to such particular care. Irony.
Of course, I’ll be sharing the link to this over at Phoenix Fire Press, too. I’d love to share a link to a similar poem I’ve written here but, alas, there is none. That’s me; so one of a kind.
Does sarcasm translate well on the page?
However, you can go ahead and visit “The Drive” before I publish it at the end of the month. I might end up editing it one last time—because of course I will—so who knows? This might be your last opportunity to read it in its raw, original form.
A heart on fire
A new flame rises
An old heart pains
As living dwindles
A heart on fire
“A Heart on Fire,” is a simple poem about the most difficult topic. So much has been written about Love yet it remains undefined. It can be felt even if cannot be described. It can be present, even if it goes unrecognized. It’s one of the few things whose store increases by being given away … and it comes in many forms, not just romantic, intimate embraces.
I suppose it isn’t the best timing, but I am interested in reading Love poetry that isn’t necessarily about those romantic, intimate partnerships. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But, where are the Odes to Friendship? The Sonnets for our Work Spouses? There are so many relationships full of LOVE—platonic, dutiful, companionate, familial, universal … I’d love to read more poems on these themes, too.
What about you? Tell me what poetry you enjoy reading and writing. Connect with me on any social media platform and let’s have a chat about poetry! Or, just share your links with me so I can see your work, too.
If you’re here for heartache, you might as well check out “Beast.” After all, I’m still here; living proof that there is life after loss.
Author EIQ just shared a new poem, “The Bonsai.” Here’s an excerpt of her thoughts on that post: “I actually started writing this years ago. It used to make me feel full of myself. Not anymore. We’re all whatever we are. We can all feel however we feel. Plus, I do love bonsai.” Follow the […]