on poetry …
I always come home from slams wanting to write. Wanting to twist my words into the rhythmic lyrics the poets create, wishing I had the words to write pain in my voice and broadcast it to millions, but I don’t. I write books, I write stories, stories of slutty girls who are not ashamed and darling bois who are worshiped. I go to slams and open mics and clap and holler and say it’s not my scene and then I come home and I write (I just mistyped hope for home) and I wonder what it is I’m really saying.
Because the words are only lyrical in my head and I use this glowing screen and a candle and I sit and the words of poets far more talented than me roll around me while I remember what it felt like to be terrified my sister was going to kill herself and what it was like to put my Ken dolls in dresses and what it feels like to think that you are just to fucking positive for me. Poets that make me cry in three minutes and it takes me six pages to say what I want to say and I can only hope to god I get it down before logic tells me it’s just not right.
There’s a new girl on the scene, only 26, who reminds me of me. And she talks about this time her best friend gave her permission to go crazy and I can only remember that night on the phone when I cried and screamed to my best friend about how my world was falling down around my ankles and I needed there to be someone other than me to blame and she gave me permission to be crazy. And that girl, that woman, who I love more than anyone else on the planet, who I stood next to at her wedding, who I want to protect to the end of the earth, she still loves me and knows me. I remember when I told her it was okay to be crazy. At least, I hope I made that clear enough.
And so this is what coming back from a slam does to me. It doesn’t make me want to compete or get up there and scream, but it makes me want to write. It makes me think harder about characters and makes me wish I was as talented as they are but I realized tonight, as I stood outside and hugged a girl I never thought I’d hug, that really, I’m not as insecure as I think I am.
Just because I don’t write words on rainbows and stand behind a mic to shout it to the world doesn’t mean I’m lesser than. I think about that a lot – these beautiful men and women, with their hands in their pockets and their cigarettes in their hands, how famous they already are. But see, I’ve never fit in with that. I bring my laptop everywhere – except maybe to a concert – and want to dive into my words at all times. I am terrified the stories will leave me when only, in truth, they get bigger and bigger and I meet people named Elizabeth and Gen and Heather and Max. I fall asleep dreaming of elves in the desert and castles under the earth.
So this tonight is my slam, my lyrical moment, my congratulations to the poets, of which I am not, who stand up and speak. Who charm me from my meh of a mood and remind me that the rock gods I write about are as important as the trembling voice of a forgotten memory.