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Epilogue

  This collection willed itself into being at a time when I was planning an entirely different writing project, and stayed strong throughout the changes and/or demise of that and other projects I was doing on the side. I never planned it. It willed itself into being.

  I won’t deny that it is essentially one long ode to depression. That should be fairly obvious to you if you made it this far. It reflects my state of mind fairly well I’d say. And that should kind of also explain why the writing of the collection became such a pressing matter that it pushed all other things aside.

  So, well, here it is! An intermission of a poetry collection. Written over a six month period of recuperation and recharging. The first poems (not counting the older ones that snuck their way in) were written in the immediate aftermath of my grandfather’s death, but didn’t fit into my last poetry collection which I were publishing at the time. The newest poems are rounding up everything, just barely making it over the finishing line at the eleventh hour. And now I can write no more of it. The theme is exhausted. Not because there is nothing more to say. Just because my situation has changed, and the sadness and loneliness that fueled the poems no longer extant in my life. Thus, it is done.

  The timing – with regards to this collection – could not be better. It closes a chapter for me, so that I can now allow myself to face squarely forwards.

 

  This is the end. I hope you got something out of the reading – at least remotely resembling how much I got out of the writing.

 

  Thank you for staying on.

– K-M Skalkenæs

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Catalyst

What is the greatest source of inspiration?
What can really make you contemplate
and urge you forward to complete something?

Well, if you’re happy and content
you might never see the point
of changing anything,
right?

You cannot know the light
if that is all you’ve ever seen –
you will not understand it
or appreciate it’s there
until you have lived through a night –

  And what a night. I don’t plan to moralize, but I do plan to speak my mind. I lived through a night like I hope you’ll never have to. And you probably won’t have to. Most people don’t. I was just the one out of thousands who drew the shortest straw. And then I was stuck in a nightmare that lasted 25 years. A long, drawn-out sleep that left me with nothing in store and everything to rebuild.

  But I did have one thing through that time. One thing that carried and supported me. And that was poetry. If I had lived a happy life, I don’t think I’d ever have started to write. I don’t think I would’ve seen the point, since I would’ve lacked nothing.

  As it was, I lacked – not only material things – I lacked a voice and words to express my thoughts. I lacked expression. And humans are social beings. We have an innate need for words and speech, but I had no words and weren’t heard when I tried to speak. So I wrote. Everything I couldn’t say out loud I wrote – poem after poem, essay after essay – and found a voice along the way that seeped out into my everyday existence and coloured what I’d do and say.

  It’s been an amazing journey, but if I’d never had problems, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to move along the way – I’d probably just have wanted to stay where I was at the beginning. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

  I have no regrets – I chose a path that advanced me, however slowly, towards an understanding of my abilities, and what I truly wanted at heart. It just so happens, that at the end of the road, what I wanted was to continue writing, since I had not yet nearly told everything I had to tell. And since I had come to be able to write fairly well, there seemed to be no reason to stop at all.

What is this stupid construct
the world calls happiness?
A soothing balm
to keep you in your place.

I’d rather feel the pain,
the sadness and the cold
the world too has to offer
instead of growing old
to see that I learned nothing
because I was content –
who on this Earth would truly
want that to be their end?

  Whenever I was at my lowest, no matter the circumstances, I always felt the urge to write. Mostly because no other solution was in sight. But that was what kept me going, and it was a sure and reliable guide to have at hand throughout that long and lonely night that was the uncertain stumbling steps I took towards the light.

  And the worse I felt, the better I wrote. Paradoxically. That’s how it goes.

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Where Are My Sunsets?

Where are my sunrises?
Where are my sunsets?
Where are my days?
An endless night
has taken their place.

Where are my colours?
Where is the music?
Colourless it fades.
A blurry image of a world
now passes by – abates.

Where are my sunsets?
There’s no sun to make them.
A distant globe up high
whose light retreats
remains cold in the sky.

Where did you go?
Why did you go?
Now what of me?
What do I do?

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Doppelgänger – The Poet About the Woman

She speaks through me,
she looks like me
but I don’t want to know her –
and if she was able
to hear my voice
or heed my advice
there’s much I’d like to show her.

But turning gently
in her own sphere
she is here
but she’s not here –
No words can move
her shrunken heart
that beats a tune
apart.

And I presume
to know her mind
but I don’t understand
her kind.
And what she says
provides no clue
since nothing stays –
I guess because
nothing was true.

She confuses me –
her nonsensical speak –
her vague existence
yet more real than me.
I wish that I could do
without her altogether –
but that I cannot do
since we are bound together.

And since she does provide me
at least with inspiration
I try to be patient
I try to contain
her baser moods –
for a fashion –
and tolerate
her existence.

But how I wish that she
was more like me.

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The Poet Encounters the Prosaic

Someone once said to me: “Not all of your poems have to be good. After all, when you need to fill out a whole book, some of the material will inevitably just have to be fillers.”

Just no.

A chance meeting between a poet and the most prosaic person to ever live, possibly.

Undoubtedly a person who hasn’t written a single word that wasn’t a school assignment or a text message.

A person who doesn’t have much to say and insists on saying it loudly and with as many words as possible nevertheless.

Whereas I have spent years trying to say as much as I can with as few words as possible. Cutting to the bone and distilling the essence of a message.

Boiling it, tending the fire beneath it until it was time to retrieve it – the few select cuts of words returned to me.

Go back and recreate the unnecessary left-overs?

Just no.

You can’t add fillers without destroying the picture. Who cares if the eyes are well drawn if the rest of the face is a cartoon?

Just no.

But then again – a person who would say such a thing in the first place is probably not likely to be either willing or able to read a poem in the first place.

That kind of people just want their heads filled with noise so that they don’t have to think.

The antithesis of my mission.

The beauty of such people lies only in the fact that their prosaic nature makes the poetic stand out in contrast all the starker and more visible – even to those with less discerning eyes.

I praise the prosaic. Without it, there would be no reason for poetry.

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The Endless Question

The question never ceases to surprise me –
the only one most men have wits to think of
when they hear that I write poetry.

“So, you write love poems, don’t you?”
over and over – always the same –
never anything smarter – nothing new.

I’m tired of having to answer: “No”
but since I do not write of things
I don’t have knowledge of, it must be so!

Granted, in youthful folly, I once tried –
but that endlessly repeated question saw to it
that the impulse very quickly died…