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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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The Poet Takes Pains to Reflect

Grasping at the strings attached to everything in life –
seeking out the meaning wishing that it wouldn’t hide
(or that at least I knew that it existed)
writing down my findings – although I first resisted

The good, the bad in everything –
composed, compressed, compiled –
I smile, I hurt; yet through it all
I only search for words
so that I might recall –

And filed away beneath it all
is the humanity that brought it forth
– against my will, according to my nature –
for what it may be worth

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The Words Don’t Wait

The words don’t come
when I want them to –
they drift through my mind
there, then gone.

I can’t remember them
as soon as they’ve moved on –
a spark of inspiration
there, then gone.

Then one drifts slowly by,
slow enough for me to grasp
and examine, and the words
materialize at last –

and the very first sentence
has made its way to paper
when somebody knocks the door…
And then I stand here later

Looking at that paper –
but the words couldn’t wait,
they’ve moved beyond my reach
and again it is too late.

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The Stranglehold My Soul Has On My Body

The silence that chokes me
is the stranglehold
my soul has on my body –
kept captive and fettered
it smolders inside
it longs to burn through
its containing hide –
It answers my call
that it alone hears
since I can’t make it heard
beyond myself at all –
It burns unsteadily,
colder, then hotter,
dimmer, then brighter
and sooner or later
it will cause me
to burst into flames.
But what might be seen
as the breaking of chains
is really just the end
since the flames cannot burn
without the fuel
my body provides them.

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In the MAKING –

The desire to MAKE –
that is the human curse I carry –
the MAKING of art
in a futile attempt to carry
myself into a future
without me –

My hands want creation –
if my mind wants peace
it has come to the wrong place –
this world is ours
for the MAKING –

For those of us who have
sufficiently little of ourselves
to value art
that’s what we MAKE –

For those who live instead
they MAKE themselves
and others in their image –

And we shall MAKE
a world without us
through our restless creation –
a world in our image
as barren as the average mind
that brought it down –

Meanwhile I’ll MAKE
some poetry and hope
some sense might yet be found –

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Poet vs. Human

I am a 7-year-old poet,
and a 26-year-old human
but often it feels as if
the poet
has the more experience,
the more to say
and the better ways to say it
whereas the human
lags so far behind
she barely understands
the poet’s way of thinking.

She is merely the medium
from time to time
and an ambivalent one
torn between the poetry
and other pursuits.

But the poet is stronger
and speaks more convincingly
and keeps dragging her back –

if nothing else works
waking her in her sleep
with nightmares
of endless books
demanding to be written;

making her fear
that if she doesn’t write the stories now
she might never get to
and they would disappear.

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The Dried-Up Ocean

Childhood vs. Adult Imagination

I remember, once upon a time,
an ocean stretching far and wide –
an open, endless, wide expanse
whose boundaries were out of sight

Yet now, when in that kind of mood
I take the path towards its strands
I find a muddied, little brook
that hardly stirs among the sands

And all the worse; where it before
was cool and quite refreshing, so
today it’s warm and drowsying –
no, nothing’s like it was before