Is there a way to know how or when or even why to write poetry?
There are of course people, mostly of authority, who strongly believe in rules, regulations, types and patterns; classical, romantic, modern, modernist, postmodernist, colonial, postcolonial, good, bad … but aren’t those just descriptors? Classifications made from the basic human desire to understand everything by putting label on it? Neatly placing it all into clearly designated drawers. Counted, analysed, understood, stored. Finished.
Only poetry does not really fit into any classifications, no matter how hard we try to squeeze it there.
Poetry flies like a kite over our heads on the brilliant summer sky, daring us to run ever faster, ever freer, ever longer. And just when we decide to pull the kite down, it snaps, the cord breaks and we are left earthed to our spot, surprised and wondering. Mortal and expiratory. Longing for kite’s shiny colours, for waterfall of laughs it made us make while swirling around, so close to sun, so far from earth.
So no matter what you do, abandon the rules. Do not even bother to break them. To break them you need to learn them first. Do not waste time. Your time is limited. Our time is limited.
Just write; open your chest and rip your heart out. Then hold it in your hand like a sacrificial worrier for all to see. Prostrate yourself before the cold altar of all those that came before you. Write your poems … feel your human heart.
When To Write Poetry
When your breasts are heavy and full from longing
For your lost lover,
When midnight finds you crying, drunk on memories and
When your husband is leaving you for a woman half your age,
When your teenage son sells his body for a heroine hit,
When you can’t remember last time somebody whispered your name in loving embrace,
When your hands grew still and dry
Like autumn leaves in winter wind
Fragile and useless
Only left there by chance
With nothing to do,
There is nothing you can do.
It is all you can do.