for Writer’s Island prompt #14 Journey
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time reading other people’s poetry. All different responses to one prompt. Each one distinct, different and unique. But each one a journey for its author and creator. We talk of the ‘process’ of creating, and that process is again, different for each of us.
Some of its details are easily sorted out, a memory of where, when, or who spoke of doing a certain thing which we decided sounded good so added it to our own process. Other parts within that journey of creation, are not so easily identified. Why one person chooses blue and another lavender seems to have a bit of mystery about it. A bit of magic, if you will, or a great deal of intuition.
In the middle of reading those responses, I have already mentioned, I also chatted with an old friend using the instant messenger. In the middle of that conversation, we were discussing something and I typed out a phrase that fitted into the flow of the conversation, but when I saw it typed on the screen, knew intuitively that it had a poem inside of it. So, I jotted it down and went on with the conversation.
Hours later, after running some errands, visiting with my oldest daughter, then coming home to finish reading, I turned in my chair and found that brief note I had made so much earlier. It caught my eye, but also that inner space inside of me that stills just before the beginning of a poem starts its journey from inner space to paper.
I was sitting at my computer, so it was easy to pull up the Word Processor program and begin. I knew exactly where the phrase had found its beginning. And because of that, I was a bit hesitant, but the words started flowing and I followed them, which is another part of my process.
The words had come from inside of another poem. One I wrote this past week and had posted yesterday morning. It was a rather dense piece of writing and might be defined as a prose poem, something I hadn’t done much of in the past. But as I was tweaking it, a memory flashed before me and I simply put the image into the poem. It fit. You can find that poem at:
But the memory was only one from a time in my life filled with experiences I have tried hard to put behind me. That means I have not written a great deal about that particular period of my personal journey, only made mention of it vaguely, in a sort of off-handed manner, telling myself that it was all so long ago, it is barely worth mentioning.
However, the phrase that was underlying this new poem was marching me straight at those walled in memories. I got just about half way through the poem, and decided to stop. Put it away, let it rest a bit. Can you hear that stubborn wall of denial I was putting up? Actually told myself I’d get back to it tomorrow, lol.
But, as will happen, the poem didn’t want to wait, and as I started winding down from a full day, I could hear the next part of the poem trying to make its way to the surface. So, I pulled up the poem, but what I heard, wasn’t the poem, but the lyrics to a song I had heard many years previously.
It came from a young woman who lived in my home for a number years and who had introduced me to an entire world of music I had never heard before. This, the one I was now hearing in my head, was a particular favorite and I knew most of the words. So, I looked it up on YouTube and found the end of the poem within its lyrics. You can watch and listen to the song here (it is the first song, didn’t realize I had captured two, but the second one fits as well):
My process is not static, I would not think that anyone’s is. It grows and evolves just as we ourselves do. Mine however makes lots of room for those intuitive associations I have learned to listen to over the years. And part of that process also includes allowing someone to hear a poem which includes a need for further action. Otherwise, I could just put the thing away and forget it altogether. Here is the poem that came out of my process:
The dust of a bad memory
crept in and curled itself
inside a poem I was writing.
I fear the brush of its slight
weight might collapse wall,
crumble it like cracked plaster.
But, it fit dammit, right there
in that space, that place my words
so unwittingly made for it.
That wall restrains a torrent
of other words spoken
in moments long past.
Images from which I flinch
instinctively. Shoulders hitched
eyes pressed tightly, I remember:
Blows that landed with knife
sharp accuracy, exploding a reality
that had been only hoped for.
Sent it crashing to the ground
with the sound of grinding teeth
clenched tight against speech,
silenced for dread of rendering
just such an outcome. But, I alone
built this wall, one brick at a time,
year after year, filling in all cracks
with the mortar of living one
moment at a time.
That bit of dust will accumulate
ever more over coming days, weeks,
months, maybe years, if I’m lucky.
And I can huddle here, against
my wall, waiting for the inevitable
to fall upon me. Or, I can stand up,
begin smashing, one brick at a time.
Elizabeth Crawford 7/31/10