Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It Doesn't Count if You're Not Scared

"Give me your hand
skinny, beautiful Danny
with a pock mark scar
on his left cheek
said in sixth hour English"
-Barbed Wire, by me

David said to write a "close looking" poem for our second one, and a memory popped into my head of a guy I knew my freshman year of high school. One day while we were bored he drew on my wrist, a line of barbed wire, like a bracelet. It was a very strange, almost surreal, experience - especially since I had such a crush on him.

Putting that down was one of the most scary things I've done in writing because of how incredibly intimate/personal the memory is. (Ha! Not anymore!)I knew, despite the scary factor, that it was the right thing to do. I was hitting a nerve and that tends to be where the best poetry lies. Not the big "this is why I am what I am" kind of hitting a nerve, like writing an "I have issues with my mom/dad" poem, but digging out that memory that sticks with you even though it was only a moment kind of hitting a nerve.

To date, I think it's the best poem I've written (and the class & David agree). After reading and writing poetry on and off for a few years, maybe I'm finally starting to figure it out. To really get to the good stuff, you have to get to the scary stuff. It's all about taking that which is intensely personal and laying it out, layer by layer. Tough, especially for me, given how private and wrapped up I am.

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